Rev. Geoff DeFranca
Each day we come face to face with the human condition. This happens when we read the headlines of war or hear the news of a friend’s tragedy or witness the greed of Wall Street or the injustice of governments. But we see it most when we look in the mirror. If we were honest, most of us would say that reading these words from Paul’s quill are like looking into the mirror of our thoughts and action and our thoughts about our actions. And if that was all we took away, we would be lost in the misery of sin’s paralyzing force, for sin indeed has a “death grip” on all who submit to its choke hold. “I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.” (Romans 7:18 NIV)
And now for the painful truth…most of the world lives this way. Most people I bump into at Starbucks or pass along Everett Turnpike look in the mirror and see someone who is incapable of breaking the grip of sin. The perfect description of that state:
“What a wretched man I am!”
It is not a breaking news flash to all reading these words that it does not have to be this way. This grip not only can be broken but is meant to be broken. But to break the grip we need to get a grip. We need to get a grip on Paul’s purpose. Paul has no interest in a morbid surrender to sin’s dark hold. He is not looking for his readers to nod in agreement while living in defeat. Paul builds a house of cards of sin’s grip to dash it all to the ground with these words:
“Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (Romans 7:25 NIV)
As the nails gripped His flesh, the hand of God was held out to grip us by the hand and pull us to safety. Thanks be to God indeed! The grip has been broken!
I am weakness, full of weakness,
At Thy sacred feet I bow;
Blest, divine, eternal Spirit,
Fill with pow’r, and fill me now.
Fill me now, fill me now,
Holy Spirit, fill me now;
Fill me with Thy hallowed presence,
Come, oh, come, and fill me now.
Elwood H. Stokes