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Dear Saints and Sinners,

Have you ever been caught in an undertow at the beach or a strong river eddy that sucks you under? These water hazards force you underwater and toss you uncontrollably. And you have no power to extract yourself from the hazard. You need someone to pull you to safety.

Paul has a passage in Romans, Romans 7:14-24, that makes me feel like I’m stuck in an overpowering undertow every time I read it. Paul goes back and forth, “I don’t do the things I want! The things I hate I do! The things I want I don’t do! I don’t do the good – I keep doing the evil! UGHHHH!” As I read, I feel caught in the undertow of my sin – the thing Paul hates and doesn’t want to do. Towards the end, worn out, Paul writes, “Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?” (Romans 7:24) In this bundle of confusing words, Paul makes a point. Torn between good and evil, I’m powerless to extract myself from the undertow sin sucks me into. Sin keeps battering me on the rocks.

Do you ever find yourself doing things you know are against God’s law? It happens to me all the time. However, as I look back on my life, I also see undertows of sin I used to get caught in – and how I’ve been pulled from those hazards. Paul reveals my rescuer from the undertow of sin and death, Jesus! Just has He rescued me from the habitual sins I used to be caught in, He continues rescuing me from the ones I’m caught in today. Gradually, by the power of the Holy Spirit, God is making me holy, sanctifying me – enabling me to do more of the good I long to do while rejecting the evil I don’t want to do. I bet, if you look at your own life, you might see this same thing happening to you also. “Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (Romans 7:25)

                                                                                        Your Fellow Saint and Sinner,

                                                                                        Pastor Jim