The Two Battles - The Warrior's Journey®

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“What a wretched man I am! 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 7:24-25) 

Wait a minute! Didn’t Paul just tell us in Romans 6 that we’re dead to sin and alive to God? Now Paul is saying that sin is still a force to be reckoned with. What’s going on? Paul does affirm that a transformation has taken place in the believer’s heart – but only in the inner man. Our inner man has been born again (1 Peter 1:3, 23). But the outer man, the body, will not be redeemed until the resurrection of the righteous (Romans 8:18-23; Philippians 3:21). Until this happens sin remains a force in our lives.   

Yet things aren’t nearly as bad as they used to be. You see, in Romans 7 Paul the apostle describes two battles. The first is in Romans 7:5, 7-13, which took place before we believed in Jesus. It was a battle between the Law of God and our rebellious, unregenerate hearts. The Law commanded, but did nothing to conquer the power of sin within us. Instead of conquering our sinful nature, the Law only aggravated it. As Paul testifies, sin was once dormant within us. But when the Law’s commandment came, our sinful nature was aroused and produced every evil desire in us. This was a hopeless, losing battle, in which we only brought more and more condemnation on ourselves. 

But Paul explains that we died to the Law through Jesus’ Crucifixion and we’re now joined to Christ instead. As a result we now serve God in the newness of the Spirit and produce spiritual fruit for God (Romans 7:4, 6). However, Romans 7:14-25 describes a new battle that’s come into our lives. It’s not the battle between the Law and our sinful hearts. For now we’ve been born again and yearn to obey God. The battle is now between the old sin-corrupted outer man and our new Christ-like inner man.   

Yet this is no losing battle. For the death of the outer man will end sin’s war against our souls. And in the meantime, even though God knows there’s still sin within us, He considers us holy (John 17:14, 16). Even though there’s still darkness within us, God calls us “sons of light” (John 12:36; 1 Thessalonians 5:5). The blood of Jesus keeps on cleansing us from every sin and the Holy Spirit dwells perpetually in our hearts to renew us day by day (1 John 1:7; 2 Corinthians 4:16). Even more, the indwelling Holy Spirit is God’s mark of ownership upon us, as well as His guarantee that He will consummate our salvation at the resurrection (2 Corinthians 1:22; 5:5; Ephesians 1:13-14; 4:30). 


  • Do you ever feel like you’re fighting a losing battle against sin? 
  • Isn’t the tension within you a sign that your spirit is alive and resisting sin? 
  • The “inner conflict” is a healthy sign – that God is working in you against sin. 

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