Paul explains that faith brings us joy, even in the midst of trials and tribulations – “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”
Paul goes on to say that through Adam’s disobedience in the garden, sin, judgment, and condemnation came to all men. But through Jesus’ righteous act of obedience on the cross, “the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life. For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous.”
We were all once slaves to our sin. However, Paul says to the Christians, “For just as you presented your members as slaves of uncleanness, and of lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves of righteousness for holiness.” Paul explains that the act of sin brings no fruit in one’s life, but once you become a slave to God, “you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
God’s law exposes our sin. Although Christians will still sin, there is no longer any pleasure in the sinful acts; rather Christians grieve sin, which leads to repentance and turning from sin. Paul shares his own personal struggle – “For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice. Now if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me.” This is the battle between the flesh and the Spirit that all Christians experience. The Holy Spirit that dwells within Christians is the One to convict us and lead us to repentance.
However, Christians’ righteousness is not based on their actions but rather based on their faith in Jesus Christ and His righteousness. Therefore, there is “no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.”
“So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God. But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you… The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.”
There’s only one perfect Man who will ever live, Jesus Christ. Therefore, none of us are going to walk in the Spirit at all times perfectly without sin. However, we are called to engage in the battle of dying to the flesh and our selfish desires, and living for Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit. And when we stumble, we repent out of hatred for our sin and out of love for God. Then we continue to “press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling” (Philippians 3:14).