I'm facing a dilemma. It seems that the Bible says we cannot totally conquer sin and are destined to be sinners until we die (e.g. Romans 7:14-20). This seems problematic to me, as though God has set me up to fail. I know he has provided a Savior, but it seems like he has pushed me off a cliff, and then grabbed my hand before I fell. I don't know how to avoid this unless I am able to be perfect. But if that's so, then why don't I feel bad for being a jerk to God, since I'm capable of not sinning? -- Zach Harned

You are capable of not sinning. Every sin is a choice. The fact that you are extremely unlikely to be sinless for any stretch of time -- honestly, which of us is? -- does not mean that you don't made choices for which you are responsible.

Romans 7 seems to be describing the life of frustration apart from the Spirit, while Romans 8 describes life lived under the influence of the Spirit. In my experience, I go back and forth between the two modes of existence, though of course if I spend too much time -- in Romans 7 -- I am going to become pretty depressed! The Romans 8 life is well within the reach of all believers in Christ Jesus, precisely because of the Holy Spirit.

God does not tell you to be perfect if you want to be saved. Be perfect (Matthew 5:48); this is something to aim for (2 Corinthians 13:11). But you will always, always need grace. God knew this, which is why he arranged for the sacrifice of Christ even before the foundation of the world (1 Peter 1:19-20).

This article is copyrighted and is for private use and study only. © 2005. Reprints or public distribution is prohibited without the express consent of Douglas Jacoby.