THE OPPRESSION OF SIN - P7
“All have turned aside, together they have become useless; There is none who does good, there is not even one” (Romans 3:12).
Sin is oppressive. Like Lot, we are tormented by the unlawful, cruel behavior that we see in the world around us everyday, “oppressed by the sensual conduct of unprincipled men (for by what he saw and heard that righteous man, while living among them, felt his righteous soul tormented day after day by their lawless deeds)” (2 Pt. 2:7b-8).
The sin of others oppresses us. “I looked again at all the acts of oppression which were being done under the sun. And behold I saw the tears of the oppressed and that they had no one to comfort them; and on the side of their oppressors was power, but they had no one to comfort them. So I congratulated the dead who are already dead more than the living who are still living. But better off than both of them is the one who has never existed, who has never seen the evil activity that is done under the sun” (Ecc. 4:1-3). We see all the violence, betrayal, injustice, abuse, etc, and we want to stop it. We want to put an end to it.
But also, if we are honest with ourselves, our own sin is also very oppressive to us. Because in each of us, our “heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick; Who can understand it?” (Jer. 17:9) “For all of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment” (Is. 64:6a). “There is none righteous, not even one; There is none who understands, there is none who seeks for God; All have turned aside, together they have become useless” (Rom. 3:10b-12a). We cannot keep ourselves in the straight path. We fall into temptation and sin and do things we know hurt others and are wrong. The conviction of the Spirit convicts us of our sin, and we can feel tormented by our own conduct, because temptation besets us constantly in this body of flesh.
“I am of flesh, sold into bondage to sin. For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate...For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not. For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want. But if I am doing the very thing I do not want, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. I find then the principle that evil is present in me, the one who wants to do good. For I joyfully concur with the law of God in the inner man, but I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (Rom. 7:14b-25) Yes, thank God through Jesus Christ Who has saved us from the oppressive power of our sin to forever separate us from God! For through Jesus, “our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin” (Rom. 6:6b).
While freed from the power of sin over our eternal future, we still struggle with temptation and sin in the flesh, but we are to confess our sins to Christ, Who will forgive us, and we are to confess all sin as wrong to men. Finally, we long for our Resurrection when we will be freed from this power of sin and temptation in our flesh. Yes, “having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body” (Rom. 8:23b), for our sinful flesh is “sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power” (1 Cor. 15:42a-43). “With perseverance we wait eagerly for it” (Rom. 8:23b-25). Yes, we eagerly wait for the return of our lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, groaning for the day of our freedom! Amen.