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"Thy Word Have I Hid In Mine Heart..." Psalm 119 : 11

Christians in Conflict

But I am carnal, sold under sin.
21st October
J. C. Ryle
There is no holiness without a warfare.
Strange words from the lips of such a man of God. Or are they? Some would say this is Paul in his Christian infancy, still struggling with the basics of holy living. But if that is true, there are few, if any, mature believers. The seeming difficulty of these words is resolved upon the consideration of what prompted them.

Paul has been showing the work of God's law in his own conversion. It was seeing the spiritual nature of the law that brought this one-time Pharisee to call upon Christ. But once he understood this truth, he could never forget it - not even as a Christian. The more Paul matured in his spiritual life, the more he came to understand the law's spiritual standards and the fact that holiness does not consist in an outward conformity to the law, but an inward conformity of heart. As the law's light grew brighter and brighter, Paul saw more of his own sin and cried out, 'I am carnal!' His was the same conviction that men like Luther, Calvin, Rutherford, and McCheyne felt in their own lives.

But this law also revealed Pauls true Christian character, for he states in verse 22 that he 'delight[ed] in the law of God after the inward man.' Thus Paul declares that he does the things he hates, and does not the things that he loves in God's law. You see, it is only in a Christian that such a battle rages. The unsaved have no delight in God's law nor desire to obey it, and hence no struggle.

Now it is because of this conflict brought on by the law of God working in our hearts that we see our wretched, helpless condition. 'O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?' (v. 24). And it is this realization that drives us back again and again to Christ and His righteousness. Blessed law that brings us to Christ! Blessed Christ that brings us to victory!