We are all complicated people. Even Paul, God’s chosen apostle to the Gentiles and author of much of our New Testament, was fully aware of his own sinfulness. One of the most vulnerable passages in Paul’s letters comes to us in Romans 7:15-23:
For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members.
So it is that even Paul wrestled with the sin in his life. Of course, we are never to embrace sin and temptation. Rather, we continually wage war against it, until our dying breath. In light of this, we do not seek to glorify the weaknesses of men like Johnny Cash, who publicly struggled with temptation and sin his whole life. And yet, at the same time, we ought to reflect on the deep grace of God that was at work in Cash’s life. For, it is the same grace at work in our own lives. Paul continues in this passage with a note of hope for the struggling Christian in Romans 7:24-25:
Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!
The day will come when the war will cease and we will live in glory without the encumbrances of temptation and sin. Enjoy this video about the work of God’s grace in the life of Johnny Cash.
(You Tube gives credit for the production of this video to Mars Hill Church. I, however, have not been able to confirm or find its origin.)