I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord.”
For we know that the Law is spiritual, but 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. But if I do the very thing I do not want to do, I agree with the Law, confessing that the Law is good. So now, no longer am I the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. 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! So then, on the one hand I myself with my mind am serving the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh the law of sin.
Mysteries About the Saint’s Work and Warfare:
Sins, Sorrows and Joys
Ralph Erskine (1685–1752)
The work is great I’m called unto,
Yet nothing’s left for me to do;
Hence for my work heav’n had prepared
No wages, yet a great reward.
To works, but not to working dead;
From sin, but not from sinning freed.
I clear myself from no offence
Yet wash my hands in innocence.
My Father’s anger burns like fire,
Without a spark of furious ire;
Though still my sins displeasing be,
Yet still I know He’s pleased with me.
Triumphing is my constant trade,
Who yet am often captive led;
My bloody war does never cease,
Yet I maintain a stable peace.
My foes assaulting conquer me,
Yet never obtain the victory;
For all my battles lost or won,
Were gained before they were begun
I’m still at ease, and still oppressed;
Have constant trouble, constant rest;
Both clear and cloudy, free and bound;
Both dead and living, lost and found.
Sin for my good does work and win;
Yet ’tis not good for me to sin.
My pleasure issues from my pain;
My losses still increase my gain.
I’m healed even when my plagues abound,
Covered with dust even when I’m crowned;
As low as death, when living high;
Nor shall I live, yet cannot die,
For all my sins my heart is sad
Since God’s dishonored; yet I’m glad
Though once I was a slave to sin,
Since God does thereby honor win.
My sins are ever in His eye,
Yet He beholds no sin in me,
His mind that keeps them all in store,
Will yet remember them no more.
Because my sins are great, I feel
Great fears of heavy wrath; yet still
For mercy seek, for pardon wait,
Because my sins are very great.
I hope when plunged into despair,
I tremble when I have no fear.
Pardons dispel my griefs and fears,
And yet dissolve my heart in tears.
—Worthy Is the Lamb (Soli Deo Gloria, 2004).
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.