13 Did that which is good, then, bring death to me? By no means! It was sin, producing death in me through what is good, in order that sin might be shown to be sin, and through the commandment might become sinful beyond measure. 14 For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am of the flesh, sold under sin. 15 For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. 16 Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. 17 So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. 18 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. 19 For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me.
21 So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. 22 For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, 23 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. 24 Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? 25 Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.
She lay in a hospital bed, small and frail. She had been fighting the good fight of late. After her surgery of several years ago she had become addicted to prescription opiates. The pain had necessitated them at first, but not so much anymore. She thought she had it under control, down to one small pill per day, weaning herself off the drugs. It was such a small pill and she hated it and yearned for it at the same time. She was ready to take the final step. She would take it no more. But her body was not ready. Withdrawal fell hard upon her and landed her in that hospital bed. She watched the IV dripping into her arm and had to resign herself to the fact that the battle would go on.
Paul speaks today of our broken reality. Intentions are just not enough. I am not a mind with a body which that mind controls but I am a human being, comprised of body and mind and spirit and soul, however we would define those terms. Since we all fell into sin in a garden long ago, we have been enslaved to a reality which manifests in suffering. Who will free us from this body of death? Paul asks the question and provides the answer. Thanks be to God. Christ Jesus is our savior in body and mind and soul and spirit – the whole of me. I will not win this fight by dint of my will and discipline. But I will fight. For the victory is mine.