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“Bringing Me into Captivity”
What does Paul mean when he speaks of sin “bringing me into captivity?” Many of you know, by painful and long experience, exactly what he means.
We would love God with all our hearts, but sin brings us into captivity and we love him so very little. We would “pray without ceasing,” but sin brings us into captivity and we find it often impossible to utter a word of true prayer. We would hear God speak to us by his Word, but sin brings us into captivity and the Word of God is so often to us only a dead letter. We would be content, but sin brings us into captivity and we grumble at God’s providence. We would be weaned from this world, but sin brings us into captivity and we find ourselves loving the world. We would be bold in holding up the banner of Christ before his enemies, but sin brings us into captivity and makes us timid cowards. We would be a blessing to all under our influence, but sin brings us into captivity and we are a terrible hindrance to them! We would be holy and live entirely without sin, but sin brings us into captivity and defiles even our desires after holiness.
Look to Christ
But there is, even in this warfare, that which God makes good for our souls (Romans 8:28). Our constant warfare with the flesh causes us to look to Christ alone for all things (Romans 7:14, 24, 25)!
It is by God’s grace that we are like we are in this warfare. He could at this moment make us entirely free from sin. But he has left us in this condition, so that we might always look to Christ alone for everything. The best, most proper, safest, and most fitting place for us is the place of penitent sinners at the foot of the cross, looking to Christ alone.
Oh, my God, let me never take the Pharisee’s place. Give me the place and the heart of the Publican (1 Corinthians 1:30-31; 1 John 2:1-2).
Nothing in my hands I bring,
Simply to Thy cross I cling;
Naked come to Thee for dress,
Helpless look to Thee for grace!
These are the things I want us to learn. May God the Holy Spirit engrave them upon each of our hearts. Every believer is a person with two opposing natures. The flesh and the spirit are constantly at war. As long as we are in this world, the flesh brings us into captivity. Our constant warfare causes us to look to Christ for all things.
But, blessed be his name forever, Christ Jesus shall make us free soon (Romans 7:24-25; 1 John 3:1-2). — Free from the presence of sin! — Free from the consequences of sin! — Free from the being of sin!