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TEMPTATION AND LIBERATION
Fr. Steven Scherrer, MM, ThD
Homily of Friday, 29th Week of the Year, October 25, 2013
Rom. 7:18-25, Ps. 118, Luke 12:54-59


"I delight in the law of God according to the inward man. But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members" (Rom. 7:22-23 NKJV).


This is a description of the slavery to sin of man before knowing Christ. It is precisely to free us from this condition of being vanquished by the desires and passions of the flesh that Christ came into the world. He gave us the Spirit, and in the power of the Spirit we can walk in the Spirit and stop walking according to the sinful desires of the flesh. "For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body you will live" (Rom. 8:13). We are to live in the power of the Spirit and walk according to the Spirit, and no longer according to the sinful desires of the flesh. "For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. To set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace" (Rom. 8:5-6). "And those who are in the flesh cannot please God. But you are not in the flesh, you are in the Spirit, if the Spirit of God really dwells in you" (Rom. 8:8-9).


We who are in Christ have this Spirit and should and can walk in the Spirit and not satisfy the sinful desires of the flesh. We have the power of the Spirit to do so. We are to occupy ourselves with the ways of the Spirit, not with the ways of the sinful desires of the flesh, for that is death. So "put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires" (Rom. 13:14). We who are Christians "walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit" (Rom. 8:4). "Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires" (Gal. 5:24). "But I say, walk by the Spirit, and do not gratify the desires of the flesh" (Gal. 5:16). Therefore we should be crucified to the world and say with St. Paul, "But far be it from me to glory except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world" (Gal. 6:14).


Formerly we all walked according to the flesh, says St. Paul, but Christ has redeemed us from that condition. "We all once lived in the passions of our flesh, following the desires of the body and mind, and so we were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind" (Eph. 2:3). But now Christ has redeemed us from that, and "our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin" (Rom. 6:6 NKJV).


Now in Christ we put off the old man and put on the new man in order no longer to walk according to the sinful desires of the flesh. You have been taught "that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness" (Eph. 4:22-24 NKJV).


So, "wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!" (Rom. 7:24-25). It is Christ who frees us from the power of the flesh to be able to walk in the Spirit. "For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set me free from the law of sin and death" (Rom. 8:2).

 

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