“ For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.
Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. “
“ For the good that I would I do not: “
Paul, when he wrote everything we have been studying in this chapter was not under the Law...he was under grace.
Even under grace, he was wrestling with these issues in his life.
Everything Paul said in this chapter we are studying is in the present tense.
Paul is not describing his former life under the Law.
He is describing his life presently under grace.
The point in this phrase;
“ For the good that I would I do not: “
is that his heart's desire is to do good in God's eyes.
This desire to do good comes from a repentant heart and coming to believe in Jesus as Lord and Savior.
When Paul was under the Law his heart's desire was not entirely with intent to do good in God's eyes.
The life of the Pharisees, who were also under the Law when Jesus was here on earth confirms this lack of desire in the heart to do good in God's eyes.
Jesus called people under the Law, hypocrites.
This desire to do good in Paul's heart was a change in his heart when he put his faith in Jesus.
He had a change of heart.
However, still being human, he could not do what he wished to do for God.
This is why we still need Jesus even though we now belong to Him through faith.
Paul, presently under grace through faith in Jesus, having the desire to do good is different from a person under grace through faith in Jesus who loves living in sin. This kind of person does not desire to do good in God's eyes.
There was an evangelical who kept asking his church pastor to pray that he overcome his sin. The pastor finally told him - “ Your problem is you love your sin. “
When a born again christian chooses to live in the flesh his heart's desire is to sin, not to do good in God's eyes.
This is a fact of life, even life under grace.
“ but the evil which I would not, that I do. “
The Greek word “ kakon “ translated “ evil “ means the same as the translated word “ bad “ in 2 Corinthians 5:10;
“ For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad. “
And yes, Paul said about the born again christian's judgment when we stand before the judgment seat of Christ;
“ good or bad. “
The difference in Paul and a born again christian living in sin is that the evil Paul did is not what he wanted to do.
“ Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. “
If you remember in my earlier study we learned that Paul said this in verse 17;
“ Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. “ Romans 7:17
Obviously, if Paul commits sin without wanting to sin, God does not blame him for it since Paul is under grace.
This is one of many benefits of living under grace as opposed to living under the Law.
If we are struggling with a sin we need to ask ourselves - “ Do I love my sin or do I hate it? “
Our answer – that is, if we are honest with ourselves, will make the difference in the way God looks at us.
However, just like the man Jesus asked if he believed He could help his child told Jesus honestly he had trouble believing;
“ And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief. “ Mark 9:24
Just as Jesus went ahead and still helped his child, if we honestly admit to Jesus we love our sin but want to get to where we hate it He will help us to overcome it.
If we have a repentant heart God will help us to overcome.
The idea is to get like Paul where we do not lust, desire and love to commit sin.
The difference between Paul and a born again christian who is living in sin is that Paul was committed to God.
Always remember that the evil we as born again christians will be judged for at the judgment seat of Christ is not about whether we will stay in Heaven or not.
We, even as we stand there before Jesus, are still saved by grace through faith – that is, we made it to Heaven not by our works but by God's grace.
This judgment has to do with rewards and status or lack thereof...not about salvation.
And yes, Paul made it quite clear there will be born again christians who will not get rewards because their works were consumed in the fire but because of grace, will still be in Heaven.
The Great White Throne Judgment has to do with salvation. Unfortunately, this is the terrible judgment that most of the human race will end up at.
I will continue with verse 21 in the next study.
“ For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. “
Remember, Paul is telling us that even though he does commit sin that he does not want to commit, because of the motive in his heart being pure and not lustful, God does not hold Paul accountable for his sin.
Somehow, the responsibility and cause of Paul committing the sin he does not want to commit is placed on sin itself...not Paul.
However, we must remember that this obviously only applies when the heart is pure and unwilling to commit sin...not when we lust and love to commit sin and live in sin willfully.
“ For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: “
Paul makes a detailed statement to what part of him he is referring to;
“ (that is, in my flesh,) “
“ And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.
And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart.
And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them. “ Genesis 6:5-7
“ And the LORD smelled a sweet savour; and the LORD said in his heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for man's sake; for the imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth; neither will I again smite any more every thing living, as I have done.
While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease. “ Genesis 8:21-22
For those of us who are saved by grace through our faith in Jesus Christ, it is our spirit that is cleansed, not our flesh.
“ for to will is present with me; “
This statement confirms that Paul's heart and motive was pure. He does not want to offend God by committing sin nor does he look for things to get turned on by and fulfill his fleshly lusts for sin.
“ but how to perform that which is good I find not. “
The Greek word “ kalon “ translated “ good “ Paul used to express how good of works he wanted to emphasize means not just good but virtuous, valuable.
Paul knew that he had to rely on the righteousness of Jesus Christ his Savior to get him into Heaven.
He knew he could not live up to God's standards nor could he earn his entrance into Heaven by his own works.
When Jesus said;
“ For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceedthe righteousnessof the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.“ Matthew 5:20
He was referring to His own righteousness that we obtain when we put our faith in Jesus.
“ But if the ministration of death, written and engraven in stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not stedfastly behold the face of Moses for the glory of his countenance; which glory was to be done away:
How shall not the ministration of the spirit be rather glorious?
For if the ministration of condemnation be glory, much more doth the ministration of righteousness exceed in glory.
For even that which was made glorious had no glory in this respect, by reason of the glory that excelleth.
For if that which is done away was glorious, much more that which remaineth is glorious. “ 2 Corinthians 3:7-11
Even though Paul said he could not find a way to do valuable goodness and goodness that is virtuous unto God, he did teach us to abstain from the presence and all manner of evil and do not live according to the flesh.
“ Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart. “ 2 Timothy 2:22
John said if our heart and motive is pure we can have confidence that what we ask of God we will receive from Him;
“ And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him.
For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things.
Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God.
And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight. “ 1 John 3:19-22
Always remember, no matter how good we try to live and yes, this is a good thing to strive for, in the end the only thing that will get us into Heaven is the righteousness of Jesus Christ in which He wonderfully lived while He was here on earth in human flesh...in which we inherit when we put our faith in Jesus.
I will continue with verse 19 in the next study.
“ Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. “
“ Now then it is no more I that do it, “
The Greek word “ katergazomai “ translated “ that do “ means to work fully, perform, cause, fashion, to finish, accomplish, work.
Paul is clearly telling us that the sin he commits is not him committing the sin.
It is interesting the way Paul worded this.
Since now that he is a born again christian by his faith in Jesus;
“ Now then it is no more I... “
and yes, he said in the present tense;
“ Now then “
it seems that Paul is telling us in the previous verses of our study that since he commits sin that he does not want to commit, this attitude in his heart of now not wanting to commit sin as the result of him now having a repentant heart and placing his faith in Jesus unto salvation, God makes allowance for Paul's sin, because of his repentant heart and faith in Jesus.
We will find that Paul confirms this attitude in his heart of committing sin he does not want to commit later in verse 20 of this chapter;
“ Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. “ Romans 7:20
“ but sin that dwelleth in me. “
The Greek word “ enoikousa “ translated “ that dwelleth “ means to occupy a house, reside, inhabit, remain, inhere, to cohabit, dwell.
The same Paul that said;
“ Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?
If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are. “ 1 Corinthians 3:16-17
“ To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory: “ Colossians 1:27
said in the verse of our study that sin also dwells in him even as a born again believer in Jesus;
“ but sin that dwelleth in me. “
John confirmed this about born again christian believers in Jesus by saying;
“ If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. “ 1 John 1:8-10
The point in this verse is that Paul is telling us that if we as born again christian believers in Jesus commit sin that we wish not to commit, it means we are still living with a repentant heart and will ask God to forgive us and God will cleanse us with the blood of Jesus and forgive us.
John said if we are walking in Christ, meaning that we do not live wanting to fulfill the lusts of our flesh, Jesus' blood will cleanse us from our sin we commit that we do not desire to commit.
“ But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. “ 1 John 1:7
I will continue with verse 18 in the next study.
“ If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good. “
“ If then I do that which I would not, ”
To understand these verses we must acknowledge that Paul is telling us the sin he commits is not what he wishes or desires to do. This is the difference between a born again christian who willfully loves to live in sin and one who desires not to sin against God.
To think Paul was referring to his past before he was saved is not accurate.
Paul did not say any of the things we have studied in this chapter in the past tense.
Besides, an unsaved person cares nothing about doing what is right in God's eyes.
They might love selected favorite people who are close to them and who they like enough not to do wrong to them but as far as caring about what God thinks or His feelings, an unsaved person would not care.
If there is any apparent so called ritual of repentance with an unsaved person it is not because they care about what God thinks or feels but rather it is an attempt to keep their soul out of hell after they physically die.
If you remember in our earlier study in Romans we learned that Paul said God gave human beings a conscience to know right from wrong and the ability to know God;
“ Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. “ Romans 1:19
Along with this knowledge of God and His moral values is the knowledge of an eternal hell.
Even though most human beings will verbally deny the existence of an eternal hell, they still have the conscience God gave them that reminds them hell exists.
For a person who is saved by placing his or her faith in Jesus Christ, the fear of eternal hell is removed as the person who believes in Jesus has peace with God and knows that even though they do like Paul in the verse of our study said;
“ If then I do that which I would not, ”
will not end up in eternal hell after physical death because the person who believes in Jesus will end up in Heaven after physical death simply because he or she believes in Jesus.
If you are afraid to die, put your faith in Jesus.
Jesus removes all fear of death.
“ I consent unto the law that it is good. “
The Greek reads this way - “ sumthemi to nomo hoti kalos “... “ I agree with the law that good. “ The words “ it “ and “ is “ were added in the translation since it is obvious what Paul is saying refers to the law.
Keep in mind that Paul never said anything bad about the law.
If you remember in our earlier study Paul said the law is holy, just and good;
“ Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good. “ Romans 7:12
Paul also said the law is spiritual;
“ For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin. “ Romans 7:14
Paul said the law leads people to Jesus;
“ Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.
But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster. “ Galatians 3:24-25
Jesus never said anything bad about the law;
“ The law and the prophetswereuntil John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it.And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than one tittle of the law to fail.“ Luke 16:16-17
“ Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.
For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.
Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teachthem,the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.“ Matthew 5:17-19
There can be no doubt that Paul might possibly be telling us again, that the law is good.
However, Paul might also be telling us that since the law taught him about sin and made him aware just how bad sin is, even though he cannot help but commit sin still being human, his desire not to commit sin is a good thing.
I will continue with verse 17 in the next study.
“ For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. “
My Mom recently died and I'm going through a sad time.
We need to pay attention to everything Paul said.
“ For that which I do I allow not: “
The Greek word “ katergazomai “ translated “ I do “ means to work, accomplish, perform, cause.
The Greek word “ ginosko “ translated “ I allow “ means to know, understand, allow, perceive, be aware of, be sure, feel, be resolved.
Notice that Paul added the negative adverb Greek word “ ou “ translated “ not “ to his statement meaning- no, not.
According to the Holy Bible, there are 2 kinds of ignorance.
As Peter called it, willful ignorance.
Then there is ignorance due to lack of education and knowledge.
Paul was not willfully ignorant when he committed sin.
Since the Greek word “ ginoski “ is generally understood to mean to know, it is also used in a variety of implications since it can also mean to feel – that is, be consciously aware of.
Since Paul never seared his conscience, as he prophesied some of us will before Jesus returns;
“ Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;
Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; “ 1 Timothy 4:1-2
he is stating a fact about his personal behavior as not being acted out in willful ignorance nor uneducated ignorance but rather acted out without his approval or as King James translates it, “ allow “.
In other words, Paul is saying what he does he does not willfully allow or approve of.
Keep in mind as we study each phrase in this chapter that contrary to liberal churches today Paul was not willfully living in sin nor was he condoning living in sin whether it is the result of willful ignorance or uneducated ignorance.
There was a time God turned His eyes from our ignorance but today no longer does.
Paul clearly said;
“ And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent:
Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead. “ Acts 17:31-32
Contrary to evangelicalism today, Paul acknowledged his sin and repented.
Repentance and to have a repentant heart is not “ legalism “ as is generally taught today and though might not be verbally expressed is willfully practiced in everyday life.
If we think we have done nothing wrong or presently doing nothing wrong, then we will never repent simply because we have fooled ourselves into thinking we have done nothing wrong enough to repent of.
This philosophy is a popular myth today and unfortunately people live accordingly.
However, Paul prophesied this to happen before Jesus returns.
So, we should not be surprised.
It can be looked at as a sign Jesus is returning much sooner than we expect.
“ for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. “
Paul confirmed his statement here in Galatians;
“ This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.
For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.
But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law. “ Galatians 5:16-18
It is interesting that Paul used 2 different Greek words that are both translated into English as “ do “.
Check this out!
The Greek word “ prasso “ translated “ do “ in the phrase “ for what I would, that do I not;” means to practice, perform repeatedly, habitually.
In other words, what Paul wants to do to please the Lord he wishes he could do willfully and practice it as a lifestyle.
The Greek word “ poio “ also translated “ do “ in the phrase “ but what I hate, that do I. “
means to do, commit. However, not as “ prasso “ in the sense of repeatedly willfully living in sin.
In other words, in Paul's sinful behavior he does not allow or approve of, he does not do it as a willful habitual lifestyle.
My friend, Paul is telling us that he is still human like us, subject to committing sin and even wrestles with the lust of his flesh even though he is a believer in Jesus Christ.
We will learn as we go through this chapter our need for Jesus and the righteous life He lived here on earth to make up for our failures.
The point in what Paul is saying is that he does sin but does not approve of it, condone it, nor does he justify living in sin...as we do in today's modern evangelical society.
If we still have a working conscience, we will like David in the Old Testament, live with a repentant heart.
We can have all the faith in the world in Jesus but if we live our lives without a repentant heart, according to James, our faith is dead.
This is why James clearly said;
“ For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also. “ James 2:26
But even though we repent, we still need Jesus to save us from our sins.
We can never earn our entrance to Heaven as many people think.
I tell people should God ask you why He should let you into Heaven, tell Him it is because of His Son Jesus standing there next to Him.
I will continue with verse 16 in the next study.