I was born and brought up in India. In India, you can take a free left while driving a car very similar to how in the US the drivers can take a free right. In India, we drive on the right-hand side and we stick to the left side of the road. It would be the exact opposite in the US and other countries. As is the custom in Indian roads I took a free left one day. But a police officer stopped the car and told me I just breached the law. He also gave me proof. There was a small signboard kept in the road's corner. But no one can see it as it is behind a bunch of obstacles on a busy and congested road. I tried to explain to the officer the signboard was not visible. But the law won, and I lost. I had to pay the fine. The laws of the land are important. It keeps us in check and makes sure everyone is disciplined. Without the laws, we would not know what we are doing is right or wrong.
How should we follow the Laws of God?
For example, some Christians believe going to church on Sundays, paying the portion of the salary as an offering, taking part in communion, and taking baptism at a young age will give direct access to heaven. If we believe that the following set of procedures will take us to heaven. If we do that then we live by the letter and not my spirit of the law. In that case, is the Christian guidance wrong? The answer depends on why we are following it. If we follow the guidance to fulfill the church rules, instead of realizing the spiritual value, then the approach is not much different from what Pharisees did with the law during the times of Jesus.
Following the Jewish law was much easier for Jews during the times of Jesus. They created short cuts to avoid the laws. They followed the law to the letter and not in spirit. Jesus chose some of the choicest words while condemning the Pharisees. Paul condemns the principle of obeying the commandments of God by letter.
Now we can serve God, not in the old way of obeying the letter of the law, but in the new way of living in the Spirit. v6
Commandments of God showed us what is wrong and at what what we deviate from God’s standards. As mentioned in Roman’s 1st chapter, those who are not aware of God’s laws are judged by human consciousness, and those who know God’s law are judged by the same laws they are aware of. We all were born as sinners. Sin was always within us from the day we were born. The laws of God made sin explicit through the commandments and make us fully aware of God's expectations.
In fact, it was the law that showed me my sin. I would never have known that coveting is wrong if the law had not said, “You must not covet.”
Sin took advantage of those commands and deceived me; it used the commands to kill me. v7,11 NLT
Laws provide a set of do’s and don’t. It does not give us victory over the sin. Laws show us how much we deviate from God's standard. But it can not give us freedom from the sins. We are eager to do right but end up doing wrong. Our sinful nature wrestles within us to do what is wrong. Our desire to sin overcomes human self-control, and makes us slaves to sin.
I love God’s law with all my heart. But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me. v23 NLT
How do we overcome sin?
The simple answer is we cannot have victory over sin by merely following the commandments. Knowledge, self-discipline, and good intentions & deeds are essential for our daily life. We would not be able to get remedy for our sins even if we get many lives to correct ourselves. Our sinful nature continues with in us all through our life. Then answer lies in Jesus Christ.
The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord. v25 NLT
Dear friend, through studying various scripture we can grow our knowledge and even gain various degrees. We can follow all the procedures of our religious laws. We can even practice various self-controlling techniques to calm our minds and try to overcome the sinful nature within us. But none of our techniques can free us from the hold of a sinful nature that lives within us. Jesus died on the cross to not only forgive our past and but also to win the victory over the sins of this world. By only accepting Jesus as our master, obeying Him and listening to His voice every moment of our life is the only way to overcome the clutches of sin.
Shall we pray to Jesus and ask Him to fill us with His power and enable us to overcome our past habits?
Dear Jesus, I come to once again. I understood today that no amount of self-discipline can help me come out of my nature of sin. No amount of diligence and knowledge-based living can help me overcome sinful habits. I will end up breaking all your commandments. Please help and enable me to overcome. Give me the heart to hate evil and love good. Lead me and guide me. Be my master. In Jesus’s name, I pray. Amen.