During the Days of Unleavened Bread, there are lessons to learn.  We cannot get leavening (sin) out by ourselves, only Christ's sacrifice can make us white as snow and "perfect" in God's eyes. 

Yet, God still expects us to search for our leaven and try to get the sin (leaven) out of our lives.  As a converted person, it can be frustrating.  We try to do what is right, but we are so imperfect.  The human mind is a saboteur.   It pops up thoughts that are rude, unkind, unwanted and sometimes, downright awful.  (You thought you were the only one...) 

Our own minds makes us feel like we are out of control of our own thinking process.  Because, we didn't ask for that unwanted thought, but there it is.  Paul could relate to this.  See if you haven't felt this way?  Paul felt wretched sometimes, because he wanted to do right, but he couldn't seem to carry it out...

Rom 7:14-25
"We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do, I do not do, but what I hate, I do.  And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good.  As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me.  I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature.

For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.  For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do-this I keep on doing.  Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.

So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me.   For in my inner being I delight in God's law; but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members.  What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?  Thanks be to God-through Jesus Christ our Lord!"

As I say, we are not the only ones who have been through this.  That should be a comfort.  Even Christ was tempted like as we are, yet without sin.  He had unwanted thoughts too.... 

Why doesn't God just take away all those sinful thoughts?  Because, spiritual muscles are built through resistance.  We get stronger every time we resist sin.  Some of us should look like Arnold Schwarzenegger by now...  Excuse my sense of humor.  But really, there is a good purpose that comes from fighting our human nature.  It makes us stronger.  But, if you fail once in a while, don't condemn yourself. 

 1 John 3:20-24
"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 (faith) 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. And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment. And he that keeps his commandments dwells in him, and He in him. And hereby we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us.


Romans 8:1-4
"Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,
because through Christ Jesus, the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in sinful man,  in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit."

We will have sinful thoughts, but we cannot waste time by paying attention to them nor can we live by them.  Just let them pass on through your mind and don't waste time dwelling on them, because, they don't have any real power over you.  God's spirit in us supersedes the the law of sin and death.  God's Spirit wins in a contest against sin and death, every time.  That is a relief!



Sermon given by James E. Throgmorton



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