Are You Stuck Between a Rock and a Hard Place?


How many times have you committed the same sin over and over, even after repenting? Me too.


Don't you feel you're stuck between a rock and a hard place just like the Apostle Paul. You know what you should do or should not do, and yet, you still do it. Stuck between "the law" and "sin" as Paul said.


Another way of looking at this issue is how Albert Einstein put it. He said doing the same thing over and over again with the same result is the definition of stupidity.


The phrase, "between a rock and a hard place," suggests someone is faced with two equally problematic choices or circumstances. A similar phrase, "damned if you do and damned if you don't," also suggests a no-win situation.


A No-Win for the Apostle Paul?

Listen to one of the most famous descriptions of a no-win situation, the Apostle Paul's frustration in the Letter to the Romans, as he laments being a "slave to God's law" in his mind, but also a "slave to the law of sin" in his sinful nature.


"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. For I know that good itself does not dwell 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 I do not do the good I want to do, but 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: Although 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 me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me.


What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death?" (Romans 7:14-24)


Jesus Christ to the Rescue

Do you hear Paul's cry. How many times have you and I raised our voices in the same way?


So how do you and I escape from between the rock and the hard place. The simple answer is you don't. As fallen creatures, we can't. That's life.


Praise God, there is hope. There is a way out of the tight spot we are in, a way that "surpasses all understanding." Sure, you and I can't escape the fact we will sin, and even repeat the same sin over and over. But God did something our human minds can't easily fathom.


He already knows what we will do and he still died for our sins. And what is most "mind-boggling" and "soul stirring," is he is always there to forgive us, no matter what we do and no matter how often we do it.


As Paul writes, "Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!" (Romans 7:25)


In God's Words

The salvation of the righteous comes from the Lord; he is their stronghold in time of trouble. (Psalm 37:39)


The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom. To him be glory for ever and ever. Amen. (2 Timothy 4:18)


If this is so, then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials and to hold the unrighteous for punishment on the day of judgment. (2 Peter 2:9)


In the Words of Others

"God Does Not Stop at Rescuing us; the purpose of that rescue is to enjoy fellowship with us." Aiden Wilson Tozer


"Through the person and work of Jesus Christ, God fully accomplishes salvation for us, rescuing us from judgement for sin into fellowship with him, and then restores the creation in which we can enjoy our new life together with him forever." Timothy Keller


In Your Words

Recall a sin of action or omission you keep committing over and over again. Did you ever express frustration with yourself as Paul did? Did you feel hopelessness as Paul felt? How do you feel about that now?


How do you feel about the fact God knows everything you've done and will do? What implications does this have for the way you live your daily life?


Meditate on Romans 7:14-25. Consider how it applies to your daily life or the lives of those in your family, especially in terms of the way Paul moves from seeming hopelessness to hope in what Jesus Christ did for him.