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Paul is not a naive believer who sees the victory over sin won once and for all. To the contrary, using military imagery he views the Christian life as being locked in deadly combat with the forces of evil. Yet even though he is facing serious challenges, it is significant that Paul hasn't surrendered to evil. The lesson is clear: the devil never gives up, and neither should Christians.
Regarding Paul's words, "Wretched man that I am!" many students of Romans claim that Christians should never say such a thing. After all, they point out, the Christian life is one of joy, peace, and victory. Really? Have you never fallen? Have you never disappointed yourself, God, and others by an unloving action or a hasty word? "Thanks be to God" is the exuberant cry of those believers who know they have been delivered by Christ from their wretchedness!
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