The Best of Intentions

Colin Yuckman

Read: Romans 7:15-25

For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. (v. 18)

Like most young parents, I imagined my kids as “innocent” and “pure,” untainted by a sinful world. They could do no wrong in my eyes. They were free from what Paul calls the “law of sin that dwells in my members” (v. 23). But one day, while driving with my two daughters, the sun shone into the backseat. Wanting to protect her baby sister from the sunlight, my two-year-old daughter attempted to cover her baby sister’s face with a hat, only to scratch the cornea of her sister’s eye—an awful outcome, despite her best intentions. In a world God created, how can even good intentions result in harm?

In his letter to the Romans, Paul answers this question: sin. He often writes of sin not as a single action but as a power at work in the world. Sin is the reality of unbalanced equations, where good intentions do not guarantee good outcomes: “I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out” (v. 18 NIV). Even with the best of intentions we are insufficient and need help. Fortunately, Paul also names our deliverance: “Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (v. 25). In God there is no separation between good intentions and action. In Jesus Christ, God insures that nothing in all creation can separate us from God. —Colin Yuckman

As you pray, ask God to help you desire to do what is right and, by his grace, to carry it out.