One recurring soap opera theme involves twins with drastically different personalities. Often, the “good twin” (the main character) didn’t even know they had a twin at all because they were separated at birth due to some drastic circumstance. Sometimes, their mother doesn’t know either because she was told one twin died or didn’t know she had been pregnant with twins.
This family secret continues for years until….the character begins to behave differently. Some may notice and begin to wonder what is happening. Rarely do they consider a twin showing up in town. The viewers begin to realize this long before the actors “catch on” because we watched the “evil twin” get rid of their sibling in order to take over their life, wreaking havoc along the way. Eventually, everyone finds out about the imposter. Then, the search in on to find where the beloved character has been hidden and locked up (usually at a distant cabin or underground bunker).
Soap operas remind me my life is pretty good. I don’t have an evil twin trying to take over my life…or do I (cue the dramatic music).
Romans 7 makes it very clear that we have two natures at war. But these are spiritual not physical.
“So the trouble is not with the law, for it is spiritual and good. The trouble is with me, for I am all too human, a slave to sin. I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate. But if I know that what I am doing is wrong, this shows that I agree that the law is good. So I am not the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it. And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. I want to do what is right, but I can’t. I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway. But if I do what I don’t want to do, I am not really the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it. I have discovered this principle of life—that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. 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. Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death?” (Romans 7:14–24, NLT, emphasis mine)
Often called the “do-do” section because it details the struggle as a tongue twister for those reading it aloud. I do what I don’t want to do and I don’t do what I want to do. It’s a real struggle between my sin nature and spiritual nature.
Thankfully, Paul provides the answer to his question “Who will rescue me…?”.
“Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord. So you see how it is: In my mind I really want to obey God’s law, but because of my sinful nature I am a slave to sin. So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death. The law of Moses was unable to save us because of the weakness of our sinful nature. So God did what the law could not do. He sent his own Son in a body like the bodies we sinners have. And in that body God declared an end to sin’s control over us by giving his Son as a sacrifice for our sins. He did this so that the just requirement of the law would be fully satisfied for us, who no longer follow our sinful nature but instead follow the Spirit.” (Romans 7:25–8:4, NLT)
Soap opera storylines will continue to reinvent the evil twin narrative for their characters. It’s a never-ending battle for them…and for us.
I echo Paul in thanking God for responding to this drama in our life. Christ ended the hold sin (our evil twin) has over us and through the Holy Spirit, our spiritual nature (good twin) is free to follow God’s laws and do what is right.