I just had a bit of a Eureka moment reading Susan's Pendulum reflecting on Romans 8:23-24 :
23 And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? (ESV).As Susan points out, we will never escape from sin in this life; that's the whole point of this passage. We wait eagerly for that day, we hope for it, because we have not seen it. The Christian life is a daily struggle against the sinful nature, and it is a struggle we daily lose. The frustration that comes of this daily Fall, however, should not lead to despair (and this is what so struck me), for the blessed life free of the burdens of sin is precisely that which we eagerly await, for which we hope but cannot see. Too many voices in our lives tell us that we can achieve this blessedness on Earth, if only we were good enough, faithful enough, self-controlled enough. But there's no chicken-and-egg issue here, these virtues are fruits, not prerequisites. We will never earn them for ourselves, nor can we by willfully practicing them avoid facing the consequences of sin in our lives. Instead, we groan inwardly, we wait eagerly. In short, we hope.