Romans 7:14 - 25
NLT - 14 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. 15 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.
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Romans 7:14-25 is a passage that has caused some confusion among Bible students because of the strong language Paul uses to describe himself. How can the greatest of the apostles characterize himse...
To fully understand the verse mentioned one has to read from Romans 7:12-25. In this entire passage Paul deals with the struggle of the two nature of man----Sin Nature and the Spiritual or the Flesh and the Spirit. Paul first explains that the Law is an expression of God's righteousness which is good; sin on the other hand produces death. The law shows us that we are helplessly under the control of sin and points us to Christ, the ONLY ONE who can help us. The law is consistent with the character of God and has the characteristics of the Spirit. Paul then goes on to explain the struggle between the Spirit and the flesh ----a problem that all Believers experience in their battle with being dominated by sin and sinful pursuits. The Holy Spirit influences the Believer's life to obedience to good works; on the other hand sin takes on an active force and if not for the indwelling Holy Spirit man's sin nature (the flesh) would dominate one's life. Like Paul, a Believer can be in a condition of defeat and frustration with sin----the inherited sin nature received from Adam, which is in constant struggle and continually being inclined toward thoughts and deeds that yields only to death.
Romans 7:14-25 is Paul describing himself as a new creation in Christ Jesus (2 Cor 5:17), albeit still wrestling at times, like all believers, with sinful desires in the flesh. In this passage, Paul speaks of the two desires that all believers must deal with: 1) sinful desires that are linked to when we were “slaves to sin and lawlessness“ (previously described in Rom 6:20), and 2) righteous desires that are linked to the new spiritual nature, which is a “slave to God” (previously described in Rom 6:22). I don't believe Paul could have written this chapter and described the personal insights into the spiritual nature (Rom 8:16) if he did not in fact know the spiritual nature personally. Romans 7 is the description of a genuine, Spirit-filled believer. The old man with its old nature has indeed been crucified with Christ (Rom 6:6), but we still have yet to put on sinless perfection (Rom 7:24; 1 Cor 15:54). Undeniably, believers have no reason to let sin reign in our mortal bodies (Rom 6:6, 12, 13). We must likewise remind ourselves that Rom 6:14 states emphatically that, even though we still occasionally sin, true believers are no longer under the condemnation that the Law reserves for unrepentant sinners who are not in Christ. In fact, Rom 7:14-25, the verses in question, come after Paul’s explanation in Rom 7:1-6 about being released from the aspect of the Law (Torah) that rightly condemns unrepentant sinners (read Rom 7:4 and corroborate it with Rom 6:14, 15, where Paul says we are not under the condemnation of the Law. In Gal 2:19 where Paul also describes dying to the condemning part of the Law meant for hard-hearted sinners. A fundamental context of Rom 6 and Rom 7 makes it clear that we have died to sin (Rom 6:7) and are now free from the part of the Law that condemns unrepentant sinners (Rom 6:14, 15). We are not free to deliberately sin or to continue wantonly sinning (Rom 6:1, Rom 6:15), because sin is a violation of the Law (1 Jn 3:4 uses Greek ἀνομία “anomia”=lawlessness). The points Paul makes in Rom 7:14-25 about wrestling with sinful desires as a believer, are bolstered by the facts he previously stated in Rom 7:1-6, which teach that, like all true believers in Jesus, even though Paul still sins from time to time, he is no longer a slave to the sin nature that bears fruit for death (Rom 7:5). Sin is not the normal character of a believer’s life; it is the unfortunate exception. Conclusions: Romans 7 describes a true believer. Genuine believers will still occasionally sin (Rom 7:17, 19), but the old sin nature no longer dominates our actions since we have a new nature that enables us to walk according to the Spirit (Rom 7:22, 8:4, 11), and this new nature is dead to the condemning feature of the Law that is reserved for unrepentant sinners (Rom 6:14, 15, 7:4, 6, 8:1, 2 and Gal 2:19). Paul wants believers to understand that sin and the Law have an important relationship according to Romans 7. Sin seizing the opportunity through the commandment (Rom 7:8) is a deceitful killer (Rom 7:11), but by comparison, the Law is holy, righteous, and good (Rom 7:12), as well as spiritual (Rom 7:14). In fact, the Law showed Paul what true sin was (Rom 7:7-9). The Law did not kill Paul, it was sin that killed him (Rom 7:13). Nevertheless, the Law was “weakened by the flesh” (Rom 8:3) and that is why Christ had to condemn sin in the flesh. In the end, Romans 7 is best understood when studied against the total context of Romans 6, a chapter about being dead to sin and alive to God (Rom 6:11), and Romans 8, a chapter about life in the Spirit (Rom 8:9).
Paul is saying that, when he tries to follow the law, he actually sins more. He's trying to make the overall point that trying to live a Christian life by keeping God's laws is the wrong approach. He's trying to get the church out of a performance mentality, and into a mentality of receiving the righteousness they've been freely given (instead of trying to earn it). Remember, Paul states several times that the law itself is good, but that sin uses the law as an opportunity to flourish. For example, in Romans 7:5, Paul references "the sinful passions, which were aroused by the Law." Paul states this several different ways. He mentions making an internal agreement that he wants to follow God's laws, but that in doing so, he actually finds himself sinning: Romans 7:22-23 ~ "For I joyfully concur with the law of God in the inner man, but I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my understanding and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members." He's saying he can understand God's law in his mind, but when he tries to follow those laws, he cannot understand the reality of what's happening in his actions. He says it a different way a few verses later: Romans 7:25 ~ So then, on the one hand I myself with my mind am serving the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh the law of sin. Contrast Romans Chapter 7 with Romans Chapter 8. As Andrew Wommack, a pastor from Colorado, points out: "Paul only used the term "spirit" once in Romans 7 (Romans 7:6), a chapter that described the hopelessness of people to ever keep the righteousness of the Law in their own strength. In contrast, the word "spirit" (or "Spirit") is used twenty-one times in Romans 8, a chapter that gives the answer to the hopelessness of Romans 7." I hope this encourages you to stop trying to focus on getting better at keeping God's laws, but to instead life a life out of the Spirit: Romans 8:3-4 ~ "For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit." Godspeed.
Romans 7:25 [I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord] This is the answer to Rom. 7:24. Jesus Christ is the only deliverer from sin (Mt. 1:21; Rom. 1:16; 10:9-10; 1Jn. 1:9). [So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin] This is a misplaced conclusion which has caused many false doctrines to be taught. It should follow Rom. 7:23 as the conclusion of the whole argument. It is not only the logical conclusion, but it starts out with the Greek: ara (GSN-) oun (GSN-), therefore. It means, "to conclude, the sum of what I have said," etc. Many have used these words to prove Paul himself was not saved from sin. This would contradict all the arguments of Romans up to this point and what follows. He proves both before and after this that there is complete victory over the law of sin (Rom. 1:16-18; 2:8-11; 3:5-8,24-31; 4:1-24; 5:1-11; 6:1-23; 8:1-13). [now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus] This proves that the experience of Rom. 7:7-24 was not Paul's at the time of the writing of Romans, for several reasons: 1. Paul had no condemnation (Rom. 8:1). 2. Paul was free from the law of sin (Rom. 8:2). 3. Paul was free from eternal death (Rom. 8:2). 4. Paul's sin condemned in his flesh (Rom. 8:3). 5. Paul was fulfilled righteousness (Rom. 8:4). 6. Paul had life and peace (Rom. 8:6). 7. Paul was Spirit-filled (Rom. 8:9-11). 8. Paul's body was dead to sin (Rom. 8:10). 9. Paul's flesh was crucified (Rom. 8:12-13). 10. Paul was walking in the Spirit and not after the flesh (Rom. 8:1-4; Gal. 5:16-26). [in Christ Jesus] Romans 8:9 (KJV) 9 But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his [But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you] You Christians are not minding the things of the flesh, but of the Spirit, if the Spirit dwells in you. If you do not have the Spirit you do not belong to Christ. If Christ is in you (2Cor. 5:17-18), the body is dead to all sin, and the Spirit dominates your life as you live to all righteousness (Rom. 8:10). If this is true, you can expect quickening for your mortal bodies by the Spirit that dwells in you (Rom. 8:11). Verse 11 a [quicken] Greek: zoopoieo (GSN-). Make alive (1Cor. 15:22); give life (2Cor. 3:6; Gal. 3:21); and quicken (Jn. 5:21; 6:63; Rom. 4:17; 8:11; 1Cor. 15:36,45; 1Tim. 6:13; 1Pet. 3:18). Verse 12 [Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh] So then, we owe the flesh nothing. It has no more control of our lives. We must not live in the sins of the flesh or we shall die. But if we will put to death the practices of the flesh by the Spirit, we shall live (Rom. 8:12-13; Gal. 5:16-26; Col. 3:5-10). There Is so Much More
This scripture is discussing the war between the born again spirit of a man or woman and the flesh, or the carnal nature of us all. Of course our personal upbringing or parenting has a very powerful effect on our moral and ethical code. But when we are born again and receive a hunger and a zeal to know God's desired ways for mankind to live, we eventually see in the mirror our true reflection is very flawed. So as we journey through this world, fellowshipping with Christians, going to bible studies, listening to sermons, studying the scriptures and attending church functions, change is inevitable. But a war has begun between the rule of the Holy Spirit that indwells us through true salvation and our old carnal nature, also known as the flesh. Lust is probably the easiest old nature example of the flesh, whereas our new substitute for lust would be love. Love wants what is best or equitable for all, whereas lust wants what's best for me, me and me. The new nature that fights with the old is love, joy, peace, goodness, kindness, meekness, gentleness, faithfulness, patience and self-control. Our old nature that we may see within us is lust, hate, prejudice, envy, jealousy, selfishness, rudeness, meanness, gossip, slander, filthy talking, coarse talking, sexiness, flattery and cowardess to speak God's truth, no matter the consequence. These, to name a few, must and can be brought under control by repentance, prayer, fasting, and the help of the Holy Spirit. The battle to change must be conquered in the mind first before it is conquered in our mouth and body. Remember, all things are possible with God's help. Selah! Shalom! Maranatha!
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