PLUS Resource: 6 Prayers for When You Are Fighting Anxiety

Romans 7

SUMMARY.--Death Releases from the Power of the Law. This Illustrated by Marriage. But We are Dead to the Law. It Slew Christ and We Have Died with Him. We are also Dead to Sin. While the Law Reveals Sin It is Holy. The Struggle of the Carnal Nature Under the Law. The Deliverance Through Jesus Christ.

      13. Was that then which is good made death to me? He has just shown that the law, even though it occasions sin, is just and good. He also showed that through it sin slew him. Is the law death? Nay, far from it. It is sin, not the law, that is the source of death. Sin is so exceedingly sinful, that it seizes upon the law, that which is holy, and just, and good, to work death. It stirs up the carnal nature to rebel against the law, to break it, and hence, to pass under the condemnation of death. Thus the commandment shows forth sin as exceeding sinful.

      14-23. For we know that the law is spiritual. The apostle continues still further to show that, not the law, but sin is the source of death. The law is "spiritual," that is, is divine and adapted to our spiritual nature. While there were "carnal ordinances," its essential principles were spiritual. I am carnal. Paul describes his condition while under the law. It was spiritual; but he was carnal, and hence, there was a conflict. Sold under sin. Hence, in a state of slavery. Though Paul uses the present tense, in order to make the description more vivid, he describes his condition before he became a Christian. 16. If then I do. Rather, "But if I do." If he sins, against his purpose and inclination, he condemns his sin, and thus acknowledges the law, which he disobeyed, to be just and good. 17. Now then it is no more I. Not Paul as a freeman who sins, but Paul as the bond-servant of sin (see verse 15 ), and hence it is sin who reigns over him, who sins in him, as the instrument. He describes the sinful state as one of bondage. How often a man does what he "would not!" 18. For I know that in me, that is, in my flesh. In his unregenerated human nature. In this dwells no good thing. The tendency of the carnal nature of man is evil. Its conflict with the will and conscience is now described. To will is present with me. Who has not had the same experience? How often we resolve to do better, and break out resolves as soon as temptation comes! 19. The good that I would I do not. This verse proves the statement of the last one Romans 7:18 Romans 7:19 . It is the strongest expression of sinfulness yet made. What could better demonstrate the bondage to sin? Yet how true to human experience! 20. But if what I would not, etc. This experience sustains verse 17 , and shows that sin had predominated over human nature and rules it. Sin controls, rather than good intentions. A man wills one thing and does another. 21. I find then a law. It is then the law of our unregenerate state that, even if we would do good, and purpose to be better, evil will be present, and will be practiced. 22. For I delight in the law of God. The inner man, the better nature, our spiritual being, approves of and delights in the law of God. This is the part of our being that "wills to do good," spoken of in verse 21 , but is overcome by evil. 23. But I see another law in my members. One law of our being is the approval of righteousness; another is the inclination of the flesh to do evil. This law wars against the law of the mind, the conscience and will, and brings it into captivity. It prevails. Hence, unregenerate man is a captive. There is a struggle in the nature of man; of the "inward man," with the flesh, with the result of captivity of the soul.

      24, 25. O wretched man that I am! Wretched because he has no power in himself of deliverance. Who shall deliver me from this body of death? He is a captive, a captive to the body, the members of which are controlled by sin. Hence, he is a helpless slave of sin, and as such is under the condemnation of death. The body, the seat of the fleshly desires, has become "a body of death," since it is controlled by sin. Who shall deliver him from its power? In verse 14 to 24 Paul has described the bondage of the will to the flesh which is the condition of the natural man, and closes with the cry for deliverance. 25. I thank God, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Through him the deliverance comes. So then with the mind I myself. I myself, that is, by myself and without Christ. In that state of mind delights in the law of God ( verse 22 ), but the flesh is devoted to the service of sin. Hence the struggle, the captivity, the bondage, the cry for deliverance. Hence the failure of the law to deliver, and the need of Christ.

      One of the best comments on the whole passage is Gal. 5:16-18 : "Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh; for the desire of the flesh fights against the Spirit, and the desire of the Spirit against the flesh, for these are contrary the one to the other; that ye may not do the things that ye would. But if ye are led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law."

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