“LAW BRINGS WRATH.”
At Paul’s conclusion of the description of a man who is a slave to sin, on His own, devoid of Christ or Spirit, behaving badly under the law, [in conflict and under wrath][under the curse of the law] He finds that there were two laws in operation throughout the explanation of what happens to a man under law. [apart from the main subject of the law itself]
V25. 1. I myself [by myself, of myself] find I am serving the LAW of God with my mind,
2. but on the other hand, I myself [by myself, of myself] am serving the LAW of sin with my flesh.
Chapter 7 has just finished describing how “with his mind” He is powerless to do any good, that though he has a will towards “serving” the law of God, that his will is overpowered by the stronger “will” of the flesh.
This is the impasse’ that is now resolved in R8 because the sacrifice of Jesus for sin ‘in the flesh’, has now removed it. The flesh has been relegated to death, so it has no power or authority now, other than that which we ourselves may continue to give it. But even then, it still has no power or authority IN ITSELF to condemn us, since God is done with condemnation, his message is the very opposite, FREEDOM from condemnation.
So we have (by death) been set free from the law of sin and of death*. R8 v 2.
“Law” 2. then is negated by this. Flesh, having been apportioned death, is disempowered. [we died with Him].
“Law” 1. is now free to be carried out, not as under law, but because of and through the very thing which liberated us from law sin and death, the SPIRIT. The mind is liberated.
Problems occur when people read v25 as meaning that this is the final conclusion to what had been written in the forgoing material of chapter 7, and that it means that the ongoing position of a believer, is now that it doesn’t matter that my flesh serves sin, because my mind is serving God!!?? The reality is that v25 is just setting us up for chapter 8 v1.
THE BIGGER PROBLEM MAY BE THAT THEY SEE THIS DUAL LAW POSITION AS BEING THE [‘NATURAL’] ONGOING CONFLICT OF THE BELIEVER. Rather than seeing the conflict then resolved in 8-1. (And that it is the resolution to this conflict which is the answer to everything).
Paul found that the mind of one under law was in captivity to the law of the flesh within him, because being under the condemnation of the law, this gave the flesh power over us. That although the mind WANTED to serve God’s laws, principles, and it may have even initiated the motions of outworking some good, that in the process of this the flesh had a huge say in it and disrupted, perverted and corrupted the final outcome. His wishing to do good amounted to pure wishful thinking.
The “I” is myself, my identity, my consciousness of who I am, but there are two possibilities, either law 1 or law 2 when I am under ‘the’ law. Romans 7 is describing how both these laws apply to the person under law, and this is what gives rise to inner conflict of the kind which R7 describes. This inner conflict is what Jesus came to fix, and by His actions on the cross, it is truly FIXED.
So the “fixed” person (the believer) no longer has this inner conflict IF HE TRULY BELIEVES. Because this is the power of God towards us. Knowing (believing) this inner conflict to have been overcome FOR US empowers us to reach out in the Spirit towards Him and His righteousness, because he has given us the status of righteousness, as proved in Jesus’ body on the cross, and His subsequent and consequent resurrection. FOR US.
Where previously the man had NO “will” power, being a SLAVE to sin, He now being liberated can fix (set) his will and the mind of that will, firmly in God’s direction. He has “crossed over” from death to life.
R7 has NO SPIRIT. (especially if you consider that ch.7 should not have started until verse 7) and is all about “I” myself (on my own, of myself) and my flesh and the law.
R6 should not have ended until what presently is CH, 7 verse 6.
Romans 7 is completely the picture of a man under the law and the power of sin over him because of it. It is NOT the picture of a believer, even though it is Paul telling the story. Paul is relating the state of every man, particularly in this case Paul himself, in his experience of being under law, or “the law”. So Paul certainly can say “but I”, (wretched man) because he is relating the carnal state of every man of human nature, even though particularly in this case of human nature, (flesh) is being magnified (increased) and exemplified under law.
There is no victory here, only defeat. No life, only death. [no peace] Pure conflict.
This chapter is an after piece to what he said in chapters 5 6 7 where He told the Christian story. Now he goes back to explain just what the problem with being under law was/is, and what the ramifications of it are. Because he is relating this from his own experience, even though he is a Christian at the time of writing (obviously), he is not talking as a Christian, because the whole subject is and always has been in this chapter, LAW. And do I have to say it, Christians are not under law, THIS IS WHAT MAKES THEM CHRISTIANS. To be describing the effects of law on a man and then try to call that man a Christian is ridiculous.
Confusion again arises because of his use of the present tense when he describes how flesh (HIS flesh) is the same as anybody else’s flesh, so that (particularly) when provoked by law, it produces “the works of the flesh”. When Paul or any man is subjected to law, nothing good will come of it, because as it says “In me THAT IS, IN MY FLESH (HUMAN NATURE) DWELLS NO GOOD THING”.
But you see, the subject, the context, is always about LAW. It has nothing to do with being a Christian, being born again, being a believer or any such thing. It is talking about the Jewish law and the ins and outs of how and why it had power over us. It is the perfect description of one who is a slave to sin, who has no will power in the face of fleshly power given it through law. Verse 25 sums up his conclusion, that indeed we want to follow the law, but the flesh empowered by the law overrides our wishing to actually produce what is right. But all this is plainly and clearly laid out in the chapter itself.
For someone to point to Romans chapter 7 and say that this is a picture, a portrayal of a Christian and the Christian experience is just nuts.
[Law loses its power to incite to sin, just as verse 11 says – “..for sin, taking opportunity through the commandment, deceived me, and through it killed me.” Verse 8 says “..apart from the law sin is dead”. and “He (Jesus) has ABOLISHED the law.”]
*[By accepting His death for ours, we are admitting to the necessity for our death also][The rational mind seeks to serve God, the irrational flesh seeks to serve sin]
[“You have fallen from grace, you who seek to be justified by law”][Man cannot be justified by law]