PAUL’S UNDERSTANDING OF “FLESH” [1463a]

Paul said that he put no confidence in the “flesh”, which gives us a view of some meaning of what “flesh” means.

Philippians 3-3 “…for we are the true circumcision, who worship in the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh, although I myself might have confidence even in the flesh. If anyone else has a mind to put confidence in the flesh, I far more: circumcised the eighth day, of the nation of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the law; a Pharisee; as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to the righteousness which is in the Law; found blameless.”

So he appears to be saying that all that can possibly be achieved in terms of human righteousness is going to be meaningless when compared to the righteousness which comes by faith.

3-7. “But whatever things were GAIN to me, those things I have counted as LOSS (worse than useless) for the sake of Christ…”

Our endeavours in our natural state are not good enough, and the failings of our natural state are also not good enough. There is required a massive change in our whole being, our identity and our outlook and mindset on life. The problems that emerge from the “flesh” are to do with living in the natural self, from our earthly body in our earthly existence. The “mind” of the “flesh” has been built up over time, based on earthly desires and ambitions. We are to totally renew our minds [the mind* in R7 included] in the manner of the Spirit, which calls for total dedication to Him who died for us.

3-9 “Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the OLD SELF with its evil practices, [‘flesh’ and its works] and have put on the NEW SELF who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him…”.

*[The mind in Romans 7 is still the natural mind under law]

 

PAUL’S UNDERSTANDING OF “FLESH” [1463]

Paul said that he put no confidence in the “flesh”, which gives us a view of some meaning of what “flesh” means.

Philippians 3-3 “…for we are the true circumcision, who worship in the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh, although I myself might have confidence even in the flesh. If anyone else has a mind to put confidence in the flesh, I far more: circumcised the eighth day, of the nation of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the law; a Pharisee; as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to the righteousness which is in the Law; found blameless.”

So he appears to be saying that all that can possibly be achieved in terms of human righteousness is going to be meaningless when compared to the righteousness which comes by faith.

3-7. “But whatever things were GAIN to me, those things I have counted as LOSS (worse than useless) for the sake of Christ…”

Our endeavours in our natural state are not good enough, and the failings of our natural state are also not good enough. There is required a massive change in our whole being, our identity and our outlook and mindset on life. The problems that emerge from the “flesh” are to do with living in the natural self, from our earthly body in our earthly existence. The “mind” of the “flesh” has been built up over time, based on earthly desires and ambitions. We are to totally renew our minds [the mind* in R7 included] in the manner of the Spirit, which calls for total dedication to Him who died for us.

3-9 “Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the OLD SELF with its evil practices, [‘flesh’ and its works] and have put on the NEW SELF who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him…”.

*[The mind in Romans 7 is still the natural mind under law]

 

WHO IS I [1460a]

In recent posts, the subject of identity seems to be a factor. Without mentioning the dreaded chapter number again, it appears that the use of Paul’s “I” may be very important.

“Sin in ME”. “Who will free ME”. “The good “I” would do. Then there is “MY MIND” and “MY FLESH. “Evil is present in ME”.

So being described are “parts” of whoever “Paul” is, and Paul ‘himself’ “I MYSELF” which is his identity.

“It is not “I”, but SIN.

Then we have “THAT IS, in my flesh”. And overall, it is called “the BODY of death”.

So the evil that is “in his MEMBERS” (of his body), which is part of his ‘flesh’, as is also “his mind”; is due to him malfunctioning from birth and manhood in a manner as depicts separation from God, the Adamic downfall.

So Paul is considered to be “I” and “ME”, which is his identity, and the rest of it is his “flesh” natural human nature, flesh and blood, and the characteristics thereof. Even his MIND is not considered a part of him, [of his identity] BECAUSE he says “I WITH my mind”. [And I with my flesh].

A key consideration is that ‘he’ can WILL with “his mind”, but his mind is sabotaged by other elements of his ‘flesh’ so that his will, what he WILLS or PURPOSES to do, is useless against it.

So the upshot of it all is that he as an entity finds himself to be deficient in the area of morality, of spiritual integrity, but only as he has defined, “In my flesh” or human component. [under law]

THEREFORE the dreaded quantity of “I”‘s mentioned all shows that he is operating out of his natural state, out of his “flesh”. And what we can see of it tells us that there are two states of being, one is that of being “IN” the ‘flesh’ and the other that of being “IN” the Spirit, that “I” can either be placed in the flesh or in the Spirit. [you are not in the flesh if the Spirit is in you]. Plainly Paul here is in the flesh.

And the “I” indicates that it is him alone and nobody else involved.

So the “I” is our identity, the question remains, where is it? Just where have “I” placed “ME” in the scheme of things?

Now we understand that in baptism into Christ, “I” DIED. The “I” that is me, is my identity (or his) has DIED WITH CHRIST. So me, I, am DEAD ‘in the natural’, I and me and my body “of death” all DIED with Jesus. Then we ROSE with Him, and are now to be found IN HIM.

Scripture says that “I live, yet NOT “I”, BUT CHRIST LIVES IN ME. So we have moved into the “I-dentity” of Christ. Hence we are either in Christ, in the SPIRIT, or “IN” the FLESH. [or He is in me, or NOT]

It follows that all those “I’s” that Paul was owning, was the “I” that was supposed to have died with Jesus, so He was in the flesh and not in the Spirit. [so what is described, is the “works of the flesh”.]

[For if you are living according to the flesh you must die, but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live][Spirit cannot live in “flesh” (human nature), though it (He) may live in your body][the two ‘laws’ that apply are that of his mind and that of his flesh, but the ‘law’ of his mind loses out to the ‘law’ of his flesh][until 8-2]

WHO IS I [1460]

In recent posts, the subject of identity seems to be a factor. Without mentioning the dreaded chapter number again, it appears that the use of Paul’s “I” may be very important.

“Sin in ME”. “Who will free ME”. “The good “I” would do. Then there is “MY MIND” and “MY FLESH. “Evil is present in ME”.

So being described are “parts” of whoever “Paul” is, and Paul ‘himself’ “I MYSELF” which is his identity.

“It is not “I”, but SIN.

Then we have “THAT IS, in my flesh”. And overall, it is called “the BODY of death”.

So the evil that is “in his MEMBERS” (of his body), which is part of his ‘flesh’, as is also “his mind”; is due to him malfunctioning from birth and manhood in a manner as depicts separation from God, the Adamic downfall.

So Paul is considered to be “I” and “ME”, which is his identity, and the rest of it is his “flesh” natural human nature, flesh and blood, and the characteristics thereof. Even his MIND is not considered a part of him, [of his identity] BECAUSE he says “I WITH my mind”. [And I with my flesh].

A key consideration is that ‘he’ can WILL with “his mind”, but his mind is sabotaged by other elements of his ‘flesh’ so that his will, what he WILLS or PURPOSES to do, is useless against it.

So the upshot of it all is that he as an entity finds himself to be deficient in the area of morality, of spiritual integrity, but only as he has defined, “In my flesh” or human component. [under law]

THEREFORE the dreaded quantity of “I”‘s mentioned all shows that he is operating out of his natural state, out of his “flesh”. And what we can see of it tells us that there are two states of being, one is that of being “IN” the ‘flesh’ and the other that of being “IN” the Spirit, that “I” can either be placed in the flesh or in the Spirit. [you are not in the flesh if the Spirit is in you]. Plainly Paul here is in the flesh.

And the “I” indicates that it is him alone and nobody else involved.

So the “I” is our identity, the question remains, where is it? Just where have “I” placed “ME” in the scheme of things?

Now we understand that in baptism into Christ, “I” DIED. The “I” that is me, is my identity (or his) has DIED WITH CHRIST. So me, I, am DEAD ‘in the natural’, I and me and my body “of death” all DIED with Jesus. Then we ROSE with Him, and are now to be found IN HIM.

Scripture says that “I live, yet NOT “I”, BUT CHRIST LIVES IN ME. So we have moved into the “I-dentity” of Christ. Hence we are either in Christ, in the SPIRIT, or “IN” the FLESH. [or He is in me, or NOT]

It follows that all those “I’s” that Paul was owning, was the “I” that was supposed to have died with Jesus, so He was in the flesh and not in the Spirit. [so what is described, is the “works of the flesh”.]

[For if you are living according to the flesh you must die, but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live][Spirit cannot live in “flesh” (human nature), though it (He) may live in your body][the two ‘laws’ that apply are that of his mind and that of his flesh, but the ‘law’ of his mind loses out to the ‘law’ of his flesh][until 8-2]

THE UGLY TRUTH OF PAUL’S WORDS [1459a]

And the amazing meaning of them.  “The good that I would do, I cannot do”. WHY? Because the good that “I” would do, is not good enough – it is contaminated by flesh, by the operation of my natural, sinful, “Body of this death”.

Our ‘good’ will is not in a position for it to be made permanent, and attempts to implement it will be futile. Only God’s will is sufficient for this task. It is HIS will that is to be done, not our own. This requires rebirth.

Jesus left His Spirit world to join our flesh world. Paul had to leave his “in the Spirit” to join our “in the flesh” world. Paul had to leave his new life in order to explain his old life.

So when Paul said everything that he did say in Romans 7, he meant it. The old life is the problem, and it is the old life that we call “flesh” (that which we live “in” the flesh).

So when Paul spoke about his old life”, his “flesh”, life in the natural body of flesh and blood, he meant it.

“NOTHING GOOD dwells in my flesh” is the shortened version of “Nothing good dwells in me, THAT IS, in my flesh. So Paul makes sure that we are aware that it is only his “flesh” he is speaking of, because he is indeed a believer, a Christian, an Apostle. And boy does his flesh take a beating UNDER LAW.

So Paul who is actually “in the Spirit”, has reverted to his old life consciousness, to release his knowledge of it. He was like Jesus was, in the body of flesh, but separated from it.

This will be the last of the Romans seven exploratory articles. The conclusion is that Paul is DEFINITELY NOT SPEAKING OF HIS CHRISTIAN EXPERIENCE, HE IS SPEAKING ABOUT BEING AS ONE IN THE FLESH, UNDER LAW. Explanations for this conclusion can be found elsewhere in recent posts on this blog.

The active subject matter is law acting on flesh.

[Just like Jesus, God’s will is revealed to us through the Spirit].[Paul is explaining in detail, the sin nature from which we need saving][why the old covenant was no good].[A lot of the problem is through incorrectly defining “flesh”][See Paul “I put no confidence in the flesh”]

 

THE UGLY TRUTH OF PAUL’S WORDS [1459]

And the amazing meaning of them.  “The good that I would do, I cannot do”. WHY? Because the good that “I” would do, is not good enough – it is contaminated by flesh, by the operation of my natural, sinful, “Body of this death”.

Our ‘good’ will is not in a position for it to be made permanent, and attempts to implement it will be futile. Only God’s will is sufficient for this task. It is HIS will that is to be done, not our own. This requires rebirth.

Jesus left His Spirit world to join our flesh world. Paul had to leave his “in the Spirit” to join our “in the flesh” world. Paul had to leave his new life in order to explain his old life.

So when Paul said everything that he did say in Romans 7, he meant it. The old life is the problem, and it is the old life that we call “flesh” (that which we live “in” the flesh).

So when Paul spoke about his old life”, his “flesh”, life in the natural body of flesh and blood, he meant it.

“NOTHING GOOD dwells in my flesh” is the shortened version of “Nothing good dwells in me, THAT IS, in my flesh. So Paul makes sure that we are aware that it is only his “flesh” he is speaking of, because he is indeed a believer, a Christian, an Apostle. And boy does his flesh take a beating UNDER LAW.

So Paul who is actually “in the Spirit”, has reverted to his old life consciousness, to release his knowledge of it. He was like Jesus was, in the body of flesh, but separated from it.

This will be the last of the Romans seven exploratory articles. The conclusion is that Paul is DEFINITELY NOT SPEAKING OF HIS CHRISTIAN EXPERIENCE, HE IS SPEAKING ABOUT BEING AS ONE IN THE FLESH, UNDER LAW. Explanations for this conclusion can be found elsewhere in recent posts on this blog.

The active subject matter is law acting on flesh.

[Just like Jesus, God’s will is revealed to us through the Spirit].[Paul is explaining in detail, the sin nature from which we need saving][why the old covenant was no good].[A lot of the problem is through incorrectly defining “flesh”][See Paul “I put no confidence in the flesh”]

 

ADDRESSING THE MAIN PROBLEMS OF ROMANS 7 [1447a]

Verse 18. No good in my flesh. Verse 19. I practise evil. Verse 21. It is a principle that evil is present in me.

So now for a casual look at what appears to be the main problems in this debate.

Firstly, it has to be stated that verses 5 and 6 clearly state the boundaries of the matter, 5. “For while we were in the flesh, the sinful passions, which were aroused by the law, were at work in the members of our body to bear fruit for death.” So this clearly appears to say that the problem is that we were “IN THE FLESH”, and it was WHILE we were there, that sin in the form of SINFUL PASSIONS were AROUSED BY THE LAW.

That appears clear cut, that “being in the flesh” was the condition from which Jesus saved us. [removed us] And in a discussion about law, which this appears to be, one has to conclude that ‘this’ person was your typical “under law” person, who was not a believer, not a Christian, and not saved. In other words, at the time, probably a Jew in many cases. (Paul was a Jew).

Now verse 6 says “BUT NOW, we have been released from the law, having died to that by which we were bound, (presumably talking about dying with Jesus) so that we serve in newness of the Spirit and not in oldness of the letter”. (Paul uses the “us”/”we” at this time, not “I”).

So all the elements are there which speak about release from the law, which releases us from the problem situation of sin induced in us because of sinful passions aroused by the law.

And this HAS to be taken as the point of salvation, as the new birth. Clearly, operating in the law was the whole issue here, which caused us to be confined to being IN THE FLESH. And henceforth operating from out of “the flesh”. And clearly, this is what was being described in chapter 5 and 6, they had experienced this transition from verse 5 to verse 6.

So it would appear that the matter is resolved – released from the law, believers are now freely operating in the Spirit, not in the flesh. Fruit of the Spirit is there, instead of works of the flesh.

Now, as someone has said, why would a believer then go messing around in or with the law? We know as per the Galatians, that to re-enter into law is death all over again.

No one that I know of, has answered this question of why a believer, a Christian, released from slavery to sin under the law, would then again enter into any arrangement whatsoever, with the law? As Spock would say, it is illogical.

And yet that is what one side is saying, that Paul is now submitting himself again to the captivity of sin, which was the whole problem in the first place. “Law brings wrath”. Where there is law, there is the empowerment of sin.

Surely NO ONE is going to deny that the whole context of 7 is LAW? That Paul is not submitting himself to the demands and conditions imposed by LAW? And yet they propose that Paul again enters into the very same potential manifestation of sin that he had before chapter 6, and which is clearly stated in 7-5.

If we look at verses 5 and 6, we will see that Paul is now apparently conforming again to that which is stated in verse 5. We will observe that NOTHING of verse 6 is implemented, mentioned, or involved; there is no Spirit, no success, certainly no joy, and no apparent Christian contribution at all to righteousness. To say this Paul is the Paul transformed from being initially on the Damascus road persecuting Christians, to the Paul who met Jesus and then largely went on to instigate the Christian church in the power of the Spirit, is surely “drawing a long bow”.

It hardly seems worthwhile going any further – As I said before, no one has successfully explained why Paul would be in the power of the Spirit one minute, and in the power of the flesh the next. More to the point, being IN THE FLESH, a complete denial of Jesus and the faith itself. AND ALL COMING ABOUT BY REFERENCING THE LAW. THE WHOLE POINT OF EVERYTHING WAS TO LEAVE THE LAW IN FAVOUR OF THE SPIRIT.

A lot of the initial problem was because people could not let go of the law. All sorts of people for one reason or the other. Differing theology, being connected to sects or semi-Judaistic groups, modern day Pharisees of many different persuasions, clinging to some set of particular laws or other, seemingly little different from the Pharisees of old. 630 commandments or whatever, brought back to whatever quantity their particular group may find advisable in order to  shore up their belief system. We have enough trouble with 10.

So while we wait for an answer as to why Paul would be playing around with the law again, proving that it can’t be kept, especially without Jesus the Spirit on hand, people keep talking about particular points of failure in R7 that are obviously going to be there because we are talking about law, about the origin of failure and the situation from which we are extracted by the grace of God. Not the situation we continue to remain in because of that grace, NO, the situation from which we are extracted, die to, leave in favour of the Spirit and His power to overcome the things talked about in terms of Paul’s FAILURE? Under LAW?

Oh well, verse 18. Paul finds no good in himself. But not just himself as himself, it is himself as his flesh that is spoken of. Just as he spoke of himself in terms of his mind, here he talks of himself in terms of his flesh. This is because he is in accordance with 7-5, he is, to all appearances, IN the flesh. In verse 14 he said that he was OF flesh (like everybody is) and the things he describes are those which arise from being (his identity) IN flesh. (although they never at the time arose from HIS flesh, his reference in this regard was to his past).

So there is no good in his flesh. This is no surprise, this is what has been said time and time again, that the natural birth leads to death, is in fact already in death, we need to be “born again”. This is nothing new, under law or without law all flesh is dead, so it is little wonder he speaks AS a dead person (The law killed me).

Verse 19. I practise evil. Well again, the whole question is moot until the original question of just why Paul would reference law in any way at all is answered. (There is only one reason, which is to inform us how law flesh sin death works, which necessitated him taking the position of one under law, (because he is referencing flesh) in order to show what happens).

So evil comes out of the flesh, out of natural born nature, which is why Jesus came along to CHANGE this situation, that people stop living this way, that they “go and sin no more” as Jesus said.

Verse 21. It is a principle that evil is present in me. This principle is mentioned  verse 17, sin indwells him, IN HIS FLESH. Verse 20 it is sin that does it, not himself of his rational mind, he is a slave to it. Verse 23, he is a prisoner of it. 24 WHO will free him? (as if he didn’t know). And so the same picture is presented again, but this time, unlike chapter 5 and chapter 6, he goes into all the detail concerning this failure of man under law so as to make it quite clear just how that works.

This principle is stated in the conclusion of verse 25. That in the natural man, especially one familiar with the properties of law, there is both the admission of the recognition of righteousness and the desire to perform it, and the recognition of the failure to perform it because of greater overriding desires of the natural self.

The overall situation is the detailed explanation of why reform is necessary.

Perhaps the two views are that one group are looking to the change of environment from flesh to Spirit in which freedom of condemnation is given for the pursuit of that righteousness; and the other is expressing that it is necessary to provide freedom from condemnation in order to supply that environment of freedom.

Of course, both are sort of true, because it is freedom from condemnation that releases us into whatever form of righteous spiritual expression we visualise and attempt to make our goal. But there still remains the suspicion that freedom in failure will not encourage success as much as freedom in victory.

Although the argument seems to centre more around providing latitude for people to sin, based on the reality that they do sin. I prefer to accept that the victory is complete so I can pursue it in that fashion, rather than have “the flesh” hanging over me as some yet to be vanquished “boogy man” or “Damocles sword”.

We would surely have to accept that 7-6 was inferring that this person was now no longer “in the flesh”. R8 verse 9 says that you are NOT in the flesh if the Spirit is in you. The conditions of R7 clearly match those of the unbeliever in 7-5, as one “in the flesh” and therefore not as one “in the Spirit”. And of course, as being under law.

V14. “I am of flesh, sold into bondage to sin”. This is of course, a distinct ‘giveaway’ because it combines the three elements of “flesh” and “bondage” and “sin” together. ANY of these three elements taken individually would be enough to prove that this person was a representation of someone in bondage to sin by the power of law over the flesh, because, being OF flesh, they were by nature, IN the flesh.

Still looking for an admission that the context of R7 is LAW, and an answer as to what Paul is doing there.

[This is not Paul the apostle speaking of weaknesses because of his flesh, but of weaknesses because of the law, which experience he is reliving.][we do not see Spirit until R8 which then becomes the solution to R7, the problem][which is fundamentally hypothetical][Paul uses “I” where before he used “us” because he was speaking of his personal (past) sin and the lessons which that taught him]

[The question now arises, could Paul be speaking of his ‘natural’ experience BEFORE and APART FROM law?][Is he, in verses 14 and 22, comparing his natural life before the Mosaic law yet still under ‘natural’ law in the flesh?][law ‘killed him’ yes, but we were dead before Mosaic law, we all have a conscience by whatever means. “When the Gentiles, who have not the law, do by nature what the law contains..”][Is he using verses 14 and 22 as a “touch stone” between his natural flesh self and “the” law?][Is he explaining that sin was always there and the law just brought it out? Interesting…][but he still is not a believer].

ADDRESSING THE MAIN PROBLEMS OF ROMANS 7 [1447]

Verse 18. No good in my flesh. Verse 19. I practise evil. Verse 21. It is a principle that evil is present in me.

So now for a casual look at what appears to be the main problems in this debate.

Firstly, it has to be stated that verses 5 and 6 clearly state the boundaries of the matter, 5. “For while we were in the flesh, the sinful passions, which were aroused by the law, were at work in the members of our body to bear fruit for death.” So this clearly appears to say that the problem is that we were “IN THE FLESH”, and it was WHILE we were there, that sin in the form of SINFUL PASSIONS were AROUSED BY THE LAW.

That appears clear cut, that “being in the flesh” was the condition from which Jesus saved us. [removed us] And in a discussion about law, which this appears to be, one has to conclude that ‘this’ person was your typical “under law” person, who was not a believer, not a Christian, and not saved. In other words, at the time, probably a Jew in many cases. (Paul was a Jew).

Now verse 6 says “BUT NOW, we have been released from the law, having died to that by which we were bound, (presumably talking about dying with Jesus) so that we serve in newness of the Spirit and not in oldness of the letter”. (Paul uses the “us”/”we” at this time, not “I”).

So all the elements are there which speak about release from the law, which releases us from the problem situation of sin induced in us because of sinful passions aroused by the law.

And this HAS to be taken as the point of salvation, as the new birth. Clearly, operating in the law was the whole issue here, which caused us to be confined to being IN THE FLESH. And henceforth operating from out of “the flesh”. And clearly, this is what was being described in chapter 5 and 6, they had experienced this transition from verse 5 to verse 6.

So it would appear that the matter is resolved – released from the law, believers are now freely operating in the Spirit, not in the flesh. Fruit of the Spirit is there, instead of works of the flesh.

Now, as someone has said, why would a believer then go messing around in or with the law? We know as per the Galatians, that to re-enter into law is death all over again.

No one that I know of, has answered this question of why a believer, a Christian, released from slavery to sin under the law, would then again enter into any arrangement whatsoever, with the law? As Spock would say, it is illogical.

And yet that is what one side is saying, that Paul is now submitting himself again to the captivity of sin, which was the whole problem in the first place. “Law brings wrath”. Where there is law, there is the empowerment of sin.

Surely NO ONE is going to deny that the whole context of 7 is LAW? That Paul is not submitting himself to the demands and conditions imposed by LAW? And yet they propose that Paul again enters into the very same potential manifestation of sin that he had before chapter 6, and which is clearly stated in 7-5.

If we look at verses 5 and 6, we will see that Paul is now apparently conforming again to that which is stated in verse 5. We will observe that NOTHING of verse 6 is implemented, mentioned, or involved; there is no Spirit, no success, certainly no joy, and no apparent Christian contribution at all to righteousness. To say this Paul is the Paul transformed from being initially on the Damascus road persecuting Christians, to the Paul who met Jesus and then largely went on to instigate the Christian church in the power of the Spirit, is surely “drawing a long bow”.

It hardly seems worthwhile going any further – As I said before, no one has successfully explained why Paul would be in the power of the Spirit one minute, and in the power of the flesh the next. More to the point, being IN THE FLESH, a complete denial of Jesus and the faith itself. AND ALL COMING ABOUT BY REFERENCING THE LAW. THE WHOLE POINT OF EVERYTHING WAS TO LEAVE THE LAW IN FAVOUR OF THE SPIRIT.

A lot of the initial problem was because people could not let go of the law. All sorts of people for one reason or the other. Differing theology, being connected to sects or semi-Judaistic groups, modern day Pharisees of many different persuasions, clinging to some set of particular laws or other, seemingly little different from the Pharisees of old. 630 commandments or whatever, brought back to whatever quantity their particular group may find advisable in order to  shore up their belief system. We have enough trouble with 10.

So while we wait for an answer as to why Paul would be playing around with the law again, proving that it can’t be kept, especially without Jesus the Spirit on hand, people keep talking about particular points of failure in R7 that are obviously going to be there because we are talking about law, about the origin of failure and the situation from which we are extracted by the grace of God. Not the situation we continue to remain in because of that grace, NO, the situation from which we are extracted, die to, leave in favour of the Spirit and His power to overcome the things talked about in terms of Paul’s FAILURE? Under LAW?

Oh well, verse 18. Paul finds no good in himself. But not just himself as himself, it is himself as his flesh that is spoken of. Just as he spoke of himself in terms of his mind, here he talks of himself in terms of his flesh. This is because he is in accordance with 7-5, he is, to all appearances, IN the flesh. In verse 14 he said that he was OF flesh (like everybody is) and the things he describes are those which arise from being (his identity) IN flesh. (although they never at the time arose from HIS flesh, his reference in this regard was to his past).

So there is no good in his flesh. This is no surprise, this is what has been said time and time again, that the natural birth leads to death, is in fact already in death, we need to be “born again”. This is nothing new, under law or without law all flesh is dead, so it is little wonder he speaks AS a dead person (The law killed me).

Verse 19. I practise evil. Well again, the whole question is moot until the original question of just why Paul would reference law in any way at all is answered. (There is only one reason, which is to inform us how law flesh sin death works, which necessitated him taking the position of one under law, (because he is referencing flesh) in order to show what happens).

So evil comes out of the flesh, out of natural born nature, which is why Jesus came along to CHANGE this situation, that people stop living this way, that they “go and sin no more” as Jesus said.

Verse 21. It is a principle that evil is present in me. This principle is mentioned  verse 17, sin indwells him, IN HIS FLESH. Verse 20 it is sin that does it, not himself of his rational mind, he is a slave to it. Verse 23, he is a prisoner of it. 24 WHO will free him? (as if he didn’t know). And so the same picture is presented again, but this time, unlike chapter 5 and chapter 6, he goes into all the detail concerning this failure of man under law so as to make it quite clear just how that works.

This principle is stated in the conclusion of verse 25. That in the natural man, especially one familiar with the properties of law, there is both the admission of the recognition of righteousness and the desire to perform it, and the recognition of the failure to perform it because of greater overriding desires of the natural self.

The overall situation is the detailed explanation of why reform is necessary.

Perhaps the two views are that one group are looking to the change of environment from flesh to Spirit in which freedom of condemnation is given for the pursuit of that righteousness; and the other is expressing that it is necessary to provide freedom from condemnation in order to supply that environment of freedom.

Of course, both are sort of true, because it is freedom from condemnation that releases us into whatever form of righteous spiritual expression we visualise and attempt to make our goal. But there still remains the suspicion that freedom in failure will not encourage success as much as freedom in victory.

Although the argument seems to centre more around providing latitude for people to sin, based on the reality that they do sin. I prefer to accept that the victory is complete so I can pursue it in that fashion, rather than have “the flesh” hanging over me as some yet to be vanquished “boogy man” or “Damocles sword”.

We would surely have to accept that 7-6 was inferring that this person was now no longer “in the flesh”. R8 verse 9 says that you are NOT in the flesh if the Spirit is in you. The conditions of R7 clearly match those of the unbeliever in 7-5, as one “in the flesh” and therefore not as one “in the Spirit”. And of course, as being under law.

V14. “I am of flesh, sold into bondage to sin”. This is of course, a distinct ‘giveaway’ because it combines the three elements of “flesh” and “bondage” and “sin” together. ANY of these three elements taken individually would be enough to prove that this person was a representation of someone in bondage to sin by the power of law over the flesh, because, being OF flesh, they were by nature, IN the flesh.

Still looking for an admission that the context of R7 is LAW, and an answer as to what Paul is doing there.

[This is not Paul the apostle speaking of weaknesses because of his flesh, but of weaknesses because of the law, which experience he is reliving.][we do not see Spirit until R8 which then becomes the solution to R7, the problem][which is fundamentally hypothetical][Paul uses “I” where before he used “us” because he was speaking of his personal (past) sin and the lessons which that taught him]

[The question now arises, could Paul be speaking of his ‘natural’ experience BEFORE and APART FROM law?][Is he, in verses 14 and 22, comparing his natural life before the Mosaic law yet still under ‘natural’ law in the flesh?][law ‘killed him’ yes, but we were dead before Mosaic law, we all have a conscience by whatever means. “When the Gentiles, who have not the law, do by nature what the law contains..”][Is he using verses 14 and 22 as a “touch stone” between his natural flesh self and “the” law?][Is he explaining that sin was always there and the law just brought it out? Interesting…][but he still is not a believer].

MISUNDERSTANDING ROMANS 7 [1445b]

The situation of Paul in Romans 7 is largely misunderstood. It has nothing to do with Paul being without sin, of him either sinning or not sinning, because he is not doing any of that. But it would have to be admitted that Paul had “sin in the flesh” like everybody, even Jesus. (If Jesus didn’t have it, He could not have dealt with it).

This “sin in the flesh” in the human frame, creates sin. It is this that Jesus came to address and by destroying it (in His own body) became that Spirit of life and liberation from all that was not righteous. He did it so we might benefit from acquiring that same Spirit (Himself) and be empowered to apply it (to have it applied) to our own “sin in the flesh” situation, that we might become participant in His victory also.

To do that we have to “deny ourselves” in preference for “Himself”. Paul was addressing and exampling what happens when “sin in the flesh” is provoked by law. But he never admitted to actually sinning in this passage. He admitted to the indwelling of “sin in the flesh” [but even so, it was still in the environment of law]. But he never admitted to allowing it to actually produce sin at the time, he did no sin, he only incorporated in his explanation the reality of past sin. He told what happens under law, how it provokes “sinful flesh” into sinning, but in the passage in question, he never allowed the fruit of sin to occur.

So his past sin is mentioned, his “sin in the flesh” is mentioned [which he kept powerless] and his potential to sin, based on the inner propensity to sin, is mentioned, as summed up in his conclusion of the ‘two  laws’ within him. Those two laws, one of which as being the representation of the inner sin potential and the power of sin, are reduced to one law in Romans 8:1 and 2. What Christ achieved resulted in one of those laws being put out of action, and yes, it needs the application of faith by which we acquire Jesus and what He has achieved. And this is how salvation “works”.

“Flesh”, being that which is human nature, incorporates both bodily desires as well as the broader aspects of humanity, of simply being human, of being ‘of Adam’s race’. Paul said “I put no confidence in the flesh”. Jesus has firmly trodden on the serpent’s head, and we are to follow in His footsteps in the strength of faith that He did so.

R7 is the complete picture of that over which His victory took place, over the complete failure of humanity, so that the victory of heaven might be applied. We are risen with Him to be where He is, and He is presently in us, He is also where we are. The death of His body is also the reality of our death, and our ‘faith’ is to simply agree with what He has said and done and to begin again from there.

There is no victory in R7, other than the reality of Paul being a redeemed man, speaking as one unredeemed, for the purpose of our understanding. “That is, in my flesh”. From past experience he draws on ‘This is the good I (have been past proven not to have done) cannot do’, and ‘this is the evil that I do’, also past proven. If I am placed under law, then flesh will be provoked into evil. But he states the position as true, just as he concludes with the same ‘two law’ position of being, but never the result being sin actually occurring.

And don’t forget, Paul isn’t anywhere actually doing anything, these are just thought processes going through his head for only as long as it takes to write them down. But if he was doing this on the sabbath, someone might say he was sinning LOL.

So the two big errors in R7 are that 1. Paul is confessing to sinning, and that 2. He is doing this as a believer. Both are wrong. And further don’t forget that this is Paul’s dead flesh under law expressing itself here, when, supposedly already dead to law, it should have been left far behind as per R7:6.  It should be obvious that he is referring to law when if he really were a believer, he shouldn’t be. (Referring to law, that is).

http://www.eternalsecurity.us/romans_chapter_seven_paton.htm

MISUNDERSTANDING ROMANS 7 [1445a]

The situation of Paul in Romans 7 is largely misunderstood. It has nothing to do with Paul being without sin, of him either sinning or not sinning, because he is not doing any of that. But it would have to be admitted that Paul had “sin in the flesh” like everybody, even Jesus. (If Jesus didn’t have it, He could not have dealt with it).

This “sin in the flesh” in the human frame, creates sin. It is this that Jesus came to address and by destroying it (in His own body) became that Spirit of life and liberation from all that was not righteous. He did it so we might benefit from acquiring that same Spirit (Himself) and be empowered to apply it (to have it applied) to our own “sin in the flesh” situation, that we might become participant in His victory also.

To do that we have to “deny ourselves” in preference for “Himself”. Paul was addressing and exampling what happens when “sin in the flesh” is provoked by law. But he never admitted to actually sinning in this passage. He admitted to the indwelling of “sin in the flesh” [but even so, it was still in the environment of law]. But he never admitted to allowing it to actually produce sin at the time, he did no sin, he only incorporated in his explanation the reality of past sin. He told what happens under law, how it provokes “sinful flesh” into sinning, but in the passage in question, he never allowed the fruit of sin to occur.

So his past sin is mentioned, his “sin in the flesh” is mentioned [which he kept powerless] and his potential to sin, based on the inner propensity to sin, is mentioned, as summed up in his conclusion of the ‘two  laws’ within him. Those two laws, one of which as being the representation of the inner sin potential and the power of sin, are reduced to one law in Romans 8:1 and 2. What Christ achieved resulted in one of those laws being put out of action, and yes, it needs the application of faith by which we acquire Jesus and what He has achieved. And this is how salvation “works”.

“Flesh”, being that which is human nature, incorporates both bodily desires as well as the broader aspects of humanity, of simply being human, of being ‘of Adam’s race’. Paul said “I put no confidence in the flesh”. Jesus has firmly trodden on the serpent’s head, and we are to follow in His footsteps in the strength of faith that He did so.

R7 is the complete picture of that over which His victory took place, over the complete failure of humanity, so that the victory of heaven might be applied. We are risen with Him to be where He is, and He is presently in us, He is also where we are. The death of His body is also the reality of our death, and our ‘faith’ is to simply agree with what He has said and done and to begin again from there.

There is no victory in R7, other than the reality of Paul being a redeemed man, speaking as one unredeemed, for the purpose of our understanding. “That is, in my flesh”. From past experience he draws on ‘This is the good I (have been past proven not to have done) cannot do’, and ‘this is the evil that I do’, also past proven. If I am placed under law, then flesh will be provoked into evil. But he states the position as true, just as he concludes with the same ‘two law’ position of being, but never the result being sin actually occurring.

And don’t forget, Paul isn’t anywhere actually doing anything, these are just thought processes going through his head for only as long as it takes to write them down. But if he was doing this on the sabbath, someone might say he was sinning LOL.

So the two big errors in R7 are that 1. Paul is confessing to sinning, and that 2. He is doing this as a believer. Both are wrong. And further don’t forget that this is Paul’s dead flesh under law expressing itself here, when, supposedly already dead to law, it should have been left far behind as per R7:6.  It should be obvious that he is referring to law when if he really were a believer, he shouldn’t be. (Referring to law, that is).

http://www.eternalsecurity.us/romans_chapter_seven_paton.htm