EXPLORATORY THEOLOGY. There is a similarity between the good law and (sin) wrath in the the flesh in Romans 7, and the presence of wrath in the flesh in the presence of love.
So Paul advocates the case for the law* in the presence of the flesh, explaining that it is the “good” law working on the “bad” flesh that produces, provokes sin in the flesh. “Law brings wrath”, hence Romans 7:5 “…the sinful passions aroused by the law…” Sin being aroused, created, CONCEIVED in the flesh, results in internal wrath being produced if there is a state of realised conflict between the two states, so we need to look at what Paul is saying here. (1).
Similarly, what is commonly called “God’s wrath” is really not ‘His wrath’ at all, but is the product of righteousness versus unrighteousness, again, created, sensed or produced WITHIN the flesh of man. His LOVE is the provocation of the inner conflict and turmoil in mankind (2) as PERCEIVED and EXPERIENCED by man.
In both (1) and (2) we see righteousness portrayed in opposition to unrighteousness.
Paul’s ‘angle’ in Romans 7 is that of being a prisoner of sin under law, and his inner conflict is expressed as his flesh waging WAR against his mind, (the conflict) and the “wrath”, the effects of that conflict experienced in him as a WRETCHEDNESS that such a confliction of purposes and motivations exists within him; which feelings and confliction results in his, the, inner wrath which is his mind in contradiction and frustration, in turmoil because, as a composite personality he is at war within and against HIMSELF.
Brain cells in conflict with brain cells, thoughts in conflict with other thoughts, loss of a cohesive identity resulting in inner stresses and anguish with no way out. Fear, anxiety and depression would result.
Paul’s point of writing in Romans 7 is for a particular purpose, that of identifying the cause of sin and its manifestation in and through man, and the parameters governing it. In other scriptures he writes similarly in that there is a purpose and point of his focus, and depending on the subject matter he expresses himself differently in order to clarify that individual subject.
But in Romans 7 he has, through law, defined the nature of the division between man’s knowledge of goodness and his knowledge of badness. He has through this acquired a conscience by which He knows good from bad in a clearly defined way, that of law. And he expresses this in the last verse, the two laws within him that are opposed to each other but which because of law, only one, the law of sin, is empowered to “win the war” within of righteousness versus unrighteousness. (Unrighteousness of the flesh wins).
His experienced “wrath” is not fully concentrated on here in this chapter, but the parameters for it are clearly set up by this scenario of law versus man (“flesh”), in which law wins by supporting the condemnation of sin, and man loses because while such condemnation continues to exist, His desire for and expression of that desire for righteous conformation with the law of righteousness (the law of his mind that wants to serve the law, “serve God”) will always be frustrated and defeated by the inherent law of “sin in the flesh”.
Hence this condemnation of the believer in righteousness but who found no way to express it or produce it, had to be removed by the sacrifice of Christ and its, His, acceptance by man. He had to become a believer in Christ.
ANOTHER conflict later exists between the Spirit and the flesh whereby submission to the SPIRIT of Christ enables the overcoming of the flesh and the production of the wanted and desired righteousness. The MIND and heart, having apprehended the righteousness of Christ, now defers to His Spirit in matters of moral conflict, in which otherwise the mind would be the loser as Romans 7 shows.
The FORMER conflict results in the wrath of God ON MAN and IN man as expressed by Paul’s wretched defeat, while the latter conflict results in an expression of wrath as seen in the judgement on sin on Christ on the cross, where Jesus took on board that inner conflict of flesh versus law, but also with the righteousness of God, as revealed from within Himself, and his ability to overcome all unrighteousness and in His case POTENTIAL unrighteousness of the flesh.
CORRUPTED man cannot see God as LOVE, but only sees Him through the result of his guilty conscience, as guilt, law and condemnation. Through law he sees himself condemned under God’s “love” when that love is only perceived through the filter of a sinner under the righteousness of the law. Once the corruption is out of the way through Christ, God’s love can then be seen as truly LOVE. Before this He is seen as WRATH.
Paul’s experience of wrath in Romans 7 is inherent in his WRETCHEDNESS, in his perceived guilt and condemnation when under law, in his inability to do good but to do only evil, as being, in his narrative, one who was unredeemed FROM (the result of) THE LAW. Having within, as all unredeemed men do to varying degrees, the inherent conflict between right and wrong because of guilt and condemnation, under their own steam, between their own mind and their own flesh. FLESH WINS. Wrath results.
[war and conflict, death consciousness, guilt, condemnation, internal agitation, ‘burning’ = wrath][Love and law will both provoke wrath in unredeemed man because they are righteousness contrasted with man’s unrighteousness][until the sentence of death is removed by Christ’s sacrifice]
[The absence of love in us is perceived, construed and experienced by FEAR in us as wrath when confronted with the love we ourselves do not possess.] [Wrath is the agitation within us caused by the components of our unrighteousness being confronted with righteousness. It is the unresolved condition of our threatened insecurity].
[Wrath in Jesus was His own righteousness in conflict with the unrighteousness (corruption) of the inner potential of the flesh to create sin and with the corrupted elements that produce death and are themselves already products of death. This wrath is the activity of that stress as it seeks to resolve the polarisation of good and evil by entering into battle, into a conflict of these opposing forces.]
[In Romans 7 Paul was trying to keep the law of himself and by himself and failing miserably]
[“Where there is no law there is no transgression”? So without law there is no wrath. But a condition of ‘two states’ is necessary to bring about an adjustment or change in a condition. Without law there is no opposition to what we are doing, or to what we are. This is why God “chastises” us in order to draw us into His environment and away from the naturality of our own. It requires PRESSURE to create the change and it is such pressure we see Jesus subjected to on the cross, where HIS nature was at odds with OUR nature by virtue of HIM being made “in every way” like US. Righteous and unrighteousness at war in the same body, HIS body. Not that He ever sinned, but He bore the same body as us which was prone to weakness, but which His OWN RIGHTEOUSNESS as Son of God was able to overpower, to heal and change, to destroy or alter that which needed to be perfected from that initial creation which was the fallen Adam, to make His body whole, to be immortalised and thus resurrected.]
*[Obviously Paul was opposed to the law in its written form because his opponents were in opposition to His gospel message, on the basis of what they saw as a message in competition with their law, to replace it with ‘another’ ‘religion’. Those who wanted to retain the law or elements of it in the ‘new religion’ were his adversaries whether they were existing people who were still ‘of the law’ or those within the new Christian gatherings. Paul made it clear, and it appears obvious, that the SPIRIT as delivered at Pentecost is the antithesis of all and any law because it ‘works’ with opposing and completely different parameters. Rom.8:2 “For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free from the law of sin and death” which is what law had become to them, because of its condemnation. Paul called law both “The ministry of death” as well as “The ministry of condemnation”. It was now to be replaced by “The ministry of reconciliation” in Christ Jesus. Paul made this plain by writing Romans 7 explicitly for “those who knew the law” IE the Jewish converts.]