ROMANS 7 FROM THE PERSPECTIVE OF TEMPTATION [1874a]

I can only suggest people start looking at some of these things more seriously because the implications involved in this matter of just what the true definition of temptation may be, seem to presently lie beyond the scope of most theological thought.

So to Romans 7, where all the elements of such as definition of temptation seem to exist, seem to be present, as much as they are in any other part of scripture, and perhaps even more definitively so.

Originating in the garden of Eden of course, we have the ‘crooked’ serpent, who couldn’t lie straight in bed, which metaphorically inspires such word use as ‘deception’. Rom:7:11 “sin deceived me” and “through the commandment killed me” which draws on the metaphor of sin being the poison of that serpent. [Shades of Paul on Malta being bitten by the serpent but managing to shake it off into the fire of the Spirit].

Acceptable as a definition of temptation are the words “every man is tempted when by his own [evil] desire he is led and enticed and then when sin is fully grown, death…” or something like that. We see how Sapphira and co. were questioned as to “how is it that you have conceived this evil in your heart?” or some such question.

So in Romans 7 we see all of this played out and laid out in the scriptural verses used to describe this very same serpentine activity of SIN being used to describe the inner nature of MAN.

It is all there. When the commandment [law] came to Adam, he died. When the commandment [law] came to Paul, he ‘died’. 7:9 “And I was once alive apart from law; but when the COMMANDMENT came, sin became ALIVE, and I died; and this commandment , which was to result in life, proved to result in death for me; for sin, taking opportunity through the commandment, DECEIVED me, and through it, killed me. [the temptation is inherent in the deception][but Jesus was not deceived]

7:5 “For while we were IN the flesh, the sinful PASSIONS, which were AROUSED by the Law, [commandment] were at work in the members of our body to bear fruit for death.”

“PASSIONS AND DESIRES”. “Those who are his have put to death the FLESH, with its PASSIONS AND DESIRES.” (Galatians). Rom.7:8 “But sin [poison of the serpent] taking OPPORTUNITY [deceitful] through the commandment, produced in me coveting of EVERY KIND; for apart from the law sin is DEAD.”

Both sin and the serpent were the cause of more sinning in the wilderness for 40 years until the serpent was lifted up [dead] on the pole. “And I when I am lifted up will draw all men to me” said Jesus. “He became sin for us”.

So we see how the commandment, or the law, aroused sinful passions, sinful desires in us by stirring up the inner emotions associated with lusts and desires of the flesh. Then we are led by those desires to fully associate with sin and its activities, ultimately bringing about our death. We see in R7:15 that deceitfulness of sin causes confusion of mind, such that to clarify the logic of it requires an analytical mental process which then concludes that there is no answer to it; resulting in a wretchedness of captivity to it. “Who will set me free from THIS BODY OF DEATH? [the ‘law enlightened’ mind can recognise it but can do nothing about it][“without me you can do nothing” said Jesus]

So it is freedom from this body of death which is required, this body of death with its passions and desires which tempt us into sin. “Every man is tempted when BY HIS OWN DESIRE he is led and enticed…” “Sin in the flesh”.

So just why did/does the commandment or law bring about, provoke, the AROUSAL of sinful passions? We probably have to look to the proposition put forth by the serpent in the garden of Eden. The serpentine GUILE, the twisting and writhing of the thinking process when placed under the pressure or duress caused by deviating from God’s thought ‘process’ which put forth the proposition that to eat of the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil would result in death.

Putting forth this command allowed for, provoked, NECESSITATED the INEVITABLE response of AROUSAL of a different response, of the OPPOSITE response [a death response] by virtue of the creation of a questioning of God’s proposition in counter measure to the statement they would die, because “to die” removes all possibility of man being able to conceive of or to create something autonomous, something of his own thought and thinking, by God putting forth the very proposition of the possibility of death, that a counter to death had to be instigated from within. AND it brought forth the possibility of death which had not previously been part of his psyche.

So the command stirred up the thinking process which then had to wander off in its own direction in order to create an appropriate response, but which response (and not less the thinking process itself) was in itself a deathly deviation from the flawless nature of God. 7:8 “But sin, taking opportunity through the commandment, produced in me coveting of every kind, for apart from the law, SIN IS DEAD.”

“…and sin, when it is full grown, DEATH…” This comes from James 1:13 onwards.

So Romans 7 is describing the whole of the sin nature progression from the instigation of temptation by law to its operation in man and the resultant slavery to itself and to its own death. This death not being removed until Romans chapter 8.

JAMES 1:13 “Let no one say when he is tempted “I am being tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust [desire]. Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death”.

[Intensely interesting that temptation is not named as such in Romans 7 and devil is not mentioned as such in James 1:13]

ROMANS 7 FROM THE PERSPECTIVE OF TEMPTATION [1874]

I can only suggest people start looking at some of these things more seriously because the implications involved in this matter of just what the true definition of temptation may be, seem to presently lie beyond the scope of most theological thought.

So to Romans 7, where all the elements of such as definition of temptation seem to exist, seem to be present, as much as they are in any other part of scripture, and perhaps even more definitively so.

Originating in the garden of Eden of course, we have the ‘crooked’ serpent, who couldn’t lie straight in bed, which metaphorically inspires such word use as ‘deception’. Rom:7:11 “sin deceived me” and “through the commandment killed me” which draws on the metaphor of sin being the poison of that serpent. [Shades of Paul on Malta being bitten by the serpent but managing to shake it off into the fire of the Spirit].

Acceptable as a definition of temptation are the words “every man is tempted when by his own [evil] desire he is led and enticed and then when sin is fully grown, death…” or something like that. We see how Sapphira and co. were questioned as to “how is it that you have conceived this evil in your heart?” or some such question.

So in Romans 7 we see all of this played out and laid out in the scriptural verses used to describe this very same serpentine activity of SIN being used to describe the inner nature of MAN.

It is all there. When the commandment [law] came to Adam, he died. When the commandment [law] came to Paul, he ‘died’. 7:9 “And I was once alive apart from law; but when the COMMANDMENT came, sin became ALIVE, and I died; and this commandment , which was to result in life, proved to result in death for me; for sin, taking opportunity through the commandment, DECEIVED me, and through it, killed me. [the temptation is inherent in the deception][but Jesus was not deceived]

7:5 “For while we were IN the flesh, the sinful PASSIONS, which were AROUSED by the Law, [commandment] were at work in the members of our body to bear fruit for death.”

“PASSIONS AND DESIRES”. “Those who are his have put to death the FLESH, with its PASSIONS AND DESIRES.” (Galatians). Rom.7:8 “But sin [poison of the serpent] taking OPPORTUNITY [deceitful] through the commandment, produced in me coveting of EVERY KIND; for apart from the law sin is DEAD.”

Both sin and the serpent were the cause of more sinning in the wilderness for 40 years until the serpent was lifted up [dead] on the pole. “And I when I am lifted up will draw all men to me” said Jesus. “He became sin for us”.

So we see how the commandment, or the law, aroused sinful passions, sinful desires in us by stirring up the inner emotions associated with lusts and desires of the flesh. Then we are led by those desires to fully associate with sin and its activities, ultimately bringing about our death. We see in R7:15 that deceitfulness of sin causes confusion of mind, such that to clarify the logic of it requires an analytical mental process which then concludes that there is no answer to it; resulting in a wretchedness of captivity to it. “Who will set me free from THIS BODY OF DEATH? [the ‘law enlightened’ mind can recognise it but can do nothing about it][“without me you can do nothing” said Jesus]

So it is freedom from this body of death which is required, this body of death with its passions and desires which tempt us into sin. “Every man is tempted when BY HIS OWN DESIRE he is led and enticed…” “Sin in the flesh”.

So just why did/does the commandment or law bring about, provoke, the AROUSAL of sinful passions? We probably have to look to the proposition put forth by the serpent in the garden of Eden. The serpentine GUILE, the twisting and writhing of the thinking process when placed under the pressure or duress caused by deviating from God’s thought ‘process’ which put forth the proposition that to eat of the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil would result in death.

Putting forth this command allowed for, provoked, NECESSITATED the INEVITABLE response of AROUSAL of a different response, of the OPPOSITE response [a death response] by virtue of the creation of a questioning of God’s proposition in counter measure to the statement they would die, because “to die” removes all possibility of man being able to conceive of or to create something autonomous, something of his own thought and thinking, by God putting forth the very proposition of the possibility of death, that a counter to death had to be instigated from within. AND it brought forth the possibility of death which had not previously been part of his psyche.

So the command stirred up the thinking process which then had to wander off in its own direction in order to create an appropriate response, but which response (and not less the thinking process itself) was in itself a deathly deviation from the flawless nature of God. 7:8 “But sin, taking opportunity through the commandment, produced in me coveting of every kind, for apart from the law, SIN IS DEAD.”

“…and sin, when it is full grown, DEATH…” This comes from James 1:13 onwards.

So Romans 7 is describing the whole of the sin nature progression from the instigation of temptation by law to its operation in man and the resultant slavery to itself and to its own death. This death not being removed until Romans chapter 8.

JAMES 1:13 “Let no one say when he is tempted “I am being tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust [desire]. Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death”.

[Intensely interesting that temptation is not named as such in Romans 7 and devil is not mentioned as such in James 1:13]

ROMANS 7 FROM THE PERSPECTIVE OF BONDAGE [1873]

Romans 6:6 speaks about being no longer SLAVES to sin. 6:7 says we have been FREED from sin. 6:14 For sin shall not be MASTER over you. 6:16 SLAVES of sin.6:17 SLAVES of sin. 6:18 FREED from sin. 6:20 SLAVES of sin. 6:22 FREED from sin. 6:23 The WAGES of sin is death.

Rom.7:2 BOUND by law, RELEASED from the law. 7:3 FREE from the law. 7:6 RELEASED from the law. 7:14 SOLD Into BONDAGE to sin. 7:23 A PRISONER of the law of sin.

7:24 FREEDOM?

BOUGHT with a price, the BLOOD of Jesus. [1 Cor. 6:20]

So all the above terminology relative to BONDAGE to law and sin which totally describes the man of Romans 7, is only dispelled once he has been BOUGHT back from out of that bondage to law flesh sin death, and the description of this does not occur until Romans 8.

Romans 8:2 “For the law of the Spirit of life has SET YOU FREE from the law of sin and of death”.

From Rom.7:7 onwards the description is all about what happens to a man under law, how sin in the flesh is empowered to over-ride the best desires and ambitions of his mind and render him powerless to do good, he does only the evil which his flesh under law is empowered to do.

There is no Jesus* in Romans 7, just as He said, “Without me you can do nothing” and Romans 7 is the demonstration of the truth of that statement, leaving him as a “Wretched man” until Romans 8:1,2 comes into the action.

[If in 7:24 he is seeking release from what he has just described as the working of his body of death, and he then says that Jesus is the answer, this then means that Jesus who was the answer to his problem, was not present DURING the problem, which is why it, the problem, existed in the first place.]

*[Jesus is mentioned as BEING the answer, but is Himself not interwoven in, is not a part of, the explanation]

ROMANS 7 FROM THE PERSPECTIVE OF SPIRIT [1872]

We know of only two spirits here, the one being that of Paul but which is never described here as “spirit”, and the other being that of God. Spirit is the essence, the core centre of an entity, is the driving force and (singular) nature of the being himself.

“Spirit” gets only ONE mention in Romans 7, which is indicative of the whole chapter’s “fleshly” nature. That one time occurrence is in 7:6 which is a summation of the gospel having been described to those people of chapter 6, which is now to be built upon from 7:7 onwards to serve as an explanation, mainly to the Jewish converts, (those “who know the law”) as an explanation of just why the covenant of old had to be REPLACED with a new one.

So because this whole chapter is about the production of sin, through the flesh, empowered by law; there is only this one reference to The Spirit of God at all, being that chapter 7 is the very opposite, that of law flesh sin death. And this ONE reference of 7:6 is really the conclusion to chapter 6 where the elements of the gospel had just been explained, and how the Jews were included also in this predominately gentile? new covenant arrangement, in the very first verse 7:1 about law only being in force until there is a death of one party to it.

The Jewish members of the congregation, then having been singled out for a more intense and complete explanation of why the covenant had to change (HAD CHANGED) means that verse 4 says they had been MADE TO DIE through the body of Christ and so were included in this new covenant of grace and life in the Spirit (7:4-6). Verse 6 concludes the matter of the proclamation of the gospel effect, and verse 7 begins Paul’s explanation mainly for their benefit. He is going to tell them exactly why that covenant change was necessary, and why it and they needed to be ‘put to death’ with the body of Christ.

7:6 This was the statement about the change of covenants and that it was now by the Spirit [that appeared at Pentecost] they were to serve God and NOT in the “oldness of the letter” (of the law).

From 7:7 forward Paul then goes on to explain the failure of the law to enable and assist the production of righteousness because of its inhibiting factor of the communication of guilt, which only condemns us. The more the righteousness of the law is explained, the more condemnation by it we experience.

The active ingredients are law flesh sin death, and Paul’s MIND, but NOT ever Spirit. The conflict here is NOT between Spirit and flesh, as it is in Galatians, but is between Paul’s MIND and his flesh, it is this seemingly never ending conflict which exists in mankind regardless of the degree of guilt felt or appreciated. That felt guilt depends on conscience levels, so that there is a verse “When the gentiles, who DON’T have the law, DO BY NATURE what the law REQUIRES*, they show they are a law unto themselves..”

In Galatians the conflict is between the Spirit and the flesh, in which contest the Spirit is superior (the power is the Spirit). But in R7 the contest is NOT between Spirit and flesh, but MIND and flesh (sin), and FLESH (SIN) is superior (the power is the law).

In Galatians Paul is talking to believers about the weakness of the flesh which is coming about because they are being influenced by LAW, which they should not allow to be happening; whereas in Romans 7 Paul is talking about that very same weakness in them WHEN THEY WERE UNDER THE LAW before they became believers, using his own story as an example of that.

Christians ARE NOT UNDER THE LAW. They are under grace, IN the Spirit, NOT “IN” the “flesh”. Those OF the flesh [all living creatures][are subject to the law of sin and death] may be in man’s case either OF the flesh and NOT in the Spirit, but IN the flesh: OR OF the flesh but IN the SPIRIT. The gospel provides man with that choice which he never before Jesus could have.

There is no Spirit or His victory in Romans 7. There is only sin and our defeat under law.

*[ 8:4 “In order that the REQUIREMENT of the law might be fulfilled in us…”][from our new nature]

ROMANS 7 FROM THE PERSPECTIVE OF IDENTITY [1871]

Jesus’s strength lay in His identity, in His knowledge and conviction of who He was. Conversely, our weakness lies in our lack of knowledge of our identity in anything other than our basic human nature, “flesh”. We are ‘in bondage to those who by nature are not gods’. Our identity lies in our familiarity and identification with, that with which we interact on a daily basis, being ourselves and others in the natural world. [from now on we consider no man after the flesh, said Paul commenting after the salvation change]

Our identification with the naturalness of our “sinful flesh” needs to be changed to identification with Jesus and His transformation of sinful flesh to spiritual “flesh”. From mortality to immortality, by faith in Him and His resurrection (“the first resurrection”).

So commonly, speculation arises about Paul’s identity in Romans 7, about the nature and identity of the “I” which he refers to. Well plainly and simply he is speaking of himself, of his perceived identity of himself, of who he feels himself to be, of his sense of being, of existing, ID or whatever. (ID-entity). That which he senses as himself as an entity (I think, therefore I am?).

WHO AM I? Well, who do you think you are? [“Who do men say that I am?”]

Paul finds himself located within certain circumstances and feelings within the focus of which, he finds his identity. So Paul’s “I” is connected to events and times, the interpretation of these leading to the manipulation of the facts by those unable to see the simple truth of what he is saying.

The times and circumstances of his “I” are unfolding as he progresses through past events right up to verse 21, where he makes a conclusion relevant to that time and circumstance whose context is given in the next verse 22, “I joyfully concur with the law…” (in a nominated part of me).

BUT (verse 23) I see my mind in conflict with my body, which TAKES ME PRISONER TO THE LAW OF SIN WHICH IS IN the workings of my body and outworks from it, through it.

WRETCHED MAN that “I” AM. So Paul, at this stage of his teaching, has arrived at a position which is based on his journey of explanation about the law from verse 7 onward. He is speaking of the end net result of being under the law (other than actual physical death) he is SPIRITUALLY DEAD as was stated in verses 9, 10 and 11. Killed by sin empowered by the law.

At every stage he has progressed through his journey of explanation of why the law covenant had to be changed, because it empowered sin in our natural bodies. His “I” is progressive in understanding and revelation as his experience grows and drags him through the web and complexities of the sin nature as it behaves under law, and how he in his “observer” position eventually has to stand back and observe how he is completely powerless within the given circumstance and scenario of law flesh sin death. Wretched man indeed!

Paul has discovered that He, his “I” is at odds with his natural born self, his NATURAL “I” that was , before his embarkation on the journey of law. And he has discovered that he is powerless to alter, to change this outcome, that he is locked into a “body of death” without any prospect of release from its power to produce sin in him and from him. His “I” because of knowledge of right and wrong by the law has conceded to the position of ongoing death. He is a conflicted person trapped and in conflict within himself AS IS ALL HUMANITY UNLESS SOMETHING CHANGED.

And something did change, the covenant with God changed from the old to the new. Jesus ‘paid for’ our body of death with HIS body of death. He overcame sin in the flesh and BECAME A LIFE GIVING SPIRIT.

So Paul’s closing statement, his conclusion to his investigation of flesh under law, which began at verse 7, is that natural man under law is in a conflicted state. That within him as a whole person, mind and body, lie two laws, but only one with which he identifies, and the other with which he disowns. “It is not “I” but sin that dwells IN ME”. Although confessing that he as a whole creature is responsible for the sin that proceeds from himself, he explains that there are two operative laws within him. The one of his mind which agrees with God’s law and seeks to truly ‘serve’ it, but the other, the ‘law of sin’ which his natural nature serves and which he himself is brought into servitude to. His mind is powerless before the law empowered flesh that is his natural human nature.

These two “laws” which sit within him, waiting for some stimulus to come along to provoke them into action, are “The law of his mind” and “the law of sin”. Paul’s “I” NOW resides within the law of his mind, because of polarisation by the law, and the law of sin resides in Paul’s naturalness of nature, chiefly involved with his body and its functions.

These are the two laws, BUT ONLY ONE OF THEM IS EMPOWERED TO OPERATE AND OVERCOME THE OTHER. The law of sin wins every time! because LAW lends its power of authority over the dissention of his mind from this regime of sin and death, and SIN WINS. This is the enigma which precedes Romans chapter 8 which now enters into the argument and takes it over, completely changing the balance of power contained in Romans 7, by “The LAW of the Spirit of life SETTING YOU FREE from the LAW of SIN and DEATH.

Paul’s identity as one who wants to serve righteousness is now released, is freed from, that “other law” of ‘sin in his flesh’, into servitude to Christ.

ROMANS 7 FROM THE PERSPECTIVE OF LAW [1869]

The perspective of law would be what I would call the “normal” perspective, that law is the predominant subject matter. The previous post though is probably closer to the heart of the subject, that being flesh. But since law is the subject of what the covenant was changed FROM, then it is highly prioritised in Paul’s writings because externally his major struggle was between these two opposing views of law and grace because law is prevalent not only as the Mosaic religion, but mainly as the predominant factor in all people in terms of their psychology. Law sets the standards of morality and whether those laws are external or internal makes no difference. Of course the authority behind those laws may vary but Christian culture tends to recognise the Mosaic law as being the general reference for anything of a law nature.

Now Romans 8:3 says that the law was inadequate to the task of creating righteousness. That it could do nothing to bring about righteousness because of the weakness of the flesh. Paul says that though the law itself was good, the ministry of it resulted in condemnation, and it was time for the ministry of condemnation to go, and for the ministry of reconciliation to take its place.

The demonstration of this failure of law to produce righteousness is to be found in Romans 7, where its action as the ministry of death is demonstrated by Paul’s example of his own historical experiences, and his own familiarity with the operation and functions of indwelling sin nature in his own body. In its own right, the law was doing what it was meant to do, to bring to the awareness of mankind their degree of separation from God, that existed.

But when the right time arrived, God sent Jesus to deal with the law on our behalf, to fulfill it and replace its covenant with another, with the covenant of that fulfillment having taken place in the body of Jesus, the resultant Spirit that He became was now to be the guiding force behind all morality from henceforth, and the very means by which said morality could be instituted and instrumented.

His dealing with the law was actually the matter of Him dealing with death, with the indwelling death that all of “flesh” begins with, until that basic flesh nature is changed to a new nature in vast and exceeding contrast to the old. “Go now and sin no more” were Jesus’ words to the sinful woman. There is a great change to take place, so great that it is called “crossing over from death to life”. And “being born AGAIN”, to the astonishment of the hearer who replied “How can a man enter again into his mother’s womb…” which demonstrates the degree of lack of spiritual understanding of such metaphors in biblical times.

It was necessary for the true nature of God to be revealed in His full capacity, not just as some lawgiver who demanded certain behaviours from us and then handed out penalties when we failed. Now He was to prove the fulness of His nature in terms of the loving forgiveness of a Father who completely supplied every need of ours to be filled with His own goodness, character, nature, and Spirit. to fulfill the creation, to make the old new and to guarantee those of faith a place in His “kingdom”, in His heart.

Jesus the Son took away our sin and dealt with it at His own tremendous cost, such was and is the price of creation, in which we share; both in the creation and in the cost of it as we share Christ’s burdens in like manner as Himself, but only in terms of absorbing His victory over this creative pain, only in the terms of responding to the truth of His love for us, proven and established in that Spirit given freely at Pentecost, His own Spirit now available to us.

[There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the Law of sin and of death. FOR WHAT THE LAW COULD NOT DO...]

ROMANS 7 FROM THE PERSPECTIVE OF FLESH [1868]

Romans 7 is about the weakness of the flesh, of our natural human born of a woman flesh and blood nature, when placed under the legal and moral demands of some law or authority. We were basically made like the animals, but with a higher and far greater sense of evaluation of the competing demands of self satisfaction and the need to appease others with due regard for their own needs, to find a balance of operation and outlook whereby one’s own self is best served by the principle of “you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours”, IE of mutual benefit.

This of course can only be arranged within groups of people who accept a common aim or common living conditions. This provides boundaries between groups who themselves then embark on competitive enterprises by which to gain the advantage of the one over the other. So these groups then may come again to mutually beneficial conditions, albeit with a degree of compromise involved.

So rules and laws may exist in these groups and between groups themselves. Where conflict emerges between either individuals in a group, or between groups themselves, raw elements of the human existence may emerge and blood may be shed, until such time as the conflict ends either by the overpowering of the one, or by an agreement met about setting conditions whereby peace returns once more to the scenario.

Where GOD is recognised as having implemented such rules, it falls to men to implement them. This is fine within the concept of a primitive people, but with emerging consciousness of rights and wrongs, it becomes outgrown and something of higher value is required.

Such rules and laws are inadequate to improve the lot of such people, they simply point out the deficiencies and failings of such a social environment. A new and ultimate law or rule needs to be established whereby all parties remain permanently in a state of resolution, having contained the resolution of internal conflict internally without spilling out into the realm and abode of others such as to “disturb the peace”.

Enter Jesus to deal with the matter by providing an ultimate destination and the means by which to get there, including the dispelling of the consciousness of sin and death by raising that consciousness to its highest level while simultaneously providing the ultimate solution to it’s existence. Because it has been ultimately dealt with, its value has also been raised to the ultimate level of satisfaction, which is LOVE.

Condemning law serves the purpose of raising one’s awareness of wrongness to the highest level (“Wretched man that I am”) before matching that awareness with the solution of removing the problem by paying the cost of its removal, yet necessitating the awareness of that payment as being essential to the process of its removal. So the condemnation exits as the fullness of appreciation of it, enters. To be true to the conditions, to the “contract”, the truth of the matter has to be established in one’s consciousness so that the effect is that of one’s own “flesh” being also crucified with Him, with His flesh. To be at one with the condition, the person has to be at one with Jesus, by belief.

In Romans 7 Paul ‘in his flesh’ is failing under law which provokes further failing, and ultimately consciousness of PERFECT FAILURE. He of course is telling the story as being “of flesh” and consequently “in flesh” but who himself at the time was not in flesh but in the Spirit. “But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit if the Spirit of God dwells in you” – “but if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him.”

Romans 8:3 “For what THE LAW COULD NOT DO” – “Weak as it (the law) 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, 4 IN ORDER (so that) the REQUIREMENT of the Law might be FULFILLED IN US who DO NOT walk according to the flesh, but (walk) according to the Spirit.”

Paul’s description in Romans 7 is that of one “walking according to the flesh”, [under the law] NOT “walking according to the Spirit”. It is a description of “this body of death” and its moral failure.

[Jesus said, “Without me you can do nothing”][7:18 “…nothing good dwells in me…THAT IS TO SAY, IN MY FLESH…” I wish, but I can do nothing]

SOME KEY POINTS IN ROMANS 7 [1787b]

This was intended to be just a few of the most relevant points where people tend to trip up on Romans 7, but it has turned out to be a bit bigger than that. The original article started as the following –

I intend to pursue further to explore the common commentaries on Romans 7 as already being compiled in post 1777b. But I would also like to suggest just a few of the main points that people don’t seem to “get”, they miss the stepping stones and wander off the path of correct understanding by these few things, although there are many others that are spuriously entertained by them as they wrongly wander around in their thinking.

1/ That the subject matter is law and this does not change for the entire chapter, it even begins with “For I write to those who know the law” the Jewish converts. Then the subject continues, always in law, right to the end of the chapter.

2/ That sin through the law, killed him, and this also continues, he is always in this death right to the very end of the chapter.

3/ That verses 5 and 6 are captioning the conclusions of the previous situations, the before and the after, the old and the new, the once was, and the now is. Thus closing off the preliminary aspects of the investigation.

4/ That verse 7 begins a whole new episode of enquiry, based on the closing off of the previous verses, it opens up an exploratory sequence of reasoning whose immediate stated aim is to examine the law, whether or not it is sin, but obviously extending further.

5/ That verse 14 Includes the most debated part, that being the context surrounding Paul being “carnal” and the “tense” being of the present. There is nothing unusual about being “OF” flesh, we are all “OF” flesh, even Jesus was “OF” flesh.

6/ That verse 25 suggests Jesus as the answer to the problem, which suggests that the answer was absent from the problem which occurred between verse 7 and verse 25. No Jesus, no Spirit.

7/ That verse 25 is not the end of chapter 7, but only the conclusion Paul reaches about the latent state of unredeemed man, to which Romans 7 was the dynamic of. The body of the chapter reveals what happens when flesh is subjected to law. Verse 25 simply states what the static condition of the two laws in situ are, before the dynamic of law OR grace is applied to them. In the prior state he was subjected to law, now in the next 8:1,2 state he is to be subjected to grace.

8/ That chapter 8 verse 1,2 is the final conclusion to chapter 7, stating that we have now been set free from that law of sin that was one of the dual laws of 7:25, “the law of sin in my members.”

9/ That only believers could rejoice in the law. Which is false.

10/ That though Paul’s mind aligns with the law of God, that he is unable to DO it, the mind of the flesh always takes control from him.

11/ That there is no mystery about the “I”, it is Paul himself, his identity, as he is within the context at the time, of describing his flesh under law. While writing this he is obviously Paul the apostle, he is writing about what happens to natural man under law, in this case his own past experience and his present acknowledgement of past experience and his present vulnerability if placed under law.

NOW these are about seven more points than originally intended, so while I am here I might as well add some commentary to them.

1a/ The whole chapter is about law and being under law. There is absolutely no reason to suppose anything else, because Paul is speaking narratively and logically from his own experience both past and present. It is only because of the failure to recognise that 3a/, 4a/ verses 5 and 6 are only a statement about the past and the present condition, and that 6 is not meant to be the starting position of his exploration of the NEW state, but of the OLD, being that 5 and 6 are only the conclusion to the matter of the breaking of the bond with the law, and the establishment of the bond with the Spirit. We cannot start with 7 as being a continuation from verse 6 which has simply established that the person who once served God by the law, now serves God by the Spirit. That is the conclusion to the matter. Then verse 7 continues with the same old subject matter of law, “…is the law sin?” and then he goes on to talk further about law. Not about Spirit.

5a/ The most debated point where people see Paul as carnal, as fleshly, as weak to sin, and sinning. Mostly because of the shift to present tense in verse 14. But what he says is straightforward and not convoluted at all. ALL peoples are OF the flesh, even Jesus, nothing strange at all about being OF the flesh. We are all born of the flesh, in the flesh. But believers emerge from being “IN” the flesh, to being “IN” the Spirit, they are “born again”, while unbelievers are not born again and remain “IN” the flesh from which state they have not been rebirthed. Those who are in the flesh remain in death, those who experience the second birth (of the Spirit) “cross over from death to life”. Paul is relating his story from his origins in the flesh and his experience of being under law, not at all bringing into this story his conversion and rebirth in the Spirit. Verse 6 is the only place that Spirit gets a mention, and the name Jesus also only occurs once. There is nothing spiritual about this condition at all.

Everything about being a believer is about the renewal of the conscience and the cleansing of the heart, NONE of which is to be seen in chapter 7. It is all about the old struggle to try and satisfy law by and of oneself, about guilt and condemnation because of a guilty conscience brought to awareness of it’s guilt BY LAW, of its inherent and utterly sinful condition. NOWHERE in chapter 7 is it EVER talking about the state or performance of the believer, it continues to speak of CAPTIVITY, of “being sold into bondage”, NEVER about being bought out from under that bondage such as Jesus did for us.

6a/ In exasperation verse 24 dramatically INTERJECTS for dramatic effect, the “Wretched man that I am! Who will (who is to) SET ME FREE from the body of this death? This is not a wretchedness of poor Christian performance, this is the wretchedness of one who dwells in the death of his own body, the experience of his own wretched existence in which he has struggled to “perform” righteousness, but failed miserably to do so. Who has confessed to not being able to do good, but only able to do evil. He has stated his duality of existence as being in the form of agreeing with righteousness in his mind, but unable to perform it because he is controlled by his sin in his ‘flesh’ (himself). It is all there to plainly read. He is a prisoner of the law of sin, whereas 6:18 says “and having been freed from sin”. He has not yet been bought out from under his slavery to sin, not until 8:1,2, is he released from the law of sin in his explanation. THEN the bondage is broken, and his mind is free from this servitude to the flesh to serve “the law of God”. [Now “The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus”.]

Verse 25 he says “Thanks be to God…” THAT THERE IS AN ANSWER! But you will not find the effects of that answer anywhere in chapter 7. It is MIND versus FLESH, whereas in Galatians it is SPIRIT versus FLESH. The former is the DEFEAT OF PAUL AND HIS “I” (himself, his composite self ) whereas in the latter is the VICTORY of the Spirit.

9a/ There is ample evidence in the old testament of rejoicing in the law.

10a/ The conflict is between Paul’s mind which has agreed with the law of righteousness, and his flesh which for its own selfish reasons, wants to continue to disagree. This causes a division within him in which he is the weaker of the two and the flesh the stronger, because law points out his sin to which he has no answer for. Within his condemnation, he loses the struggle. Man of and by himself, loses the ‘contest” and so withdraws to his corner of self pity in his own wretchedness. “Without me you can do nothing” said Jesus, and Romans 7 is the proof of that.

11a/ The “I” of Paul is who he is, is his identity, in which he once had no say, he was born into it. It is the “I” of his “flesh”, his only identity as of being born only of human nature, which he plainly denotes by saying v18 “…nothing good dwells in me, that is, IN MY FLESH”. He is coupled to his flesh, bound to it and the sin in it, and can only find release from it, his old one, by agreeing with law and then cleaving to the identity of one who wishes to be free from the old one who was being held in captivity. When he agrees with the law he is separating himself from ‘sin in his flesh’ in terms of responsibility, creating a stand alone identity, but which he is unable to consolidate while still bound to flesh by law.

NOWHERE in 7 is Paul ever sinning or talking about actively sinning, it is all either of the past, or of the inherent POTENTIAL to sin, never an act of sinning itself. “For that which I do…”(the things that I do) is knowledge of his past experience, not current and present action. Remember he is sitting down somewhere writing, not doing.

PASSIONATE ARGUMENTS ABOUT ROMANS 7 [1840a]

When one feels strongly about something it is hard to remain dispassionate about it, especially if you have put a lot into it, have a lot invested in it so to speak. Yet those who disagree with you can do so from a myriad of viewpoints, from a stack of doctrinal stances, and from a maize of theological and academic backgrounds.

Sometimes, it appears as if that person is coming from such a weird set of thought patterning and pre-disposition to defend their particular doctrinal mindset, again because they have so much invested in defending their position, that it is almost impossible to engage with them on a logical level.

Now, I KNOW how difficult this passage is, and I DO understand the process of connecting arguments in such a way in order to conduct a defense of one’s thinking, so I AM sympathetic re His view. but it is like so many other doctrines based purely on academia instead of Spiritual reality, the complication they introduce is out of necessity to try and make their ideas stand up, instead of being based on scripture and revelation.

Derek J Brown has on the web an article about Romans 7 which is completely wrong and misleading, which falls into the same pattern of error as many others, simply because they are reading it from a biased perspective which is preset by their views on many other doctrines, many of which are also wrong. Scripture requires Spiritual revelation and not just academic analysis, and it is amazing how academics, probably because they have so many brain cells to play around with, are blinded to the simplicity of what Paul is saying, but yes I have already said it is not easy, precisely BECAUSE of preconceived notions about the subject.

But when read with eyes open to what Paul is telling us, it is not really that difficult at all to understand.

As far as going back and forth with arguments that are not actually based on the given text, one verse at a time, it appears useless to do because they are not listening at all to the Spiritual truths being investigated for our benefit and learning.

https://fromthestudy.com/2017/05/02/which-paul-is-it-an-argument-for-pauls-christian-experience-in-romans-714-25/

See also post 1794a

PAUL’S MIND SERVING THE LAW OF GOD [1842]

The big false conclusion that most of us have either made or are still making, is that Paul in Rom.7:25 is stating the final conclusion to his condition as being a Christian serving [the law of] God with his mind, but who still serves the law of sin with his flesh.

In one sense yes, this is his final conclusion, but not regarding his Christian status, but his pre-Christian status. The conclusion he has drawn is in reference to all that he has just said in this chapter, he concludes, as a result of the foregoing verses, that there are two laws in operation in the human personality, one being “the law of God”, and the other being “the law of sin”.

His statement is that his mind “serves” the law of God, and his flesh serves the law of sin.

So at this point people believe that this is the Christian status, that Christians wander around somehow serving God with their mind, while their flesh continues to serve the law of sin.

What could this mean? The inference then, is that somehow between all the other verses, and verse 25, that Paul’s mind has suddenly gained power over his flesh that he never had in the prior verses, and they would point to verse 25 as also being the reason for it with “Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!” .

This of course would mean that in all the verses prior to 25, that they were all about man’s condition BEFORE Jesus. So we are expected to believe then, that the only Christian context is that of verse 25 and NOT of verses 1-24?

But this does not parallel the statements that people make about these verses. They claim that from verse 14 onwards, that the present tense indicates Paul’s new regenerated mind, as a Christian, is in force. But ALL of chapter 7 is about total defeat and powerlessness, ESPECIALLY with regard to his MIND.

In verse 23 there is a WAR against his mind which he LOSES to the law of sin, to which he is made a PRISONER, and remains so all the way through. NOWHERE in verses 7-25 is he EVER victorious over sin, NOR is he ever RELEASED from bondage to it.

Verse 24 by default, is the statement of his condition, is a conclusion, ALL THE WAY THROUGH up to this point, that he is a wretched man who is SEEKING RELEASE from his [“I” seek it] bondage to “the body of this death”, because of imprisonment to the law of sin. It is the BONDAGE that must be broken, he has been SOLD into sin’s servitude, he must be, is yet to be, BOUGHT back out of it, by Christ.

THIS IS NOT A CHRISTIAN POSITION!

And then therefore, verse 25 is meant to say that all is OK now because my mind is serving the law of God? That by flashing up the name of Jesus, that all is well?

The thing is that Paul’s mind was TRYING to serve the law of God but unsuccessfully because the law of sin overpowered his mind, and verse 25 is NOT saying that he now succeeds with this, but is simply putting forward the conclusion to the whole chapter by stating that two laws exist in it, by which all of the foregoing was governed, NOT that his mind is now set free to actually SERVE God, but simply that His mind is WILLING to serve God, and which it would do if not for the law of sin (and death) which is waiting to pounce on him as soon as he seeks to actually DO the will of God as propositioned in the law.

As just said, the whole chapter apart from the last verse is NOT about a Christian position, but an UN-CHRISTIAN one.

The “thanks be to God…” is an interjection to show that there IS an answer, and whom it indeed is that shall deliver him. But that deliverance has not yet come, this appears in chapter 8:1,2 where that “law of sin” is now DISEMPOWERED by another, SUPERIOR law, the “law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus”.

The truth of the matter has been sabotaged by the chapter interval, randomly inserted by someone who in their wisdom has decided the appropriate place for it.

But back to the “two laws”. This conclusion by Paul simply sets up the scenario by which the law of sin works. It is describing the latent or potential position, the static situation which exists waiting for some stimulus to come along , some demand of law or requirement to act in a good way. These two laws sit there waiting for the mind to respond with good intention, which it may do, but then the law of sin kicks in and sabotages all his good intentions, and the result is anything BUT good. 7:19 “The good that I wish, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not wish”. But then the law of 8:2 sets him free from the law of 7:25, sets him free from that law of sin 7:23 “that is in his members”.

So 8:1,2 is the real conclusion to the matter, is the solution that Jesus brings to the table, even though 7:25 is, in itself, the conclusion to chapter 7’s subject matter of the power of “sin in the flesh” because of law, because of only the old covenant existing, before the new covenant of chapter 8 is delved into.

Verse 25 “I myself” (me, my singular identity) (without anything or anybody else) I OF myself, not with Jesus, not with Spirit, but OF myself flesh and IN my flesh IN THE MIND of myself, am aligned with God’s law, but my flesh (natural nature) serves a law of sin. 7:18 THAT IS TO SAY, IN MY FLESH.

[Flesh and the law of sin derives its power from law][The Spirit of life overpowers and supersedes the law of “sin in the flesh”][In all of this, Paul remains dead under sin, dead in sin, dead under the law, and “in” the flesh”][Paul’s “serving God” amounts to wishful thinking which accords to his mind being in agreeance with the ‘law of God’][Christians do not “try to keep the law”, they have ‘died to it’ with Christ, dead and buried.]