ROMANS 7 COMMENTARIES CRITIQUED [1777d]

A Michael Youssef update. See also post 1564a.

A WORK IN PROGRESS

Category 1 commentaries are those where the author predominately believes that Romans 7 is that of the Christian position. Category 2 commentaries are those where the author predominately believes that Romans 7 is that of the pre Christian position. The number of category 1 commentaries seem to far outweigh the category 2 ones, which is a pity because category 1 is the incorrect position and the consequences of this are far reaching, far beyond what one would expect them to be.

A.W. PINK. cat. 1. http://www.pbcofdecaturalabama.org/AWPink/Romans7.htm It is hard to imagine just what background Pink came from to enable such a poor understanding of this chapter. He says that morally we are bound to obey the law, which presupposes that the law is still relevant and not fulfilled or “abolished”. He splits the legal law from the moral law, for which there is no precedent, we have died to the law, which means as far as the law goes we cease to exist, and as far as we go, the whole law ceases to exist. Death frees us from both law and sin. Pink wants us to obey the law we are no longer under.

Then he says that believers are dead to the law, but then says that this experience from 7:7 on is a Christian one. But the ongoing description is actually that of one still under the law and very much alive to it, not dead to it at all. If he were dead to the law then there would be no further interaction with it, because the law only has jurisdiction over a man as long as he lives. Death dissolves the partnership, the marriage, the old covenant of law. We would not still be talking about the law at this point if he had indeed died to it.

Verse 7 on speaks of the past, since people make such an issue of verse 14 being present tense. So Paul’s experience is that the law killed him, and nowhere forward does this situation change, he is speaking as one who has been killed by the law. He is in a state of spiritual death under the law. He speaks as a dead man.

Then, failing to address the scripture itself, Pink launches into a whole heap of his opinions before jumping straight to the last two verses. “O wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from this body of death?” So Paul has expressed the conclusion that he is controlled by his body of death, and needs a deliverer (from his bondage to sin and death). That deliverer whose name he has not known, is Jesus. So he now knows there is a deliverer who can deliver him from the situation he has just described, that being of one who is under the power and control of sin, which means that the situation he was in, was there because he had not had a deliverer up to this point. IE the problem he described which was now about to be solved by the application of the deliverer Jesus to that problem, meant that the solution (Jesus) was not present during the time of the problem, otherwise the problem would have ceased to exist. So Jesus was not present, but absent, and only law was present, which is why the problem existed. “Without me you can do nothing” Jesus said, and this is the example that Paul in Romans 7 could do nothing of himself, because it was ONLY “of himself” and Jesus or the Spirit were completely absent until chapter 8. Having expressed relief that there WAS a deliverer, he returns to his conclusion of the duality of man’s unredeemed nature under the law.

Pink presupposes that “the law” is eternal and this is what draws his error. When he concludes with the “two laws”, the law of Paul’s mind and the law of sin, he assumes that this is the final conclusion to the chapter, but it is not. The law of sin “in his members” is the very law Jesus died for to release us from, as you will find to be the final conclusion in Romans 8:2, where from that law of sin and death we are now freed by the “law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus”, thus removing one of the “laws” from the “duality” of nature, and he and the “law of his mind” is then set free from the law of sin and death, which is what “the law” becomes to us when we transgress it. But which Christians are now dead to. If you are not dead to it then you have negated the conditions of the new covenant by not exercising faith in Jesus body of death FOR us to relieve us from the power of the law to induce sin in us. [“Having a form of religion, but denying the power thereof”].

Most sadly, he appears to believe that every day of our lives we should be experiencing the “wretched man” position. How many times does he want the question “who will deliver me…” answered?

[Pink’s position is one which maintains the power of the law over the flesh, excusing sin as being covered by Christ’s death instead of sin’s power being removed. “For the sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law, but thanks be to God who gives us the victory in Christ”].

MATTHEW HENRY. cat.1. https://www.christianity.com/bible/commentary/matthew-henry-concise/romans/7

Henry makes the statement “When the commandment came to his conscience* by the conviction of the Holy Spirit“. Now just a minute, we are talking about the law in the context of Romans 7:8 for example, “But sin, taking opportunity through the commandment, produced in me coveting of every kind; for apart from the Law, sin is dead.” The life he just said that he had before the law came, was extinguished by the law when it prompted a sin reaction in him and he died. So the commandment caused his death, the law killed him, but yet he was supposed to have already DIED to the law if he supposedly contained the Spirit.

How can these expressions of LAW and COMMANDMENT be associated with the Holy Spirit, since the Spirit could only come once the matter of law had been dealt with by faith that the body of Jesus had allowed us to DIE TO THE LAW? And these matters cannot be reconciled with the old covenant, law, being separated from us through death so we could be “joined to another”. Since we have already in Paul’s explanation been made to die to the law, why then would further explanation ensue concerning that law that we died to, except as explanation and instruction as to why it had to go? Rom.7 explains it was the law which held us in the power of sin, but now we are no longer under the law. The coming of the Spirit at Pentecost CREATED the new covenant within them, displacing the old. They then just needed explanation as to why this was so, which is what Paul is explaining in 7.

The commandment came to his conscience*’ when he received the law. 7:13. “…That through the commandment, sin might become utterly sinful”. 7:9 “And I was once alive apart from the Law; but when the commandment came (as it did in Eden), sin became alive and I died”. Sin became alive to his conscience, and HE died. GUILT was the result, not by the Spirit, but by the LAW, which was the whole idea of the old covenant. 5:20 “And the law came in that the transgression might increase…” So if he is dead under the law, he is not alive in the Spirit. Can you be dead and alive at the same time? What makes the difference? The SPIRIT of 8:2. Rom.6:14 “For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law, but under grace”. They already knew they were not under law, and 7 revealed to them the how and why of the necessity for that. “Who will set me free from this body of death?” but this takes us straight back to 6:6,7 to ground already covered.

Matthew says “…serve and obey the law of God” And there you have the error. WE ARE NOT UNDER THE LAW. Do we die to the law in order to keep the law? There is an oxymoron for you. But in effect, YES, only by dying to the law can we keep the law, but not by or as law, only by the SPIRIT is the INTENT (Rom.8:4) of the law kept, not the law as law, in written form or otherwise, but only in spirit, as spirit, by the Spirit.

JOHN WESLEY. cat.2. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/wen/romans-7.html Appears to be essentially correct.

GODET (FREDERICK LOUIS). cat.2. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/gsc/romans-7.html correct.

SPURGEON. cat.1. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/spe/romans-7.html incorrect. He claims Paul as Christian when he says “wretched man that I am” but this goes on to say “who will deliver me from this body of death”. It would be a strange Christian who did not already know that the one who had ALREADY “delivered him from this body of death”, was JESUS. And as a Christian, to claim you were a “wretched man” would hardly entice others to the faith if that were to be the experience. (Shades of A.W. PINK). Christ having delivered us from this body of death is the foundation of the faith. And then, without referencing scripture further, he goes off into some long winded huff and puff like some demented novelist determined to use as many words as possible.

JOHN PIPER. cat.1. https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/articles/romans-7-does-describe-your-christian-experience incorrect. John jumps around a fair bit here. He as well, cannot see the pause between 7:6 and 7:7, and ends up seeing “two great victories” being that of 7:6 and that of 7:24, 25, where he proclaims “thanks be to Jesus” and calls 7:25 “with the mind serving God but his flesh serving sin” as a victory?? He fails to see that the mind “serving God” is the same mind that WANTED to serve God but could not, because the law of the flesh causing sin was still in control. Paul’s thanks to Jesus can only come into effect AFTER 8:2 where this law of sin (in the flesh) has been disempowered by the cross, and by faith in which we are now set free from the very law of sin (and death) of 7:25. His initial “thanks be to Jesus” is only an interjection that there IS a deliver whose name he did not know until then, and who obviously was not with him in the whole of this chapter or he would already have had the victory he talks about. So he was not speaking as a believer.

COFFMAN. cat.2. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/bcc/romans-7.html While Coffman seems to be on top of the main issue, his difference with Hodge is interesting – he seems to be arguing over the difference between “he that believes and is baptised will be saved”, and “he that believes will be saved”. This is a diversion from the subject at hand.

HODGE. cat.1. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/hdg/romans-7.html Even while he speaks of a “believer” he continues to speak about the law. This is after the person is supposed to have become a believer on the basis of Christ having died to the law for him. He does not realise that the continuing conflict being spoken of, exists because of its context under law, the same law that Christians are NOT under. He obviously cannot make the distinction between where Paul ends up in 7:6 using words of a believer in the Spirit, and where it starts afresh with the purpose of disclosing just why the law had to go in 7:7. He also creates this strange explanation which includes the fact that we die to the law, but then reintroduces it as being beneficial to the believers life. He continues with its use. “Paul, having shown that we must be delivered from the law, …that the law enlightens a believers conscience…comes to explain what are the use and effect of the law”.

BILL RANDLES. cat.1. https://billrandles.wordpress.com/2010/10/17/two-conflicting-laws-within-me-romans-7/ Bill jumps right in with his view that Romans 7 is the regenerated, Spirit filled person. He presents his case without any meaningful reference to scripture and blindly makes assertions that the scripture does not make. In common with much of this problem is the simple failure to see that the subject matter is LAW, not Spirit, and the reasons he gives to explain this are not credible. There is flat out failure to see that the two subjects of law and Spirit are direct opposites, so that if we are involved in a discussion about law, we are not able to simultaneously entertain a discussion about the Spirit. And to say it again, WE ARE NOT UNDER THE LAW. He says “Why does the Christian have to be delivered from the law of God? Well no Bill, the Christian doesn’t have to be delivered from the law of God, the Christian has ALREADY been delivered from the law of God, that is what makes him a Christian. He was dead under the law, now he has been delivered from law sin and death. It is not the Christian who needs to be delivered from the law of God, but the non Christian. As Romans 7 shows. [Conversely it well may be that the very point of all this, is that it is indeed the Christian who needs deliverance from the law, or law(s). Because it seems that the “law of the Spirit of life” is always being opposed by laws which do NOT come from life, but which seek to install death. See Godet where he says that the gospel has become to, and accepted by, many who see it as a new modified form of law (other than the law of the Spirit of life).]

DOUGLAS MOO. cat.2. Though Moo is not correct in all his assertions, he does fall on the right side of the argument. But I am still looking for a decent commentary by which to confirm this.

DUNN. cat.1.

JOHN MURRAY. cat.1

TOM SCHREINER. cat.2

RUDOLPH BULTMANN. cat.

J.W. MACGORMAN. https://preachingsource.com/journal/romans-7-once-more/ One of the many discourses on this chapter, revealing the intricate delicacies of the subject matter, and how for various reasons people get hopelessly entangled in it like a spiders web, probably because of their faulty theology in other facets of the faith. I enclose it, not necessarily because it is a good example, but because it shows some of the arguments involved. The desire to place verse 25 after 23 is an interesting but desperate attempt to make scripture fit their thesis.

PS One of the wrong ideas commonly put forward by opponents of the truth is that only a believer could rejoice in the law. This is a flat out LIE. A believer in WHAT? There are many old testament old covenant examples of how in what high regard the law was held, after all, that was all they had. Even though now, the glory of the new far surpasses the old, at the time Moses still had to veil his face to conceal that glory. This “only a believer” is used because it is a weapon in their armoury they can use to try to discredit the Spirit’s power in delivering to us the absolute and complete victory of Christ.

DAVID GUZIK. cat.1. https://enduringword.com/bible-commentary/romans-7/ “The spiritual man knows he is carnal” David includes. Here we have one of those oxymorons where the so called ‘spiritual’ man is exhibiting only the characteristics of the carnal man. Paul says elsewhere “let those who are spiritual restore…” yet the man in seven is in need of severe restoration himself, he can hardly be called spiritual. “But I am carnal, sold as a slave…” Now immediately we know that Paul was NOT describable as carnal as a Christian, and he would definitely be described as spiritual. So he is NOT speaking here of his Christian self. AND he says “sold as a slave…” when we know Jesus BOUGHT us back from slavery to sin, and that this slavery to sin was because of the law, that is why law sin and death can no more have dominion over us. THAT is why we “die” to the law. THAT is why WE ARE NOT UNDER THE LAW.

ADAM CLARKE. cat.2.

EU CHRISTIANS. cat. 2. Although this group are on the right side of things there are a couple of errors in their article. They say that 7:9 reveals Paul is not speaking of his personal experience when he writes, “I was once alive apart from the law”. This is wrong because this is the experience of all men, even of Adam and Eve in the garden, which was the first recorded case of this commandment coming and them consequently dying. Also he says of the law “It does not bring about sin…” but 7:8 says that sin, taking opportunity through the commandment, produced in me coveting of every kind; for apart from the law sin is dead.” So the law certainly brings about sin. 7:5 “…sinful passions AROUSED BY THE LAW…”

M.J. THOMPSON cat.1.

MICHAEL YOUSSEF cat.1. Whilst Michael is very good in other directions, he has managed to get this wrong. He has not directly sought to interpret this chapter 7, but has bypassed any explanation by simply saying that it describes SELF EFFORT which is basically correct, but it should specifically be noted that this self effort comes about as a result of being under law, which he does not say, it is not part of the description of being a Christian, which is the very opposite, that of reliance on Christ as the answer to all problems pertaining to legalism. Michael’s falling on the wrong side of the divisive line here, is to be seen by his statement about Romans 7 being preceded by Romans 6 as being about sanctification, a clear reference that he considers chapter 7 to be a continuation of the subject of sanctification. Also that he then mentions how he had in the past had some great conversations with prominent “saints”, and he mentions this with regard to them openly admitting and embracing their failures, again, obviously referring to Romans 7 as being part of the sanctification process of a Christian. He has not directly addressed the scripture nor any of the issues involved. His talk on Romans 7 may be seen at “From valley to Victory Part 9” of March 11 2019.

DAVID RICE cat.1. David has chosen the category 1 side of the argument, which is his choice of course. He has a web site called “End Time Thinker”.

GODBEY cat.1. This is nothing but a load of complicated rubbish. The very reason for Paul writing chapter 7 was to show how and why the old covenant of law had to be replaced with a new covenant of grace. He shows how he was under the power of sin because of law and draws on his own experience in this regard to explain the process of the power that sin had over us because we were under law. His explanation is self contradictory on many points and his conclusion in verse 25 is the usual error of thinking that this is the duality of the Christian position, without the further influence of chapter 8.

CROSSROMAN cat. 2. I suppose I should include myself in this. Briefly, Paul has given us the gospel up to and including chapter 6, now he wants to ensure that those who came out of the Mosaic law system were fully in understanding of the situation, of why the covenant had to change, why grace had to supersede the law system. He explains that through faith in the sacrificial body of Christ we are released from servitude and slavery under the law. Then he goes back to explain how sin through the law killed him, and he remains in that death for the remainder of the chapter, including verse 25. From verse7 on he explains the (his) position as one under the law and captive to sin by it. In verse 14 he explains that though the law is spiritual, that he (and all mankind) was not, that we were all ‘of flesh’, even, and particularly so, Jesus. He is recalling the position of one of the flesh. He fell to sin’s temptation but Jesus did not. The argument that only a regenerate person would rejoice in the law is obviously false as not only does scripture say the opposite but it is easily understood that the law was all they had at the time and the glory of it (far surpassed now by the glory of the Spirit) was shown on Moses face when he came down from the mountain). Paul explains captivity to the law of sin under the law. Verse 24 expresses the utter hopelessness of one in this position, this “wretched man”. WHO WILL SET ME FREE FROM THIS BODY OF DEATH? In the final verse 25 he supplies the answer, that it is indeed JESUS who will set him free. (He speaks as one still under the law and in bondage to sin). It is an interjection, an exclamation of relief that the answer exists. He now sums up all that he has explained in the forgoing chapter, that his mind, which has been shown to be in servitude to the law of sin; even though it desires to do good can only do evil; is in itself willing to serve God’s law but is in slavery and bonded to, the law of sin with his flesh. Just because the name of Jesus has been mentioned does not mean that his bondage to the law of sin has been broken. The two laws sit there inside him ready to be provoked into action and the preceding has shown that the law of sin always takes over and defeats the law of his mind that ‘wishes’ to serve God. One would have to prove that the “prisoner” of verse 24 had been set free by or around the exclamation and revelation of verse 25 of “thanks to God”; in order to prove that verse 25 was the statement of a Christian. This is not so however, the duality of nature shown here is that of the two laws inherent in every man who has indeed any reasonable conscience regarding sin and his own part in it. It says he is serving the law of sin with his flesh, so nothing has changed from the whole of chapter 7 forwards, in which his servitude to the law of sin and death was proclaimed, even though his desire was otherwise, he was helpless against it. SIN was the result. [He is speaking AS one under law, this was not his actual experience here, he is drawing on past experience of his prior failures, showing that failure under law is inevitable.] He reveals the inner deficiencies of one not yet released from such bondage to sin by law.

It is not until chapter 8 that release from this law of sin is proclaimed and obtained. 8:2 agrees with 7:6. There is no mention of Spirit control from 7:7 onwards, it only emerges in 8:2 “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death” (this is that same “law of sin” in v25). 7:6 said “But now we have been released from the law, having died to that by which we were bound, so that we serve in newness of the Spirit and not in oldness of the letter”. Of course that was the end of any mention of the Spirit, as he goes into his explanation of why the covenant of law had to go, because it in itself stimulated sin in men of flesh, which we all are, until we, although OF the flesh, get to be excluded from the description of being as those IN the flesh, being now IN the Spirit, in accordance with 8:9.

So chapter 7 is all LAW FLESH SIN DEATH completely. Paul is hypothetically IN DEATH until chapter 8. where liberation from this deathly position is now proclaimed.

In verse 25 there was one version of the N.I.V. that said “I, OF myself…”. This is confirming of where Jesus said “without me you can do nothing” as Paul in Romans 7 was certainly without Jesus in any form.

TO BE CONTINUED…..

CLINGING TO A COUNTERFEIT CROSS [1654bg]

The above is the title of a piece by J.P. Shelly, “Chapter 15, sin and the misinterpretation of Romans 7”, in “TRUTH ACCORDING TO SCRIPTURE” which I reproduce here in part.

“When considering the topic of sin, the passage most often used to defend its pervasiveness in the Church is that of Romans 7:14-25. It is one of the most controversial and debated passages in Scripture. Is Paul speaking of a believer, an unbeliever, or something else entirely? The massive amount of material written on the subject is evidence of the extent of its significance in influencing one’s view of the Christian life. Emotions run high when debating this issue and the rigidity on both sides are dramatic, A.W. Pink states:

(View 1) “This moan, ‘O wretched man that I am,’ expresses the normal experience of the Christian, and any Christian who does not so moan is in an abnormal and unhealthy state spiritually. The man who does not utter this cry daily is either so out of communion with Christ, or so ignorant of the teachings of scripture, or so deceived about his actual condition, that he knows not the corruptions of his own heart and the abject failure of his own life. The one who is truly in communion with Christ, will…emit this groan…daily and hourly.”

On the other side of the issue Adam Clarke says:

(View 2) “It is difficult to conceive how the opinion could have crept into the church, or prevailed there, that the apostle speaks here of his regenerate state; and that what was, in such a state, true of himself, must be true of all others in the same state. This opinion has, most pitifully and most shamefully, not only lowered the standard of Christianity, but destroyed its influence and disgraced its character…. That all that is said in this chapter of the carnal man, sold under sin, did apply to Saul of Tarsus, no man can doubt: that what is here said can ever be with propriety applied to Paul the Apostle, who can believe? Of the former, all is natural; of the latter, all here said would be monstrous and absurd, if not blasphemous.”

Web link https://www.truthaccordingtoscripture.com/documents/books/counterfeit-cross/romans-7.php#.YIEbwB3iuUk

MY COMMENT ON THIS IS. These two views given of Romans 7 surely demonstrate the extreme degree of error involved in either the one or the other.

These two views seem to embrace fully and completely, the idea and therefore reality of, EITHER the absolute ACCEPTANCE of sin in the Christian life, or the absolute REJECTION of sin in the Christian life.

AS SUCH, they must represent the two views of EITHER the “mind of the flesh” OR, “the mind of the Spirit”.

WHICH IS WHICH?

The ‘mind of the flesh’ must surely seek to retain its “life”, its IDENTITY, by the continuation of its presence. The ‘mind of the Spirit’ must surely seek to destroy or severely disable any presence or identity of sin, just as Jesus did.

The question then is, “What is intended to be achieved by FAITH? The last part of the second view allocates BLASPHEMY to the first view, this being how serious this matter is.

BY FAITH, this sinful identity, this SELF, this “sin in the flesh” is intended to be put to death. Its power and identity has been killed on the cross, and by faith we ACQUIRE this same death. “Those who are his have crucified the flesh…”. They acquire Christ.

So the FIRST view is surely an expression of how this has failed to happen, and is continuing to fail to happen. It is an expression of defeat, allowing for continuation of both SIN and LAW, the one obtaining power from the other.

BY FAITH we leave the identity of “sinner” to join with Christ in His identity of Victor, Overcomer, sinless. This expression is found in John, “…he cannot sin, because he has been born of God”.

So here we surely have revealed to us how the mind of the flesh is determined at any cost to hang onto its sinful identity by refusing to submit or to be submitted to, the identity of CHRIST. Blasphemy indeed.

The FIRST view then, is a refusal and a reluctance to be in submission to Christ, and expresses the continuing dominance of the flesh over the identity of the person involved. Those of this first view then, are willingly in denial of the cross of Christ.

Christ in His life, separated the two natures, the spiritual from the natural, so that His identity was “IN” the Spiritual. We now do the same thing; only now we live in Him, in His identity, having rejected our natural identity in order to assume to ourselves HIS SPIRIT, now passed through the fire so we might gain, by faith, HIS VICTORY ALSO.

When we consider the fall of creation, the “opening of Pandora’s box”, the release of evil, the creation of the “Doctor Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” situation, and the horrific consequences that resulted in the monstrous fallen identity of mankind: Then the term BLASPHEMY in relation to the promulgation of view number one is surely not strong enough.

[We are reconciled by His physical body through death]

Joyful songs https://crossroman.wordpress.com/2021/04/09/joyful-songs-773ay/

We have been betrayed https://crossroman.wordpress.com/2021/06/08/we-have-been-betrayed-by-pastors-ministers-and-priests-1682b/

Romans 7 Does Not Describe Your Christian Experience

See also Bible Life Ministries https://biblelife.org/romans7.htm

FURTHER TO THE ISSUE OF THE “I”. Just a quick note to say that there is no mystery about Paul’s “I” at all. In amongst his historical dealings with the law, he comments that he of himself, I myself, “that is” and “in my flesh”, IN THE OLD NATURE dwells no good thing; “flesh” being his old nature which is what he is talking about in relation to the law. EVERYBODY is “of flesh”, even Jesus was, and the flesh in relation to the law, which is the whole context of Romans 7, will produce no good thing. So his “flesh” in relation to the LAW is a dead thing or situation, relationship (needing divorce from). Because he is “of” the flesh in this ongoing explanation about how sin through law kills us, he is reciting the experience as of one who is “in” the flesh, NOT of one who is “in” the Spirit, as he actually is. Paul’s story is about one who is “alive” to law, not “dead” to it. His “I” is where he sees or places his I-d-entity at the time.

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ROMANS 7 COMMENTARIES CRITIQUED [1777c]

A Michael Youssef update. See also post 1564a.

A WORK IN PROGRESS

Category 1 commentaries are those where the author predominately believes that Romans 7 is that of the Christian position. Category 2 commentaries are those where the author predominately believes that Romans 7 is that of the pre Christian position. The number of category 1 commentaries seem to far outweigh the category 2 ones, which is a pity because category 1 is the incorrect position and the consequences of this are far reaching, far beyond what one would expect them to be.

A.W. PINK. cat. 1. http://www.pbcofdecaturalabama.org/AWPink/Romans7.htm It is hard to imagine just what background Pink came from to enable such a poor understanding of this chapter. He says that morally we are bound to obey the law, which presupposes that the law is still relevant and not fulfilled or “abolished”. He splits the legal law from the moral law, for which there is no precedent, we have died to the law, which means as far as the law goes we cease to exist, and as far as we go, the whole law ceases to exist. Death frees us from both law and sin. Pink wants us to obey the law we are no longer under.

Then he says that believers are dead to the law, but then says that this experience from 7:7 on is a Christian one. But the ongoing description is actually that of one still under the law and very much alive to it, not dead to it at all. If he were dead to the law then there would be no further interaction with it, because the law only has jurisdiction over a man as long as he lives. Death dissolves the partnership, the marriage, the old covenant of law. We would not still be talking about the law at this point if he had indeed died to it.

Verse 7 on speaks of the past, since people make such an issue of verse 14 being present tense. So Paul’s experience is that the law killed him, and nowhere forward does this situation change, he is speaking as one who has been killed by the law. He is in a state of spiritual death under the law. He speaks as a dead man.

Then, failing to address the scripture itself, Pink launches into a whole heap of his opinions before jumping straight to the last two verses. “O wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from this body of death?” So Paul has expressed the conclusion that he is controlled by his body of death, and needs a deliverer (from his bondage to sin and death). That deliverer whose name he has not known, is Jesus. So he now knows there is a deliverer who can deliver him from the situation he has just described, that being of one who is under the power and control of sin, which means that the situation he was in, was there because he had not had a deliverer up to this point. IE the problem he described which was now about to be solved by the application of the deliverer Jesus to that problem, meant that the solution (Jesus) was not present during the time of the problem, otherwise the problem would have ceased to exist. So Jesus was not present, but absent, and only law was present, which is why the problem existed. “Without me you can do nothing” Jesus said, and this is the example that Paul in Romans 7 could do nothing of himself, because it was ONLY “of himself” and Jesus or the Spirit were completely absent until chapter 8. Having expressed relief that there WAS a deliverer, he returns to his conclusion of the duality of man’s unredeemed nature under the law.

Pink presupposes that “the law” is eternal and this is what draws his error. When he concludes with the “two laws”, the law of Paul’s mind and the law of sin, he assumes that this is the final conclusion to the chapter, but it is not. The law of sin “in his members” is the very law Jesus died for to release us from, as you will find to be the final conclusion in Romans 8:2, where from that law of sin and death we are now freed by the “law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus”, thus removing one of the “laws” from the “duality” of nature, and he and the “law of his mind” is then set free from the law of sin and death, which is what “the law” becomes to us when we transgress it. But which Christians are now dead to. If you are not dead to it then you have negated the conditions of the new covenant by not exercising faith in Jesus body of death FOR us to relieve us from the power of the law to induce sin in us. [“Having a form of religion, but denying the power thereof”].

Most sadly, he appears to believe that every day of our lives we should be experiencing the “wretched man” position. How many times does he want the question “who will deliver me…” answered?

[Pink’s position is one which maintains the power of the law over the flesh, excusing sin as being covered by Christ’s death instead of sin’s power being removed. “For the sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law, but thanks be to God who gives us the victory in Christ”].

MATTHEW HENRY. cat.1. https://www.christianity.com/bible/commentary/matthew-henry-concise/romans/7

Henry makes the statement “When the commandment came to his conscience* by the conviction of the Holy Spirit“. Now just a minute, we are talking about the law in the context of Romans 7:8 for example, “But sin, taking opportunity through the commandment, produced in me coveting of every kind; for apart from the Law, sin is dead.” The life he just said that he had before the law came, was extinguished by the law when it prompted a sin reaction in him and he died. So the commandment caused his death, the law killed him, but yet he was supposed to have already DIED to the law if he supposedly contained the Spirit.

How can these expressions of LAW and COMMANDMENT be associated with the Holy Spirit, since the Spirit could only come once the matter of law had been dealt with by faith that the body of Jesus had allowed us to DIE TO THE LAW? And these matters cannot be reconciled with the old covenant, law, being separated from us through death so we could be “joined to another”. Since we have already in Paul’s explanation been made to die to the law, why then would further explanation ensue concerning that law that we died to, except as explanation and instruction as to why it had to go? Rom.7 explains it was the law which held us in the power of sin, but now we are no longer under the law. The coming of the Spirit at Pentecost CREATED the new covenant within them, displacing the old. They then just needed explanation as to why this was so, which is what Paul is explaining in 7.

The commandment came to his conscience*’ when he received the law. 7:13. “…That through the commandment, sin might become utterly sinful”. 7:9 “And I was once alive apart from the Law; but when the commandment came (as it did in Eden), sin became alive and I died”. Sin became alive to his conscience, and HE died. GUILT was the result, not by the Spirit, but by the LAW, which was the whole idea of the old covenant. 5:20 “And the law came in that the transgression might increase…” So if he is dead under the law, he is not alive in the Spirit. Can you be dead and alive at the same time? What makes the difference? The SPIRIT of 8:2. Rom.6:14 “For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law, but under grace”. They already knew they were not under law, and 7 revealed to them the how and why of the necessity for that. “Who will set me free from this body of death?” but this takes us straight back to 6:6,7 to ground already covered.

Matthew says “…serve and obey the law of God” And there you have the error. WE ARE NOT UNDER THE LAW. Do we die to the law in order to keep the law? There is an oxymoron for you. But in effect, YES, only by dying to the law can we keep the law, but not by or as law, only by the SPIRIT is the INTENT (Rom.8:4) of the law kept, not the law as law, in written form or otherwise, but only in spirit, as spirit, by the Spirit.

JOHN WESLEY. cat.2. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/wen/romans-7.html Appears to be essentially correct.

GODET (FREDERICK LOUIS). cat.2. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/gsc/romans-7.html correct.

SPURGEON. cat.1. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/spe/romans-7.html incorrect. He claims Paul as Christian when he says “wretched man that I am” but this goes on to say “who will deliver me from this body of death”. It would be a strange Christian who did not already know that the one who had ALREADY “delivered him from this body of death”, was JESUS. And as a Christian, to claim you were a “wretched man” would hardly entice others to the faith if that were to be the experience. (Shades of A.W. PINK). Christ having delivered us from this body of death is the foundation of the faith. And then, without referencing scripture further, he goes off into some long winded huff and puff like some demented novelist determined to use as many words as possible.

JOHN PIPER. cat.1. https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/articles/romans-7-does-describe-your-christian-experience incorrect. John jumps around a fair bit here. He as well, cannot see the pause between 7:6 and 7:7, and ends up seeing “two great victories” being that of 7:6 and that of 7:24, 25, where he proclaims “thanks be to Jesus” and calls 7:25 “with the mind serving God but his flesh serving sin” as a victory?? He fails to see that the mind “serving God” is the same mind that WANTED to serve God but could not, because the law of the flesh causing sin was still in control. Paul’s thanks to Jesus can only come into effect AFTER 8:2 where this law of sin (in the flesh) has been disempowered by the cross, and by faith in which we are now set free from the very law of sin (and death) of 7:25. His initial “thanks be to Jesus” is only an interjection that there IS a deliver whose name he did not know until then, and who obviously was not with him in the whole of this chapter or he would already have had the victory he talks about. So he was not speaking as a believer.

COFFMAN. cat.2. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/bcc/romans-7.html While Coffman seems to be on top of the main issue, his difference with Hodge is interesting – he seems to be arguing over the difference between “he that believes and is baptised will be saved”, and “he that believes will be saved”. This is a diversion from the subject at hand.

HODGE. cat.1. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/hdg/romans-7.html Even while he speaks of a “believer” he continues to speak about the law. This is after the person is supposed to have become a believer on the basis of Christ having died to the law for him. He does not realise that the continuing conflict being spoken of, exists because of its context under law, the same law that Christians are NOT under. He obviously cannot make the distinction between where Paul ends up in 7:6 using words of a believer in the Spirit, and where it starts afresh with the purpose of disclosing just why the law had to go in 7:7. He also creates this strange explanation which includes the fact that we die to the law, but then reintroduces it as being beneficial to the believers life. He continues with its use. “Paul, having shown that we must be delivered from the law, …that the law enlightens a believers conscience…comes to explain what are the use and effect of the law”.

BILL RANDLES. cat.1. https://billrandles.wordpress.com/2010/10/17/two-conflicting-laws-within-me-romans-7/ Bill jumps right in with his view that Romans 7 is the regenerated, Spirit filled person. He presents his case without any meaningful reference to scripture and blindly makes assertions that the scripture does not make. In common with much of this problem is the simple failure to see that the subject matter is LAW, not Spirit, and the reasons he gives to explain this are not credible. There is flat out failure to see that the two subjects of law and Spirit are direct opposites, so that if we are involved in a discussion about law, we are not able to simultaneously entertain a discussion about the Spirit. And to say it again, WE ARE NOT UNDER THE LAW. He says “Why does the Christian have to be delivered from the law of God? Well no Bill, the Christian doesn’t have to be delivered from the law of God, the Christian has ALREADY been delivered from the law of God, that is what makes him a Christian. He was dead under the law, now he has been delivered from law sin and death. It is not the Christian who needs to be delivered from the law of God, but the non Christian. As Romans 7 shows. [Conversely it well may be that the very point of all this, is that it is indeed the Christian who needs deliverance from the law, or law(s). Because it seems that the “law of the Spirit of life” is always being opposed by laws which do NOT come from life, but which seek to install death. See Godet where he says that the gospel has become to, and accepted by, many who see it as a new modified form of law (other than the law of the Spirit of life).]

DOUGLAS MOO. cat.2. Though Moo is not correct in all his assertions, he does fall on the right side of the argument. But I am still looking for a decent commentary by which to confirm this.

DUNN. cat.1.

JOHN MURRAY. cat.1

TOM SCHREINER. cat.2

RUDOLPH BULTMANN. cat.

J.W. MACGORMAN. https://preachingsource.com/journal/romans-7-once-more/ One of the many discourses on this chapter, revealing the intricate delicacies of the subject matter, and how for various reasons people get hopelessly entangled in it like a spiders web, probably because of their faulty theology in other facets of the faith. I enclose it, not necessarily because it is a good example, but because it shows some of the arguments involved. The desire to place verse 25 after 23 is an interesting but desperate attempt to make scripture fit their thesis.

PS One of the wrong ideas commonly put forward by opponents of the truth is that only a believer could rejoice in the law. This is a flat out LIE. A believer in WHAT? There are many old testament old covenant examples of how in what high regard the law was held, after all, that was all they had. Even though now, the glory of the new far surpasses the old, at the time Moses still had to veil his face to conceal that glory. This “only a believer” is used because it is a weapon in their armoury they can use to try to discredit the Spirit’s power in delivering to us the absolute and complete victory of Christ.

DAVID GUZIK. cat.1. https://enduringword.com/bible-commentary/romans-7/ “The spiritual man knows he is carnal” David includes. Here we have one of those oxymorons where the so called ‘spiritual’ man is exhibiting only the characteristics of the carnal man. Paul says elsewhere “let those who are spiritual restore…” yet the man in seven is in need of severe restoration himself, he can hardly be called spiritual. “But I am carnal, sold as a slave…” Now immediately we know that Paul was NOT describable as carnal as a Christian, and he would definitely be described as spiritual. So he is NOT speaking here of his Christian self. AND he says “sold as a slave…” when we know Jesus BOUGHT us back from slavery to sin, and that this slavery to sin was because of the law, that is why law sin and death can no more have dominion over us. THAT is why we “die” to the law. THAT is why WE ARE NOT UNDER THE LAW.

ADAM CLARKE. cat.2.

EU CHRISTIANS. cat. 2. Although this group are on the right side of things there are a couple of errors in their article. They say that 7:9 reveals Paul is not speaking of his personal experience when he writes, “I was once alive apart from the law”. This is wrong because this is the experience of all men, even of Adam and Eve in the garden, which was the first recorded case of this commandment coming and them consequently dying. Also he says of the law “It does not bring about sin…” but 7:8 says that sin, taking opportunity through the commandment, produced in me coveting of every kind; for apart from the law sin is dead.” So the law certainly brings about sin. 7:5 “…sinful passions AROUSED BY THE LAW…”

M.J. THOMPSON cat.1.

MICHAEL YOUSSEF cat.1. Whilst Michael is very good in other directions, he has managed to get this wrong. He has not directly sought to interpret this chapter 7, but has bypassed any explanation by simply saying that it describes SELF EFFORT which is basically correct, but it should specifically be noted that this self effort comes about as a result of being under law, which he does not say, it is not part of the description of being a Christian, which is the very opposite, that of reliance on Christ as the answer to all problems pertaining to legalism. Michael’s falling on the wrong side of the divisive line here, is to be seen by his statement about Romans 7 being preceded by Romans 6 as being about sanctification, a clear reference that he considers chapter 7 to be a continuation of the subject of sanctification. Also that he then mentions how he had in the past had some great conversations with prominent “saints”, and he mentions this with regard to them openly admitting and embracing their failures, again, obviously referring to Romans 7 as being part of the sanctification process of a Christian. He has not directly addressed the scripture nor any of the issues involved. His talk on Romans 7 may be seen at “From valley to Victory Part 9” of March 11 2019.

DAVID RICE cat.1. David has chosen the category 1 side of the argument, which is his choice of course. He has a web site called “End Time Thinker”.

TO BE CONTINUED…..

CLINGING TO A COUNTERFEIT CROSS [1654bf]

The above is the title of a piece by J.P. Shelly, “Chapter 15, sin and the misinterpretation of Romans 7”, in “TRUTH ACCORDING TO SCRIPTURE” which I reproduce here in part.

“When considering the topic of sin, the passage most often used to defend its pervasiveness in the Church is that of Romans 7:14-25. It is one of the most controversial and debated passages in Scripture. Is Paul speaking of a believer, an unbeliever, or something else entirely? The massive amount of material written on the subject is evidence of the extent of its significance in influencing one’s view of the Christian life. Emotions run high when debating this issue and the rigidity on both sides are dramatic, A.W. Pink states:

(View 1) “This moan, ‘O wretched man that I am,’ expresses the normal experience of the Christian, and any Christian who does not so moan is in an abnormal and unhealthy state spiritually. The man who does not utter this cry daily is either so out of communion with Christ, or so ignorant of the teachings of scripture, or so deceived about his actual condition, that he knows not the corruptions of his own heart and the abject failure of his own life. The one who is truly in communion with Christ, will…emit this groan…daily and hourly.”

On the other side of the issue Adam Clarke says:

(View 2) “It is difficult to conceive how the opinion could have crept into the church, or prevailed there, that the apostle speaks here of his regenerate state; and that what was, in such a state, true of himself, must be true of all others in the same state. This opinion has, most pitifully and most shamefully, not only lowered the standard of Christianity, but destroyed its influence and disgraced its character…. That all that is said in this chapter of the carnal man, sold under sin, did apply to Saul of Tarsus, no man can doubt: that what is here said can ever be with propriety applied to Paul the Apostle, who can believe? Of the former, all is natural; of the latter, all here said would be monstrous and absurd, if not blasphemous.”

Web link https://www.truthaccordingtoscripture.com/documents/books/counterfeit-cross/romans-7.php#.YIEbwB3iuUk

MY COMMENT ON THIS IS. These two views given of Romans 7 surely demonstrate the extreme degree of error involved in either the one or the other.

These two views seem to embrace fully and completely, the idea and therefore reality of, EITHER the absolute ACCEPTANCE of sin in the Christian life, or the absolute REJECTION of sin in the Christian life.

AS SUCH, they must represent the two views of EITHER the “mind of the flesh” OR, “the mind of the Spirit”.

WHICH IS WHICH?

The ‘mind of the flesh’ must surely seek to retain its “life”, its IDENTITY, by the continuation of its presence. The ‘mind of the Spirit’ must surely seek to destroy or severely disable any presence or identity of sin, just as Jesus did.

The question then is, “What is intended to be achieved by FAITH? The last part of the second view allocates BLASPHEMY to the first view, this being how serious this matter is.

BY FAITH, this sinful identity, this SELF, this “sin in the flesh” is intended to be put to death. Its power and identity has been killed on the cross, and by faith we ACQUIRE this same death. “Those who are his have crucified the flesh…”. They acquire Christ.

So the FIRST view is surely an expression of how this has failed to happen, and is continuing to fail to happen. It is an expression of defeat, allowing for continuation of both SIN and LAW, the one obtaining power from the other.

BY FAITH we leave the identity of “sinner” to join with Christ in His identity of Victor, Overcomer, sinless. This expression is found in John, “…he cannot sin, because he has been born of God”.

So here we surely have revealed to us how the mind of the flesh is determined at any cost to hang onto its sinful identity by refusing to submit or to be submitted to, the identity of CHRIST. Blasphemy indeed.

The FIRST view then, is a refusal and a reluctance to be in submission to Christ, and expresses the continuing dominance of the flesh over the identity of the person involved. Those of this first view then, are willingly in denial of the cross of Christ.

Christ in His life, separated the two natures, the spiritual from the natural, so that His identity was “IN” the Spiritual. We now do the same thing; only now we live in Him, in His identity, having rejected our natural identity in order to assume to ourselves HIS SPIRIT, now passed through the fire so we might gain, by faith, HIS VICTORY ALSO.

When we consider the fall of creation, the “opening of Pandora’s box”, the release of evil, the creation of the “Doctor Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” situation, and the horrific consequences that resulted in the monstrous fallen identity of mankind: Then the term BLASPHEMY in relation to the promulgation of view number one is surely not strong enough.

[We are reconciled by His physical body through death]

Joyful songs https://crossroman.wordpress.com/2021/04/09/joyful-songs-773ay/

We have been betrayed https://crossroman.wordpress.com/2021/06/08/we-have-been-betrayed-by-pastors-ministers-and-priests-1682b/

Romans 7 Does Not Describe Your Christian Experience

See also Bible Life Ministries https://biblelife.org/romans7.htm

FURTHER TO THE ISSUE OF THE “I”. Just a quick note to say that there is no mystery about Paul’s “I” at all. In amongst his historical dealings with the law, he comments that he of himself, I myself, “that is” and “in my flesh”, IN THE OLD NATURE dwells no good thing; “flesh” being his old nature which is what he is talking about in relation to the law. EVERYBODY is “of flesh”, even Jesus was, and the flesh in relation to the law, which is the whole context of Romans 7, will produce no good thing. So his “flesh” in relation to the LAW is a dead thing or situation, relationship (needing divorce from). Because he is “of” the flesh in this ongoing explanation about how sin through law kills us, he is reciting the experience as of one who is “in” the flesh, NOT of one who is “in” the Spirit, as he actually is. Paul’s story is about one who is “alive” to law, not “dead” to it. His “I” is where he sees or places his I-d-entity at the time.

.

CLINGING TO A COUNTERFEIT CROSS [1654be]

The above is the title of a piece by J.P. Shelly, “Chapter 15, sin and the misinterpretation of Romans 7”, in “TRUTH ACCORDING TO SCRIPTURE” which I reproduce here in part.

“When considering the topic of sin, the passage most often used to defend its pervasiveness in the Church is that of Romans 7:14-25. It is one of the most controversial and debated passages in Scripture. Is Paul speaking of a believer, an unbeliever, or something else entirely? The massive amount of material written on the subject is evidence of the extent of its significance in influencing one’s view of the Christian life. Emotions run high when debating this issue and the rigidity on both sides are dramatic, A.W. Pink states:

(View 1) “This moan, ‘O wretched man that I am,’ expresses the normal experience of the Christian, and any Christian who does not so moan is in an abnormal and unhealthy state spiritually. The man who does not utter this cry daily is either so out of communion with Christ, or so ignorant of the teachings of scripture, or so deceived about his actual condition, that he knows not the corruptions of his own heart and the abject failure of his own life. The one who is truly in communion with Christ, will…emit this groan…daily and hourly.”

On the other side of the issue Adam Clarke says:

(View 2) “It is difficult to conceive how the opinion could have crept into the church, or prevailed there, that the apostle speaks here of his regenerate state; and that what was, in such a state, true of himself, must be true of all others in the same state. This opinion has, most pitifully and most shamefully, not only lowered the standard of Christianity, but destroyed its influence and disgraced its character…. That all that is said in this chapter of the carnal man, sold under sin, did apply to Saul of Tarsus, no man can doubt: that what is here said can ever be with propriety applied to Paul the Apostle, who can believe? Of the former, all is natural; of the latter, all here said would be monstrous and absurd, if not blasphemous.”

Web link https://www.truthaccordingtoscripture.com/documents/books/counterfeit-cross/romans-7.php#.YIEbwB3iuUk

MY COMMENT ON THIS IS. These two views given of Romans 7 surely demonstrate the extreme degree of error involved in either the one or the other.

These two views seem to embrace fully and completely, the idea and therefore reality of, EITHER the absolute ACCEPTANCE of sin in the Christian life, or the absolute REJECTION of sin in the Christian life.

AS SUCH, they must represent the two views of EITHER the “mind of the flesh” OR, “the mind of the Spirit”.

WHICH IS WHICH?

The ‘mind of the flesh’ must surely seek to retain its “life”, its IDENTITY, by the continuation of its presence. The ‘mind of the Spirit’ must surely seek to destroy or severely disable any presence or identity of sin, just as Jesus did.

The question then is, “What is intended to be achieved by FAITH? The last part of the second view allocates BLASPHEMY to the first view, this being how serious this matter is.

BY FAITH, this sinful identity, this SELF, this “sin in the flesh” is intended to be put to death. Its power and identity has been killed on the cross, and by faith we ACQUIRE this same death. “Those who are his have crucified the flesh…”. They acquire Christ.

So the FIRST view is surely an expression of how this has failed to happen, and is continuing to fail to happen. It is an expression of defeat, allowing for continuation of both SIN and LAW, the one obtaining power from the other.

BY FAITH we leave the identity of “sinner” to join with Christ in His identity of Victor, Overcomer, sinless. This expression is found in John, “…he cannot sin, because he has been born of God”.

So here we surely have revealed to us how the mind of the flesh is determined at any cost to hang onto its sinful identity by refusing to submit or to be submitted to, the identity of CHRIST. Blasphemy indeed.

The FIRST view then, is a refusal and a reluctance to be in submission to Christ, and expresses the continuing dominance of the flesh over the identity of the person involved. Those of this first view then, are willingly in denial of the cross of Christ.

Christ in His life, separated the two natures, the spiritual from the natural, so that His identity was “IN” the Spiritual. We now do the same thing; only now we live in Him, in His identity, having rejected our natural identity in order to assume to ourselves HIS SPIRIT, now passed through the fire so we might gain, by faith, HIS VICTORY ALSO.

When we consider the fall of creation, the “opening of Pandora’s box”, the release of evil, the creation of the “Doctor Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” situation, and the horrific consequences that resulted in the monstrous fallen identity of mankind: Then the term BLASPHEMY in relation to the promulgation of view number one is surely not strong enough.

[We are reconciled by His physical body through death]

Joyful songs https://crossroman.wordpress.com/2021/04/09/joyful-songs-773ay/

We have been betrayed https://crossroman.wordpress.com/2021/06/08/we-have-been-betrayed-by-pastors-ministers-and-priests-1682b/

Romans 7 Does Not Describe Your Christian Experience

See also Bible Life Ministries https://biblelife.org/romans7.htm

FURTHER TO THE ISSUE OF THE “I”. Just a quick note to say that there is no mystery about Paul’s “I” at all. In amongst his historical dealings with the law, he comments that he of himself, I myself, “that is” and “in my flesh”, IN THE OLD NATURE dwells no good thing; “flesh” being his old nature which is what he is talking about in relation to the law. EVERYBODY is “of flesh”, even Jesus was, and the flesh in relation to the law, which is the whole context of Romans 7, will produce no good thing. So his “flesh” in relation to the LAW is a dead thing or situation, relationship (needing divorce from). Because he is “of” the flesh in this ongoing explanation about how sin through law kills us, he is reciting the experience as of one who is “in” the flesh, NOT of one who is “in” the Spirit, as he actually is. Paul’s story is about one who is “alive” to law, not “dead” to it.

.

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.]

PASSIONATE ARGUMENTS ABOUT ROMANS 7 [1840]

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