All Scripture references are taken from the NASB unless otherwise noted.
Continuing from Part 1, it is necessary to review Romans 7:14 before looking at verse 15, “For we know that the Law is spiritual, but I am of flesh, sold into bondage to sin.” Paul makes a peculiar statement for one who is a Follower of Jesus Christ, “I am of flesh, sold into bondage to sin.” The ‘flesh’ part is not the issue. However, for the Apostle to claim that he is “sold into bondage to sin” repudiates what he just completed this thought in Chapter 6 stating, “20 For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. 21 Therefore what benefit were you then deriving from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the outcome of those things is death. 22 But now having been freed from sin and enslaved to God, you derive your benefit, resulting in sanctification, and the outcome, eternal life. 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” The question is simple, “Why would he, as a Christian say that he is in bondage of sin after assuring the church in Rome that he is free from sin and enslaved to God?” The obvious answer for he does not suggest conflicting thoughts about himself as a Believer. His statement at the end of what we know as Chapter 6 is about his freedom from sin because of the Resurrected Lord.
A person under the Law is in the bondage of sin and hates every moment of it
“For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate.“ Romans 7:15. Prisoners who are incarcerated hate what they do every day because of what they did to get there. They, indeed, would like very much to be in another place, in another world doing what they would like to be able to in freedom. They cannot because of bad choices. The same is true for most lost people. They cannot do what is right (righteous) because of their innate sinful nature. They are able to do what may seem to be good things, but cannot.
A very wealthy man approached Jesus and asked, “Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” 19 And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good except God alone. 20 You know the commandments, ‘DO NOT COMMIT ADULTERY, DO NOT MURDER, DO NOT STEAL, DO NOT BEAR FALSE WITNESS, HONOR YOUR FATHER AND MOTHER.'” 21 And he said, “All these things I have kept from my youth.” 22 When Jesus heard this, He said to him, “One thing you still lack; sell all that you possess and distribute it to the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” 23 But when he had heard these things, he became very sad, for he was extremely rich.” Luke 18:18-23. This man claims that he not only knows the Las, but he has kept the Law since childhood, however, this ‘goodness’ is not good enough for anyone to enter into the Kingdom of God. Not then and not now. For just as Paul writes in verse 15 that he does the very things he hates doing even though he knows the right things to do. This wealthy man knew what to do, but could not accomplish enough to please God. The same is true for the religious leaders who knew the Law in Jerusalem, “Now the Pharisees, who were lovers of money, were listening to all these things and were scoffing at Him. And He said to them, “You are those who justify yourselves in the sight of men, but God knows your hearts; for that which is highly esteemed among men is detestable in the sight of God.” Luke 16:14-15. These men liked their life-styles for the most part, but the good things they did were not pleasing to God. Again, the Apostle Paul was a Pharisee among Pharisees. In other words, before he became a ‘Christ-follower,’ he was a very good Jew who knew and understood the Law as being helpful to him and writes in 7:15, “For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate.” He knew he was breaking the commandments of God and hated it.
Christ does NOT live in the life (body) of a lost person
“But if I do what I don’t want, I agree that the law is good. 17 But now it is no longer me doing it, but sin that lives in me. 18 For I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my flesh. For I want to do the good, but I cannot do it. 19 For I do not do the good I want, but I do the very evil I do not want! 20 Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer me doing it but sin that lives in me.” Romans 7:16-20. As a good Jew and understanding the commandments of God, Paul writes about doing the very thing he hates, but he does those things because sin lives in his life, in his flesh. Sin lives in his life BEFORE he met the Savior on the road to Damascus. Again, the verb tenses are really not important until the contextual evidence is known factually.
The evidence of the inerrant Word of God is that sin does NOT live, does NOT dwell in the heart and life (body) of a Believer, a Follower of Jesus Christ. Space does not permit us to observe all of the biblical evidence, but here are 3 statements made by the Apostle Paul:
“Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.” 1 Corinthians 6:9-11.
“But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law. Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.” Galatians 5:16-21.
And in verses 1 Corinthians 6:13b-15a, the Apostle makes this statement, “Yet the body is not for immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord is for the body. Now God has not only raised the Lord, but will also raise us up through His power. Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ?” It is most important to understand that because the body of flesh is made for God, He will not allow us to live in sin. Those that do live in sin do not belong to Him and will not enter His Kingdom.
Jesus is Lord.