Only I Am Responsible: Part 3

All Scripture unless otherwise noted is taken from the NET2 translation.

We must remember that Paul writes as a Jewish Christian who said this, ““Brothers, I am a Pharisee, a son of Pharisees. I am on trial concerning the hope of the resurrection of the dead!” Acts 23:16. He fully understood the Law of God and as an Apostle, he provides us some insight as a Jew before becoming a Follower of Jesus Christ.

“21 So, I find the law that when I want to do good, evil is present with me. 22 For I delight in the law of God in my inner being. 23 But I see a different law in my members waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that is in my members. 24 Wretched man that I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? 25 Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.” Romans 7:21-25 NET2.

Internal Spiritual Struggle of a Lost Man

As a Law-abiding Jew, he struggles with the commandment of God he has known since childhood which tells him about sin and God’s justice. As a Jew he not simply read about the Law, but had memorized the Torah, the first 5 books of what we know as the Old Testament and this was imprinted in his heart and mind. No doubt, this war he describes in these verses is waged as he describes it, “But I see a different law in my members waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that is in my members.” v. 23.

This was, indeed, a powerful struggle for his soul that was taking place, a battle between good and evil. The good being the insight of a man who knows God from the standpoint of the Law of God and a person who was also defined by the innate natural man.

What we must understand as people who live in a New Testament age; in a world that was changed 2 thousand years ago when the Son of God literally invaded earth. Jesus then died, resurrected, ascended, and sent the Holy Spirit to live, to indwell the lives of those who profess Him as Savior and Lord.

Victory over sin and death in Jesus Christ

Paul then writes as a Believer looking back, “Wretched man that I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?” v. 24. This son of a Pharisee was in a bad circumstance and struggling to find the answer to a very difficult question. In himself he had no answer for the Law of God, the Torah had no definitive suggestion. But, as a Believer in Jesus Christ he could give an answer to the church in Rome, “Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.” vs. 25. He knew as a Jew that he served two masters, the law of God and the law of sin, but as a Follower of Christ he could write that in Jesus Christ he was introduced to the solution the Torah could not provide!!

There is a hymn which adequately describes what happened to Paul, “My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.” No longer is there a struggle with sin that lives within for Jesus lives in the heart and life of every born-again Believer of Jesus Christ. For just as John writes, “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him, because all that is in the world (the desire of the flesh and the desire of the eyes and the arrogance produced by material possessions) is not from the Father, but is from the world. And the world is passing away with all its desires, but the person who does the will of God remains forever.” 1 John 2:15-17.

Believers struggle with temptation and not with sin

It is understood that many, if not most, Christians/Believers, are taught to think that their daily life-struggle is with the sin that lives within them because of what Paul writes in Romans 7:14-25. And it is easy to understand the error they are taught. The discussion in these verses follow what the Apostle writes in chapters 5 and 6 which details what God has done for anyone who becomes a born-again Believer in Jesus Christ.

Nine years before writing this letter to Rome, Paul had written a letter to the church in Galatia and in Galatians 6:6-10 he writes, “Now the one who receives instruction in the word must share all good things with the one who teaches it. 7 Do not be deceived. God will not be made a fool. For a person will reap what he sows, 8 because the person who sows to his own flesh will reap corruption from the flesh, but the one who sows to the Spirit will reap eternal life from the Spirit. 9 So we must not grow weary in doing good, for in due time we will reap, if we do not give up. 10 So then, whenever we have an opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who belong to the family of faith.” It is very important to see that anyone living in the flesh will die and if one lives in the Holy Spirit eternal life will be the result. In the previous chapter 5 Paul gives a list of characteristics of one who lives without the Holy Spirit which results in death and another list is given concerning those who live in the Holy Spirit and will enter the Kingdom of Heaven.

With this information in hand, we are able to discern that in Romans 7:14-25 the Apostle is speaking of his life as a very good Jew living according to the Law and struggling with the sin that lives within him. With that he proclaims himself to be a wretch and asks, “Who can deliver me?” However, as a Believer and writing to the church in Rome he declares in verse 25, “Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.” He knew as a good Jew he was attempting to serve God with his mind and in his flesh, but because the old man was crucified just as he wrote in Romans 6:6-7, “We know that our old man was crucified with him so that the body of sin would no longer dominate us, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. (For someone who has died has been freed from sin.)”

Please remember that ‘Context is Everything’ when reading and studying the Word of God!!

Jesus is Lord!!

About Bob Williford

Conservative Southern Baptist pastor, missionary, and personal evangelist. An avid supporter of Texas Tech Athletics. Enjoy oil painting, writing and woodworking. My wife, children, and grandchildren are my joy. Reading and writing are great for relaxing......
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