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DocReits November 27, 2013 at 1:10 am

Hi Derek,

Great article and one of my favorite books…Romans. Whenever I see Romans 7 quoted, you get my attention, because it is so hard, IMO, for believers to know where Paul is coming from as he goes back and forth in staccato fashion through the verses quoted (18-20).

As you know there has been much debate through the ages about whether Paul is speaking to the believer or unbeliever in this section. I have gone back and forth in the past but here is my present “take”. Chime in and straighten me out as you see fit. Hey school man(Jack) chill and get some turkey and pumpkin pie and enjoy your family..this is Derek and Doc time…;-)

Let me add my running commentary as I quote the verses again and tell me if you agree with the following :

““For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right( in my carnal mind), but not the ability(in my flesh) to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want(in my flesh), but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing(the thoughts in my carnal mind giving assent to my flesh). Now if I do what I do not want(in my flesh), it is no longer I who do it, but sin(both the ACT of sin by giving in to the flesh, and the sin of dwelling upon the THOUGHTS of the carnal mind) that dwells within me.” (Rom 7: 18-20)Items in ( ), mine.

I like Pastor Jack’s 20/20 rule, which is to take the 20 preceding and 20 following verses around this text for clarification. The first verses of chapter 7 set the theme which is this very difficult subject of the Law and its purpose. Paul starts us out by giving the analogy of marriage and how:

“… the woman who has a husband is bound by the law to her husband as long as he lives. But if the husband dies, she is released from the law of her husband”(vs 2)

Derek, she is therefor “released” from the penalty of the Law because of her husband’s death, and does not suffer the stoning required by the Law in the marrying of another man, if her dead husband was still living:

“…but if her husband dies, she is free from that law, so that she is no adulteress, though she has married another man”(vs 3)

Then Paul compares this “release” from the penalty(death) as a direct result of the husband’s death…. to the Christian’s “release” from the the penalty of the Law by becoming dead to it(this is critical and so misunderstood, IMO). Christ did not come to destroy the Law but to fulfill it(Mt 5:17) and he did so by making us immune or vaccinated against its consequences. The believer is therefore “dead” or immune to the Law’s penalties. The Law is not dead but the believer is dead to the Law’s effect:

“Therefore, my brethren, you also have become dead to the law through the body of Christ, that you may be married to another—to Him who was raised from the dead…”(vs 4)

So now our minds are renewed(made new) by the Holy Spirit as we yield ourselves to Him:

“But now we have been delivered from the law, having died to what we were held by, so that we should serve in the newness of the Spirit and not in the oldness of the letter.”(vs 6)

Those are the preceding verses to your quote but Paul is not finished here. He goes on in chapter 8 to clarify(this is so important):

” For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit”(Rom 8:5) This is the key to both chapter 7 & 8, IMO.

It is the renewed mind that is critical. The mind that is led by the Holy Spirit. The mind that we yield to God in prayer and petition the Father to keep its thoughts pure and focused upon Him. Here it is:

” For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. “(vs 5)

Here is a great mystery that the carnal, fleshly mind is at enmity with God
…why?, not because God hates the sinner but because the sinner does not come under the Law and have the opportunity to partake in God’s plan of Redemption. That is what is meant by “enmity” or opposition to God’s plan to rescue mankind.

“For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God”.(vs 6b-8)

(Aside: Eph 2:15 speaks of this enmity between the Gentiles and the Law which Christ broke down so that the Gentiles can now be subject to the Law, become dead through their acknowledgment of breaking the Law(sin) and thereby cast themselves upon the mercies of the Savior fulfilling the Father’s plan of Redemption for their lives.) Sorry got side tracked.

Finally, it is the Holy Spirit indwelling us who we must petition the Father through, for help in turning from sin, and turning toward Christ, that our minds will stay renewed and focused upon doing those things which are pleasing to Him:

” Therefore, brethren, we are debtors—not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. 13 For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live”(vs 12, 13)

So I do believe that Rom 7 is written to the believer. Why do we do those things then that we do not want to do, and do not do those things that we want to do?

“I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? I thank God—through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin.” (Rom 7: 23-25)

We need to continually “… reckon… (y)ourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Rom 6:11)

The Golden Key, IMO, is our yielding ourselves to the Holy Spirit. He cleanses our minds and hearts, (the “Reckoning” ourselves dead process), which ultimately give us victory over sin. Do you agree?



Derek Hill November 27, 2013 at 3:20 pm

Hello DocReits. That was a really good explanation in my opinion. Yes Chapter 7 is written to believers. The analogy between a woman being released from her dead husband corresponds with us being released from the law through Christ. Verse 7:25 sums it all up, “Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind (through the guidance of the Holy Spirit that we have been sealed with), but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.” We are always going to be sinners, as 1 John 1:8-10 states, “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His Word is not in us.” Jesus understood how difficult life would be for us when we have accepted Him. When He was in the garden, he asked Peter, James, and John to keep watch over Him while He prayed. They fell asleep on Him 3 times! Jesus says after He finds them sleeping the first time, “Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is week.” (Mark 14:38) This verse really holds the key! We must be on guard against Satan and temptation daily through prayer. “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” So chapter 7 is indeed written to believers because unbelievers have not been released because they have refused Christ. We will be at war with sin until we leave this earth. Mankind will be at war with sin until all is finished and that wretched devil is cast into the lake of fire forever! I hope this answers your questions. If not, let me know and I will gladly respond! God bless you!

Derek Hill November 27, 2013 at 3:22 pm

The verse about resisting the devil is found in James 4:7. My apologies!

Adam Luckey November 27, 2013 at 9:43 pm

Yes! I love Romans. So much revelation in this book. We could spend eternity diving into the glorious truths in this book. Thanks for sharing Derek!

Derek Hill December 6, 2013 at 9:08 pm

I agree! Romans is one of my favorite books! God bless you!

NICHOLAS December 3, 2013 at 5:35 am


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