Our last reading this week is from Romans 7:15-25
The exodus from Egypt is a pattern that can help us to understand the process of redemption. First, the people were redeemed by the blood of the lamb. Then they came out of their bondage to Egypt. It was only after these two things had happened that G-d gave them His instructions or commandments. It is only after redemption (once a person has been redeemed) that a person has the opportunity to obey G-d. Redemption leads to obedience. Do we want to be people who obey G-d? Do we want to take His Word and apply it to our lives so that we can bear much fruit?
v15: Note: In this verse Paul is writing about his previous condition – before coming to faith. He is reminding us of what we were like prior to receiving G-d’s grace.
- Do: Work out. To produce something in order to have a result or an outcome.
- What I am doing I do not understand: Paul did not understand why he could not do the things he wanted to do.
- What I will (want) to do, that I do not practice: There was a disconnect between what Paul wanted or intended to do and what he actually performed or did.
- What I hate that I do: Prior to Paul’s redemption (prior to him receiving the truth) there was an inability in his life to act in the way that he desired to act. His actions were in conflict with his desires or intentions.
v16: Note: Paul, as a Jewish individual, prior to coming to salvation, had (for much of his life) been taught and had studied the law, the commandments, of G-d. His desire was to keep these commandments, but when he examined himself, he found that he was not able to keep them. This caused a conflict or a tension within him. He agreed that the law of G-d was good, but, in his fleshly state (his carnal nature) he was unable to keep the law.
v17: Sin that dwells in me: Sin, in Paul’s life, caused him to live in conflict with G-d’s laws. Paul is leading us up to a right conclusion – he needed a change in his life. Sin was ruling in his life (not the desires that stemmed from his conscience). Paul, even in his pre salvation state, agreed that the law was good. He desired to put it into practice in his life, because it is the right or good thing to do, but he found that he could not because of the sin living within him. Paul wanted to do the right thing, but he was unable to do it.
v18: In my flesh nothing good dwells: In our natural state (our flesh, our carnal natures) good does not live in us because sin does. Every human being (Jew or Gentile) is born with sin. This sin dominates our will (our desires and good intentions) and works out its own purposes in our lives. Sin gets the upper hand on us. Instead of living to obey G-d, we live to obey sin.
- To will is present with me: Paul, in his fleshly state, had the capacity to desire, he had the will, to do good.
- I do not find: Although Paul had the desire to do good (to follow the instructions of G-d), he found that he could not consistently do it (He could not perform or carry out that which is good).
v19: Will: Desire.
- The evil I will not to do, that I practice: Paul did not desire to do evil. The word evil does not necessarily mean something intrinsically bad or wicked. Evil, simply, is anything which is not G-d’s will, anything which is against G-d’s will. Although Paul wanted to do G-d’s will he found that he was living in conflict to it. He was rebellious and defiant to the will of G-d. When we do not do G-d’s will we are practicing evil.
v20: Sin: This is the problem that dominates our lives before redemption. Many people do not want to acknowledge that we were conceived in sin and were born sinful (Ps 51:5). This means that we are All in need of redemption. None of us were born spiritually fine and then something messed us up along the way. The Word of G-d tells us that we were all born into this world as sinful human beings – we were all out of order. Even creation itself was out of order – empty and void (Gen 1:2). A change needed to happen. Change only happened when G-d spoke. When G-d’s Word came, the Spirit moved to bring about order into creation. It was only after this change had taken place that G-d said, “It is good” (Gen 1:31). Creation is a picture of the change that needs to happen in our lives. It is only when we apply the Word of G-d to our lives (once we have believed in Yeshua by faith) that the Spirit can move to bring about a change in our lives and we can live in a way for G-d to say :“It is good”.
v21: Evil is present within me: In Roms 7:17 and Roms 7:10 Paul writes that sin dwells in him. In this verse he gets more specific. Sin produces evil. In our natural states there is evil within us.
v22: I delight (with) the law of G-d: This is not the Greek work for ‘in’ but is the word ‘with’.
- The inward man: Our conscience. G-d has placed within every human being a conscience. This conscience desires or delights in good.
v23: Members: Paul talking about his flesh or carnal nature.
- Wars against the law of my mind: Unbelievers, in whom sin dwells, have a war going on between their carnal or fleshly natures and their G-d given consciences (their inner man). When an unbeliever encounters G-d Word, their inner man agrees with G-d, but they are unable to carry out obedience to G-d’s Word. Although the desire is there to do good, they have been taken captive by sin and so find that they cannot do the good they want to do.
v24: Wretched man that I am: When a person, after knowing what the Bible teaches about G-d’s expectations of us are etc, reaches this conclusion, they are ready for salvation. They realise that they are wretched because they are in rebellion toward G-d – naturally choosing or defaulting to sin and not to obedience. This is the beauty of the law. The law reveals that we need to change but that we need help in order to be able to do this. We cannot do it on our own.
- Deliver me: Rescue me
- This body of death: Paul is talking about the spiritual consequence – eternal death.
v25: I thank G-d: Paul is now talking about his current condition – post salvation.
- Messiah Yeshua our L-rd: Yeshua redeems us and puts us in a position of victory (gives us the Holy Spirit) whereby we are then able to obey G-d.
- With the mind I myself serve the law of G-d, but with the flesh the law of sin: Paul concludes this chapter by implying that we have a choice to make – and only believers have the ability to choose rightly. Unbelievers automatically default to the second law mentioned here. Prior to coming to faith, we really didn’t have the power to do good. We were in bondage – just like the children of Israel were in bondage in Egypt. Although they wanted to serve G-d, they couldn’t, as they were serving Pharoah. In Egypt their spiritual condition got worse and worse. It was only through G-d’s grace, loving kindness and His covenantal promises to the Israelites that caused G-d to move and to redeem them.
- With the mind I myself serve the law of G-d: When we have the mind of Messiah (1 Cor 2:16), then we are empowered to say ‘yes’ to G-d and therefore able to serve the law of G-d.
- With the flesh the law of sin: When we operate in the flesh then we will still be serving the law of sin. As believers, this is a law that we do not have to serve.