When we think that Paul in Romans 7 is sinning just like us, we encounter contradictory ideas.
“When we were in the flesh, the motions of sins, which were aroused by the law, worked in our members to bring forth fruit to death.” Romans 7:5
“But you are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if any man does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him.” Romans 8:9
We were (past tense) in the flesh (Rom 7:5) and acted miserably like wretches (Rom 7:24).
We are now in the Spirit (Rom 8:9) and have life and peace (Rom 8:6).
We are not both at the same time. We were in the flesh, but now in Christ, we are in the Spirit.
How much of the time (in this faulty view of Romans 7) does Paul struggle? The answer is, “Every time he wants to do good,” which we assume is 100% of the time (Rom 7:15-25).
Do we really think that Paul is sinning 100% of the time he wants to do good? No, we don’t. We expect more of him, but we still hold on to this faulty conclusion anyway.
These 8 verses throw out our faulty conclusion:
“Do not let fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness be named once among you, as is fitting for saints;” (Eph 5:3) [Don’t let these be named once, let alone nearly all the time.]
“Walk worthy of the calling by which you are called,” Ephesians 4:1b [ If Paul was sinning nearly all the time, would he be walking worthily? No, he would be a hypocrite.]
“Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with the yoke of bondage.” Galatians 5:1 [In our faulty view, Paul would be a hypocrite, because we believe he was in continual bondage.]
“You are witnesses, and God also, how devoutly, honestly, and blamelessly we behaved ourselves among you who believe:” 1 Thessalonians 2:10 [Paul claimed he was not continually stumbling over sin.]
“He, who says he remains in Him, walks like He did.” 1 John 2:6 [If you abide in Him, you walk like He did.]
“Whoever is born of God does not commit sin; for His seed remains in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.” 1 John 3:6 [His Seed is the basis for our righteousness!]
“We know that whoever is born of God does not sin; but He who is begotten of God keeps himself, and that wicked one does not touch him.” 1 John 5:18
“If the Son therefore shall make you free, you shall be free indeed.” John 8:36
We cannot have it both ways. Either Paul’s sinning all the time or he’s not.
You are dead to sin. (Rom 6:2, 7, 11)
You are freed from sin. (Rom 6:7, 18, 22)
You do not have to yield to sin. (Rom 6:13, 16, 19)
You are a slave to sin. (Rom 7:14)
“For if you live after the flesh, you shall die, but if you through the Spirit mortify [put to death] the deeds of the body, you shall live.” Romans 8:13
If you are free, you are not enslaved. Simple as that, otherwise words mean nothing and our faith is useless.
Romans 7:14 contradicts the freedom experienced in Romans 6 and 8. Why? It is talking about living by the flesh, not by the Spirit!
“Sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are under grace [not the law].” Romans 6:14
“Sin shall have dominion over you under the law . Romans 6:14 & all of Romans 7, except verses 4 & 6, which tell us Christ’s way in contrast to the law’s way.
There are two laws (Rom 8:2).
“The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has overcome the law of sin and death.” [We overcome when walking by Christ.]
Walking by the law exposes sin, which causes us to die. [Romans 7 is speaking entirely to the law of sin and death, and even says so in verses 23 and 25: “I serve the law of sin.”]
So, what is the answer? It’s not a puzzle where contradictory pieces don’t fit.
The answer is that Romans 7 is exposing sin through the law and shows us why we had to die to the law in Christ – because we could never live by it. If sin is overcoming you, God’s reality-check is that you are living by the law, even though you might think you are living by grace.
God never intended us to live by law (which requires no faith, Gal 3:12). He intended us to know and live by His Son!
The Father will never allow a paltry, external law to be a substitute for His Son!
The law was given that transgression might increase (Rom 5:20), so that, in desperation, we would run into the arms of Jesus for deliverance and life.