Paul: These verses highlight the audience. Whom do you see?
(1) … I speak to them who know the law
(7) …the law had said, You shall not covet.
(12) the law is holy, and the commandment holy, just and good
(13) … sin by the commandment
(17, 20) … sin dwells in me.
(22) I delight in the law of God
(25) Who will deliver me?
Reader: It’s written to unrescued, God-fearing Jews who recognize, delight in, and follow God’s holy, just, and good law, yet who are under sin’s indwelling control. Verse 7 quotes the Tenth of the Ten Commandments. The viewpoint reflects what you were [Paul], before you came to Christ.
The Cross Divider – Elephant in the Room
Roman 7’s theme is law, which is mentioned 40 times [law/commandment/ordinance/letter/it pronouns/phrases like ‘the good that I would do’]. When you are walking by the law, sin has dominion over you (Romans 6:14). Walking by the law (flesh) exposes sin and death (Romans 7:8,11,13). But, when you walk by Christ in the Spirit (Romans 8:1-17), you will live.
“For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set me free from the law of sin and death.” Romans 8:2
The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus is our current state. This current state in Him overcomes the lower law of sin and death. However, Romans 7 shows the contrary: sin and death [45 sin & death words] overcome us. Romans 7 is not about our current state, it’s about our previous state under law and why it was necessary for us to die to the law in Christ (Romans 7:4).
The 40 law words and the 45 sin and death words reveal a formula: man + law = sin & death. A person who lives by the law will sin and die, by God’s decree. He will never allow an outer law to be a substitute for His Son!
If Romans 7 describes your life, you are actually walking by law, not by Christ. He always overcomes. However, if you live by law, sin will always have dominion over you.