To Whom is Paul Writing Romans 7?

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.


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