Set Free in Christ (Romans 7-8) by Sean Finnegan

Romans 7:14-18 The Law is spiritual and good, but we are “of the flesh, sold under sin.” Because the Law came from God, it is good. Paul knows this and wants to keep it, but something is holding him back: his flesh. His desire is to do what is right, but he can’t seem to carry it out.

Romans 7:19-20 He keeps doing evil, even when he knows it is wrong. He says, “It is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me.” Does this mean that Paul isn’t responsible for disobeying God since it’s not really him doing it, but some kind of sin force? Douglass Moo nicely explains what’s going on here:

“At first sight, Paul would appear to be saying something unlikely and, indeed, dangerous: that he is not responsible for his actions. But this is not what he means. His point is that his failure to put into action what he wills to do shows that there is something besides himself involved in the situation...another factor that interferes with his performance of what he wants to do. This other factor is indwelling sin. sin is not a power that operates outside of people, making them do its bidding; sin is something resident in the very being, “dwelling” within people, ruling over them like a master over a slave.”

Romans 7:2-24 Paul cries out, “Wretched man that I am, who will deliver me?” He feels so conflicted, so trapped, so helpless that cries out for help. In fact, this moment of surrender is precisely the key that unlocks the door of deliverance.

Romans 7:25-8.4 If you are “in Christ Jesus” there’s a new factor: the spirit of life. You’ve got your own will, sin dwelling in you, and now you’ve got the spirit of life that can set you free in Christ Jesus! This means you can overcome. You can have victory over sin. Because of what God has done in Christ, you can be delivered! If this is the case, does that mean genuine Christians no longer have to deal with the flesh and the pull of sin?

Romans 6:9-14; 13:13-14; Galatians 5:17, 24-26 Even as a Christians we have to consider ourselves “dead to sin and alive to God.” This takes continual effort to bring areas of our lives to God and seek deliverance. We cannot make provision for our flesh to gratify its desires. Even if the flesh remains within us, we also have the spirit to aid us. What’s important is that each and every day we wake up and crucify “the flesh with its passions and desires.”

1 Douglass Moo, The Letter to the Romans, Second Edition (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2018), p. 481.

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