© Copyright 1998 Darroll Evans-all rights reserved
As we begin to look at this chapter, we will do it in a way that is not usual.
We must remember that this was written by a mature Christian who faced many of the same problems we face today!
The first fourteen verses seem to be separated from Paul’s message to the Gentiles, and instead it is aimed at those under the Law.
That is not a popular slant on this section of scripture.
At the time Romans was written, Jews were the ethnic the majority within the Church.
They came out of a legalistic system and into freedom of worship in Christ.
It must have been a great culture shock.
Gentiles had no history of life under the Levitical system.
Paul used divorce as his example against legalism.
Divorce was never part of the Ten.
It was given by Moses as part of the Levitical law.
Later, divorce was rejected (with one exception) as ungodly by Christ Jesus.
Matthew 19:8 He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so.
Divorce was the result of Moses adding to the Law.
Matthew 5:32 But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery.
Jesus said that “fornication,” sexual misconduct, is the only valid reason to seek divorce.
Romans 7:1 Know ye not, brethren, (for I speak to them that know the law,) how that the law hath dominion over a man as long as he liveth?
This section may have been written to the Jews within the Roman Church.
This seems to be written in support of legalism, but look again.
Prior to coming to Christ we live according to the Law, the Ten.
After coming to Christ and the abiding of the Spirit we are led by the Spirit.
Romans 8:2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.
Romans 8:14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.
Whether the Law of the Ten, or the Law of the Spirit, we care always led by law.
Being “led” is not legalism. Not being led is anarchy.
Romans 7:2 For the woman which hath an husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he liveth; but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband.
Many say that Paul was appealing to Romans and Jewish Law as he begins this teaching.
It was not Paul’s style, nor the style of Christ to appeal to Roman law.
Only twice in his ministry did Paul appeal to Roman (Gentile) law.
He did it once in Philippi and again in
Jews had legal divorce proceedings.
They were not used in the manner of today’s staggering divorce rate.
At the time of my commentary, 50% of all marriages end in divorce.
That means that one-fourth of all people taking marriage vows in the U.S. are liars!
According to the Bible, a married woman is bound by law to remain faithful to her husband while he is alive.
If her husband dies, she is released from the legal obligation to him.
Romans 7:3 So then if, while her husband liveth, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress: but if her husband be dead, she is free from that law; so that she is no adulteress, though she be married to another man.
If a woman marries another while her husband is alive, according to the Bible, she is an "adulteress."
If her husband dies, she is free under the law to remarry.
In this matter the law of the Torah and the Law of the Spirit are in agreement.
“Married”: Please read my commentary on that as part of the next verse.
Romans 7:4 Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God.
Which of the Levitical laws did the Apostles of Paul’s time put on Gentiles?
The Apostles did not burden the Gentiles with legalism.
27 We have sent therefore Judas and Silas, who shall also tell you the same things by mouth.
28 For it seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things;
29 That ye abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication: from which if ye keep yourselves, ye shall do well. Fare ye well.
The Gentiles started with a clean slate.
The Jews still had to shake off the effects of legalism.
Gentiles embraced grace while Jews were still debating it.
Jews were married to sin under the legalistic abuses of the Levitical law.
The word “married” is unfortunate!
“Married” (Gr. genesthai-genesqai) is a false translation that comes from the Greek root “ginomai.”
That root word is NOT translated married except in this case and in the previous verse.
The J.P. Green, Sr. translation, the LITV, of this verse is far superior to any other translation.
“So that, my brothers, you also were made dead to the Law through the body of Christ, for you to become another's, to the One raised from the dead, so that we may bear fruit to God.” (LITV)
The Greek text should have been translated “become.”
Any reasonable student of the Greek language knows that!
The Church is the body of Christ!
As the Church, we are not married to Christ, but we are united, baptized into Him!
It is only within our relationship to Christ that we may bring forth "fruit unto God."
Romans 7:5 For when we were in the flesh, the motions of sins, which were by the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death.
“Motions” speaks of passions in the form of suffering.
"Motions of sin" denotes sufferings of deviancy, hardship of pain, an affliction.
Sin is an affliction of the Spirit that may result in an affliction of the physical body.
Whenever we deviate from God’s plan, we suffer. Legalism is deviancy!
2 Corinthians 3:6b for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.
Legalism keeps us in a state of servitude to sin.
The grace found only in Christ Jesus frees us from legal servitude and slavery to sin.
Grace is not nor does it condone anarchy.
Grace is not lawlessness.
1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.
When we depend on grace we operate under law---the Law of the Spirit!
Romans 7:6 But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.
At this very moment our freedom in Christ is a real.
At this very moment we are delivered, or set fee from the law that was nailed to the cross, including the Ten.
God blotted the Law out of our lives with the cross.
Colossians 2:14---“Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross.”
The only use for the ten now is to point to sin to bring repentance and the knowledge of Christ.
All Christians are to serve God in newness, renewal of the Spirit, and not in the oldness, or obsolescence of the letter of the law.
7 What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet.
8 But sin, taking occasion by the commandment, wrought in me all manner of concupiscence. For without the law sin was dead.
Here, Paul includes the Ten, which is evident in his remark, "Thou shalt not covet."
The Law points out sin.
Paul quickly says that he learned that knowledge of sin comes from the Ten.
“Concupiscence” is plain old-fashioned sexual lust.
The Law pointed out sin, but abuse of the Law brought is sin.
Then, Paul says something that is remarkable, "For without the law sin was dead."
Apart from Law there can be no sin! But, why?
I John 3:4---“Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.”
1 John 3:4 points out transgression of the law of the Spirit!
Rom 8:2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.
Romans 7:9 For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died.
If there is no law to break, there is also no sin.
The commandments brought the knowledge of sin.
How did that happen?
Sin (Gr. hee hamartia-h amartia) in verse 9 literally means, “the sin,” (i.e. the sin nature) revived, or came back to prominence.
Whenever we add any rules to grace, sin will abuse those rules and gain a foothold in our lives.
8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.
Grace cannot be abridged by works---any works!
While sin is a transgression of the Law of God (not Moses), grace overcomes all sin.
10 And the commandment, which was ordained to life, I found to be unto death.
11 For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it slew me.
The purpose of the Law was not to bring us life, but to bring us to Life, Christ Jesus.
When a lawyer came to Christ and asked what he should do to inherit life. Jesus asked him with what the law said.
The lawyer quoted the Ten. Jesus told him, "Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live" (Luke 10:28).
Instead of bringing righteousness, the law brought the knowledge of personal sin.
Paul writes that sin used the commandment to thoroughly deceive him.
It does the same with us.
It points out the completely fallen state of man without the grace of God.
There is no hope in the Ten.
Jesus answered the lawyer by telling him to do something that is humanly impossible, but the lawyer did not know it was impossible.
In his fallen state, he considered it logical that he could "do" the commandments.
He could not, and we cannot!
Romans 7:12 Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good.
The problem is not within the commandments!
The problem is its use by sin-filled man!
The commandments point out sin.
That is what they are supposed to do.
When we see our sinful fallen state, we are to come to Christ to ask for mercy.
It is just that simple!
Romans 7:13 Was then that which is good made death unto me? God forbid. But sin, that it might appear sin, working death in me by that which is good; that sin by the commandment might become exceeding sinful.
“Made” means “came into being as.”
The Law makes us realize our sinful state, but it offers no remedy.
Verse 12 told us that the commandments are holy, just and good.
But, they do not offer a solution to our carnality and penchant to sin.
They just point out the problem.
Only Christ’s grace offers a solution to sin that is highlighted by the commandments.
1 Tim 1:8 But we know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully;
How do we “lawfully” use the Law?
It points out the sin, so that we may turn to Christ for remission of sin.
Rom 3:25 [Christ Jesus] Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;
Gal 3:24 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.
Paul said “that sin by the commandment might become exceeding sinful.”
That is a confusing statement from the Apostle of grace to the Gentiles.
How can the commandments of God become the source of sin?
We come to Christ by faith, not by the commandment.
And yet, once we are accepted into “Christian” fellowship we find a bunch of “thou shall nots” waiting to be followed.
We know that we are not under the law, but nevertheless many look to “thou shall not” as the gold standard.
As Christians we are to be led by the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:14).
That leading of the Spirit is accomplished only through faith in and of Christ Jesus.
We are told that we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us.
However, Christ Jesus does not strengthen our carnal “I can do this” attitude.
Satan will strengthen us in that area, but Christ will not!
When we focus on “our” ability to do anything, we take the focus off of faith in Christ Jesus, and that which was thought would bring freedom in Christ Jesus actually brings bondage in a focus away from Christ and onto the carnal.
Romans 7:14 For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin.
“Carnal” indicates something that is fleshly, or under the control of human emotions.
When we read this section of Scripture, we must understand that Paul wrote this after he was saved and filled with the Holy Spirit.
And yet, Paul still wrote, “I am carnal”. That is why preaching Law does not work! Carnal men will always, many times without attempting to, corrupt the spiritual! We look at the Law with Carnal eyes, while God Law is referring to Spiritual actions.
The fact contained here is that we are sold as slaves to the sin, the sin nature. It is only when we are freed from the sin nature that following the Law is accomplished in Christ Jesus!
Some teach that after we are baptized, we are perfect in every way.
That teaching is based in spiritual ignorance!
That teaching is put forth by those who espouse ungodly, anti-New Testament regenerational baptism.
If we are so perfect why would the Bible tell us that we have an advocate with the Father?
If we are so perfect, we would no longer need an advocate!
I John 2:1 My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:
In John 2:1, “any man” includes saved, born again, Spirit-filled Christians!
We never lose our need for Christ Jesus!
Because we are living in a fleshly body, we must contend with our flesh.
The Ten are based on the spiritual, but we are carnal!
Therefore, we often misinterpret and misapply them.
ANY attempt to keep the Ten Commandments (or any man-made set of rules and regulations) is nothing more than a vain attempt!
You cannot keep the ten except through faith in the finished work of Christ on the cross!
And, man-made rules are nothing more than man-made rules!
The fact is that God’s Law (the Ten) is spiritual, and may only be lived on a spiritual basis.
And, we are carnal!
15 For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I.
16 If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good.
This was written by a born again, Spirit-filled child of the Living God!
The “natural” unregenerate man does not hate sin.
He admires sin and longs to sin!
We need the Law of God, the Ten, to point out our sins, but not to correct them!
When we accept Christ Jesus as Lord of our lives, the battle for the mind goes into full swing.
Let's look at those two verses in the New American Standard.
15 For that which I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate.
16 But if I do the very thing I do not wish to do, I agree with the Law, confessing that it is good. (NASB)
Practicing refers to repetition.
Do you “practice” Christianity?
Practice makes us mature in the faith.
Do you do sinful things and then regret them?
Do you understand why you do sinful things?
When you do all that bad stuff even though you are a Christian, where is your freewill? Obviously whatever passes for freewill is extremely limited if it exists at all!
Paul is addressing that situation, because he went through the same conflicts as we now do, and with the same lack of understanding, until God showed him the why it was taking place, and how to overcome the wrongs he was committing. His freewill never entered the conversation. The sin within raised its ugly head and “freewill” was useless against it!
Romans 7:17 Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.
Even though we are led by the Law of the Spirit, we are not totally free from the human emotions.
Proverbs 23:7 tells us that "as a man thinks in his heart, so is he."
It is difficult for us to comprehend, but God separates the heart from the mind.
The flesh controls the mind, and the spirit (Spirit) controls the heart.
“Sin dwells in me” speaks of the sin nature that is part of the old man that still controls our minds even though we have the Spirit of God dwelling in us.
“Dwelleth” (Gr. oikousa-oikuosa) is present tense indicating that although Paul was a Christian and a called appointed and anointed Apostle, the sin nature still lived within him.
As long as we are in the ‘flesh,” or pot of clay, we call a body, we will be dealing with the sin nature that is fueled by fleshly lusts.
However, that sin nature does not need to dominate us, but in cases of immaturity is does.
As we mature, we lean to deal with our carnal, fleshly, sinful human nature.
Dealing with sin and the sin nature has nothing to do with how many Bible verses you can recall and quote.
I know some who can quote many verses, but they do not put them into practice.
Romans 7:18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.
“Perform” speaks of working out something to completion.
Many times we just don’t understand how to "work things out."
Romans 7:19 For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.
This was written by a saved, born again, Spirit-filled Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ!
Have you ever felt as if you were going in the wrong direction?
Before meeting Christ that is exactly what each of us did!
We can battle, fight with the flesh, or rest in Christ Jesus.
As we mature, we learn to rest!
Romans 7:20 Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.
We may be led by the Spirit, but occasionally we follow the flesh.
We may fall away from Christ, but He cannot fall away from us.
Hebrews 13:5b---“I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.”
The Greek text in Hebrews 13:5 indicates that there is no set of circumstances that will cause God to abandon Christians!
Romans 7:21 I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me.
We have responsibility because we take responsibility.
When we finally "let" God be God within our hearts, He takes responsibility.
Satan’s job is to make Christians think that God will abandon them.
Romans 7:22 For I delight in the law of God after the inward man:
Paul’s spirit/heart did one thing, and his mind did another.
Every human being is like that.
We know that the Law, the Ten, is a delight to God, however, Paul continues the next verse with “but.”
Romans 7:23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.
Paul was human, and saintly but human.
Whenever he wanted to do God's will, Satan was there to whisper in his ear an alternative plan.
Here is a point that must be understood, Satan is not omnipresent.
He has demons by the score, but he is not omnipresent.
Personally, I doubt that the archangel Lucifer has appeared to any in today's crowd.
He is waiting for a more formidable opponent. His demons are hard at work.
Plus, men of corrupted values are doing all the sinful things they can.
In verse 22 Paul says, "I delight in the law of God after the inward man."
Paul reached a maturity that allows him to say, "Within my reborn spirit, I delight in the law of God.
Sin is resident in our carnality.
Romans 7:24 O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?
Who shall deliver us from death?
Keep in mind the purpose of these verses. They do not tell us of the maturity level of Paul at the time of the writing. Instead, they tell us about the maturing process that we all go through. Immaturity is the main problem with Christians! It puts us into places that we know we do not belong and yet due to our immaturity we are in those positions.
“O wretched man that I am” is the cry of a Christian who knows that he is immature in the faith! Maturity is only gained through growth (i.e. spiritual use) of those things that are made available to us in Christ Jesus.
Romans 7:25 I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.
“Our Lord” speaks of a personal Lord. Lord indicates an owner or proprietor.
It is not my car’s responsibility to take care of itself—it is my responsibility to take care of my car, because I am the owner!
This verse is not a cry of defeat. It is a declaration of a Saint under maturing construction.