Vol.X No.VII Pg.7
September 1973

You Know What?

Robert F. Turner

Bro. Turner:

What is taught in Rom. 7:7-f.? Will you please discuss in Plain Talk. JG


The theme of the Roman letter is that we are saved by Christ, not by a system of law. This does not negate existence of law, nor the need obedience; but since all sin are therefore guilty before God I can be free of guilt (justified) only through forgiveness, made possible Christs obedience unto death, 20-26, 5:19). The contrast of the system and the new is furthered saying that it is the inward Jew, circumcision of the heart, that really counts. (2:28-29 7:6)

Rom. 7:7 asks, Is the law sin? and following verses answer, NO; the law is holy, just and good. The Old Law, law, makes men aware of sin (vs. 7, 8, 13), and emphasizes the need for Christ. With the old law removed, we are now subject to Christs law (v.4) are no less in need of forgiveness for our will to serve God does not, itself, guarantee sin-free flesh.

We must put the blame where it belongs: not on law, old or new, but upon sinful fleshly appetites which in-dwell us (vs. 17). Verses 14-23 recognize the dual nature of man and depict the conflict between our flesh and our spirit. This shows conclusively that desire alone, however controversial, is not enough.

In this highly controversial passage I believe Paul is dealing with principles of law, sin and justification as they apply to all fleshly oriented creatures. He writes in the first person hypothetically —using himself as an example. Before he was accountable (v.9) He was without sin, but when he became subject to law sin sprang to life. (See Jn. 9:11,15,18 where the prefix an (re-) does not necessitate the meaning again. Also check Arndt & Gingrich; Whiteside.)

Since Paul writes to Christians and includes himself in the struggle, some traditional errors are refuted. (1) A new birth does not remove the bent to sin--- the inclination of man to rely upon human reason, a facility highly programmed for self-service therefore prone to make flesh-pleasing choices. (2) The desire to do differently does not remove responsibility for the things done in his body (2:6 2 Cor. 5:l0). In 7:23 Paul writes of being brought into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. Forgiveness, through Jesus Christ, is the only possible answer.

Rom. 8: then moves the argument one step further by showing that this forgiveness (no condemnation) in Christ demands walking not after the flesh but after the spirit i.e., not only having the desire to serve God, but following, that desire. Gods Spirit dwells in that kind of person, subject to their will and endeavor to follow Christ. Christ reads the heart and intercedes for that kind of person— yea, all things of God, the whole scheme of redemption, are marshaled to bring that kind of person to ultimate glory.

Rom. 7: explains the inner conflict in saints, and their need for Christ.