Romans 7:15 – I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.
I’ve been contemplating this chapter for years, as have many. And for some reason, when I read chapter 7, I walk away with an entirely different point of view than many Christians. As a matter of fact, I have often heard people use this passage (verses 14-25) to justify their inability to live the Christian life.
These individuals explain, quite passionately, that if Paul, the great Apostle, struggled in his flesh, well, all the more reason they should struggle! Well, I don’t believe this is what Paul was saying at all! And it’s impossible to go into depth about all he did say with a blog, but I will do my best!
Let me remind you that Paul was indeed writing a letter to the Roman believers, actually to the church in Rome. When I looked up the history of the book of Romans, (bible.org) I read these words and liked what the author had to say:
“Romans is placed first among Paul’s letters in the New Testament not only because it is his longest work, but because it also furnishes a massive and basic theological frame-work for the whole collection of the apostle’s writings.”
Therefore, it is absolutely necessary that we understand the theological principles set forth in the book of Romans and especially, in my opinion, in Romans 7. It lays a real groundwork for our belief system. And this book, one of my personal favorites, is where Paul takes time to break down the theology of Christianity.
Keeping Romans 7 in context, when chapters 6 and 8 are read along with it, there’s no way to walk away thinking that Paul was saying that he was struggling in his flesh as a Christian, and that it was simply the way of life. If you read the entire New Testament, there is no other place where you can find scripture and verse to show Paul as such, a struggling believer. As a matter of fact, after reading the New Testament, most people I know walk away feeling that Paul was over the top in his faith and relationship with Jesus, and in a league of his own! So not a struggler!
Romans 6 ends with Paul making a foundational point about redemption. “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” And in making this point, he continues in chapter 7 to express the power of sin, and our inability outside of Christ to get the victory over sin. Furthermore, in the outline on Bible.org, this chapter is listed under the section of sanctification and titled, “Freedom in the New Life.” Now that doesn’t sound like an individual who can’t live for Jesus because his flesh is too strong. God forbid! Then in chapter 8 he writes of the power of walking after the Spirit! Paul is talking, not about a defeated life of dealing with the weaknesses of our flesh, but the Spirit’s ability to deliver us and to lead us in a life of victory!
So for now, I just want to say to you, if you have been struggling in your walk with the Lord, and you have been using this chapter as your crutch, in the next couple of blogs I am snatching that crutch away! God’s heart for us is not that we live life between two worlds. He has not redeemed us from sin that sin may still reign in our mortal bodies. Paul mentions this in chapter 6, “Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires.” Proof positive that we are not to continually struggle over sin. The battle over sin was won at Calvary, and the Holy Spirit is at work in us to maintain that victory! But we have to stop seeing ourselves as wretched, struggling sinners, and begin to see ourselves as Christ sees us!
Join me for the next few blogs as I endeavor to explain some of what is being addressed in this chapter. I believe the devil likes it when we think that sin is more power than the cross of Calvary. And that’s just not true! Jesus defeated Satan and the power of sin, once and for all, and it was that we might live life free of the power of sin! Wonderful Jesus!