Amplified: So I find it to be a law (rule of action of my being) that when I want to do what is right and good, evil is ever present with me and I am subject to its insistent demands. (Amplified Bible - Lockman)
Berkley: Consequently, I discover a law hat when I want to do right, wrong suggestions crowd in
Moffatt: So this is my experience of the Law: I desire to do what is right but wrong is all that I can manage; I cordially agree with God's law, so far as my inner self is concerned,
NLT: It seems to be a fact of life that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. (NLT - Tyndale House)
Wuest: I find therefore the law, that to me, always desirous of doing the good, to me, the evil is always present. (Eerdmans)
Young's Literal: I find, then, the law, that when I desire to do what is right, with me the evil is present,
|Romans — 3:21-5:21||Romans — 6:1-8:39||Romans — 9:1-11:36||Romans — 12:1-16:27|
Jew and Gentile
|Demonstration of Salvation|
|Power Given||Promises Fulfilled||Paths Pursued|
Restored to Israel
|Slaves to Sin||Slaves to God||Slaves Serving God|
|Life by Faith||Service by Faith|
Modified from Irving L. Jensen's excellent work "Jensen's Survey of the NT"
WHAT CONCLUSION DOES HE COME TO REGARDING HIS CONFLICTING BEHAVIOR? WHAT IS THE PRINCIPLE HE CONCLUDES?
I FIND THEN THE PRINCIPLE THAT EVIL IS PRESENT IN ME, THE ONE WHO WANTS TO DO GOOD: Heurisko (1SPAI) ara ton nomon, to thelonti (PAPMSD) emoi poiein (PAN) to kalon, hoti emoi to kakon parakeitai (3SPMI): (Ro 7:23; 6:12,14; 8:2; Ps 19:13; 119:133; Jn 8:34; Eph 6:11, 12, 13; 2Pet 2:19) (2Chr 30:18,19; Ps 19:12; 40:12; 65:3; 119:37; Isa 6:5, 6, 7; Zec 3:1, 2, 3, 4; Lk 4:1; Heb 2:17; 4:15)
As you study these passages remember the context. Beginning in Romans 7:14 Paul begins to discuss the conflict between two natures. This section has been one of the most controversial in the New Testament. The majority of modern commentators (men like John MacArthur, John Piper, William Newell, Donald Barnhouse, et al) favor this section to be a description of a saved man who is wrestling with the sinful propensities still present in the physical body of every saved individual. Others feel Paul is discussing an unsaved man in this section. Although I favor the former interpretation, the principles that can be gleaned from Paul's teaching on this struggle are still applicable to all men whatever their status regarding salvation. Click here for a summary of the arguments that favor Romans 7:14-25 as a description of a believer over an unbeliever (or vice versa), as there are legitimate points favoring both interpretations.
The language clearly indicates a purpose to summarize what has gone before.
Then (686) (ara) can be translated therefore, then, now, consequently and is used to mark a transition to what naturally follows from the preceding arguments.
I find - The Greek verb here is heurisko which gives us our English "Eureka!" - I found it - This exclamation is attributed to Archimedes on discovering a method for determining the purity of gold.
Find (2147) (heurisko) means to learn the location of something, either by intentional searching or by unexpected discovery learn whereabouts of something. It means to find, discover, come upon, happen to find, to learn something previously not known, frequently involving an element of surprise. Heurisko is the source of our English word eureka from an exclamation attributed to Archimedes on discovering a method for determining the purity of gold. The present tense indicates continuous actions.
Leon Morris writes that
I find puts this as a discovery. It is not something that Paul lays down as his presupposition, but a conclusion he has reached from a study of the facts. There is some emphasis on the fact that the self-same “I” has both these opposite experiences. Paul insists that he has the will to do good. But the trouble is that evil is right there with me. He cannot escape it. (Morris, L. The Epistle to the Romans. Grand Rapids, Mich.; Leicester, England: W. B. Eerdmans; Inter-Varsity Press)
Wayne Barber writes that…
Paul says, I find, actually I have discovered (heurisko) a principle, a "law," that "the evil (kakos)" is present in me. It is inherent in my flesh. He is simply restating what he said in Romans 7:18. In his flesh is a law (prinicple); it is the very presence of evil within his flesh, his body of sin. But, he says, he is "the one who wishes to do good." Again, the word there is thelo—he has "determined in his will" to do good. It doesn’t make a lot of sense to me that a person who is in Adam, under the law, doomed to the unrighteous works of the flesh, ungodly, devoted to sin, and an enemy to all that God represents, would say "I’m the one who wishes to do good."
The principle that evil is present - In Romans 7:22-23 Paul describes an opposing principle, the law of God.
Principle (3551) (nomos) is used in this context to stand for the regulative principle which exercises a control over one. Clearly in this context nomos does not refer to the Mosaic Law, but to an inviolable spiritual principle (see similar use Romans 8:2 [note]). It could be considered analogous to the phrase, the "law" of gravity (but see Wuest's note below). Nomos is used in the sense of a principle of operation, similar to Paul's use earlier in the letter, where he speaks of law of faith (Ro 3:27-note) and as he does in Galatians, where he speaks of the law of Christ (Galatians 6:2).
Newell writes that Paul…
now states as a settled conclusion, what he has experimentally discovered. And we all need to consent to the fact-even if we have found God's way of deliverance, that evil is present. It is the denial of this fact that has wrecked thousands of lives! For evil will be present until the Lord comes, bringing in the redemption of our bodies.
Wuest explains that law (principle)…
… could refer to a law such as the constant rule of experience imposing itself on the will such as a modern scientific law, or the Mosaic law, or to the law of sin which Paul speaks of as in his members (Vincent). The last interpretation seems most in keeping with the times in which Paul is writing, and with the context. The law in his members warring against the law of his mind is, of course, the evil nature. Paul finds a condition that when he desires to do good, this evil nature always asserts itself against the doing of that good. He brings out the same truth in Gal 5:17 (note) where he says,
“The flesh (evil nature) has a passionate desire to suppress the Spirit, and the Spirit has a passionate desire to suppress the flesh. And these are set in opposition to each other so that you may not do the things which you desire to do.” (Wuest, K. S. Wuest's Word Studies from the Greek New Testament: Eerdmans or Logos)
In this verse Paul says that evil is the constant rule of experience imposing itself on the will. Paul found that evil is still present in an individual whenever he wants to do good.
Barnes has a good explanation of the law writing that…
There is a law whose operation I experience whenever I attempt to do good. There have been various opinions about the meaning of the word law in this place. It is evident that [it] is used here in a sense somewhat unusual. But it retains the notion which commonly attaches to it of that which binds, or controls. And though this to which he refers differs from a law, inasmuch as it is not imposed by a superior, which is the usual idea of a law, yet it has so far the sense of law that it binds, controls, influences, or is that to which he was subject. There can be no doubt that he refers here to his carnal and corrupt nature; to the evil propensities and dispositions which were leading him astray. His representing this as a law is in accordance with all that he says of it, that it is servitude, that he is in bondage to it, and that it impedes his efforts to be holy and pure. The meaning is this: "I find a habit, a propensity, an influence of corrupt passions and desires, which, when I would do right, impedes my progress, and prevents my accomplishing what I would." Comp. Gal 5:17-note. Every Christian is as much acquainted with this as was the apostle Paul. (Albert Barnes. Barnes NT Commentary)
MacDonald adds that Paul…
finds a principle or law at work in his life causing all his good intentions to end in failure. When he wants to do what is right, he ends up by sinning. (MacDonald, W & Farstad, A. Believer's Bible Commentary: Thomas Nelson or Logos)
Lingering sin does battle with every good thing a believer desires to do. The Sin Nature wants us to try to do good apart from God. Even if based upon the Word of God but to take the truth, the Word and try to work it according to the flesh.
The Lord warned Cain who was angry with Abel because his sacrifice was accepted…
If you do well, will not your countenance be lifted up? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it. (Genesis 4:7)
Here in Romans 7:21 Paul is saying that this "principle" still applies and sin is always in the shadows, ready to pounce and lead us into disobedience. We must master it! I don't understand exactly how Cain was to accomplish this but Paul goes on in the next verses (and Romans 8) to explain how believers can accomplish this task.
Haldane makes an interesting observation noting that…
The evil propensity of our nature the Apostle calls a law (principle), because of its strength and permanence. It has the force of a law in corrupt nature. This proves that it is of himself, as to his present state, that the Apostle speaks. None but the regenerate man is properly sensible of this law.
It does not refer to conscience, which in an unregenerate man will smite him when he does that which he knows to be wrong. It refers to the evil principle which counteracts him when he would do that which is right.
This law is the greatest grievance to every Christian. It disturbs his happiness and peace more than any other cause. It constantly besets him, and, from its influence, his very prayers, instead of being in themselves worthy of God, need forgiveness, and can be accepted only through the mediation of Christ. It is strange that any Christian should even hesitate as to the character in which the Apostle uses this language. It entirely suits the Christian, and not in one solitary feature does it wear the feeblest semblance of any other character. (Haldane, R. An Exposition of Romans)
S Lewis Johnson offers an interesting analysis of this last section writing that in…
In the final cycle of the apostle's reasoning he points out that the enemy within is stronger than his renewed self (Ed note: referring to the Christian). The new life alone is not sufficient for overcoming in the struggle for victory. The another law which always wins the battle against the law of his mind and brings him into captivity is the "law" of indwelling sin (cf. Romans 7:21, 25). The believer, thus, is always in a losing conflict. The present tenses of verse twenty-three vividly portray the habitual struggle that always ends, it seems, in defeat. And, finally, there comes the agonizing cry of verse twenty-four,
"Oh, wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?"
The body is the body looked at as that in which the death of indwelling sin is located. Paul is now at the end of self, the only time God can come in and deliver the believer. No longer is he looking within; it is "who shall deliver me?" It was Alfred Lord Tennyson who wrote,
Oh! that a man would arise in me
That the man I am may cease to be
That is the cry of the concerned Christian, cognizant of his weakness in himself and longing for deliverance from the thralldom of indwelling sin. In the final verse of the section the apostle breaks forth with a cry of victory, "I thank God through Jesus Christ, our Lord." There IS such a man! Trust in Him is the answer to the longing for deliverance. He says here what he will say in an expanded way in the next chapter (cf. Romans 8:1-11). The victory is found in the continuing ministry of the Holy Spirit and in His final deliverance at the resurrection.
Present (3873) (parakeimai from pará = near, with + keímai = to lie) (only other NT use Ro 7:18) means literally to lie near and so to be adjacent to or to be within reach (present tense = continually). It is used with the metaphorical meaning in this verse which conveys the idea of to be at hand or be present.
Barnes explains that the idea of parakeimai means…
Is near; is at hand. It starts up unbidden, and undesired. It is in the path, and never leaves us, but is always ready to impede our going, and to turn us from our good designs. Compare Psalm 65:3, "Iniquities prevail against me." (Spurgeon's comment) The sense is, that to do evil is agreeable to our strong natural inclinations and passions. (Ibid)
Wants (2309) (thelo) describes that desire (present tense = continually) which comes from one’s emotions. It is a predetermined and focused will that one sets to do. It is an active decision of the will, implying volition (will) and purpose. It is a conscious willing that denotes a more active resolution urging on to action.
Good (2570) (kalos) refers to that which is inherently excellent or intrinsically good.
Can not all believers identify with the way Hendriksen sums up Romans 7:22 noting that…
The inflexible “law” to which reference is here made, and which the author of this epistle—as well as every believer—is constantly discovering, is this: “When I want to do good, evil lies close at hand.” In view of the fact that, according to Ro 7:17, 20, sinful human nature has established its residence in Paul’s own house (his soul), and has done this with a wicked purpose, the statement “evil lies close at hand,” is indeed very logical. This “evil,” here personified, may be lying down, but is certainly not sleeping. It is pictured as if it were watching the apostle to see whether he is about to carry out a good intention. Whenever such a noble thought or suggestion enters Paul’s heart, evil immediately interrupts in order to turn the good deed into its opposite. (Hendriksen, W., & Kistemaker, S. J. NT Commentary Set. Baker Book or Logos)
Anyone who has tried to do good is aware of this struggle. We never know how hard it is to stop sinning until we try.
“No man knows how bad he is until he has tried to be good.” (C. S. Lewis) (Romans 7)
Amplified: For I endorse and delight in the Law of God in my inmost self [with my new nature]. (Amplified Bible - Lockman)
Moffatt: I cordially agree with God's law, so far as my inner self is concerned,
NLT: I love God's law with all my heart. (NLT - Tyndale House)
Wuest: For I rejoice in the law of God according to the inward man. (Eerdmans)
Young's Literal: For I joyfully concur with the law of God in the inner man,
WHAT IS HIS ASSESSMENT OF THE LAW OF GOD?
FOR I JOYFULLY CONCUR WITH THE LAW OF GOD IN THE INNER MAN: sunedomai (1SPMI) gar to nomo tou theou kata ton eso anthropon: (Ro 8:7; Job 23:12; Ps 1:2; 19:8, 9, 10; 40:8; 119:16, 24, 35, 47, 48, 72, 92; Ps 119:97 104, 111, 113, Ps 119:127,167,174; Isa 51:7; Jn 4:34; Heb 8:10) (Ro 2:29; 2Co 4:16; Eph 3:16; Col 3:9; 1Pet 3:4)
For (gar) introduces the explanation of the conflict of good and evil Paul had just discussed in Romans 7:21.
I joyfully concur - This is a stronger expression than agree with the Law (Ro 7:16-note)
Joyfully concur (4913) (sunedomai from sún = with + hedomai = to be pleased from hedos = delight, enjoyment) means to rejoice in with oneself, to feel satisfaction concerning, to joyfully agree (present tense = continually). Others attribute to it the meaning of inward satisfaction. Would an unsaved man have this response?
Barnes has an interesting note on sunedomai writing that it…
Law (see note above) of God - This principle is opposed to the Law of sin, which brings his members (i.e., his body, his hands, his tongue, etc.) into captivity.
KJV Bible Commentary explains that…
Inner (2080) (eso from eis = in, into) means Into, in, within. Eso when used with a prefixed article ("the") assumes the role of an adjective. As used by Paul, the inner man means the mind or soul.
Note that the only other use of the phrase the inner man (also by Paul) clearly in context refers to believers…
Charles Ryrie writes that…
Henry Morris (who feels this section refers to a believer) says
Hendriksen comments on the inner man writing that…
Greek: blepo (1SPAI) de heteron nomon en tois melesin mou antistrateuomenon (PMPMSA) to nomo tou noos mou kai aichmalotizonta (PAPMSA) me en to nomo tes hamartias to onti (PAPMSD) en tois melesin mou.
Amplified: But I discern in my bodily members [in the sensitive appetites and wills of the flesh] a different law (rule of action) at war against the law of my mind (my reason) and making me a prisoner to the law of sin that dwells in my bodily organs [in the sensitive appetites and wills of the flesh]. (Amplified Bible - Lockman)
Berkley: But in my whole natural make-up I observe another law, battling against the principles which my reason dictates, and making me a prisoner to the law of sin that controls my members.
Moffatt: but then I find another law in members which conflicts with the law of my mind and makes me a prisoner to sin's law that resides in my members.
NLT: But there is another law at work within me that is at war with my mind. This law wins the fight and makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me. (NLT - Tyndale House)
Wuest: But I see a different kind of a law in my members, waging war against the law of my mind, making me a prisoner of war to the law of the sinful nature which is in my members. (Eerdmans)
Young's Literal: but I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind, and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members.
WHAT WAS THE DIFFERENT LAW THAT WAS IN HIS MEMBERS? SIN INDWELLING HIM --(Ro 7:17,20) WHAT WAS THE OTHER LAW & THE 2 RESULTS?
BUT I SEE A DIFFERENT LAW IN THE MEMBERS OF MY BODY WAGING WAR AGAINST THE LAW OF MY MIND [my agreement with the law of God] : blepo (1SPAI) de heteron nomon en tois melesin mou antistrateuomenon (PMPMSA) to nomo tou noos mou: (Ro 7:5,21,25; 8:2; Eccl 7:20; Gal 5:17; 1Ti 6:11,12; Heb 12:4; Jas 3:2; 4:1; 1Pet 2:11) (Ro 6:13,19)
But (de) introduces another law (of sin) which contrasts to the law of God. The real Paul rejoiced in God’s law. He recognized it for what it was and rejoiced accordingly. But obeying it is another thing altogether, and to that he now turns.
See (991) (blepo) means to see and frequently with the sense of becoming aware of or taking notice of something.
D L Moody once wrote…
Different (2087) (heteros) means another but of a different kind. Paul saw a law different from that of the spirit of life. The law he is referring to in context is the Law of Sin "used in the sense 'principle' or 'rule of action', though with the nuance that there is some element of compulsion (he is made prisoner)." (Morris)
Law (see note above)
Members (3196) (melos) refers to the members of body as the seat of the desires and passions. Consistently Paul proceeds from his basic position that the body is not evil, though the forces of evil work through it.
Vine explains that melos in this context refers to…
Here Paul is referring to the principle of indwelling sin (his unredeemed and still sinful humanness) exerting its effect in the members of his body waging war against his desire to obey God's law.
Harry Ironside writes that Paul…
Hendriksen comments on the law of God and the war with the law of sin…
Waging war against (497) (antistrateuomai from antí = against + strateuomai = wage war, lead an army, be on active service, be engaged in warfare, English words strategy, stratagem = trick) means to make a military expedition or take the field against anyone, and so oppose or war against. The present tense indicates continual warfare against. The thought of conflict is important. Paul is still in a war. He has not surrendered to the powers of evil.
It is interesting that in this spiritual war in Romans 7, Paul makes repeated use of military metaphors - see "making me a prisoner" (below), compare "taking opportunity" (aphorme Ro 7:8, 11- notes Ro 7:8; 11). This military metaphor should make us realize that this is not child's play Paul is discussing in Romans 7 but is strategically important information for believers to process if we are to experience the so-called "Victorious Christian Life"! (Compare similar military pictures in Gal 5:17-note; 1Pe 2:11-note; see also 2Cor 10:5)
Peter has a similar statement exhorting his readers…
Sin is personified as if it is a rebel army intent on capturing, enslaving and destroying the soul. The term implies not just antagonism, but a continual aggression that is malicious and ongoing and doesn't stop. Sin is on an incessant "search and destroy mission". The world allures us and the flesh is the beachhead by which this allurement takes place.
In the classic allegory The Holy War John Bunyan pictures a city and he calls the city Man's Soul because it represents the soul of man. And he pictures the city as surrounded by high walls. And the enemy wants to assault the soul of man but he has no way over the walls or through the walls. The only way the enemy can get to the soul is through the gate. The only way that the World or Satan can get to the otherwise impregnable soul of a believer is through the gate of fleshly lusts, the gate of fallen desire. Beloved, if you keep the gate closed, you cannot lose the war. You say, "How do you do that?" (Gal 5:16-note) It's all about living in the spiritual dimension. It's all about being continually filled with and walking in the Spirit's power. The battle begins on the "inside". And the weapons of our warfare are spiritual not fleshly.
George Cutting writes that…
Law of my mind - this refers to the new inner self which longs to obey the Law of God. The mind emphasizes the intellectual side of the struggle. Because we are new creatures in Christ, believers have a new nature or capacity for loving spiritual truth. And yet Paul's experience bore testimony to the fact that there was another, opposing law at work in him, the principle or law of sin (cp "sin which indwells me" in Ro 7;17 [note]; Ro 7:20 [note])
Mind (3563) (nous) refers to the organ of mental perception and apprehension, of conscious life, of the consciousness preceding actions or recognizing and judging them. The mind has the capacity for perceiving and making moral judgments.
MacArthur explains that Paul is describing a believer's mind where the…
With the mind he serves the law (note) of God and describing the war he says that with his flesh the law (principle) of sin (Ro 7:25). The conflict in (Gal 5:17) is similar but not identical because there Paul refers to the 2 conflicting sides as Spirit and "flesh", whereas here he refers to the "law in the members" ("law of sin") of the body versus "the law of" the mind. (See chart contrasting in the flesh versus in the Spirit)
BKC notes that…
KJV Bible Commentary agrees writing that…
Spurgeon writes that…
AND MAKING ME A PRISONER OF THE LAW OF SIN WHICH IS (continuously) IN MY MEMBERS: kai aichmalotizonta (PAPMSA) me en to nomo tes hamartias to onti (PAPMSD) en tois melesin mou: (Ro 7:14; Ps 142:7; 2Ti 2:25,26)
Making me a prisoner (163) (aichmalotizo from aichmálotos = a prisoner, captive from aichme = spear) means to make captive, to lead away captive or to bring into captivity. A related word aichmaloteuo means to gain complete control over, either by force or deception.
Barnes comments that aichmalotizo means…
Law (see note above)
Sin still indwells believers but the difference now is that we have been crucified with Christ and the body of Sin's power has been rendered ineffective or inoperative, we are no longer slaves to "the Sin" (see note Romans 6:6).
Members (3196) (melos) refers to the members of body as the seat of the desires and passions. Again there is a reference to my members (cf. Ro 6:13, 19, 7:5-see notes Ro 6:13, 19; 7:5) for the members of the physical body are that through which sin makes its suggestions.
To make someone a prisoner is to have complete control over them and therefore many commentators question how could this description possibly refer to a believer and they use this verse as one to support their premise that (Ro 7:14-25) is referring to an unbeliever - believers have been freed from sin (see note Ro 6:7, Ro 6:18, Ro 6:22).
S Lewis Johnson (who feels that Romans 7 refers to the struggles of a believer) explains that Paul…
Newell adds that in this section…
Amplified: O unhappy and pitiable and wretched man that I am! Who will release and deliver me from [the shackles of] this body of death? (Amplified Bible - Lockman)|
Barclay: O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this fatal body? (Westminster Press)
Moule: Unhappy man am I. Who will rescue me out of the body of this death, out of a life conditioned by this mortal body, which in the Fall became Sin’s especial vehicle, directly or indirectly, and which is not yet (see Ro 8:23) actually “redeemed”?
NLT: Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin? (NLT - Tyndale House)
Wuest: Wretched man, I. Who shall deliver me out of the body of this death? (Eerdmans)
Young's Literal: Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death?
DEFEATED AND TAKEN PRISONER… WHAT WAS HIS ASSESSMENT OF HIS CONDITION? WHAT WAS HIS CRY? WHO WAS THE ANSWER?
WRETCHED MAN THAT I AM: Talaiporos ego anthropos: (Ro 8:26; 1Ki 8:38; Ps 6:6; 32:3,4; 38:2,8, 9, 10; 77:3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9; 119:20,81, 82, 83,131; Ps 119:143,176; 130:1, 2, 3; Ezek 9:4; Mt 5:4,6; 2Cor 12:7, 8, 9; Rev 21:4)
Cranfield has a pithy note writing that…
Wretched (5005) (talaiporos from tálas = suffering, wretched or according to A T Robertson from tlao = to bear + poros = a callus) means afflicted, miserable, in a distressed condition. Wretched describes a very unhappy or unfortunate state in poor or pitiful circumstances. Talaiporos is an expression used in pagan Greek drama to express tragic misfortune and woe. Wretched through the exhaustion of hard labor. Paul is completely worn out and wretched because of his unsuccessful effort to please God under the principle of Law.
Vincent writes that
Paul recognizes that he is in a helpless state of despair because he cannot rid himself of his bent toward sinning.
Harry Ironside explains that Paul…
Morris makes an interesting point…
Wiersbe explains that…
Sanday and Headlam comment that Paul utters
Webster adds that wretched means
In the only other NT use of wretched in Rev 3:17-note Jesus describes the church at Laodicea a church that has a reason to be wretched for (although there is difference of opinion) many able scholars feel that this description is of a church of completely unregenerate people (Rev 3:20-note).
McGee feels that…
Spurgeon comments that…
Henry Alford comments that…
WHO WILL SET ME FREE: tis me rhusetai (3SFMI): (Dt 22:26,27; Ps 71:11; 72:12; 91:14,15; 102:20; Mic 7:19; Zech 9:11,12; Lu 4:18; 2Cor 1:8-10; 2Ti 4:18; Titus 2:14; Heb 2:15)
The body is the scene of this contest. Sin living in the members brings spiritual death to the body, and man becomes aware that he needs outside help. Paul cries out not for deliverance from the body as such, but for deliverance from the body characterized by this spiritual death-the doing of that which is evil in opposition to his desire to do that which is good.
Set free (4506) (rhuomai) (Click in depth study) means to draw or snatch to oneself and invariably refers to a snatching from danger, evil or an enemy. This basic idea of rescuing from danger is pictured by the use describing a soldier’s going to a wounded comrade on the battlefield and carrying him to safety (he runs to the cry of his comrade to rescue him from the hands of the enemy). Rhuomai emphasizes greatness of peril from which deliverance is given by a mighty act of power.
This verse is especially meaningful to Spurgeon who wrote that…
Such a cry takes us to the very place that the Lord Jesus began the Sermon on the Mount…
One could paraphrase this as
Why is such a one "blessed"? Because this is the point and if fact the only point, where God's help is given and grace flows most freely for God is opposed to the proud but gives grace to the humble (James 4:6). Paul even as a believer learned through a personal affliction to boast in his weakness that the power of Christ might be perfected in him. It is at such a spiritual low state, when the individual realizes and confesses his helplessness to live a life that pleases to God that the Spirit of Christ engages that person. "I can't God!" to which God answers "I never said 'YOU' could" but "I can (My Spirit) and I always said I would".
Hendriksen writes that Paul…
I like Leon Morris' comments on the wretched cry in this verse…
Are you wretched? Are you miserable in your sin and the repeated attempts to overcome that habit, that sin that so easily entangles? Then join Paul and millions of others who have come to the end of their strength and cried out to a Merciful God
"Wretched man or woman that I am.
Guzik writes that…
Matthew Poole writes that…
One of the great expositors of Scripture in the last fifty years, Ray Stedman offers some sage and practical advice concerning Romans 7:14-25…
FROM THE BODY OF THIS DEATH: ek tou somatos tou thanatou toutou: (Ro 6:6; 8:13; Ps 88:5; Col 2:11)
The enemy who keeps the prisoner bound is here called the body of this death.
The body of death = the old sinful nature that lives in every man born in Adam and also still lurks in the dying physical body of all who are born again in Christ. Christ delivers both from the body of death. The body is the scene of this contest. Sin living in the members brings spiritual death to the body, and man becomes aware that he needs outside help. Paul cries out not for deliverance from the body characterized by this spiritual death or the doing of that which is evil in opposition to his desire to do that which is good.
Regarding the body of this death, C H Spurgeon writes that…
Wuest (favors Romans 7 as description of a believer) writes that…
Godet writes that…
The New Manners and Customs of the Bible writes that the body of death…
Vincent adds that…
Ray Stedman writes that:
Get Off My Back - Roman emperors saw torture as a legitimate way to put muscle and teeth into their laws. They were known to bind the body of a murder victim to the back of his killer. Under penalty of death, no one was allowed to release the condemned criminal. This terrible practice calls to mind the words of the apostle Paul in Romans 7. It's as if he felt that something dead was strapped to him and accompanied him wherever he went.
As children of God, we long for purity and holiness, yet at times we feel helplessly bound to the "dead body" of our flesh. Even though we are new creatures in Christ and we know that the physical body itself is not evil, the tendency to sin is always with us. This causes us to cry out with the apostle, "Who will deliver me from this body of death?" (Ro 7:24).
Paul answered his own cry in chapter 8. He said that through the forgiveness of Christ we are freed from eternal condemnation (v.1). Then by the strength of the indwelling Holy Spirit we are empowered to do the will of God (v.9). And someday in heaven these mortal bodies of ours will be redeemed (v.23). We are not hopelessly bound by the flesh.
Praise God, Christ broke the power of sin! We can serve Him in newness of life. —M De Haan (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)
In Our Daily Homily F B Meyer writes about the wretched man that we all are…
The Great Overcomer - Who is not inspired by the competitor who makes a comeback after being down and seemingly out of the running! The runner who stumbles while coming off the starting blocks but moves gradually into the lead stirs the imagination of us all. The team that can come from behind in the last moments to win excites us even more than the team that constantly wins by scoring big in the first part of the game.
Jesus made the most amazing comeback the world has ever seen. After being humiliated, insulted, spit upon, whipped, beaten, and nailed to a cross, His executioners claimed victory and declared Him dead. A military guard secured His tomb. How could anyone be more down and out than that?
Yet the struggle was not over; it was only the beginning. Three days later, He rose from the grave and reappeared as the victor over sin, death, and hell—a comeback like no other in all of history.
Are you feeling out of the running today? Have you stumbled badly? Think about Jesus’ suffering. Ponder His resurrection. Ask Him to give you the victory. Just imagine what He has to offer you, no matter how far down you are now!
No one has overcome like our Lord. — Mart De Haan
The great example is our Lord
Amplified: O thank God! [He will!] through Jesus Christ (the Anointed One) our Lord! So then indeed I, of myself with the mind and heart, serve the Law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin. (Amplified Bible - Lockman)
Barclay: God will! Thanks be to Him through Jesus Christ our Lord. Therefore with my mind I serve the law of God, but with my human nature the law of sin. (Westminster Press)
Moule: Thanks be to God, who giveth that deliverance, in covenant and in measure now, fully and in eternal actuality hereafter, through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then, to sum the whole phenomenon of the conflict up, leaving aside for the moment this glorious hope of the issue, I, myself, with the mind indeed do bondservice to the law of God, but with the flesh, with the life of self, wherever and whenever I “revert” that way, I do bondservice to the law of sin.
NLT: Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord. So you see how it is: In my mind I really want to obey God's law, but because of my sinful nature I am a slave to sin. (NLT - Tyndale House)
Wuest: Thanks be to God, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Therefore, I myself with my mind serve the law of God but with my flesh the law of sin. (Eerdmans)
Young's Literal: Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, on the one hand I myself with my mind am serving the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh the law of sin.
THANKS BE TO GOD: charis de to theo: (Ro 6:14,17; Ps 107:15,16; 116:16,17; Isa 12:1; 49:9,13; Mt 1:21; 1Cor 15:57; 2Cor 9:15; 12:9,10; Eph 5:20; Phil 3:3; 4:6; Col 3:17; 1Pet 2:5,9)
Thanks (5485) (charis) is the word the NT translates "grace" but is used here as an expression of thankfulness. It is also a declaration of assurance that His God will deliver him.
Paul could not answer the question he had just asked without gratitude. Thanks overwhelmed him at the thought of salvation in Christ. Paul used charis with a similar intent in his exclamation…
Leon Morris feels that…
In Our Daily Bread we read that about how we can't but He can - You Can Do It! - A young boy was at the barbershop for a haircut. The room was filled with cigar smoke. The lad pinched his nose and exclaimed, "Who's been smoking in here!"
The barber sheepishly confessed, "I have."
The boy responded, "Don't you know it's not good for you?"
"I know," the barber replied. "I've tried to quit a thousand times but I just can't."
The boy commented, "I understand. I've tried to stop sucking my thumb, but I can't quit either!"
Those two remind me of the way believers sometimes feel about their struggle with sins of the flesh. Paul summed it up well by crying out,
His spiritual battle might have left him in despair if he had not found the solution. Following his agonizing question, he declared with triumph,
Are you struggling to break some stubborn habit? Like Paul, you can be an overcomer. If you know the Lord Jesus as your Savior, victory is possible through the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit. Confidently affirm with Paul,
You can do it! --R De Haan (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)
THROUGH JESUS CHRIST OUR LORD: dia Iesou Christou tou kuriou hemon:
Romans 7:21-25 does not suggest that you live a divided life because that is impossible. You must choose your Master (Romans 6:15-23) and be true to your Husband, Jesus Christ (Romans 7:1-6).
Paul comes to the conclusion that only through Jesus Christ our Lord can come the necessary supernatural enablement to live a life of holiness.
A Simple Study…
Consider the following simple study - observe and record the wonderful truths that accrue through Him - this would make an edifying, easy to prepare Sunday School lesson - then take some time to give thanks for these great truths by offering up a sacrifice of praise… through Him.
Jn 1:3 [Jn1:3NIV reads "through Him"], Jn 1:7, John 1:10, Jn 3:17, Jn 14:6, Acts 2:22, 3:16, Acts 7:25, Acts 10:43, Acts 13:38, 39, Ro 5:9 [note], Ro 8:37 [note], Ro 11:36 [note]; 1Co 8:6, Ep 2:18 [note], Php 4:13 [note], Col 1:20 [note], Col 2:15 [note], Col 3:17 [note], Heb 7:25 [note], Heb 13:15 [note], 1Pe 1:21[note], 1John 4:9
Would you like more study on the wonderful topic of through Him? Study also the NT uses of the parallel phrase through Jesus (or similar phrases - "through Whom", "through our Lord", etc) - John 1:17, Acts 10:36, Ro 1:4, 5- note; Ro 1:8-note, Ro 2:16-note, Ro 5:1-note; Ro 5:2-note Ro 5:11-note, Ro 5:21-note, Ro 7:25-note, Ro 16:27-note, 1Cor 15:57, 2Cor 1:5, 3:4, 5:18, Gal 1:1, Eph 1:5-note, Php 1:11-note, 1Th 5:9-note; Titus 3:6-note, He 1:2-note; He 2:10-note, Heb 13:21-note, 1Pe 2:5-note, 1Pe 4:11-note, Jude 1:25)
All things are from Him, through Him and to Him. To Him be the glory forever. Amen.
Godet remarks that…
The special feature in the deliverance, of which the apostle is here thinking, is not the pardon of sins through the blood of Christ, but victory over sin through Christ crucified and risen, communicated to faith by the Holy Spirit (Godet, F L: Commentary on Romans. Kregel. 1998)
SO THEN ON THE ONE HAND I MYSELF WITH MY MIND I AM SERVING THE LAW OF GOD BUT ON THE OTHER WITH MY FLESH THE LAW OF SIN : Ara oun autos ego to men noi douleuo (1SPAI) nomo theou te de sarki nomo hamartias: (Ro 7:15-24; Gal 5:17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24)
Cranfield says that here Paul…
sums up with clear-sighted honesty … the tension, with all its real anguish and also all its real hopefulness, in which the Christian never ceases to be involved so long as he is living this present life. (Ibid)
First, observe the striking contrasts…
Mind vs flesh
Law of God vs Law of Sin
Leon Morris observes that…
Paul does not shrug off his responsibility; he does not say that his mind serves God while his flesh serves sin. He uses the emphatic pronoun “I”. It is what he has been saying all along. While there is that in him which approves God’s way there is that in him also which follows the paths of sin. (Ibid)
Henry Morris is relatively dogmatic
So then (ara oun) introduces a logical summary of what Paul has been saying.
Mind (3563) (nous) refers to the organ of mental perception and apprehension, of conscious life, of the consciousness preceding actions or recognizing and judging them.
Law (3551) (nomos) in this context does not mean a standard (like the Mosaic Law gave), but refers to “fundamental principle.” The “law of gravity” is a statement of a fundamental principle of our experience -- we throw a ball in the air and it falls to the ground. The “law of sin” is also a statement of a fundamental principle of human experience: we do wrong, even when we don’t want to. (see also note above)
The mind here refers to the new nature from God and the flesh the old nature from Adam. We cannot serve God with an old nature that is sinful (Ro 7:18-note), but the Holy Spirit enables us to do His will as we yield to Him with our mind.
Newell explains the mind as representing…
All the spiritual faculties including, indeed, the soul - faculties of reason, imagination, sensibility - which even now are "being renewed" by the Holy Spirit, day by day (2Cor 4:16). I am subject to God's law or will - all new creatures can say this. But with the flesh sin's law. He saw it at last, and bowed to it, that all he was by the flesh, by Nature, was irrevocably committed to sin. So he gave up to see himself wholly in Christ (Who now lived in Him) and to walk not by the Law, even in the supposed powers of the quickened life but by the Spirit only (Ga 5:16-note): in Whose power Alone the Christian life is to be lived. (Romans 7)
Vincent explains that
Paul says therefore, that, so far as concerns his moral intelligence or reason, he approves and pays homage to God’s law; but, being in bondage to sin, made of flesh, sold under sin, the flesh carries him its own way and commands his allegiance to the economy of sin.
Hendriksen notes that…
it is with his inner being or mind that Paul wants to do the will of God (Ro 7:15, 16, 18, 20, 21, 22-see notes Ro 7:15, 16, 18, 20, 21, 22). The flesh is the intruder, who is being driven out and will certainly lose the battle. That is due not to Paul’s goodness but to God’s grace, as the apostle loudly and cheerfully proclaims by shouting (Ibid)
With my flesh (sarx) (Click flesh = the evil disposition)
The law of sin - refers to our old nature prone to commit sins. This principle of sin is every man's (here including believers) unredeemed and sinful humanness.
Wiersbe points out that…
Everything the Bible says about the old nature is negative: “no good thing” (Ro 7:18- note); “the flesh profiteth nothing” (John 6:63); “no confidence in the flesh” (Php 3:3-note). If we depend on the energy of the flesh, we cannot serve God, please God, or do any good thing. But if we yield to the Holy Spirit, then we have the power needed to obey His will. The flesh will never serve the Law of God because the flesh is at war with God. But the Spirit can only obey the Law of God! Therefore, the secret of doing good is to yield to the Holy Spirit…
The old nature knows no law and the new nature needs no law. Legalism makes a believer wretched because it grieves the new nature and aggravates the old nature! The legalist becomes a Pharisee whose outward actions are acceptable, but whose inward attitudes are despicable. No wonder Jesus called them “whited sepulchers, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness” (Mt 23:27). How wretched can you get! The best is yet to come! Romans 8 explains the work of the Holy Spirit in overcoming the bad and producing the good. (Wiersbe, W: Bible Exposition Commentary. 1989. Victor or Logos)
The KJV Bible Commentary summarizes this section concluding that…
Newell sums up this chapter writing…
Calvin calls Romans 7:25
The venerable pastor, Harry Ironside offers a word of encouragement to those struggling with the power of sin in their life…
S Lewis Johnson concludes his exposition of Romans 7 noting that…
Bishop Moule asks…
Expositor's writes that…
F B Meyer in Our Daily Walk (November 16) writes the following devotional entitled "Daily Renewal"…
Doing the Impossible - The Christian life really isn't hard to live--it's impossible! In fact, only one person in history has actually lived it perfectly--Jesus Christ.
The situation isn't hopeless for us, however. When Jesus returned to His Father in heaven, He sent His Holy Spirit to help us live in a supernatural way (Jn. 14:15, 16, 17; Ro 8:2, 3, 4). Just as the Spirit gives us new life in Christ, so also He enables us to live the Christian life as we walk in close fellowship with Jesus (Jn 15:4, 5).
A church bulletin captured this reality in the following prayer: "So far today, Lord, I've done all right. I haven't gossiped; I haven't lost my temper; I haven't been greedy, grumpy, nasty, selfish, or overindulgent. I'm very thankful for that. But in a few moments, Lord, I'm going to get out of bed. And from then on, I'm going to need a lot of help."
The good news is that we have God's help. Believers possess the Holy Spirit of God! That leads to a probing question: "What's going on in your life that could not go on without the Holy Spirit?" The answer should be: "Everything!" The Christian needs the Holy Spirit for everything.
Whatever you face today, you don't face alone. Christ's Spirit is there with you. Count on it! --H W Robinson (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)
THINKING IT OVER: What does Romans 7:15-23 tell us about the apostle Paul's attempt to live the Christian life? How did he find victory? (Romans 7:24, 25, 8:1).
What Jesus accomplished for us,
John MacArthur closes out his comments on Romans 7 noting that…
Ah for a new man to arise in me,
Someone has written that
D. L. Moody once said…