Rom 7: 14-25 How Do I Live This Out ?

Aug 16, 2020 // By:Dave // No Comment


1:8-17 encouragement, I want to visit you in Rome

1:18-32 accusation against the godless (creation itself testifies)

2:1-16 accusation against the moralist (their own conscience)

2:17 – 3:8 accusation against the religious moralist (then called the jew)

creation, their own conscience and law, God’s special revelation of His law

3:9-20 all are guilty before God

3:21-31 justification by faith (starting with “but now”) (righteousness of God revealed apart from the law)

4 Abrahams faith as an witness (faith credited to him as righteousness, not satisfying the law)

5: 1-5 benefits package

5: 6-11 love demonstrated

5: 12-21 one man (basis for justification) Christ died for the unrighteous (first adam vs second adam)

6: 1-14 freedom through death

6: 15-23 freedom to choose

7:1-6 freedom from sin (dead to one husband, free to marry another)

7:7-13 the believer’s new relationship to the law because of this freedom

7:14-25 the believer’s life with this freedom

what is this freedom ?

didn’t we have the same freedom before becoming reborn ?

talk about managing “customer expectation”

(faulty expectations or product usage instructions 

will result in customer dissatisfaction and damage to product and or customer)

we expect this green progressive curve to happen
(all improvements, no hiccups)

cap 2020-08-15 at 11.53.39 AM.png

and then this red line  happens
(makes you question if you are even saved)

cap 2020-08-15 at 11.53.50 AM.png

how many here thought they would be “sin-free” when you first were reborn ?

Heb 9:14

how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?

2 Pet 1:9

For he who lacks these qualities is blind or short-sighted, having forgotten his purification from his former sins.

Eph 5:26 

so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word,

 speaks of the need of the husband to establish his wife as holy through forgiveness as taught according to scriptures.

lets look at a cleansing “big verse” …

1 John 1:7
but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.

verse 8
If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us.

verse 9
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

verse 7 says we are cleansed from all sin

but verse 8 says we still sin

verse 9 says we are cleansed  after we confess those sins

** if cleansing us from sin is taken to mean “sin nature is removed from our existence”

then that would mean the opposite holds true for  verses 8 and 9

we would have no sin and be speaking the truth is saying so

we would have no sins to confess or be forgiven for committing.

Clearly the bible teaches that while we have been cleansed from sin, we will still commit sins.


how can this be ?

Paul now uses his personal testimony (specifically his battle with sin)

to explain this paradox.

(a paradox is a conflict between conflicting perceptions that does not really exist)

How do I live this out ?

what does this contrast mean ?

(NASB followed by the Message)

14 For we know that the Law is spiritual, but I am of flesh, sold into bondage to sin.

14 I can anticipate the response that is coming: “I know that all God’s commands are spiritual, but I’m not. Isn’t this also your experience?” Yes. I’m full of myself—after all, I’ve spent a long time in sin’s prison.

15 For what 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.

15 What I don’t understand about myself is that I decide one way, but then I act another, doing things I absolutely despise.

16 But if I do the very thing I do not want to do, I agree with the Law, confessing that the Law is good.

16 So if I can’t be trusted to figure out what is best for myself and then do it, it becomes obvious that God’s command is necessary.

17 So now, no longer am I the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me.

17 But I need something more! For if I know the law but still can’t keep it, and if the power of sin within me keeps sabotaging my best intentions, I obviously need help!

18 For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not.

18 I realize that I don’t have what it takes. I can will it, but I can’t do it

19 For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want.

19 I decide to do good, but I don’t really do it; I decide not to do bad, but then I do it anyway.

*** this coming verse is key…

20 But if I am doing the very thing I do not want, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me.

20 My decisions, such as they are, don’t result in actions. Something has gone wrong deep within me and gets the better of me every time.

this personality that still sins is not the real me, (it’s the old me)

“I have been crucified with Christ and it is no longer I who lives but Christ who lives in me” Galations 2:20

21 I find then the principle that evil is present in me, the one who wants to do good.

21 It happens so regularly that it’s predictable. The moment I decide to do good, sin is there to trip me up.

22 For I joyfully concur with the law of God in the inner man,

22 I truly delight in God’s commands,

what is the inner man ?

23 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.

23 but it’s pretty obvious that not all of me joins in that delight. Parts of me covertly rebel, and just when I least expect it, they take charge.

24 Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death?

24 I’ve tried everything and nothing helps. I’m at the end of my rope. Is there no one who can do anything for me? Isn’t that the real question?

Here, Peterson’s paraphrase avoids delving into a metaphor that many scholars have elaborated on based upon Roman historical documents.  

focusing on “this body of death”  σώματος τοῦ θανάτου   somatos ton thanátou 

5393   [4983]   σῶμα, sōma, n.  [root of: 5362, 5394, 5395]. body, the mass of anything, usually a corporeal tissue

(he does not use the usual word for flesh “sarkos” as in 2 Cor 10, or Eph 6 in his contexts of flesh verses spirit

modern translation dead corpse.

An allusion that refers to the ancient tyrant Mezentius (4) and the torture that he inflicted on criminals, namely murders. This punishment was to fasten the murder victims to the back of the murder. This dead body was never to be removed, under penalty of death. The living murder had to then carry his victim around with him everywhere he went. The Roman poet Virgil illustrates this atrocity in all its horrors, in the account that he gives of the tyrant Mezentius.

What tongue can such barbarities record,
Or count the slaughters of his ruthless sword?
Twas not enough the good, the guiltless bled,
Still worse, he bound the living to the dead:
These, limb to limb, and face to face, he joined;
O! monstrous crime, of unexampled kind!
Till choked with stench, the lingering wretches lay,
And, in the loathed embraces, died away!

Paul refers to his old dead self as the dead carcass, stinking and loathsome; and is referenced by him like the punishment just mentioned.   Paul had just previously used the idea of a woman dying to be free from her husband

(now, it’s like having the spouse die so the wife can be free, but then the spouse is tied to the living one who thought himself free but has the dead spouse strapped onto him, decaying, rotting, smelling,,,,

the body of death can represent our old nature, it can also represent the burden of our guilt of past crimes and sins

dont forget, anyone who attempted to remove the body of death punishment from the living faced the death sentence.

who steps in to remove the body of death, Jesus Himself.  He takes the death sentence and frees us.

Then resurrects Himself to lead us in a resurrected state enabling us to live the new life

(resisting the old desires)   FREEDOM from SIN !

25 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.

25 The answer, thank God, is that Jesus Christ can and does. He acted to set things right in this life of contradictions where I want to serve God with all my heart and mind, but am pulled by the influence of sin to do something totally different.

we are free to choose

Gal. 5:1 It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery. (note that Paul states this in past tense, not future)

we are free to walk as Christ, in Christ 


we are free to turn to the “body of death” (somatus ton Thanatou) and say “you can drive for a while”

it never makes us do it, it offers, and we agree.

What is the point of this passage at the end of Romans 7 ?

the key to this answer lies in verse 20

20 But if I am doing the very thing I do not want, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me.

20 My decisions, such as they are, don’t result in actions. Something has gone wrong deep within me and gets the better of me every time.

this personality that still sins is not the real me, (it’s the old me)

“I have been crucified with Christ and it is no longer I who lives but Christ who lives in me” Galations 2:20

in verse 21 Paul says there is evil in him (his members) but it is not him that is evil, since he desire good

21 I find then the principle that evil is present in me, the one who wants to do good.

(me = the one who wants to do good, evil, desiring to sin, is present, but not me, just in me)

a metaphor:

I live in this house

a bag of trash left from previous resident is still around, smelling up the place

am I smelling up the place, or the trash ?

is the trash me, is it part of my identity ?

Paul is saying this principle of evil still in his members is like that trash

(he doesn’t identify with it)

The key to the christian life is letting Christ live through us

(and not identifying with the trash waiting to be taken out)

we walk out our struggle against the evil still trying to control us, tempt us

but always reminding ourselves that we are not to identify with this evil.

We have been cleansed from sin  (as we ready earlier)
our identity is clean 


given to us freely by Jesus, 

honored and observed by the Father, 

preserved by the Holy Spirit


About Dave

Browse Archived Articles by Dave

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.