Romans 7:7–25comment (0)
October 6, 2011
By Robert Olsen
Related Scripture: Romans 7:7–25
Explore the Bible
Assistant Professor of Christian Studies, School of Christian Studies, University of Mobile
It’s All About Victory
We Know What Sin Is (7–12)
Paul has established that we are free from sin. But if this is the case, then what becomes of the Law? Furthermore, if we are free from sin, then why do we still struggle with sin? Regarding the Law, it is not sin. For example, if you are driving on an interstate and see a speed limit sign that indicates the speed limit is 55 and you are going 65, then it is not the sign’s fault that you are speeding. It is just pointing out the law. If there were no speed limit signs, then we wouldn’t realize we were breaking the law. But once we see the sign, it is then that we realize we are speeding. Likewise the Mosaic law teaches us what sin is. Paul said he would not have known what coveting was unless the Law had told him. And once it told him, he found that he had the desire to covet. Many times, people are enticed by what is forbidden. Adam and Eve sinned by eating the only forbidden fruit. They had the entire garden to enjoy but chose to disobey the one command they were given. If you see a sign that says, “Do not look out this window,” how many of us would then be enticed to actually look out of a window that otherwise we would have likely ignored? Sin deceives us. When we are angry with someone, it is easy for us to feel justified in our anger. If we refuse to forgive another person, then it is easy for sin to convince us that this is what is right. It is easy for us to think that small lies are really harmless. This is what Satan excels at; he is the father of lies and lies to us trying to make us sin and feel that our sin is of no consequence or really no sin at all.
Does the Law only exist then to convict us? No, this is not its only purpose. The Law teaches us about God — that He is holy and expects His followers to strive to live holy lives that accurately represent Him. Ethically the Law is still in effect as Christ demonstrated in the Sermon on the Mount. Also the Law teaches us that we cannot achieve righteousness on our own. If no one is righteous, then there is no room for boasting or self-righteousness.
We Struggle With Sin (13–20)
This is a passage that every Christian can relate to. Paul was frustrated by his inability to live a perfectly godly life. He said he wanted to do the good he knew he ought to do yet he found that instead he sinned. God has called us to live holy lives, and we are no longer slaves to sin. Then why is living a holy life a struggle? Being a Christian does not mean that we no longer have a sin nature. Every day, we are tempted to sin; we will continue to sin until we die or Christ returns. However, if we walk with Christ daily, then our strength to deny sin increases. This is the process of sanctification — becoming more and more like Christ each day.
It is important to note, however, that this does not give us a license to sin nor does it excuse our sin. Just because we have a sin nature, we are not free to sin. The Holy Spirit gives us power over sin, and as Paul said in Chapter 6, we are no longer slaves to sin.
We Have Victory Over Sin (21–25)
Just because we know what sin is because of the Law, this does not mean that we should despise the Law. Just as a speed limit sign is there for our own protection and to protect others from driving too fast and causing accidents, the Law exists for our own good. If we obey the Law (living by faith and obedience to God — not following the elements of the Law that have been fulfilled in Christ), then not only do we show our love of God by our obedience but we also show wisdom, as evidenced, for example, by Psalm 119.
Because of the presence of sin in our lives, Paul correctly asked how we could be saved from our sinful bodies. The answer, of course, is through Jesus Christ our Lord. This is every Christian’s jubilant cry. We will always be sinners while on earth, but Christ has saved us so that we do not have to feel the eternal punishment for our sins. So while we struggle with our sinful natures, the war has already been won by Christ, and this is the Christian’s joy.