Day 44~ Romans 7-9
I think today's reading can be some of the most confusing chapters of the New Testament! For example, when Paul in 7:14-24 is talking from the perspective of one who is not a Christian, "I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin." (vs.14).
He is trying to illustrate how unbelievers think. It might be hard for some to see that he is not speaking of his present self especially when he says, "I delight in God's law" (vs.22).However, if you look closely you can see he was referring to the fact that as a Pharisee (prior to becoming a Christian) he was "zealous for God.... but their zeal is not based on knowledge"(10:2). The easiest way to confirm that Paul is not speaking as a Christian is when he ends this futile way of thinking with a rhetorical question, "What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? (7:24)
So, please, if you are a believer, don't take this scripture out of context and apply it to yourself,
"For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do," That sentence is for the one who is still "in the sinful nature a slave to the law of sin."(7:25) As a Christian, we are set free from the law of sin and death. We "do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit." (8:4)
I may have pointed this out before, but I feel it's worthy of pointing it out again, because I heard a Christian apply this section of Scripture to herself saying, "I am like Paul, I don't do what I know I should and I do what I shouldn't."😮
Umm.... excuse me…that is not what Paul is saying he does now. It is what he did before he had a knowledge of Christ. As Christians we have the Holy Spirit that helps us. We now have the fruit of self-control (Gal 5:23). We are NOT under the control of sin (8:9). So, we can't use 7:19 to defend our bad behavior. Always be careful to keep scripture in context!