Tuesday, 15 December 2009

So then what about Romans 7

Romans 7 has always been a problem...
each time i read it i have to rethink the whole thing again

on one hand there is the so-called 'Christian cop-out'
in the sense that chapter 7 describes the 'normal christian life'
i really want to live a great life for God - but I can't - oh well...

then there are the others who say this is Paul recounting his preconversion experience
that's all well and good up till verse 13
but then everything switches to present tense
and if that were the case
Romans 7:25 25 Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.
the bold part of the last verse would not be included

Now if I look through this again I think maybe it begins to make a bit of sense

So in Chapter 6 - Paul has said you must no longer serve sin, and if you do, you are a slave to sin - bringing about death

Similarly in Chapter 8 - if you walk according to the flesh = death

So then the Christian life cannot be a constant failing - and this would be inconsistent with anything Jesus has to say - i.e. 'you must be perfect' etc..

Chapter 6 shows us how the gospel deals with the flesh
Chapter 7 into 8 shows us how the gospel deals with the law

The Law can only convict of sin
So Paul once acknowledging the law - died
but then he had a connundrum - inside he was sorrowful and agreed with God, but in the flesh he could not do what God wanted
- this does not necessarily imply him being a Christian
- for example Judas would agree that what he did was wrong, and thus would agree with God of his sin - and even agree what a wretched man he is
- but conviction of sin is not = repentance - but merely worldy sorrow

then comes the goal of the law - it points to Christ
it then says - thanks be to God for Jesus, and Jesus fulfilled what the law demanded of me - but my flesh could not do

so what Chapter 7 is saying is - if i walk according to the flesh, the law will condemn me and show me that it is impossible - present tense
so what is the solution? I need to turn to Christ (present continuous) and walk according to the Spirit - the flesh needs to be constantly not trusted in and handed over to death
So then if I walk according to grace, or the Spirit, He working in and through me will overcome the flesh and allow my dead-flesh to accomplish great things for God - similarly to what Christ did on the cross

So the present life of a Christian is to never trust in the flesh and do things according to the flesh - otherwise the law will point out that I am failing God, and not pleasing Him

So what do I do? I walk according to the Spirit - which then will allow God to use my weak flesh for great purposes - in its weakness

Thus the most important thing is 'setting my mind' on the Spirit - and 'consider' my flesh dead and gone - not merely on despairing about sin - and then I will be born again - Rom 8 - the testimony of the Spirit - not merely sorrowful


KarinaGL said...

Very interesting...The battle between flesh and spirit is real and seriously hard.
Our walk in really narrow, dental floss narrow, and The Most High in Christ knows this, this is why we cannot do it alone but with HIM. If for not grace and mercy, we would all be in trouble.

Thanks for sharing

yemsee said...

Hi Karina

i think the whole point of Romans 7 is that we can only defeat the flesh through the Spirit - and the law makes us constantly aware of this...

so exactly - we need to learn how to do it FROM Him and IN Him and THROUGH Him - FOR His sake

Jeff said...


"Therefore the LORD himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel." (Isaiah 7:14)

"But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting." (Micah 5:2)

"She shall bring forth a son, and thou shall call His name Jesus; for He shall save His people from their sins."(Matthew 1:21)

"Therefore God exalted Him to the highest place and gave Him the name that is above every name." (Philippians 2:9)

"All kings shall pay Him homage, all nations shall serve Him." (Psalm 72:11)

Jeff said...

The bad news:

Islamic mosque built at 9/11 Ground Zero

There have been more than 14,000 distinctly jihadi attacks since 9/11 around the world. This works out to 4.7 attacks, on average, per day.

Some have said that Osama bin Laden and terrorists and militants have hijacked Islam. However, those terrorists and militants were indeed Muslims. They were informed and motivated by their interpretation and belief of Islam. And to deny that is to deny the responsibility among the teachers of Islam today, which still teach jihad.

Ibn Ishaq (died 767 AD) was Muhammad's first biographer, an 8th century Muslim writer, who explained that the Qur'an actually has 3 stages of development in its teachings on jihad and unbelievers. The first stage is tolerance, which was the prevailing understanding of the relationship between Muslims and nonbelievers during the period when Muhammad was in Mecca, and the Muslims were merely a small band that did not have a whole lot of power, and were facing a much larger and more formidable enemy. Ibn Ishaq taught that it is a progression, so that the later stages cancel out the earlier, and 'offensive' jihad (in other words, not a spiritual struggle within yourself, but jihad against non-Muslims) is the Quran's word for all time that must be followed, whereas tolerance was only for a limited period. This is the unanimous teaching of the schools of jurisprudence and all the orthodox sects of Islam to this day---that offensive jihad is the highest level of jihad, and the one that is applicable for all time. The desire to bring the entire world into subjection under Allah is where the concept of jihad enters the picture.

Jihadist Muslims believe the whole world should submit to Islam, so, when they come to the U.S., they want to see Shari'a law being implemented. The goal of jihadists, whether they will admit it or not, is to Islamicize America. Strictly speaking, Islam has been on the march since its inception. In the Qur'an, and in the teachings of Muhammad, and in Islamic tradition, theology and law, there are mandates commanding Muslims to wage war against unbelievers. This is the reason there has been all these jihadi attacks against civilians only.

The only answer to Islam and what's happening around the world is the gospel of Jesus Christ. There is no other solution. The more Muslims that come to Christ, the less Muslims there are for the terrorists to recruit.

And as much as we hear about the progress of radical Islam on the march, there is another story to be told: Muslims coming to faith in Jesus Christ. This is happening in the millions.


Muslims coming to Christ in the thousands

TURKS leave islam for the Truth of Christ

Thousands of Muslims Converting to Christianity (Iraq)


6 Million Muslims convert to Christianity - Al-Jazeerah ! (in Arabic w/English subtitles)

6 Million Muslims

Christianity Growing In the Muslim World (Jordan River)

vatoben said...

And 1 Peter 4 Verses 1 and 2 also helpfully says:

Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves with the same way of thinking, for whoever has suffered in the fleshhas ceased from sin, so as to live forthe rest of the time in the flesh no longer for human passions but for the will of God.

Nicolai said...

Hi Dev,
Thanks for this post. I fully agree, except in the last sentence. It reads like I set my mind on the Spirit, consider my flesh dead and gone, not merely despair about sin, and THEN I will be born again? No, for how can I consider myself dead if I haven't actually died yet? And how can I set my mind on the Spirit before He indwells us? That should be in a different order from what you have written.
Your point on despairing about sin is more interesting, though. That might be at the time of our conversion, but many Christians look at the law, experience the despair of Romans 7 (maybe as Paul?), and need to relearn the gospel, to cry out with Paul, "thanks be to God" etc. But that doesn't mean you again have to be born-again, as far as I can see.
Please let me know your thoughts.

yemsee said...

well.. that issue is another thing altogether - when does regeneration happen... before or after 'conversion'
somehow i think its a bit different altogether
but i'll leave that for when i've thought it through another decade or so... =)