Is Romans 7:13-25 the normal Christian life?

Discussion in '2003 Archive' started by Sola-Scriptura, Jun 28, 2003.

  1. Sola-Scriptura

    Sola-Scriptura
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    I keep reading articles and commentators that try to say that this passage is a description of the "normal" Christian life. I dissagree for several reasons. Let me quickly state first that I believe a true Christian does wrestle with the flesh and sin in his life until death...I do not believe in sinless perfection or special levels of holiness. But do you guys think Paul is describing himself before or after conversion.
     
  2. Artimaeus

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    Clearly after conversion. Before conversion I had no conflict at all. I did pretty much anything I thought I could get by with. Given their perceived choices, a lost person will always do that which gains the most pleasure or avoids the most pain. When the Holy Spirit is added to my life there is now a conflict between my previously totally selfish mind and the totally unselfish nature of Christ. I now have the power, authority, and responsibility to decide which direction I will go. Maturity is making those decisions (thousands of them) in favor of Christ's way.
     
  3. Sola-Scriptura

    Sola-Scriptura
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    Artemaeus said:
    I now have the power, authority, and responsibility to decide which direction I will go. Maturity is making those decisions (thousands of them) in favor of Christ's way.

    This is precisely my point.In this passage, the problem to me is that the man being described doesn't have the Spirit to empower him to obey God. Again, I don't deny the conflict for a Christian at all, however this passage appears to be describing a conflict and frustration of the Jew trying to keep the law, but is not able to. And that is precisely what the law was intended to produce. Paul says in verse 23 that he was "captive to the law of sin and death". However, in 8:2 he says he is "free from the law of sin and death." All of chapter 6 describes how we are set free from sin and no longer slaves. In v14 he says he is "carnal, sold under sin." Yet in 8:7 he says the carnal mind is not subject to the law and the one who is carnal is in the flesh and not converted. The one thing that trips people up is 7:22 where he "delights in the law of God" and therefore must be a Christian. But the whole point of the chapter is the inability of the law to make us acceptable with God. Here are some verses to show how an unconverted man can delight in and be zealous for the law yet not have submitted to the righteousness of Christ in the Gospel: ACTS 22:3, 26:4-5, PHIL. 3:4-7, ROM.10:2-3, ROM.9:31, GAL.1:14, ISA.58:1-2.
     
  4. russell55

    russell55
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    Sola,

    I agree with your interpretation. The thing that convinced me is the "sold under sin" thing. If Paul is using this in reference to a believer, it would be the only place he ever used language like that to describe a believer, and it would be the exact opposite of how he describes believers everywhere else in his writings.
     
  5. Tim

    Tim
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    Sola,

    You're absolutely right! It's about the inadequacy of the Law to empower a righteous life as opposed to the life of the Spirit.

    Anyone trying to live by the Law will experience this struggle. But the life of the Spirit gives progressive victory--as Paul said he had in other epistles.

    In Christ,

    Tim
     
  6. Major B

    Major B
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    We miss the point unless we take account of the fact that this is Paul talking about HIS experience, not some general experience. I believe, based on several statements, that Paul is describing himself under conviction of sin, which, him being a pharisee, was largely connected with the Law.
     
  7. Sola-Scriptura

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    Also, Paul never leads anyone to the law for either justification or for sanctification. The New Testament always leads us to grace through faith for all things that pertain to life and godliness. Romans 7 shows how the law works perfectly to increase sin and frustration as a result, then drive us to Christ in the Gospel. And Oh! What confidence and freedom and liberty pours off Pauls pen in chapter 8 because he is in Christ and delivered and more than a conqueror through Him who loved us! Why, because he grew more spiritual from chapter 7? No, because his cry of "who shall deliver me" is accomplished by Jesus Christ through the cross! So this gospel is a gospel of the cross not a gospel of human power in any way.
    Soli Deo Gloria.
     
  8. Felix

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    Very well put!! [​IMG]
    I was gonna start a thread with the same question because it seems to me that there is great confusion out there about this issue. I was glad to find this and looking forward to more thoughts. What was Paul referring to? Thanks

    Felix


    Felix
     
  9. swaimj

    swaimj
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    I agree that Paul is speaking of his pre-conversion experience in this passage.
     
  10. Gunther

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    In my estimation, those who believe it is after conversion, do not fully deal with exactly what Paul is saying.

    If Romans 7 is post conversion, he is damning himself. Romans 6 is all about freedom.
     
  11. swaimj

    swaimj
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    There are strong points on both sides of this argument. What seals the deal for me is verses 4-6 of chpater 7. Verse 4 speaks of the present state of the Christian. Verse 5 speaks of our past condition, prior to conversion ("while we were in the flesh"), and verse 6 returns to the present state of the Christian again ("But now..."). Paul explains verse 5 in detail in verses 7-25 and he explains verse 6 beginning in chapter 8.
     
  12. Brett Valentine

    Brett Valentine
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    Hey all,

    I don't know if I can agree that Romans 7 is only "pre-conversion." I really think that at any time, we can fall back into a pattern of "trying to do good" under our own power. The Law becomes our "tutor" again, reminding us of God's grace. If we take our eyes off Christ and start looking to ourselves and dwelling on our sin, we begin that distress cycle over again. We know that the Law does not change, Romans 7 and 8 are the reminder of grace for me.

    If Romans 7:14-24 is only "pre-conversion," why do so many Christians still struggle with it and identify with it as well?

    Immediately, the book of Galatians springs to mind. Galatians 5:1 - "Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage."

    Romans 7;14-24 is just as true today for Christians walking in the freedom of Romans 7:25 to 8:4. In fact, I most of last week in Romans 8 (reading it over each day as a devotional, prayed using it as a basis, etc.) and it really did help free me from living in that "endless loop" mindest of 7:14-24.

    That said, I have to think that it is not SUPPOSED to be the normal Christian experience (which those commentaries you mentioned were saying). I think that, no, I know that Romans 8 is meant to be the normative CHristian experience, but from my experience, so few of us constantly live a "Romans 8" life.

    Thanks for reminding me. I need to go read it again. ;)

    Brett
     

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