|Romans 7:15,24-25 |
15 For I understood not what I did, for not what I intended to have practiced, instead I did what I hated.5
24 Wretched man me! Who will deliver me from the body of this death? [Paul is reflecting on how desperate he was before he had been freed from sin by the Lord. Then in the next sentence he says that he was going to be delivered by God through Jesus Christ. To be delivered is to be truly freed from all sin, not freed from the guilt of sin. The first part of this verse is universally translated in other Bibles as "Wretched man that I am," but there is no verb of any tense, (am), present; the Greek is literally "Wretched me man."]
25 Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then with the mind I myself served the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin. [So do we sit, captive to sin; or do we go to He who will deliver me from the body of death? Paul did not remain in this condition he describes that he went through, which we all must pass through to find salvation. With hope in the promise of the gospel, with sincere regret for our past sins, we go to God to receive his heart and soul purifying grace, by the inward cross of self-denial, to be delivered from sin, and then to have Jesus raised in us to be our ruling Lord of thoughts, words, and deeds — sin free. As Paul said: For if you live after the flesh [the sinful nature], you will die; but if through the Spirit you mortify [put to death] the deeds of the body, you will live, Rom 8:13; through repentance on the cross, we mortify [put to death] the deeds of the body which are of the earthly life; fornication, impurity, inordinate affections, evil lusts of the flesh, and covetousness, which is idolatry. Col 3:5. Until finally you arrive at Paul's final state: I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. Gal 2:20.
The end of this dramatic narrative is found in the next two verses, (Verses 1 and 2 of Chapter 8), where Paul states: "There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death." Rom 8:1-2. Paul was free from sin, no longer walking in restricted flesh; he was walking in the Spirit: in obedience to the commands of God for his words to speak and his deeds to be done. When Jesus is your true Lord and Master, actually guiding all your thoughts, words, and deeds, then like Paul, you have fulfilled the law and established the law.]
5 While the inner law on the heart of every man, which includes moral core of the outward law, is our schoolmaster, we know the first state that Paul described he once was in: For I understood not what I did, for not what I intended to have practiced, instead I did what I hated. Rom 7:15; and all men are in this state, before the Sprit of God mortifies the sin in them.
But Heed! You do have control of your hands and feet; you can stop your feet from pursuing evil, and you can stop your hands from reaching for evil. You can't control your mouth and your thoughts, until the Lord makes the changes in you — but beware, you must cease your practices of immorality that are under your control. You can't control your eyes from looking at a woman with lust the first time, but you can decide to not look the second time. The Lord sees your efforts or lack of efforts, and he therefore knows the sincerity of your seeking. If you are insincere, without having turned from evil the best you can, he will know it and give you little help; if you are fortunate, he will remind you of your hypocrisy; if you are not, he will ignore you.