Sunday Sermon Notes: Romans 7

Romans 7: 13 Has then what is good become death to me? Certainly not!

  • What sends a criminal to prison? The police? A judge? The witness? No, his crime.
  • The law condemns the sinner- but the law is still good
  • The law makes plain and visible our sin- and therefore informs us of our condemnation

But sin, that it might appear sin, was producing death in me through what is good,

  • Sin causes death- Eden
  • ‘The wages of sin is death’

so that sin through the commandment might become exceedingly sinful.

  • The law magnifies sin
  • Mother’s wall paper- granddad pointed it upside down.

 14 For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am carnal, sold under sin.

  • Is Paul describing an unsaved person? They’re unspiritual, a slave to sin, doing evil
  • Or a Christian?
  • The latter- this person does not want to sin. There’s a battle within them.
  • Or what kind of Christian? A legalist? A backslider? Or every believer?
  • The law makes us realise our unspiritual and ungodly we are
  • The closer I get to God the more aware I am of my own failings
  • Imagery of slavery- a slave does what he might not want to, against his own will.
  • The master owned the body but not the mind- sin still exercises some power over our fallen bodies, though our spirits belong to God
  • Carnal- fleshly: contaminated by sin

 15 For what I am doing, I do not understand.

  • In my mind I am a servant of God, wanting to be like Christ, wanting to be holy. In practice I am lazy, selfish, a gossip.
  • How many times have we asked ‘Why did I do THAT?’
  • Understand could mean ‘approve’ in the Greek
  • The hypocrite always disapproves of others’ behaviour; The Christian is too busy disapproving of his own.

 For what I will to do, that I do not practise; but what I hate, that I do.

  • What I aim at and what I hit are two different things
  • Losing weight. Found myself eating chocolate. Don’t remember even getting out of the cupboard.

16 If, then, I do what I will not to do, I agree with the law that it is good.

  • Returning to his original point.
  • We might be caught speeding; we might even be caught speeding by accident; we might be really annoyed if we’re caught; but deep down we know the law of speeding limits is a good law

17 But now, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me.

  • Paul is not abdicating personal responsibility- like Greek dualists or ranters. ‘It’s the body’s fault’
  • The new creation no longer approves of the sin still resident in the flesh

18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find.

  • Our bodies are still contaminated by the Fall. It’s not our bodies that were made new at our conversions

 19 For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice.

Sin is not just performing badness, but omitting goodness

 20 Now if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me.

  • Same point as verse 17.
  • Like a family friend with Alzheimer’s who becomes aggressive and hostile to her family0 its not her, it’s the illness.

21 I find then a law, that evil is present with me, the one who wills to do good.

  • A spiritual principle: We might want to be good, but sin is still with us.

 22 For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man. 23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind,

Psalm 1: Blessed is the man

Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly,

    Nor stands in the path of sinners,

    Nor sits in the seat of the scornful;

2 But his delight is in the law of the Lord,

    And in His law he meditates day and night

  • Why are Christians called soldiers? To put on armour? We are at war
  • Not with people but our own sin and corruption

 and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.

Proverbs 5:22: The evil deeds of the wicked ensnare them; the cords of their sins hold them fast.

24 O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?

Paul’s frustration

25 I thank God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!


  • In indwelling of the Holy Spirit
  • Growth in grace
  • Death itself

1 Cor 15: So is it with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable; what is raised is imperishable. 43 It is sown in dishonour; git is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness; it is raised in power. 44 It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body.

So then, with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin.

The Christian is always torn between the old life, the flesh, and the new life, godliness.