Romans 7 Bible Study
A biblical teaching of Romans 7 – Bible Study Questions in Romans 7:1-25
Let’s begin by asking ourselves these questions (to be answered later).
Q: Does the believer’s mind serve God or sin?
Q: What part of you serves sin – flesh, heart, or both?
We will get these questions answered today and we’re also going to answer a question every Christian should be asking – “why it is that if we’re saved why we would still struggle with sin“.
Romans 7 is NOT about the typical Christian life. It’s what to expect with life under the law.
In Chapter 7 We will see:
Paul struggling with 2 identities – His Old Self (Jewish Man) and his New Self (Christian). This describes all of us and our struggles to believe our true identity in Christ. We struggle to understand and believe how can really be newly created if we still struggle with sin – and that’s why we can incorrectly think God is mad at us or we have broken fellowship – because we falsely assume that we are the source of our personal struggles with sin. Let’s begin our study.
[Romans 7:1] Or do you not know, brethren (for I am speaking to those who know the law), that the law has jurisdiction over a person as long as he lives?
Here Paul is Not talking about God’s law, but Man’s Law. And next, he gives an example. He’s getting ready to use man’s law to give us a really cool example of how you can’t have the law and Jesus too.
[Romans 7:2] 2 For the married woman is bound by law to her husband while he is living; but if her husband dies, she is released from the law concerning the husband.
So in other words, if he dies she can legally marry another man and not violate the law and commit adultery. This is NOT about divorce. You’ll see it’s really about a spiritual analogy comparing marriage to Law & grace.
This is NOT about you being the husband or the wife, so don’t start putting yourself into this verse. You’ll see clearly as the chapter unfolds.
What do we call someone who is married and has an affair with someone else? An adulterer.
But if the husband dies is it legal for the wife to remarry? Of course it is. So pay attention because this gets really good.
[Romans 7:3] 3 So then, if while her husband is living she is joined to another man, she shall be called an adulteress; but if her husband dies, she is free from the law, so that she is not an adulteress though she is joined to another man.
The analogy is very clear. You can’t legally be married to 2 people at the same time, and you can’t legally be with another person until one DIES.
When a death happens you have freedom from that human marriage law – comparing marriage and the law of sin.
The analogy is you can’t be married to the Law and Jesus at the same time. It’s Spiritual adultery
[Romans 7:4] 4 Therefore, my brethren, you also were made to die to the Law through the body of Christ, so that you might be joined to another, to Him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God.
Another question to ask yourself as move continue this study. Can we bear fruit for God under the law? You’re about to see that the answer is no.
[Romans 7:5] 5 For while we were in the flesh, the sinful passions, which were aroused by the Law, were at work in the members of our body to bear fruit for death.
So according to verse 5 what does the law do to sin? It arouses its passions.
[Romans 7:6] 6 But now we have been released from the Law, having died to that by which we were bound, so that we serve in newness of the Spirit and not in the oldness of the letter.
So according to verse 6 are we still bound to the law, and does it say we WERE (past tense) released from it? We were bound, but not anymore, in fact, the verse says we were released.
[Romans 7:7] 7 What then shall we say? That the law is sin?
Why do you think Paul is addressing this question? He is addressing it because if I’m under the law then I can expect a life of sin. I think he’s also addressing the legalists that seem to keep taking this grace message out of context. The idea of free forgiveness and free righteousness apart from the law is more than they can understand at this time, and in fact, they’d probably call it a “license to sin”. just as people do today.
We talked about the law increasing sin. What has to happen to a person for sin to decrease? He has to get free from the law.
Paul is teaching us the law is not Bad. The Law is NOT evil. The problem with the Law is YOU under it, and the law lacks any value at saving you, making you righteousness, or in leading you away from sin. It just convicts you. Guilty. Hellbound.
[Romans 7:7 contd] May it never be! On the contrary, I would not have come to know sin except through the Law; for I would not have known about coveting if the Law had not said, “You shall not covet.”
Paul is telling us that he struggled with coveting. He didn’t realize it until he got the law. The Law KILLS him. This is “pointing to his sin”. But now he takes it further.
[Romans 7:8] 8 But sin, taking opportunity through the commandment, produced in me coveting of every kind;
What did sin “USE” to seize the opportunity to get Paul to produce ALL kinds of coveting? It used the law.
How much covetousness does God’s WORD say sin produces in Paul? It says covetousness of every kind. That sure sounds like a lot to me.
Did the verse say it pointed it out or produced it? It said it produced it. So why would we want to be under the law if causes sin, instead of leads us away? Why would we push the law on others, when the answer seems to be to just show them Christ?
So the rest of verse 8 tells us what helps to solve this problem of sinning more.
[Romans 7:8 contd] For apart from the law, sin lies dead.
So this is AFTER becoming a Christian and Paul doesn’t say apart from the law he no longer has his sin. We all still stumble in many ways. Paul did. James did. I do. You do.
Though he still sins, he’s saying sin no longer has dominion over him. It’s dead. But it wasn’t dead until he got free from the law. Paul understood that and he wants the Roman church to get this too.
Next, Paul is kind of telling a story about how the law came into him.
[Romans 7:9] I was once alive apart from the Law; but when the commandment came, sin became alive and I died;
He does not mean he was spiritually alive before the knowledge of the law came to him. He means in the fleshly sense. But the moment he learned about the law HE DIED because he realized he could not do it all. The Law SHUT him up big time. In fact, look at what Romans 3:19 teaches us.
Romans 3:19 Now we know that whatever the law says it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be closed, (some versions say shut up) and the whole world may be held accountable to God.
[Romans 7:10] 10 and this commandment, which was to result in life, proved to result in death for me;
So if you could keep the law you could get life. Of course, Paul knows it never really promised life because no one could keep it. His Jewish friends thought it brought life, and anyone looking to the law as their guide is sort of doing the same thing.
[Romans 7:11] 11 for sin, taking an opportunity through the commandment, deceived me and through it killed me. 12 So then, the Law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good.
Paul is not a law hater and neither are we. The law is PERFECT but you can’t get saved, become righteous, or avoid sin by that system. That’s the point.
You need the grace system, and you can’t have a little of both. You are married to one or the other. If you take Jesus with a pinch of the law you’re cheating on Jesus. You died to the law so you could join another.
[Romans 7:13] 13 Therefore did that which is good become a cause of death for me? May it never be! Rather it was sin, in order that it might be shown to be sin by effecting my death through that which is good, so that through the commandment sin would become utterly sinful.
Notice is said “through the commandment sin might become utterly sinful” (some versions say sin increases BEYOND MEASURE). Again, does not say it pointed it out as some teach. No, it caused it to become utterly sinful.
Paul is saying the law doesn’t really kill us, but rather it SHOWS us that we are already DEAD and in need of life, which is only found in Christ. And as long as we are under law we will continue to be slaves to sin. So freedom from law gives us life in Christ, and freedom from bondage to sin because apart from law sin lies dead.
[Romans 7:14-15] 14 For we know that the Law is spiritual, but I am of flesh, sold into bondage to sin. 15 For what I am doing, I do not understand;
Hold on tight because here comes some big news that will shock some Christians.
[Romans 7:15 contd] for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate.
Let’s call it what it is. Paul is sinning, but he has been made new, and even though he’s struggling with sin his new identity hates it every time.
[Romans 7:16] 16 But if I do the very thing I do not want to do, I agree with the Law, confessing that the Law is good. 17 So now, no longer am I the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me.
Wait, did Paul just pass the buck? Did he say he’s not the one sinning, but sin is doing it? He will say this twice in case someone thinks we misunderstood scripture.
This means 1 of 3 things
1) Paul is a big liar saying he doesn’t sin at all.
2) He is saying the devil made him do it and he had no choice in the matter.
Of course, it’s neither of those.
3) he’s really just saying he walked in the flesh and allowed sin to work through him, but the sin does not originate with him. In other words, even though Paul committed the sin, he is NOT the source of it. It’s not him – he is new in Christ, and that’s why he HATES it so much.
[Romans 7:18] 18 For I know that nothing good “dwells” in me, that is, in my flesh.
Notice, he is NOT talking about his heart. He said nothing good was in his FLESH.
[Romans 7:18 contd] for the willing is present in me,
In other words, he had the desire to do what’s right. He just said it IS IN HIM. Where is that desire coming from? The heart. The Holy Spirit. Christ in him.
but the doing of the good is not.
In other words, he doesn’t have the ability to always carry it out. What part of him is stopping him? The Flesh.
[Romans 7:19] 19 For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want. 20 But if I am doing the very thing I do not want, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me.
There he goes again! Twice! Can Paul really blame sin as coming from a different source other than originating with himself or in his heart? You bet he can.
Understand – this should be a relief to us. Realizing that this is NOT you, you’re not the source of the sin. Sin is a power that dwells in your flesh. It tempts you in every way. It accuses you every chance it gets. the fact that it’s not you means you have the ability to say no. Don’t let sin reign in your mortal body.
At your core, YOU are free from sin. But you must choose to avoid it and you have the power to do so every time.
Paul said he does not sin? Is he a liar? Is blaming it on satin?
You could not say no if you were the source of it and it was actually a part of your body.
[Romans 7:21] 21 I find then the principle that evil is present in me, the one who wants to do good.
So even though Paul sins he wants to do good, and that’s why he hates it. But there’s a principle of evil in him. That principle is not him.
[Romans 7:22] 22 For I joyfully concur with the law of God in the inner man, 23 but I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members.
We did NOT get a new body (yet). Our flesh still struggles. The evil one uses our flesh (not our hearts) to make us stumble. The new you is not serving the Devil.
Important side note: Did he say “waging war WITH his mind”? No. He said, “AGAINST his mind”. Sin uses our flesh to wage war against the new us.
[Romans 7:24-25] 24 Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death? 25 Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!
And verse 25 gives us the answer to how we get set free!
[Romans 7:25 contd] So then, on the one hand I myself with my mind am serving the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh the law of sin.
In other words, we are fighting with two identities, but you’re not half good and half bad. You’re all good, fighting against sin that dwells in your members as seen in verse 23.
Paul is serving the law of God with his mind, but what part of him still serves the law of sin? Flesh.
Romans 12:2 tells us “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind”, and the point is you have been made new and sin no longer masters you, but your mind needs to catch up and really believe it.
As Paul said in vs 25 your mind is serving God, not evil. We need to renew our minds and believe who we really are so we can fight this war against sin working through us in our flesh.