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Journey through the Book of Romans
by Clifford Tate 
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Paul abhors his Indwelling Sin & recognizes that the Law cannot save from Sin

Romans 7:13-14 Has then what is good become death to me? Certainly not! But sin, that it might appear sin, was producing death in me through what is good, so that sin through the commandment might become exceedingly sinful. For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am carnal, sold under sin. NKJV

Paul now says that it was not the holy, just, and good Law of God that produced the corruption within him, but it was sin dwelling in him that he discovered or recognized as the Holy Spirit opened his spiritual eyes. Paul again says, “God Forbid” that he or anyone of us should accuse the Law of God for his or our sin and sinning against God’s Law. All the Law does is exposing to each of us the deep and dark gravity of our sin and depravity within each one of us. The Law of God is perfect because it comes from God who is perfect and there is nothing wanting in God’s Holy Law, but rather our sin in the inner man or woman shows us that our whole person is crippled because of the principle of sin and corruption still remaining in each one of our inner man or woman needing to be subdued that the Law of God cannot provide even in its purity and holiness. If we read the Amplified version of Romans 7:14 (AMP): “We know that the Law is spiritual; but I am a creature of the flesh [carnal, unspiritual], having been sold into slavery under [the control of] sin.” Paul wanted all of those followers of our Lord Jesus in Rome and everywhere else who would read this letter to understand what happened to each one of us when Adam fell so that we could see and understand that we all are totally incapable of meeting the spiritual requirements of the Law of God in the inner man in the power of our own human spirits.

Adam’s disobedience plunged us so deeply into the slavery to sin that our old man that was crucified with Christ (Romans 6:6) still rises up within us through our members often time involuntarily when we see an image or hear some words that arouse unclean passion in each one of us, including Paul. The controversy over the centuries regarding the interpretation of Romans 7:14-25 has been a cause of fierce battles in past generations and even in our present day, but I want to say before I continue that whether Paul was speaking of himself during his unregenerate state or his regenerate state, it is clear and I pray will be made clear through his words spoken from a sincere heart of love for our Lord Jesus and for the followers of Christ in Rome that in no way was Paul living some openly sinful lifestyle before the Spirit of God brought him into the revelation of Romans 8:2. Those who twist Paul’s words to give themselves license to practice all forms of immorality, greed, racism, selfishness, gluttony, etc. do it to their own destruction (2 Peter 3:14-18). When we read all of Paul’s letters we find a man with a heart so sensitive to God the Father, through our Lord Jesus, in the Holy Spirit’s Power that he wrote the following: 1 Corinthians 8:13 Therefore, if food makes my brother stumble, I will never again eat meat, lest I make my brother stumble. NKJV and 1 Corinthians 9:27 But [like a boxer] I buffet my body [handle it roughly, discipline it by hardships] and subdue it, for fear that after proclaiming to others the Gospel {and} things pertaining to it, I myself should become unfit [not stand the test, be unapproved and rejected as a counterfeit]. Quick Bible Amplified Paul would rather die than to live in such a way as to lead another person by his words or actions washed from their sins in our Lord Jesus’ Blood into a lifestyle willfully sinning against our Lord Jesus.

Romans 7:15-20 For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do. If, then, I do what I will not to do, I agree with the law that it is good. But now, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. 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. For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice. Now if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. NKJV

Paul now begins to speak personally of some of his sin and he speaks with passion, frustration, and confusion in his tone. Paul says that some of the things that he finds himself doing he hates them. Now I spoke earlier above of the centuries of debate over whether Paul was speaking of his unregenerate self or his regenerate self. I want to say that I gather from his words here that he is speaking of his regenerate born again new creation in Christ man because he says he finds himself doing “what I hate” and no unregenerate natural man hates his sin at any time. The act of sinning is natural to the natural man (1 Corinthians 2:14), but to the spiritual man sin is loathsome and he wants his sin against our Lord to stop. Paul here is speaking as a believer in our Lord Jesus Christ, a regenerate and born again son of the Living God. This was Paul’s heart in these words as he discovered that he still had indwelling sin present with him and he desperately wanted power over the sin that remained in him to subdue it (1 John 1:8).

I believe the Apostle Paul had been walking with our Lord Jesus since the Damascus road about 15 to 20 years when he wrote this letter. Perhaps I am off some 5-10 years but I believe he had been walking with our Lord Jesus for a while. Paul came to recognize that though he desired to do that which was honoring to God at all times he still was unable to perform it because of the sin that dwelled in him (1 John 1:10). Paul perhaps was speaking mostly of a violent temper and nature that was a part of his great success as a persecutor of our Lord’s Body of believers before he was converted (Galatians 1:13-14 & 1 Timothy 1:13). Paul comes to the conclusion that no unregenerate man ever does and that is he through the Holy Spirit’s influence saw that disposition still in him to sin and that in him dwells nothing good. We hear just the opposite of this true internal assessment from the multitudes still in the world and away from our Lord Jesus and His grace, as they often speak of themselves and others as good people. Paul saw himself as every true believer must as our Lord Jesus said of us with these words, John 15:5 “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.” NKJV

Romans 7:21-25 I find then a law, that evil is present with me, the one who wills to do good. For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man. But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? I thank God --- through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin. NKJV

Paul always wanted to be led by God the Holy Spirit into all truth, even the truth that first brought him rebuke or reprimand and then led him into freedom. Paul talks now of a law of evil being present with him at all times and this again has to be the experience of a born again man because I can speak of my own personal experience before coming to Christ in repentance and faith and being regenerated, I never was concerned with, cared about, or was conscience of evil present with me because I then did not desire to do any good. It is only the redeemed of the Lord Jesus that the enemy prowls about like a roaring lion trying to devour (1 Peter 5:8) because the unregenerate sinner or goat or Apostate already belongs to him and he needs not prowl about those who are already under his control. The unregenerate sinner or goat or Apostate never wills or desires to do good (moral excellence or moral virtue) because their desire is evil continually (Psalms 119:155).

Paul took pleasure and satisfaction in God’s Law as it instructed him into the path he should walk from the very depths of his soul. Paul desired to always obey the Word of God, but he found himself in warfare with the members of his body without the power to be free or victorious on every occasion (Galatians 5:17). This is the heart cry of every true believer in our Lord Jesus Christ for the unregenerate man cares not that he sins willfully at all. Paul recognizes the indwelling sin and the battle with it for control of his mind and his thoughts and this is why he would write these words to the Corinthian believers: 2 Corinthians 10:1-6 Now I, Paul, myself am pleading with you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ --- who in presence am lowly among you, but being absent am bold toward you. But I beg you that when I am present I may not be bold with that confidence by which I intend to be bold against some, who think of us as if we walked according to the flesh. For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled. NKJV

It is Paul’s desire for complete and total victory over the sin the dwelled in him that activated his recognition of himself as a miserable man in the light of God’s Holiness and Purity that led him to the great Law he will expound for us all in the beginning of Chapter 8. Paul has walked so long with our Lord Jesus some 15 years and yet this raging battle continued to weigh him down as it does with every true child of God until they like Paul come to the place that cries Oh! God I am such a miserable failure before You but it is You Lord Jesus that can deliver me and keep me delivered from the sin that dwells within me. Paul wrote this letter to Roman believers around A.D. 56 or 57 and later he would write a letter to brother Titus around A.D. 64 where he would write these amazing words about God’s grace: Titus 2:11-15 For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works. Speak these things, exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no one despise you. NKJV In our Lord Jesus Christ we got not only salvation but sanctification that works in us moment by moment every day as we remain here on the earth to purify our hearts from all of sins corruption and captivity. Amen!

“You will find indwelling sin frequently retarding you the most, when you are most earnest. When you desire to be most alive to God - you will generally find sin most alive to repel you.” Charles Spurgeon

“Overcoming sin, blessed though it surely is, is but the bare minimum of a believers experience. There is nothing astonishing in it. Not to overcome sin is what ought to astonish us.” “Sins must be treated progressively one by one until all have been eliminated.” Watchman Nee

“To struggle, battle, and fight against indwelling sin is the birth mark of the true believer, because the unbeliever does not fight sin, but he or she simply, sweetly, and surely yields to its call.” Clifford D. Tate, Sr.

If you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ and His amazing healing power, pray this from your heart to the Lord Jesus Christ (you speaking directly to Him), Dear Lord Jesus, I confess to You that I am a sinner and I need Your forgiveness. I believe You shed Your Blood and died for my sins. I believe that You rose from the dead proving that You alone are God. I repent of my sins. I want to turn from my sins. I ask You Dear Lord Jesus to come into my heart and take control of my life. I want You to be my Lord, Savior, and my God. Amen...

Sincerely in Christ,

Clifford D. Tate, Sr.

Author of “Silent Assassins of the Soul - Are you Broken by Pornography and Masturbation? You can be Restored by the Lord Jesus Christ and brought into Deliverance, Freedom, and Victory! A Guide for Men and Women in the Enemy’s Crosshairs” e-book available now @ Amazon Kindle, @ Apple I Bookstore for IPod, Barnes and Noble for Nook, Reader Store for Sony Reade, Kobo, Copia, Gardners, Baker and Taylor, and eBookPie…


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