Struggle of a Saved Soul - Page 4 of 4 (series: Lessons on Romans)
by John Lowe
25 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.
The first half of this verse answers the question Paul has just raised (v. 24)—he is certain that Christ will eventually rescue him when He returns—“in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Cor. 15:52, 53, 56, 57). The second half summarizes the two sides of the struggle Paul has described in verses 14-24.
I thank God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!—That is to say, “I thank God that deliverance will come through Jesus Christ our Lord.” This will take place when the Lord returns. Then the body will be redeemed. The apostle is anticipating, not death, but the Lord’s return. This expression of thanks foreshadows the references to His Second Coming in chapter eight.
So then, with the mind I myself serve the Law of God, but with the flesh the Law of sin.—these words summarize the conflict that exists between the two natures. With the renewed mind, (new nature), the believer serves the Law of God, but with the flesh (old nature) the Law of sin. It’s not until we reach the next chapter that we find the way of deliverance from the flesh explained.
Paul comes to the conclusion that only Jesus Christ can enable us to live a sanctified life. He would like to serve the Law of God, but his flesh causes him to serve the Law of sin. The Lord Jesus turns that around. Both salvation and sanctification come through Christ; He has provided everything we need.
Run, run and do, the Law commands
But gives me neither feet nor hands.
Better news the Gospel brings,
It bids me fly and gives me wings.
Law brings out the worst in us, but love brings out the best in us. The Holy Spirit within us helps us do what God wants us
to do—“There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit” (Rom 8:1-5). And the Holy Spirit helps us to be what God wants us to be—“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law” (Gal. 5:22-23).Keep your love relationship with the Lord live and exciting, and you will have righteousness instead of wretchedness.
Romans 7 are not a hypothetical case. It is an actual picture of the internal strife caused by the Law of sin warring against the Law of the Spirit in the Apostle Paul. This does not need be the normal Christian experience, because Paul has already instructed us how to avert this internal strife. Chapter 6 presented the proper way to sanctification; this chapter presents the improper way. To live a sanctified life we must know what Christ has accomplished for us in our justification; that we have died with Him and are alive unto righteousness; and yield ourselves completely to Him.
A Yielded Life
Romans 7:21–25 does not suggest that you live a divided life because that is impossible. You must choose your Master (6:15–23) and be true to your Husband, Jesus Christ (7:1–6). “The mind” refers to the new nature from God and “the body of death” the old nature from Adam. We cannot serve God with an old nature that is sinful (7:18), but the Holy Spirit enables us to do His will as we yield to Him. The human body is not sinful, but human nature is.