In Romans chapter 7 the apostle Paul describes the experience that a believer has when they are trying to please God by keeping the Law. In short, the believer ends up in a battle between the “new nature” and the “old nature” and sadly the old nature wins the conflict.

  • In verses 1-6, Paul teaches that we have died to the Law through the death of Christ which enables us to bear fruit for God. Verse 4 states: “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” (NASB). But believers are slow to learn this and thus many, after they are saved, try to keep the Law in order to please God. The rest of the chapter reveals the miserable defeat a Christian suffers when he tries bear fruit for God in his own strength.
  • In verses 7-13, Paul reveals the “purpose of the Law.” Verse 7 reads, “What shall we say then? Is the Law sin? May it never be! On the contrary, I would not have come to know sin except through the Law.” This agrees with Romans 3:20 that says, “By the Law is the knowledge of sin.” The Law was never given to produce holiness, but to prove that we are NOT HOLY! The Law serves its purpose when it convicts a sinner of their sinful condition and makes them feel their need for a Savior.
  • In verses 14-24, we have “the conflict between the two natures.” Once a person is saved they may think, “I know I could never keep the Law before I was born again, but now that I’m saved, I can.” In these verses we have Paul’s own experience where he put himself under the Law in order to please God. What he failed to see is that when one tries to keep the Law, they are expecting to keep it IN THEIR OWN STRENGTH! Listen to what Paul discovered in verses 14-20: “For we know that the Law is spiritual, but I am of flesh, sold into bondage to sin. For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate. But if I do the very thing I do not want to do, I agree with the Law, confessing that the Law is good. So now, no longer am I the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not. For the good I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want. 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” (NASB). We could summarize this passage by saying that Paul discovered that he had no power in himself to do good but just the opposite, for he realized that there was “sin which dwells in me.” This is the “old nature” which was corrupt and caused him to “practice the very evil that I do not want.” He goes on to say in verses 21-23: “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” (NKJV). Paul knew he wanted to do good because he delighted “in the law of God according to the inward man” (the inward man being the “new nature”), but whenever he tried to do good, the evil nature reared its ugly head and brought him “into captivity to the law of sin.” Paul was defeated time and time again! And dear fellow-believer, if you and I try to bear fruit for God by attempting to keep the Law (or any set of rules that we set up for ourselves), we too will meet with defeat. For although the “new nature” gives us the desire to please God, we need power outside of ourselves to get the victory and to glorify God.

The POWER we need is discovered in Romans chapter 8, which I encourage you to read. Let’s read verse 2: “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set me free from the law of sin and death.” It is the INDWELLING HOLY SPIRIT that will deliver us from sin and enable us to bear fruit for God. His mission IN US is to occupy us with the life we have in Christ Jesus and if we yield to Him we will surely gain the victory! We will not be occupied with the Law, but with Christ Himself. Yet in having Christ before our hearts, we will indeed be doing what the Law commanded. Verse 4 confirms this, “That the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.” The old nature will be defeated and the righteousness demanded by the Law (to live a holy life pleasing to God) will be fulfilled.  (221.3)  (DO)