Let’s read that interesting verse: “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). The keys words are “the mind” and “the flesh.” As we shall see, when Paul speaks of “the mind” he is speaking of the NEW NATURE in the believer which loves God and His Word. When he speaks of “the flesh” he is speaking of the OLD NATURE which loves sin. The “new nature” is developed in us when we have God’s Mind revealed to us through the Word and we are transformed. We see this in Romans 12:2, “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”  We are then “serving the law of God.” When the “old nature” is in control, this transformation is not occurring; we are being “conformed to this world.” In a word, we are “living in sin” by succumbing to sinful temptations that are presented to us in the world. We are then “serving the law of sin.”

In Romans chapter 7 Paul is rehearsing the conflict he had with these two natures. As a new believer with a new nature, Paul loved God’s Word and he wanted to please God by keeping “the law of God.” We see this in verse 22, “For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man.” But he also recognized “another law” that was in conflict with “the law of his mind (the new nature)” which caused him to serve “the law of sin.” We see this in verse 23, “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. The “other law in his members” is the “old nature.” If you read verses 7-21 you will see that even though Paul delighted in the law of God and wanted to keep it, the old nature in him would always win the battle and he would end up sinning. In verses 15-21 he formed this conclusion:

“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. I find then a law, that EVIL IS PRESENT WITH ME, the one who wills to do good.”

In short, Paul had discovered that even though he had a “new nature” that loved God and His Word, he also had a “sin nature” that brought him into bondage to sin. He felt so miserable that he said (in verse 24), “O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?” Verse 25 gave him a “partial answer” to the deliverance he longed for since he could say, “I thank God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!” But he still went on to admit that with the flesh he served “the law of sin.” In other words, there was still no deliverance from the “law of sin!” If this were the end of the story, it would spell defeat for Paul and all believers, but thank God Paul made another discovery that gave him “the victory from the law of sin.” We see this in Romans 8:2, “For the LAW OF THE SPIRIT OF LIFE IN CHRIST JESUS HAS MADE ME FREE FROM THE LAW OF SIN and death.” He learned, what we all must learn, that the Holy Spirit has been given to us to enable us to gain the victory over “indwelling sin” (the “old nature”). If we allow the Spirit to occupy us with our blessed risen Lord through the Word of God, we will become more like Christ and be delivered from sin. We have this wonderful truth brought out in 2nd Corinthians 3:18, “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being TRANSFORMED INTO THE SAME IMAGE from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.” Even though there is still the “sinful nature in us,” it will be “kept at bay” while we are focused on Christ, and that wonderful transformation process will continue. We will then experience, as Paul did, that the “law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus” sets us free from “the law of sin and death.  (DO)  (540.5)