Useful Bible Studies > Romans Commentary > chapter 7

A person who wants to obey God's law, but cannot do that

Romans 7:15-16

Paul has just told us what kind of person he is describing here (verse 14). This person cares too much about the desires and emotions of his body. Therefore, he is not allowing the Holy Spirit to direct his life (Galatians 5:16). Instead, this personís natural emotions and desires are causing him to do wrong and evil things that are against Godís law. We call those wrong things Ďsiní.

In fact, this person is now under the control of his own wrong attitudes and behaviour. He is not free to do the things that he should do. He cannot obey Godís law properly, although he wants to do it. This person has become like a slave to his own sin.

Paul does not say clearly whether or not this person is a Christian. Christ has freed Christians from the control of sin (6:20-22). So, a Christian cannot really be a slave of sin. However, Christians can choose to behave as if they are the slaves of sin (Galatians 5:1). In other words, they can behave as if Christ had not freed them from the power of sin. Then their experience of sin will be very much like someone whom Christ has never freed.

This person in Paulís description is trying hard to behave in the right way. However, he is thinking about Godís law in a very natural, human way. He thinks that by his efforts he can somehow satisfy Godís demands on his life. He wants God to be pleased with him. However, he is not yet ready to allow God to rule his life. This person wants to be in control of his own life; he does not want the Holy Spirit to guide his life.

Next part: The weakness of Paul's efforts to obey God's law (Romans 7:17)


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