Useful Bible Studies > Romans Commentary > chapter 7

What causes someone to do wrong things that they do not want to do?

Romans 7:19

Many Christians use Paulís words in verse 19 to describe their own experience. They too feel unable to do many of the good things that they would wish to do. They too carry out certain wrong acts that they would never wish to do. Clearly, Paul is describing a common problem here.

These matters are especially serious because of the relationship that Christians have with God. Christ died so that God could forgive their evil deeds (5:8). Previously, their own evil attitudes and behaviour controlled their lives - but now they should be free from those things (6:22). Of course God will still forgive them when they confess their wrong deeds to him (1 John 1:9). However, it would be much better if they never did these wrong things (1 John 2:1).

We ask what could cause a Christian to do wrong things. God is living, by his Spirit, in that personís life (Romans 8:9; 1 Corinthians 6:19). God does nothing evil - clearly, he does not cause anyone to do something wrong (James 1:13). Therefore, our wrong acts are the result of our own wrong desires (James 1:14; Mark 7:20-23). That is, the desires that we have to benefit ourselves. Those may seem very natural desires, but they are not from God. Instead, we should desire first to love God, and then to love other people (Mark 12:29-31). We must trust God to provide what we ourselves may need (Matthew 6:25-33).

When we have those correct attitudes, we are allowing God to guide our lives by his Spirit (Galatians 5:16). The Holy Spirit gives us the freedom to live our lives in the way that pleases God (8:13).

Next part: The power and weakness of our desires (Romans 7:20-21)


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© 2018, Keith Simons.