“(21) I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. (22) For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: (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. (24) O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” (Romans 7:21-24)
The Apostle Paul said, “For I delight in the law of God after the inward man.” However, in the next verse (Romans 7:23) Paul writes, “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.” Paul is explaining the plight of every child of God after he is brought by the grace of God to confess that Christ is his Savior. After regeneration by the Holy Spirit in a person, instead of having the “old man” (or the old nature; “which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts”; Eph. 4:22); now he has two natures in him. He still has the “old man,” plus he has the “new man” (or the new nature; “which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness”; Eph. 4:24).
The regenerated child of God comes to realize very quickly that there is a constant war within himself, as Paul wrote in (Gal. 5:17), between his “members” (or called the flesh, or the old man, or the old nature) and his spirit (which now houses the Holy Spirit). The battle is very strong in a regenerated child of God, as Paul points out in our text Scripture (read Rom. 7:15-20). The acknowledging by the child of God of this war within is very important in relation to his daily fellowship with God, and in seeking God for daily victory over the flesh and its desire to bring the child of God into captivity to the law of sin.
Paul asks the question, (Romans 7:24) “O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” The answer to this question will give you the victory over the “old man” and his desire to bring you into sin’s rule over you on a daily basis. The first thing that must be realized by the child of God is: “O wretched man that I am.” That is, he was “miserable,” knowing that within himself, outside the grace of God, he is a stinking mess. The prophet Isaiah wrote of the same emotion, (Isa 6:5) “Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.”
Praise God, when a person comes to this same state of mind the prophet Isaiah had, and that the Apostle Paul had in Rom. 7:24 (that is, when you are given eyes to see the King, the Lord of host in all of His Holiness and glory) – this perception of God’s holiness and glory reveals that in your old man, or within your original nature, you are filthy. You know that the old man still lies within you, even though he has been crucified, he hates God as he always has and always will. But, it also reveals that you are no longer dead in trespasses and sin, blind, and cannot see the condition of your sinful state (Eph. 2:1-3) – but now you know, having been made alive by Christ; been made a new creature in Christ (2 Cor. 5:17); been raised from the dead – now you walk in the “newness of life” (Rom 6:4); you are now indwelt by the Holy Spirit of God. Therefore, you are the servant of righteousness, and you now possess the power and the victory of Christ (1 Jn. 5:4). Now you know the answer; yes, now you know the answer to the Apostle’s question: “O wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from the body of this death?”
The answer is Christ, (Romans 7:25a) “I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord…” Paul gives the solution; and it is “through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Yes, thank God for the battle between the flesh and the spirit in the regenerated child of God. Yes, thank God that the child of God knows the problem and now has the answer to the problem. It is only through the power of the indwelling of Jesus Christ that he can be an “overcomer” of sin daily (Phil. 4:13). The regenerated child of God will sin again; but, he now hates his sin. He is convicted of his sin, and comes to Christ to confess his sin and to be cleansed from all unrighteousness (1 Jn. 1:9). He does not confess his daily sins to get saved again; but he confesses his sin to God on a daily basis because he is saved, and desires unhindered fellowship with Christ daily.
Paul then (in Romans 7:25b) gives the conclusion to the solution, “So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.” Paul states again, the regenerated child of God must understand the two natures that dwell within him until death of his physical life here on earth. Paul said, “with the mind (or with my spirit; where Christ dwells) I myself serve the law of God (or the law of Love); but with the flesh (or with my sinful nature; the old man, which is corrupt according the deceitful lust) [I serve] the law of sin (or the law of unrighteousness).”
But praise God, the New Man supersedes the old man in every way. Once a person comes to confess Christ as Savior and Lord (Master) – then he no longer is in the power of sin’s bondage; he no longer has sin as his master – for he has been raised from the deadness in sin, and raised to the “newness of life” in Christ Jesus. He is now a new creature, old things have passed away, and behold, all things have become new. Christ now reigns supreme in him.
So, Paul said, “I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord.” What Paul meant was: now I have the victory, not anything of myself, not on any merits of my own; but, I have the victory through the Resurrection of Christ; which resurrection proved that Christ was victorious over sin, hell, and the grave, for those whom He died on the cross. Not for His behalf; for He was the Sinless Sacrifice (2 Cor. 5:21); but as the sinner’s Substitute, (Heb. 9:12) “Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood (or by His own atonement or propitiation on the cross; that is, on this basis, or upon this foundation) he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.” This means that it was accomplished on the cross; the job was done; God was satisfied with the Offering for sin; Jesus Christ was the sin Offering that paid the sin debt for His people. (See Isa. 53:1-12; Matt. 1:21; Rom. 3:24-25; Eph. 1:7; 1 Peter 1:24.)
Therefore, the regenerated child of God’s daily thoughts may be evil at times; but, take hold of the victory that you have in Christ. Don’t yield to the old man, but yield to the New Man or the New Creation that you are in Christ; this is your Hope and Source of Power to overcome daily the old man and those evil thoughts.