Monday, 17 June 2013
For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am carnal, sold under sin. Romans 7:14
There are many viewpoints as to who Paul is speaking about in this verse when he says “I.” As we’ve seen, he used the term previously, not specifically speaking of himself, but as a way of showing the struggle which exists in all people.
Some scholars look at what he is saying in this verse as any individual’s struggle against sin under their own power – be it Jew under the law or gentile who simply understands man’s depravity and his wars with the unwritten code. Others see it as the difficult struggle of those who have called on Jesus and yet continue to struggle with sin in their lives. This would be those ranging from “carnal” Christians – meaning those who are saved and yet are immature in their faith and practice, all the way to those who are fully mature but not yet completely sanctified; they still struggle with the “old Adam” in their life.
The debate about who Paul is referring to is actually unnecessary. It was demonstrated in verse 9 that Paul was using the term “I” in regards to his humanity. He used “coveting” as a means of demonstrating the conflict which arises, but coveting doesn’t cover the entire law; it was used to represent any commandment in the law and thus any law.
He hasn’t changed tracks in his thoughts and the “I” in this verse follows along the same line. The law God gave to Adam and Eve was spiritual, but they were in innocence. When they ate of the fruit, they attained the knowledge of good and evil, sin revived in them, and they died. Since that time, the knowledge has caused a war in the members of humanity. When a good law is given – be it conscience or be it the Law of Moses – the war rages.
All that God has done is good and the “law is spiritual.” However, we as humans are “carnal, sold under sin.” This is an inherited state. We aren’t born to fall; we are born fallen. When we see a good law, our carnal selves war with it because of our sin nature.
Life application: As you progress in your Christian life, maturing from infancy to maturity, you will continue to struggle with sin. Although it’s natural, it is also something you can overcome, but not in yourself. The struggle we’re told about is a struggle between our earthly selves and that which is spiritual. By being filled with the Spirit, we allow the spiritual side to reign. We will continue to learn and develop this in the chapters ahead.
Lord, when I am tempted to do something I shouldn’t do and I follow through with it, my conscience gets seared a little bit. Each time… a little bit more. I can see how the things that once appalled me are now a part of my daily life. Renew my mind Lord. Help me to see my failings for what they are and then help me to remove them from my life. I know that through the power of Your Spirit this can happen! Amen.