Romans 7:14-25 – The Inner Conflict
For we know that the law is spiritual; but I am of the flesh, sold into slavery under sin. I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. Now if I do what I do not want, I agree that the law is good. But in fact it is no longer I that do it, but sin that dwells within me. For I know that nothing good dwells within me, that is, in my flesh. I can will what is right, but I cannot do it. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I do. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I that do it, but sin that dwells within me.
So I find it to be a law that when I want to do what is good, evil lies close at hand. For I delight in the law of God in my inmost self, but I see in my members another law at war with the law of my mind, making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!
So then, with my mind I am a slave to the law of God, but with my flesh I am a slave to the law of sin.
This passage has stayed with me for a very long time. I remember reading it many years ago as I was first starting out in my faith and resonating with the challenge that Paul presents here about the sin that continues to entangle him – For I know what I want to do, but cannot do it. I felt a great sense of relief as I came to the end of this section with the “Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!” However, even as I moved to the end of chapter 8 (spoiler alert) and the amazing promises that we find there, I kept getting pulled back to this section as I struggled with different things in life. I felt very much like this knot – pulled tightly, unable to escape.
As the years passed, the promises of this and the next chapter became more and more real…the knots loosening or simply being released. Are there other knots/sins? Yes there are. Have I moved and grown in many areas? Yes I have. Its the ongoing process of God working change in me – working change in all of us.