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Do you have power over sin? - Romans 7

In Romans chapter seven Paul continues to tell us about the relationship between the law and sin. In verses 1-6, he gives us an example from marriage. He tells us that if a woman being married gives herself to another man then she is an adulteress. If her husband dies and then she gives herself to another man she is not an adulteress. At her husband's death, she has been freed from the law of marriage. Paul uses this example to show that we, who have died in Christ (chapter 6), have been set free from the law.

Paul, in anticipation that people would start to view the law as the problem, ask and answers the question is the law sin?

“What should we say then? Is the law sin? Absolutely not! On the contrary, I would not have known sin if it were not for the law. For example, I would not have known what it is to covet if the law had not said, Do not covet.” Romans 7:7 HCSB ( )

He explains that the law made us aware of what sin is, and sin took the opportunity to bring death, but the law in itself is good and holy. We should not look at the law as being bad. Although if the law can be used wrong, like in the case of the Pharisees. The is still good and holy.

In the closing section of chapter seven, verses 13-25, he is going to further explain the problem of sin and its effects on our lives. He gives a picture of a person in a lost state.

“For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am made out of flesh, sold into sin’s power. For I do not understand what I am doing, because I do not practice what I want to do, but I do what I hate. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree with the law that it is good. So now I am no longer the one doing it, but it is sin living in me. For I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my flesh. For the desire to do what is good is with me, but there is no ability to do it.” Romans 7:14-18 HCSB ( )

There has been some discussion among Christians surrounding these verses. Some believe that Paul was talking about his present self as a believer. Talking about the struggle of trying to keep the law or at least do what is righteous in the eyes of God. Those that believe that this is talking about Paul in his saved state will often time use this as an excuse for their sin. When confronted by a concerned fellow Christian, out of a spirit of love, about sin in their lives they will become defensive and say one of two things. 1. Who are you to judge me. 2. Even Paul says that “the things I want to do, I don’t do; but I do the things that I hate.” So even Paul sinned and couldn’t overcome sin. How am I supposed to?

He tells us that sin has no authority or power over us. So then it would be strange for Paul to now say that he has no power to do the things that he knows are right before God.

There are a few things that we have to keep in mind when we come and try to understand the word of God. The first is that the Bible will not contradict itself. There is unity throughout the Bible in the message of the gospel. From the beginning of Romans 1, Paul has been showing us that we all have sinned and are dead in our sins; but now have been made alive in Christ. He tells us that sin has no authority or power over us. So then it would be strange for Paul to now say that he has no power to do the things that he knows are right before God. This is why, this author, believes that Paul is giving us a picture of himself before salvation. At the same time, we will never be sinless in this life but sin has no power over the righteous.

“What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this dying body? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, with my mind I myself am a slave to the law of God, but with my flesh, to the law of sin.”

Romans 7:24-25 HCSB ( )

The state of the sinful person is one of no hope. No matter how much you want to do the righteous deeds of the law it is impossible because you have been sold to sin. Sin has power over you and you will only be able to do the evil deeds of your sinful desires. That is why Paul, reflecting on his past sinful state says, “What a wretched man I am!.” He also asks “Who will rescue me.” Who can rescue me from this state of sin and death? Paul answers Jesus Christ. Jesus has rescued all that believe! Sin and death have been defeated. Christ is the victor and all that believe in His Name have been given the victory of sin and death.

Do you have power over sin? It depends. If you reject Jesus Christ, then you are still in the lost and defeated state that Paul is describing in these verses. So the answer would be no, you are still a slave of sin. If you accept Jesus, by repenting of your sins and walking in the path of righteousness, then the answer is Yes. Can you still stubble? Yes, but sin has no power over those that believe in Jesus. Praise God that we no longer have to struggle to keep the law, but are declared righteous by faith in Jesus Christ.


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