by Darrel Cline (darrelcline biblical-thinking.org)
Chapter # 7 Paragraph # 3 Study # 5 December 11, 2016 Humble, Texas
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?
25 I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.
1901 ASV Translation:
21 I find thenthe law, that, to me who would do good, evil is present.
22 For I delightin the law of God after the inward man:
23 but I see a different law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity under the law of sin which is in my members.
24 Wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me out ofthe body of this death?
25 I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then I of myself with the mind, indeed, serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.
I. The Conclusion.
A. I find then "the law"...
1. Paul is simply reasoning from his reality.
a. This "reality" is clearly defined.
1) It comes after "once being alive". This makes God's Spirit a "resident", but not a player.
2) It comes after a return to "Law" and the "resurrection" of "The Sin". This "resurrection", of itself, means that "The Sin" was "once dead", something that can only be a fact from the impact of "faith" by which the old man dies.
3) It assumes, therefore, that "The Sin" has taken up the Holy Spirit's place as a player. It is an indwelling fact, and, by deceptiveness in regard to "Law", has become the dominant player.
4) It maintains the residual impact of "faith" and the "Holy Spirit" in terms of "wishing" to do "the good".
5) It is, most fundamentally, an abject bondage to "The Sin" so that only sinful actions arise out of the body.
2. He uses "the law", not as a reference to "The Law", but to establish a firm principle; i.e., a "fact of life".
B. This "law" is this: When I wish to do "the good", "the evil" is present.
1. There are, in this context, two elements that are "present".
a. In 7:18, the ability to "wish" to be able to perform "the good" is "present".
b. Now, in 7:21, it is "the evil" that is "present".
c. The difference is that the "wish" is impotent and "the evil" is significantly dominant.
2. His rationale.
a. I rejoice in "the Law of the God" according to the inner man.
1) According to Ephesians 3:16, the "inner man" is the realm of the labor of God's Spirit in terms of "strength" and "might". This reinforces the idea that Paul is writing about his condition as one "once alive" (i.e., regenerated, and participating in "life"); a condition that strongly implies the presence of the indwelling Spirit of God.
2) In Romans, this is the sole reference to "the inner man" by those specific terms, though there may actually be references to such a "man" without those specific words.
3) All of the remaining uses of "inner" in the New Testament are actual spatial, geographical references.
4) Paul, himself, strongly implies in 7:23 that this "inner man" has a potent relationship to "the law of my mind". In other words, "how I think" is part and parcel with my "inner man". This is the very "man" who was deceived by "The Sin" in its distortion of "Law" and brought to "death" by it. In other words, it was the "mind" that was deceived by "The Sin" in its use of "Law". Thus, if there is a "clarification" for the "mind" that reveals the deception of "The Sin", and if there is a shift in the faith-focus from "the flesh" to the God's provision(s), there can be a wholly different output from the "members of the body".
b. But I see an altogether different "law" in my members waging war against the "law" of my mind and taking me captive by the law of The Sin which exists in my members.
1) The "warfare" is declared by the use of a verb that is not found anywhere else in the New Testament.
2) The essential nature of that "warfare" is both a matter of "deceit" and "faith".
2. His condition.
a. I am a wretched man.
b. Who shall draw me out of the body of this death?
3. Final conclusion.
a. Thanks be to the God through Jesus Christ our Lord.
b. Therefore, then, I myself with the mind serve the law of God but with the flesh the "law" of sin.
1) This is a return to 7:21 (repetition of ara) and the drawing of that conclusion which is of the most critical import.
2) This is critical because it is "with the mind" that a person perceives, or is deceived, and either "believes" or continues along with the spirit of the disbelief of Ephesians 2. And this "mind" is not "intelligence"; it is mental activity that arises out of "illumination" by God's Spirit or "deception" by the spirit of this age.