by Darrel Cline (darrelcline biblical-thinking.org)
Chapter # 7 Paragraph # 3 Study # 5 December 11, 2016 Humble, Texas (Download Audio)
(055)Thesis: Under "Law", man is "wretched" because he is hopelessly conflicted in a profound experience of death.
Introduction: In this final sub-unit of Paul's thought regarding the issue of attempting to approach "Life" by means of the principle of Demand/Performance, Paul draws out his final conclusion: man is a wretched being who has diametrically opposed issues that continuously pound him into the dust of death.
I. At The Beginning and The End.
A. 7:21 begins with "ara" and proceeds to establish the fact of inalterably opposed inner realities that produce a massive turmoil.
B. 7:25 begins with "ara" and finalizes the conclusion: man is subject to two inalterably opposed masters; a subjection that pounds him into the dust of death.
1. No man, Jesus said, can serve two masters.
2. But, Jesus did not deny that any man can vacillate under opposite loyalties so that he "cannot do the things that he would".
II. The Conclusion Explained.
A. The concept of "the law" in 7:21 is different from that of "The Law" in this context.
1. In the larger context, "The Law" is the twisted principle of Demand/Performance/Wrath.
2. In this particular verse, "the law" is simply an inviolable reality; i.e., a "fact of life".
B. This "law" is contextually a reality for a "once alive" person who is living deceived by "The Sin".
1. The "never having lived" person does have many inner turmoils that are driven by heavy task masters within, but does not have the turmoil of which Paul writes in this passage.
2. This context is all about a "believer" whose focus of motivation and faith has mortally shifted.
a. "The Law" was twisted in deceit into a servant of "The Pride of Life" as the most crucial motivation.
b. "The Law" is only effective in its twisted form when the focus of faith has shifted from God's provision to man's natural inner capacities.
C. This "law" is that a "believer" has a desire to do "the good", but is totally frustrated by the presence of "the evil".
1. The "believer" has a real capacity to "wish to do the good" because God has enabled that capacity to desire by regeneration.
a. In this text, this "desire" is "in the inner man", which is identified by Ephesians 3:16 as the realm in which the Holy Spirit works to "strengthen [the believer] with might".
b. In this text, this "inner man" is made the effectual equivalent of "the mind" wherein Paul places the ability to "desire", "rejoice", and "serve God".
2. This real capacity is completely "unempowered" and rendered a slave to a different "law" by "warfare".
a. The adversaries are "the law of my mind" and "the law of The Sin".
b. The strength of "the law of The Sin" is its twisted use of "the Law of The God".
3. Paul's final conclusion in 7:25 is that there is an inalterable conflict between the "I myself" and "I my flesh".
a. There is no wiggle room here: this defeated reality is inescapable under "Law".
b. This is the reality of the "believer" who abandons the love of God for the love of status and the truth of God for a lie.
D. This "law" makes the "believer" a wretched person.
1. The wretchedness is defined as a bondage of the body.
2. This wretchedness is further defined as the on-going experience of "the death".
III. Paul's Gratitude.
A. He recognizes the grace that comes from The God through the works and provisions of Jesus Christ our Lord.
B. He is pointing back to Romans 6 and our full identification with The Christ and to the opening paragraph of Romans 7 where he establishes our "marriage" to One Whose function is according to the power of resurrection.