Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, on the one hand I myself with my mind am serving the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh the law of sin.Romans 7:25(NASB)
While the first 5 chapters of Romans deals with how to be saved - justification, the next chapters deal with how to live the Christian life - sanctification. Chapters 6 and 8 explain how to live the Christian life.. how to grow in grace.. how to progress in holiness and mature in the faith. It shows how a believer can have victory over slavery to sin - how they can grow in mature in the faith and progress in their Christian walk. The duel focus of chapter 7 however.. shows the believer's relationship to the Law.. which places them in subjugation to the law and slavery to sin. It describes in detail man's total inability to succeed in keeping the law in his own strength.
Faith in the finished work of Christ at Calvary is the key to living the Christian life as God desires.. but throughout chapter 7 we see the struggle that can take place in the life of a believer who is trying to live the Christian life in the flesh - by carrying out works of the law in their own strength. Chapter 7 gives a graphic picture of how human effort and fleshly strivings, result in a defeated Christian life.
Chapter 7 describes the man or woman who fails in their attempt to live a holy life in their own strength and who has to finally admit.. oh wretched man that I am .. WHO can sanctify themselves...? HOW can I progress in holiness..? WHO will deliver me from this body of sin..? HOW can I be separated from the fallen sin nature, that causes me to do the things I don't want to do.. but stops me from doing the things that I DO want to do..?
Chapter 7 , which describes a Christian groaning under the heavy yoke of sin should never be divorced from chapters 6 and 8, which give the answer to the eternal question.. how can I live godly in Christ Jesus? In this chapter, Paul describes the confused state of a Christian that is trying to serve God by keeping the law in their own strength. And yet he gives the simple answer in this wonderful verse: thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord. The answer is found in Christ and Christ alone. The key to living a godly life is only found in Jesus.. and this truth is expanded in chapters 6 and 8 for our learning!!
Paul paints an amazing picture of a man who is groaning under the weight of the law, the burden of sin and the sentence of death in Chapter 7, but contrasts this failure with the successful Christian life which is found in chapters 6 and 8 - and it is ALL found in Christ. Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord, was Paul's joyful song when he discovered that without Christ I can do nothing - but I can do all things through Christ Who strengthens me.
Paul finally arrived at the singular conclusion to the eternal problem of living a holy life that is pleasing to God.. on the one hand I myself with my mind am serving the law of God, but on the other hand, with my flesh I am serving the law of sin - on the one hand Paul wanted to serve God in his heart and mind and knew what he ought to do - but on the other hand he could not do it in his own strength, because like us... Paul was bound by his fallen, fleshly sin nature.
When a believer finally realises - 'without Christ I can do nothing but in Christ I can do all things..' he is able to say thanks be to GOD Who gives me the victory in Jesus Christ my Lord. And as he read Roman's chapters 6, 7 and 8 with eyes of understanding and a heart of grateful praise.. He is enabled to live a life that is pleasing to the Lord - and to break free from bondage to the law of sin and its terrible consequences. He is enabled to say THANKS BE TO GOD THROUGH JESUS CHRIST MY LORD.. He is enabled to walk in newness of life, to walk in spirit and truth and to come to an understanding that in our Christian life we are not under bondage to the law, but under grace.
Let us never forget that we are neither justified in our own strength nor are we sanctified in our own strength. We are not able to save ourselves FROM sin (justification) and we are not able to live the Christian live in our own strength (sanctification) It is ALL through Christ and Him ALONE. The struggle of Roman 7 is the experience of most Christians.. who have been saved by grace through faith.. but who thereafter try to live their Christian life in their own strength - by works of the law.. But the experience of Paul is also the experience of those that come to see that without Christ I can do nothing to please God - but in Christ I can do all things for He is the One Who empowers and strengthens me.
Heavenly Father, how I praise and thank You for Your great plan of salvation, which is mine in Christ. Thank You that I do not have to justify myself nor do I have to sanctify myself, but that in all things it is Christ who enables and strengthens me. Help me to grow in grace and in understanding of how to live the Christian life to Your praise and glory - in Jesus name I pray, AMEN