Romans 7:24,25 - Sinful Nature Conquered in Christ!
Rom.7:24,25; Sinful Nature Conquered in Christ!
Rom 7:24,25b (KJV) O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver
me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ
The intensely personal character of these verses and the use of
present tenses indicate that this was Paul's own experience as a
believer. [Ryrie SB]
Paul is speaking of himself in a regenerate state as one
progressing in sanctification, while in the process becoming more and more
aware of the depth and gravity of indwelling sin. [Believer's SB]
This is not the wretchedness of someone who is lost, but of
someone who in his heart wants so desperately to be fully obedient to
the law of God but finds himself still assaulted and overwhelmed by
an opposing power that is still a part of himself.... It is rather a
humble confession that he needs deliverance, that he is unable to win
the battle alone, even though his inner man has already been
renewed. Thus he cries out for rescue not from bodily existence as such,
but from this corrupted body from which sin still wages war against
his spirit. He yearns to be free from the constraining power exerted
upon him by the lusts of the body (6:12; 7:5). [College Press NIV
The distress resulting from the inner conflict, and sometimes
agonizing struggle, between good and evil causes Paul to utter this
apparently despairing cry and call for help. But he knows the source of
deliverance from his troubles and hastens to declare it (Rom. 7:25). [SDA
Paul concluded that there are two principles (or "laws") that
operate in the life of the believer: (1) the law of sin and death, and
(2) the law of the Spirit of life in Christ (see 8:2). He is
dealing, then, with the presence of two natures in the child of God. It
is not by submitting to outward laws that we grow in holiness and
serve God acceptably, but by surrendering to the indwelling Spirit of
God... We cannot fulfill the righteousness of the Law by our own
strength; the Spirit fulfills it in us by His power (8:3-4)...We should
accept the truths of Rom. 7--that we are indeed failures in ourselves,
that the Law is good but we are carnal, and then allow the Spirit to
work out God's will in our life. [Wiersbe Expository Outlines]
The experience pictured here is not wholly autobiographical but
is deliberately presented in such a way as to demonstrate what
would indeed be the situation if one who is faced with the demands of
the law and the power of sin in his life were to attempt to solve
his problem independently of the power of Christ and the enablement
of the Spirit...A parallel use of methodology may be detected in
Ecclesiastes. The writer knows God but purposely and deliberately views life
from the standpoint of the natural man in order to expose it as
vanity, empty of lasting value. [Expositors Bible Commentary]
A Christian is being depicted, despite his wretchedness. This
was the conclusion of Augustine and of the Reformed interpreters.
[Expositors Bible Commentary]
"What a wretched man I am!" It is a powerful and moving cry,
recalling the words of Isaiah when he became aware of his sin (Isa 6:5).
[Expositors Bible Commentary]
Significantly Paul's description of himself is part of John's
picture of the church of Laodicea--"wretched" (Rev. 3:17). [Bible
The person whose spiritual nature has been reborn through Jesus
experiences a constant conflict between the spiritual and the human natures.
We know what is right but desire to do what is wrong. This conflict
can lead to an inner wretchedness and a struggle for peace. The only
deliverance comes through Jesus. Following Him brings inner peace and
eternal life. [Disciple SB]
From one point of view this passage might be called a
demonstration of inadequacies.
(i) It demonstrates the inadequacy of human knowledge. If to
know the right thing was to do it, life would be easy. But knowledge
by itself does not make a man good.... it is only when we know Christ
that we are able to do what we know we ought.
(ii) It demonstrates the inadequacy of human resolution. To
resolve to do a thing is very far from doing it. There is in human
nature an essential weakness of the will.... The human will
unstrengthened by Christ is bound to crack.
(iii) It demonstrates the limitations of diagnosis. Paul knew
quite clearly what was wrong; but he was unable to put it right. He
was like a doctor who could accurately diagnose a disease but was
powerless to prescribe a cure. Jesus is the one person who not only knows
what is wrong, but who can also put the wrong to rights. [Barclay
What the law cannot do, what the conscience cannot do, what
unaided human strength cannot do, can be accomplished by the plan of the
gospel. Complete deliverance is available through Jesus Christ, and
through Him alone....... "Thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory
through our Lord Jesus Christ" (1 Cor. 15:57). [SDA Commentary]
The power of Divine grace, and of the Holy Spirit, could root
out sin from our hearts even in this life, if Divine wisdom had not
otherwise thought fit. But it is suffered, that Christians might
constantly feel, and understand thoroughly, the wretched state from which
Divine grace saves them; might be kept from trusting in themselves; and
might ever hold all their consolation and hope, from the rich and free
grace of God in Christ. [Matthew Henry Commentary]
Let no one think he can overcome without the help of God. You
must have the energy, the strength, the power, of an inner life
developed within you. You will then bear fruit unto godliness, and will
have an intense loathing of vice. You need to constantly strive to
work away from earthliness, from cheap conversation, from everything
sensual, and aim for nobility of soul and a pure and unspotted character.
No amount of earnest striving after obedience will avail against
the law of sin in the members, until the struggling sinner
surrenders in faith to Christ. Then surrender to a person takes the place
of legalistic obedience to a law. And since it is surrender to a
person dearly loved, it is felt as perfect freedom. [SDA Commentary]
The surrender of all our powers to God greatly simplifies the
problem of life. It weakens and cuts short a thousand struggles with the
passions of the natural heart. MYP30
We may have begun to realize that we have character flaws that
are beyond our control. Deep down inside there is a sense of
brokenness that is a constant reminder of our humanity. Hopefully, we will
get to a place where our behavior is under control, and we will be
able to maintain sobriety. But as long as we are in this human body,
we will have to contend with our lower nature.
Paul said of himself, "I know I am rotten through and through so
far as my old sinful nature is concerned. No matter which way I turn
I can't make myself do right. I want to but I can't.... There is
something else deep within me, in my lower nature, that is at war with my
mind and wins the fight and makes me a slave to the sin that is still
within me" (Romans 7:18, 23-25). King David described God's tenderness
toward us because of our human condition: "He is like a father to us,
tender and sympathetic to those who reverence him. For he knows we are
but dust and that our days are few and brief" (Psalm 103:13-15).
No matter how far we progress, our lower nature will always be
inclined toward and susceptible to the lure of our addictions. We can't
afford to forget this or let down our guard. Maintaining sobriety is
something we will need to nurture for the rest of our life, one day at a
time. But we also have a reason for great hope. By recognizing our
helplessness against the power of sin, we open our life to the transforming
power of God. [Life Recovery SB]
If we would know what Christ wants to be to us, we must first of
all know Him as our Saviour from sin. When the angel came down from
heaven to proclaim that He was to be born into the world, you remember
he gave His name, "He shall be called Jesus, for he shall save his
people from their sins." HAVE WE BEEN DELIVERED FROM SIN? He did not
come to save us in our sins, but from our sins...
Let us look at Him as He hangs upon the Cross, and see how He
has put away sin. He was manifested that He might take away our
But Christ is not only a Saviour. I might save a man from
drowning and rescue him from an untimely grave; but I might probably not
be able to do any more for him. Christ is something more than a
Saviour. When the children of Israel were place behind the blood, that
blood was their salvation; but they would still have heard the crack
of the slave-driver's whip, if they had not been delivered from the
Egyptian yoke of bondage; then it was that God delivered them from the
hand of the King of Egypt. I have little sympathy with the idea that
God comes down to save us, and then leaves us in prison, the slaves
of our besetting sins. No; He has come to deliver us, and to give
us victory over our evil tempers, our passions, and our lusts. Are
you a professed Christian, but one who is a slave to some besetting
sin? If you want to get victory over that temper or that lust, go on
to know Christ more intimately. He brings deliverance for the
past, the present, and the future. D. L. Moody; [Time with God SB]
When you were a child, did you ever try to pick up a box that
was much too heavy for you to lift? Try as you might, you could only
raise one side an inch or two off the floor But you were powerless to
lift the entire burden, much less move it from one place to another.
Then, just as you were about to abandon the project in frustration,
along came an adult to help you. He reached down, picked up both you
and the box, and together you "carried" the box with ease!
Now think of the above example as a "Parable of Paul's
Dilemma... and Yours" (7:19-25). What is the "box"? What is the
"frustration"? Who is the One who helps? What should your response be toward
him today. . . and every day? Talk to him about it right now. [Daily
What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of
death? Rom. 7:24 NIV
The word for mourn in Matthew 5:4 is the strongest word for
mourning in the Greek language. It is the word used of mourning for the
dead. As such, it is a passionate lament for a loved one. In the Greek
Old Testament it is the word selected to express Jacob's grief when
he believed his son Joseph was dead (Gen. 37:34). It reflects deep
grief. Thus William Barclay amplifies the second beatitude as "blessed
is the man who mourns like one mourning for the dead."
Yet while mourning for the dead catches the intensity of the
experience of Matthew 5:4, it does not reflect its meaning. The deep
experience of the second beatitude is caught in today's scripture--"O
wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this
death?" (Rom. 7:24). That cry tells us something of what is meant by
mourning. It reflects a person so grief-stricken that he or she cries out
in agony of spirit. Christians know the experience of feeling
utterly hopeless because of their failures.
"For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh)," cried the
apostle Paul, "dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me;
but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that
I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do" (Rom.
Christians mourn because of their deep sense of unworthiness. It
is no accident that the very first word of Jesus in Matthew is
"repent." To repent is to recognize my sinfulness and disown it. It is to
mourn that I am a sinner and to turn to God for forgiveness.
This is no surface experience. It is heartfelt. It is like
mourning for the dead. But with the mourning comes hope. After all, "if
we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our
sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:9).
Thus mourning brings victory. The negative comes before the
positive. I am convicted of sin so that I can experience the joy of
salvation. [Walking With Jesus By Knight]
A do-it-yourselfer went into a hardware store and asked for a
saw. The salesman pulled a chain saw from the shelf and commented,
"This is our finest saw. Guaranteed to cut ten cords of lumber a
"I'll take it!" responded the customer jubilantly.
Next day he came back, haggard and exhausted, to return the
chain saw. "Something must be wrong," he moaned. "I could only cut
three cords of lumber a day with that thing."
"Let me try it," urged the salesman, pulling on the cord to
start the motor. "Vvvrooommm," went the chain saw.
"What's that noise?" exclaimed the customer.
Chapters 7 and 8 may remind you of the plight of that
do-it-yourselfer: wanting to do the right thing (chapter 7), but
failing to apply
the power for victorious living that God has supplied in the person
of the Holy Spirit (chapter 8). See if you can find five promises
in chapter 8 regarding the Holy Spirit's role in your daily life.
Then select one and draw upon it today. That's why they're there!
[Your Daily Walk SB]
Now on whom dost thou trust?" (2Ki.18:20). Such was the
challenge which the blatant Assyrian field-marshal, Rab-shakeh, flung at
the beleaguered king Hezekiah, more than two-and-a-half millenniums
ago. Little did he guess that before many more sunrises 185,000 of
his proud army would be corpses, cut down by an invisible scythe of
the Almighty! Hezekiah did not reply to Rab-shakeh, but despite the
hopeless-looking circumstances his heart was fixed, trusting in
This was his secret of victory.
Even so today, the first mark of the true Christian is reliance
on Jehovah-Jesus. We rely on Him exclusively as the vicarious
Sinbearer through whom we have the salvation of our souls.
But we are to rely on Him continually as our victorious Champion
through whom we have victory in our daily life ... So long as we rely on
Him we have victory. Temper, fear, lust, pride, envy, grudging,
moodiness, impatience, despondency, worry ; over all such we gain victory
as we really rely on Jesus.
Again, we are to rely on Him as our vigilant Provider, who
"supplies all our need" (Phi.4:19; Psa.34:22). He does not always employ
ravens to feed His Elijahs, but by one means or another He sustains
them if they really rely on Him. J. Sydlow Baxter; [Time with God
If the burden God has given you seems too heavy to carry, be
assured God never expects you to carry it alone. [Your Daily Walk SB]