Daily Bible Studies & Sermon Notes

Romans 7:7-11
Pastor Steve Schell
Sunday: Romans 7:7-13 (overview)
In verses 7-13 Paul describes his own experience as a proud Pharisee trying to obey God’s Word. He says God’s Word exposed the rebellion lying dormant in his spirit. Not only was he unable to obey, but a rebellion rose up within him and seemed to take on a life of its own. Instead of getting better he actually found himself sinning more and more. He discovered how much he needed God’s grace. It wasn’t that there was something wrong with God’s commandments, the problem was inside of him.

Monday: Romans 7:7, 8
vs7-8: Paul is painfully conscious of the fact that he has put the Law in a negative light. He’s just told his Jewish readers that through Christ they have been released from being bound to the Law (7:6), and as true as this is, he is very concerned that he not leave the impression that there is something wrong with God’s revelation to Moses. He asks the question, “Is the Law sin?” and immediately replies with the words, “May it never be!” God’s Law is His revealed will, and as such it successfully accomplishes exactly what He sent it to do, and that is to show us the holiness of His character. He is pure and everything He does flows from His perfect love, so when His Word commands us to do something, or not do something, it shows us what He would or would not do. We soon discover how unlike Him we are—that there is sin in us.

Tuesday: Romans 7:7, 8
vs7-8 (continued): Paul illustrates this truth using himself as an example. He points to his own reaction to the tenth of the Ten Commandments (Ex 20:17). He says that commandment stirred up sin that lay dormant in him and “worked in me every lust” (literal). “Coveting” is the English word commonly associated with this command. It means to desire something that belongs to someone else. But the Greek word Paul uses is the same as that found in the Greek Septuagint translation of this command. That word, along with the original Hebrew word it translates, both describe a much more passionate, lustful emotion. The Hebrew word means an “inordinate, ungoverned, selfish desire” (Harris, Archer, Waltke, Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament, Moody Press, 1980, Vol.1, pp. 294-295). The Greek word means lust in all its expressions. Both the Greek and Hebrew are used especially when talking about areas of sensuality and materialism. So when Paul tells us he experienced “every” coveting/lusting he likely means both sensual and material temptations.

Wednesday: Romans 7:9
v9: By saying, “I was once living apart from law…” (literal) he is not claiming he was sinless before he encountered God’s command. He made it clear earlier in this letter that people who are ignorant of God’s Law still sin and die (Ro 2:9-12; 3:9, 23; 5:13, 14). He’s telling us from his perspective what the experience felt like when he went through it. He had been unaware probably during his childhood years that he had a problem until he read the Law. Then suddenly a spiritual force took hold of him he hadn’t realized was there. Instead of being able to bring his passions under control, these sinful tendencies grew stronger. They “revived” (lived again) and forced him to face the fact that he was guilty and would surely be rejected on the day of God’s judgment. His youthful sense of feeling God near him ceased, and his heart grew hard.

Thursday: Romans 7:10
v10: Paul selects one particular command to show us how God uses all the commands. He sent us His commandments to show us what we must do in order to become like Him. He wants us to have “life,” which, in its highest form, means living in unbroken fellowship with Him. But because there is within us an overpowering compulsion to please ourselves, even the most self-disciplined among us is unable to obey. Those able to control their outward behaviors still fail when it comes to controlling their inner attitudes and desires. The fact that Paul was so self-disciplined (Php 3:4-6) probably helps to explain why his own need for grace became evident to him only after he failed to bring his coveting/lusting into line. By the way, Jesus says these inner attitudes are the most serious offenses in God’s eyes (Mt 15:16-20).

Friday: Romans 7:11
v11: Paul says God’s command provided sin with an “opportunity” to “thoroughly deceive” him. He uses the same word here that he applies to Eve in 1 Timothy 2:14. Even when describing those years before coming to know Christ, Paul distinguishes between his human spirit and the Adamic rebellion he calls “sin.” Very likely he sees a separation between the two because God did not originally create Adam with a rebellious spirit. Obviously He did create him with a free-will capable of disobedience, but until the first disobedient event took place, the rebellious compulsion Paul calls “sin” did not enslave Adam. Only after he sinned did his human spirit fall helplessly under sin’s power. This is not to imply he was an innocent victim. As we know (Ge 3:6) he willfully chose to sin. But after doing so he ended up helplessly dominated. He lost his ability to not sin.

Saturday: Romans 7:11
v11 (continued): This distinction between a human spirit and (the spirit of) sin may seem subtle, but it’s important. It reminds us that our rebellious condition is unnatural. It’s not the way we were created to be. In effect, an unredeemed human spirit should be viewed as a captive “sold into bondage to sin” (Ro 7:14). In looking back on himself before his new birth Paul says, “sin took the opportunity through the commandment to thoroughly deceive me and through it killed me.” He’s not trying to say his unsaved human spirit was essentially good or that he was an innocent victim when he sinned. But he’s saying that he, like all unsaved humans who are “in the flesh” (Ro 7:5), had fallen pray to a powerful force and lost his capacity to obey God.

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