Daily Bible Studies & Sermon Notes


Romans 7:12-19
Pastor Steve Schell
Sunday: Romans 7:12, 13
vs12-13: If, like Paul, the entire human race is unable to obey God’s Law and the effect it has on us is to stimulate rebellion and make us even more guilty, would we have been better off if the Law had never come? Was it a mistake for God to send His Law in the first place? That’s the question Paul is addressing here and once again his immediate answer is, “May it never be!” There’s nothing wrong with God’s Law. It is “holy, righteous and good.” It serves a very important role in God’s plan of salvation: It confronts and exposes the rebellion hidden in our hearts. It shows us how guilty we are and how desperately we need God’s grace.

Monday: Romans 7:14
v14: “The Law is spiritual.” It comes to us from another realm—from heaven. It expresses the will of a holy God and therefore conflicts with the character of this fallen world. God’s thoughts and ways are deeply different from ours (Isa 55:8, 9; 1Co 2:12-16). To make matters worse we have been deceived (v11) and enslaved by sin not only in our spirit but also in the very flesh of our bodies. So our conflict with the Law arises from two different sources within us. First, our spirit is full of Adam’s rebellion until we are born-again, and second, our flesh has also fallen under sin’s power. This is a very significant point. Paul wants us to see that the members of our body, though not created evil (Ge 1:31; 2:7), are a force to be reckoned with. As we’ll soon see (7:15-25), our flesh continues in its rebellion even after we are born-again.

Tuesday: Romans 7:14
v14 (continued): When Paul says, “The Law is spiritual but I am fleshy having been sold under sin” (literal) he’s telling us that his present condition is the result of something that happened in the past. Though he has become a Christian he still continues to be effected by his “flesh” (body appetites, emotions, old ways of thinking arising from the subconscious mind). Because of past failures sin gained a moral right to reside in his flesh. Thankfully, he will soon tell us that Jesus’ incarnation and death “condemned sin in the flesh” (Ro 8:3) and in doing so freed us from sin’s moral right to control our flesh. Yet sin continues to actively influence our flesh. It does not simply disappear when we become born-again. It remains, though it no longer has the right to do so.

Wednesday: Romans 7:14
v14 (continued): In verses 7-13 Paul described his inner struggle with sin before he became a Christian. He may be reflecting in that passage on his years as a young man growing up in Judaism moving from the relative innocence of childhood into the temptations and failures of adulthood as a young Pharisee. The principle verbs he uses in those verses are in the past tense, but now, beginning at verse 14, his verbs shift into the present tense. In the passage before us (vs 15-25) Paul tells us that his struggle to obey continues on into his Christian life, but the focus of that struggle has moved from his spirit, which is no longer afflicted with Adam’s rebellion, to his flesh, which is still rebellious. As we read his description of the frustrations he experienced as a young believer who had not yet learned how to obey God’s holy standards (vs 15-25), we should keep the truth clearly in view that born-again people are no longer “sold under sin.” Jesus has set us free, and Paul will soon explain how to walk in that freedom (Ro 8:1-17).

Thursday: Romans 7:15
v15: Beginning at this verse and running on through verse 25 Paul pictures a man whose spirit loves God’s Word and sincerely wants to obey His commands. This person is dramatically different from the man he described previously. That person was overwhelmed (v8) and deceived by sin (v11). Now we read about a frustrated man whose spirit is not deceived and who does not wish to participate in sin, yet who still lives a defeated life because his flesh maintains a powerful hold on him. The struggle has shifted from the human spirit to the flesh.

Friday: Romans 7:15-17
vs15-17: This is a man who is out of control. He is regularly practicing sinful behaviors that he hates, and yet he as no idea why he cannot stop. And when he says he hates these wrong behaviors he’s not lying. He really does hate it and he really does want to stop. In fact, his desire to obey God is so sincere it proves that he is actually an innocent prisoner trapped in a rebellious body. The moral responsibility for his sinful behaviors belongs to his flesh, not to him. He does not choose to sin, his failure arises from the fact that he is unable to stop. Please note: Paul is not inviting us to play some sort of game in which we blame our bodies for our sin and excuse ourselves. He’s explaining why sincere Christians often fail to live holy lives, and understanding why we fail is the first step to understanding how to walk in obedience.

Saturday: Romans 7:18, 19
v18: Having said that sin dwells in him (v17), he now says, “nothing good dwells in me” but quickly clarifies what he means. He does not want anyone to mistake him to mean that sin still dwells within his spirit so he says, “…that is in my flesh.” With these words he locates the problem believers face in their flesh, not in their spirit. Then, to emphasize his point, he again states, “…for the wishing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not.” v19: Earlier Paul described himself as a frustrated believer habitually doing negative things he didn’t want to do, now he looks at the other side of obedience saying that he also fails to do the positive things he ought to do. Not only does he continue doing bad things even though he wants to stop, but he is unable to do good things he wants to do. Such inconsistency between a person’s will and behavior demands an explanation, which Paul will now provide in even greater detail. 


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