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The gist of Romans 6 is that as Christians, we are dead to sin, and thus free from it. We are no longer slaves to sin, but are slaves to God and righteousness.

Romans 6:16-18 (ESV)
16  Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness? 17  But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, 18  and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness.

However, I don't think many Christians would say that they feel very free from sin. In fact, Paul goes on in the next chapter to say that he is a slave to sin.

Romans 7:18-19 (ESV)
18  For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. 19  For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing.

This kind of language doesn't sound very "free". If he says that Christians are "slaves of the one whom you obey", and yet he finds himself obeying the flesh, doesn't that make him a slave to sin? In what way, then, are Christians "free" from sin?

Note: Adding the "evangelicalism" tag may have been too subtle, so to clarify, I am specifically looking for answers from an evangelical perspective.

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Once you are saved and forgiven, you're always forgiven; the sins you made, the sins you will make. Except blasphemy of the Holy Spirit - and some people debate that. –  user1054 Dec 2 '12 at 13:59
    
If they sin they're not Christians, just pagans and sinners that live with this world, who call themselves "Christians" but they are not. The true Christian, the one that is born of God will not sin. "1 John 3:9 No one who is born of God will continue to sin" –  lukasz1985 Apr 7 at 17:32
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8 Answers 8

Apologize for he length, the question is so good that I am answering not just for you but digging up worthy references for myself.

A good place to start for an evangelical answer is with two evangelical theologians famous for having an acute sense of the sinfulness of man and the nature of God's grace in the Christian. John Owen and Jonathan Edwards both wrote extensively on the subject.

The main idea expressed by both of these writers is that a Christian is free from sin because in Christ they are translated from the rule of Law to the rule of Grace. Freedom from sin ultimately means freedom from Law because it God's holy law that condemned man into a totally depraved sinful nature. Unless this curse of the Law for Adam's sin be removed in Christ's death, on whom our sin is made to be Christ's, so that he both bears the guilt and penal wrath of God for it, then we are not free. Therefore this freedom primarily means free from the consequences of sin from the legal standpoint under God's holy law.

However this freedom from the Law necessarily means new birth into the rule of grace, which means that inwardly the Christian is no longer under the dominion of law and sin but under grace leading to a more and more holy life. This 'holy life' is considered the life of the Spirit as contrasted with the life of the 'flesh' and although the Christian has this dual nature causing intense struggle with sin, the spiritual life is said to 'have dominion' over the flesh.

It is this subject of 'dominion' where evangelicals do not all agree, the split primarily resting between Calvinistic views and Arminian views of perfection. I will focus on Calvinistic views in my post as I consider Arminian views on this subject as a weakness of faith. As far as the final state in heaven, of course all Christians believe it is absolute freedom forever, so the question amounts to how much sin can we still have in our life and yet still claim to have faith in God and still claim that grace has dominion in our life. Put another way, 'How much freedom from sin can we experience on this side of heaven?' Or again, 'What does it mean that we are no longer under the dominion of sin but under the dominion of grace, when we have so much sin still in our lives?'

First lets look at typical thoughts by John Owen in his TREATISE of THE DOMINION OF SIN AND GRACE; wherein sin’s reign is discovered, in whom it is, and in whom it is not; how the law supports it; how grace delivers from it, by setting up its dominion in the heart.

This treatise is based on:

For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace. (Romans 6:14, NIV)

First we should take note that the Christian struggle with sin is not a proper cause for our faith to shrink but for it to take consolation for the fact that we have two natures warring with one another. This confirms we are a Christian and means we have the Spirit. The Spirit, accordion to Ephesians Ch 1 is a 'seal'. this seal that both proves we are God's children and is a down payment, or first fruit, guaranteeing the whole future glory of heaven.

Under this comforting aspect, Owen also provides similar comforting words:

Where men are engaged in a constant conflict against sin; where they look upon it and judge it their chieiest enemy, which contends with them for their souls and their eternal ruin; where they have experience of its power and deceit, and through the efficacy of them have been often shaken in their peace and comfort; where they have been ready to despond, and say they shall one day perish under their powers,—it is a gospel word, a word of good tidings, that gives them assurance that it shall never have dominion over them. The ground of this assurance is, that believers are “not under the law, but under grace.” (John Owen's Works, Vol 7, P542)

But to now directly answer the question. John Owen also asks:

But the inquiry hereon is, how it follows from hence that sin shall not have dominion over us, that sin cannot extend its territories and rule into that state, and in what sense this is affirmed. (P545)

He answers:

This, then, is the present case supposed and determined by the apostle: “You that are believers are all of you conflicting with sin. You find it always restless and disquieting, sometimes strong and powerful When it is in conjunction with any urgent temptation, you are afraid it will utterly prevail over you, to the ruin of your souls. Hence you are wearied with it, groan under it, and cry out for deliverance from it.” All these things the apostle at large insists on in this and the next chapter. “But now,” saith he, “be of good comfort; notwithstanding all these things, and all your fears upon them, sin shall not prevail, it shall not have the dominion, it shall never ruin your souls.” But what ground have we for this hope? what assurance of this success? “This you have,” saith the apostle, “ ‘Ye are not under the law, but under grace;’ or the rule of the grace of God in Christ Jesus, administered in the gospel.” But how doth this give relief? “Why, it is the ordinance, the instrument of God, which he will use unto this end,—namely, the communication of such supplies of grace and spiritual strength as shall eternally defeat the dominion of sin.” (P546)

Fine, we have said that a Christian has many sins, but they do not have dominion over him. In other words that is he is not really enslaved to sin as he once was before. What does this mean? A common confusion here is to think in terms of percentages. A Christian is (some may think) someone whose heart is 80-90 percent pure, or at least more than fifty percent pure, otherwise he can never say Jesus is his 'Lord'. Some may actually imagine that a Christian can be 100% without sin for maybe even a whole day, but this imagination is quite contrary to the truth of every Christian experience and this type of thinking is not held at all by great evangelical theologians such as John Owen, or Jonathan Edwards. In fact men who really know themselves would never claim to love God even one half as much as they ought to at any given moment, not even for a second.

Here is a good place to watch how Edwards handles the concept in his work on Original Sin. First he argues that even though a Christian is not under the dominion or Lordship of sin, the best of Christians have more of their heart still in a sinful state than a holy one:

The sum of our duty to God, required in his law, is love to God; taking love in a large sense, for the true regard of our hearts to God, implying esteem, honor, benevolence, gratitude, complacency, etc. ...It therefore appears from the premises, that whosoever withholds more of that love or respect of heart from God which his law requires, than he affords, has more sin than righteousness. Not only he that has less divine love, than passions and affections which are opposite; but also he that don't love God half so much as he ought, or has reason to do, has justly more wrong than right, imputed to him, according to the law of God, and the law of reason; he has more irregularity than rectitude, with regard to the law of love. The sinful disrespect or unrespectfulness of his heart to God, is greater than his respect to him.

But what considerate person is there, even among the more virtuous part of mankind, but what would be ashamed to say, and profess before God or men, that he loves God half so much as he ought to do; or that he exercises one half of that esteem, honor and gratitude towards God, which would be altogether becoming him; considering what God is, and what great manifestations he has mad of his transcendent excellency and goodness, and what benefits he receives from him? And if few or none of the best of men can with reason and truth make even such a profession, how far from it must the generality of mankind be? (Jonathan Edwards on Original Sin, Page 140)

However when we look at Romans 8 we must feel that there needs some explanation to be made in Edward's assertion for how can the majority of our heart still be under sin, when we are no longer under its dominion? This seems so foolish to the carnal mind! For example what about these verses:

1 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, 2 because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. 3 For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in the flesh, 4 in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. (Romans 8:1-4, NIV)

and

Therefore, brothers and sisters, we have an obligation—but it is not to the flesh, to live according to it. 13 For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live. 14 For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. (Romans 8:12-14, NIV)

Edwards get very much into fine detail in his own answer: (I quote him in entirety for my own future reference as it was hard for me to find again and is really a rare gem that expresses the depths of authentic evangelical faith with unusual clarity of mind).

The Objection is this: That the argument seems to prove too much, that it will prove, that even good men themselves have more sin than holiness; which also has been supposed. But if this were true, it would follow, that sin is the prevalent principle even in good men, and that it is the principle which has the predominancy in the heart and practice of the truly pious; which is plainly contrary to the Word of God.

I answer, If it be indeed so, that there is more sin, consisting in defect of required holiness, than there is of holiness in good men in this world; yet it will not follow, that sin has the chief government of their heart and practice, for two reasons.

  1. They may love God more than other things and yet there may not be so much love, as there is want of due love; or in other words, they may love God more than the world, and therefore the love of God may be predominant, and yet may not love God near half so much as they ought to do. This need not be esteemed a paradox: a person may love a father, or some great friend and benefactor, of a very excellent character, more than some other object, a thousand times less worthy of his esteem and affection, and yet love him ten times less than he ought; and so be chargeable, all things considered, with a deficiency in respect and gratitude, that is very unbecoming and hateful. If love to God prevails above the love of other things, then virtue will prevail above evil affections, or positive principles of sin; by which principles it is, that sin has a positive power and influence. For evil affections radically consist in inordinate love to other things besides God. And therefore, virtue prevailing beyond these, will have the governing influence. The predominancy of the love of God in the hearts of good men is more from the nature of the object loved, and the nature of the principle of true love, than the degree of the principle. The object is one of supreme loveliness; immensely above all other objects in worthiness of regard; and 'tis by such a transcendent excellency, that he is God, and worthy to be regarded and adored as God, and he that truly loves God, loves him as God. True love acknowledges him to be God, or to be divinely and supremely excellent, and must arise from some knowledge, sense and conviction of his worthiness of supreme respect. And though the sense and view of it may be very imperfect, and the love that arises from it in like manner imperfect; yet if there be any realizing view of such divine excellency, it must cause the heart to respect God above all.

  2. Another reason, why a principle of holiness maintains the dominion in the hearts of good men, is the nature of the Covenant of Grace, and the promises of that covenant, on which true Christian virtue relies, and which engage God's strength and assistance to be on its side, and to help it against its enemy, that it may not be overcome. The just live by faith. Holiness in the Christian, or his spiritual life, is maintained, as it has respect by faith to its Author and Finisher, and derives strength and efficacy from the divine Fountain, and by this means overcomes. For, as the Apostle says, "This is the victory that overcomes the world, even our faith" [I John 5:4]. 'Tis our faith in him who has promised, never to leave nor forsake his people, and not to forsake the work of his own hands, nor suffer his people to be tempted above their ability, and that his grace shall be sufficient for them, and that his strength shall be made perfect in weakness, and that where he has begun a good work he will carry it on to the day of Christ. (Jonathan Edwards on Original Sin, Page 145-146)

Conclusion: Only as Christians are we really aware of our many sins and have a mournful daily struggle against them, even to the occasional doubting of the very genuineness of our own faith. However as the Spirit has been given to us to give us comfort and assurance of our salvation, we, bumbling along in our many failures, are aware that we are actually being swept along powers of grace along an unbreakable mighty rule of Christ as our high priest, ensuring our absolute certain arrival into glory where we will forever be free of all effects of sin forever. Even as we doubt this grace as it is 'too good to be true' we are being formed into objects of grace meant to reveal this gracious quality of God to the praise of its excellence, which is the entire purpose of life and salvation. Death is no longer a fearful unknown answering our condemned conscience for the punishment of sin. Rather our daily struggle is a hopeful one, looking at the grave as a curtain behind which everlasting joys are waiting, even as we doubt it. Even in the midst of our doubts of God's grace, his grace will be a dominion that will overcome into everlasting praise.

Note: This is the second time I wrote this answer as just after my first version someone pick pocketed my iphone which had my un-posted answer. Needless to say I was all the more determined to re-post this a few hours later as I was not willing that the Devil so easily take away the fruit of my effort ;)

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Excellent, comprehensive answer! I especially like the observation that as Christians we are under grace, not law. Where there is no transgression, there us no sin! +1 –  Footwasher Dec 2 '12 at 15:36
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Paul is speaking to believers who have been exposed to the teachings of the church, which is that selfishness and greed is sin:

Luke 16:13-17 NET No servant can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.” The Pharisees (who loved money) heard all this and ridiculed him. But Jesus said to them, “You are the ones who justify yourselves in men’s eyes, but God knows your hearts. For what is highly prized among men is utterly detestable in God’s sight. “The law and the prophets were in force until John; since then, the good news of the kingdom of God has been proclaimed, and everyone is urged to enter it. But it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for one tiny stroke of a letter in the law to become void.

If believers confess/agree the above is true, they are no longer ”sinners”.

However, we are saints in bodies of death, bodies that crave to satisfy the natural appetites, sometimes excessively or in the wrong situation. You may want to indulge your love of rich food to the point of gluttony which may be lawfully available with money of your own. Lawful but unrighteous. You may lust after your neighbours property or wife, which are unavailable because of unlawfulness. Unlawful AND unrighteous.

2 Timothy 2:21-22 NET So if someone cleanses himself of such behavior, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart, useful for the Master, prepared for every good work. But keep away from youthful passions, and pursue righteousness, faithfulness, love, and peace, in company with others who call on the Lord from a pure heart.

2 Corinthians 7:1 NET Therefore, since we have these promises, dear friends, let us cleanse ourselves from everything that could defile the body and the spirit, and thus accomplish holiness out of reverence for God.

1 John 2:1-2, 5-10 NET Now this is the gospel message we have heard from him and announce to you: God is light, and in him there is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him and yet keep on walking in the darkness, we are lying and not practicing the truth. But if we walk in the light as he himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we do not bear the guilt of sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. But if we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous, forgiving us our sins and cleansing us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar and his word is not in us. (My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin.) But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous One, and he himself is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for our sins but also for the whole world.

Original Question

The gist of Romans 6 is that as Christians, we are dead to sin, and thus free from it. We are no longer slaves to sin, but are slaves to God and righteousness.

Romans 6:16-18 (ESV) Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness? But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness.

Answer

Knowing what sin is and its consequences, you are set free. The Pharisees did not even know that their behaviour was sin.

However, I don't think many Christians would say that they feel very free from sin. In fact, Paul goes on in the next chapter to say that he is a slave to sin.

Romans 7:18-19 (ESV) For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing.

This kind of language doesn't sound very "free". If he says that Christians are "slaves of the one whom you obey", and yet he finds himself obeying the flesh, doesn't that make him a slave to sin? In what way, then, are Christians "free" from sin?


Solution

Walking in The Light

Scripture tells us that when we believe God wants us to conquer the giants of sin, even though we feel like ants and grasshoppers with regard to being up to the task, He will give us victory. Belief, leads to God giving us the Holy Spirit. Read Galatians 3 for details of what happens when the Spirit is given.

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In Romans Paul clearly states that Christians are free from the POWER of sin. Not sin. That is because when Jesus died on the cross, salvation became possible for all, simply through faith. A person is called to faith by the Holy Spirit. Once called, as in Gal. 2:20, 'you' 'die.' "For i have died, and now Christ lives within me. We are of two parts: flesh and spirt. The flesh dies, our spirit is filled with Christ. We, as poor miserable sinners incapable of choosing God, take no role in our salvation, it is a free gift of God, after all, once he chooses us (pre-destination). Just so, we, as poor, miserable, SAVED sinners can do little to make ourselves more holy. It is the spirit of Christ within us that does all the good works and sanctification that we, as dead, can not do or take credit for. We are mere vessels. Once born again we become Sons of God. Our relationship with God is back as it was supposed to be. He no longer sees our sin. We do not sin any longer to God's eyes, as we are dead to sin, as this is only in the dead flesh.

Jesus death and resurrection opened the door for all to be saved. His death in a sense forgave every sin ever committed. For us, that means all those before AND after we have been saved. For when saved we become a Son (or daughter) of God, and , now in that new relationship, we should not have to worry about being penalized for sinning any more. That shall also make us less sinful in our daily life, as we realize we are no longer in the driver's seat.

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We are provided with an opportunity to be free from sin (through Christ); We have the option to choose what's right. No longer do we have to stay in bondage. This doesn't, however, mean that Satan just says "Oh, you're FREE?? Well then, I'll just lay down and quit then." Paul means here that we have a way to be free of the flesh that is so sinful. But that doesn't mean it's easy. It means that through dying to self and to our flesh, we are free, and this is the freedom Paul speaks of. Actually taking advantage of that and doing so is still quite difficult at times, but at least we have the ability, through Christ, to do so.

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There are sins that lead to death (mortal sins) and sins that doesn't lead to death (venial sins) - see 1John 5:16-17 for biblical reasoning. From Catholic perspective, mortal sins are sins of grave (serious) matter, where the sinner performs the act with full knowledge and deliberate consent.(cf. CCC 1857). In case of Romans 7, Paul stil wants to do God's will, so his sins are not deliberate, so they can't be mortal. All sins can be forgiven if you do penance, but only venial sins can be forgiven after death. As long as you believe and want to do God's will, you are spiritually alive, you don't lose your spiritual fight and if you endure in the end, you will be saved. As Top12Gun wrote, Devil won't stop tempting you to do some mortal sin, break the relationship with God and return to real slavery. This temptation can be very hard and you may lack the power to avoid doing some small transgressions, but nothing can make you want to sin. If you won't give up, you will become stronger and stronger in Christ and resisting temptation will be easier and easier.

Remember Exodus: the Chosen nation left slavery, but their standard of living decreased for some time, until they reached the Promised land. Many Izraelites didn't feel very free on the desert, but they were. After leaving the slavery of sin, there is usually some period of heavy spiritual fights, something like the "desert". But it rarely takes as long as 40 years to get to the promise land of a state where you not only are free, but also feel free.

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evangelicals do not make the mortal/venial sins distinctive which is quite clear from the tags here. –  wax eagle Nov 27 '12 at 18:35
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I think context helps a good deal here.

Romans 6 starts by taking on the premise that since God is glorified when His grace covers the sins of believers, believers should therefore sin all the more so that grace should abound all the more. Paul seems to recognize that this might seem a reasonable conclusion, but that it misses the point. As people who find their identity in Christ, pursuing sin (even with noble intentions...or rationalizations) should not be our desire.

The rest of this passage is a sort of rebuttal and analysis of the argument posed in Romans 6:1 ("What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound?"). When Paul reminds Christians they they are dead to sin, he's reminding them that their identity is linked to Christ. When Jesus was crucified on the cross, our old sinful self was crucified with him (Romans 6:6).

Christians don't stop sinning cold turkey because of this (as evidenced by Paul's struggles, and verses like 1 John 1:8), but, through verses like Romans 6:11 ("So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus."), I think Paul's tone here is one of exhortation for believers to remember where our identity lies, and to remember the implications of that: We're not to be lazy or complacent about falling into old habits of sin (under the pretense that grace may abound), because we are no longer slaves to sin.

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Paul wrote (in Romans 6)

should we continue in sin because is abound?

and the answer is no.what if at the cause of you commiting that sin,Jesus just arrive? Wil he consider that you have been in faith because,no,He can never go against his unchanged word in Ephesians chapter 5 which He said that He will present to His father a perfect church,church without wrinkles nor spot.

What Jesus expect from us is that we should stand in the liberty which He had set us free according to apostle paul.

Before we go to christ for forgiveness & salvation there is an old man of sin living in us which the blood of Jesus pursuid it away by force. But the point is that this man left some properties like hatred,lies,fornication,malice,lust,fight,etc in the life of the newly saved person because because the pernetration of Jesus' blood is like fire entering your house in a very hesten way to the devil,you will not wait to take every thing out of the house before you go out but rather save your life. But after every thing,you will go back to the ablazed house because of some properties you left there,though some will be destroyed but some tough ones will still remain. That is why the devil come back to your life to make you sin.for instance,he make you fornicate after giving your life to Christ,it means that he left that very property in your life and now he come back to remind you of it and you fall.

The main truth here is that the presence of christ in you cannot alow the devil to come in again but some of his properties still remain in you. You must not rest after receiving christ fight against those properties in you now so that you will not be denied to enter the kingdom. Thank you.

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Well It seems fairly obvious by the way it reads. If you just take the whole thing at face value, then it doesn't start at Romans 6:1, it goes back before that. 6:1 begins with a question based on what he just said, which goes back to chapter 4. Righteousness is imputed by simply believing what God says, not because of what we experience, but in spite of what is experienced (when Abraham was 99 years old and it was impossible to fulfill God's promise, he believed God anyway...in spite of what he saw/experienced, etc.), which takes us back to chapter 3 and imputed righteousness by faith (simply believing God). That then becomes the premise moving forward, faith...not experience, believing God.

You simply believe God and take him at his word. He lists a bunch of good stuff in 5 which we receive by faith, even undoing what Adam brought. So much is this true, so great is our salvation, so sure our justification, that it might be concluded that we can do whatever we want now that we are saved and still be good with God. Hence the beginning of chapter 6...based on everything that has come before it.

The assumption in 6 is that a Christian will not continue in sin because the Christian has been baptized into Christ's body, been put to death with Christ, put in the grave with Christ and has raised again unto new life. He uses the example of two seeds being planted into the ground together. We are challenged to believe this just like Abraham believed God could still produce seed when his body was now dead at 99 years old. He believed God even though it was hard to believe, in fact, it was contrary to his experience. "He stumbled not at the promises of God, but was strong in faith, giving glory to God." So should we be, in chapter 6 and believe that God says our flesh is dead and, as a result, we are free from sin.

He finishes out 6 without a shadow of a doubt that the old man is dead, saying three times that we are free from sin. Then he moves into 7 with a statement followed by an analogy. He says, if you are dead (like we are in Romans 6) then we are free from the law. Just like a woman who is married to a mean old man wanted to be free from him but could not break the law. Her old man had to die for her to be free to marry the new man. Notice the law did not die, the old man did. Hence, the old man is dead and we are free from him completely (as the law ends at the grave).

This continues perfectly in past tense language, bringing in the law as an example, using himself before Christ. This goes down to verse 14. Here he switches language to draw a point. What happens when a person tries to please God by the law? This whole argument is about a religious person under the law trying to live up to it, the harder you try the worse it gets, the more guilt you feel for failing. After verse 14 he uses himself in past tense language as if he were still a religious person trying to live up to it, wanting to be free from the power of the flesh (which was put to death in chapter 6).

Why would he do this? Because he was the poster child of good religious guy. This is not Paul currently, this is Paul using past tense language to describe the futility of trying to please God through good works.

In verse 24 and 25, he asks the question, "who shall deliver me from the BODY of this death?" he recognizes the problem is the body...the flesh...that thing which was put to death in chapter 6. He answers it... "I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord." He did it, the fight is over.

To confirm this interpretation, he continues into chapter 8 with this statement, which would seem strange if Paul, was still in the condition described in chapter 7. He says:

Romans 8:1-8 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.

They that are in the flesh cannot please God! That's the problem with the guy in chapter 7, he was still in the flesh..so he could not please God. But 6, most of 7, and 8 all say that the Christian is not in the flesh.

Now, think about this. If Paul existed, as a Christian, in chapter 7, then he said he could not EVER control himself. In fact, every time he tried to, he failed. He just could not do the right thing! He knew what the right thing was, but he just couldn't do it...ALL THE TIME! "For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I." Really? Are you that way? Can you never do the right thing?

That is not the prison on death row saying that, that is the Apostle to the gentiles. the writer of most of the books of the NT, the great Paul.

All through the book of Romans he uses the same thought continually. It would be very strange to say that he suddenly switches and contradicts himself for about 10 verses and then goes right back to his original argument. A better thought would be that he simply used language to prove his point that a man outside of Christ who is trying to live up to a law to earn his salvation cannot do it. It is only through Christ that he has hope of pleasing God.

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