O Wretched Man! - Romans 7

O Wretched Man!

Romans 7:1-25

The wretched man of Romans 7 is really messed up.  He says, "What I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do."  Romans 7:15.  "For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice."  Romans 7:19.  He wants to serve God, but serves sin instead.

Who is this wretched man?  Is the great apostle Paul writing about some unsaved, self-righteous Pharisee?  No, not at all.  He is writing about himself.  He didn't say, "O wretched man that you are."  No, he cried out, "O wretched man that I am."  In turbulent frustration he added a plea for help, saying, "Who will deliver me from this body of death?"  Romans 7:24.

We know the answer to that question, and so did Paul.  "I thank God---through Jesus Christ our Lord!" Romans 7:25.

That's how the chapter ends, but it begins with a comparison of the Christian's freedom from the law and the marriage relationship.  Husband and wife are bound to each other by the law.  They are not free to commit adultery.  However, when one party dies, the other is free to marry someone else.  Paul wrote to the believers at Rome, "You also have become dead to the law through the body of Christ that you may be married to another---to Him who was raised from the dead, that we should bear fruit to God."  Romans 7:4.

In Romans 6 we learned that Jesus "died to sin," and that we should reckon ourselves to be "dead indeed to sin."  Romans 6:10, 11.  Here in Romans 7 we are taught that we also died to the law.  "But now we have been delivered from the law, having died to what we were held by."  Romans 7:6.  Dead to the law, delivered from the law!

Then the question is raised, "What shall we say then?  Is the law sin?"  Some teach that the law mentioned in Romans 7 is not the law of Moses, not the Ten Commandments, in particular.  But they are wrong.  This is the law that says, "You shall not covet," a clear reference to the Ten Commandments.  Paul answers these questions emphatically, "Certainly not!"  Romans 7:7.  On the contrary, "Therefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy and just and good."  Romans 7:12.

The problem is not the law, but the big I"For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am carnal, sold under sin."  Romans 7:15.  When you read Romans 7:15-25, notice how many times the word I appears.  Sin cannot be separated from our carnal nature, which is also called "the flesh," and "the body of sin."  Someone has said, "You can't spell sin (S-I-N) without the I; deliverance is through the S-O-N, the O coming from the "O wretched man that I am."  When the poor man cries to the Lord, He delivers him from all his troubles.

Some see the final statement in this chapter as one of victory.  "So then, with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin."  That's a false conclusion.  That's the basis of the demoralizing struggle that we find throughout Chapter 7.  A frustrated Paul testifies, "For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man."  So far, so good.  However, he continues, "But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members."  Romans 7:22, 23.  Serving the law of God is not the answer.  "We should serve in the newness of the Spirit and not in the oldness of the letter."  Romans 7:6.


Heavenly Father, we can see ourselves in these verses.  The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.  Nevertheless we look to you, and pray that we may know anew and afresh the liberating power of Your Son.  May we know the joy of serving You in the newness of the Spirit.  In Jesus' name.  Amen!


The Spirit at Work - Romans 8



All About God

Scripture taken from the
New King James Version.
Copyright ©
1979, 1980, 1982
by Thomas Nelson, Inc.
Used by Permission.
All rights reserved.

Navigation Tips

Since visitors use different browsers and monitors, and have different preferences in how they navigate through a website, we've provided multiple ways to progress through the studies on KnowingJesusChrist.com.

1) For those who find drop-down, slide-out menus convenient, just hover over the category (menu link on the top bar) and sub-category (menu link in the drop down list).  If there is an arrow to the right of the item, the articles in that category will slide out.  (If there is no arrow, just click on the item.)  Click on any article to read it.  If you have a "wheel mouse," you should be able to roll it toward you to see more of the drop-down menu.

2) If you are unable to see all the drop-down or slide-out items (or just prefer a different way of navigating), click on the category (menu link on the top bar), then on any sub-category in the list that appears.  You will see a list of articles to choose from OR use our Site Map.

3) Most studies are part of a series (category or sub-category).  Each article within the category has a link to the next article so you can progress easily to the next study.

4) At the top of the page, you will also notice "Breadcrumbs" that show which category and sub-category you are in.  You may click on those links to return to the "parent" category or sub-category list.

5) ANSWERS to Review Questions and Quizzes are found in links at the end of the Review Questions or Quiz.  They may also be accessed by clicking on the category (which will show a list of all articles in the category).  The link at the end of the article will cause a pop up window to appear so you may easily refer to other pages on the site; the link in the Category list will open a normal page.

If you're looking for a particular topic, word, or phrase, try the Search feature in the right column.

Close this box by clicking on the top (dark brown) part again.