For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am of the flesh, sold under sin. I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. 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. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin. (ESV)
The Law reveals, revives and reflect sin and it ruins sinners.
What is it that we need to identify? It is a portrait of a maturing saint like Paul and how it is for all believers.
- The Facts (v14):
The Law is spiritual and the flesh is sinful, sold under sin.
- Paul’s Failures (vv14-20):
a. The Contest – when God says something is good, beautiful and true, the flesh says otherwise.
b. The Contestants – the old who wants to do what is wrong and the new what is right.
c. The Confession – it is our old self that sins. Paul’s statement is one of victory of the new man over the old.
- Paul’s Findings (vv 21-23):
a. An evil companion is always present to challenge that which is true.
Christians experience this struggle, but unbelievers don’t.
b. Paul’s confession is that he delights in the Word of God.
c. The law of sin seeks to keep him (and us) in captivity.
d. The gift of faith frees us.
- Paul’s Faith (vv 24-25):
Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord, who delivers us from this body of death, now and in eternity to come.
Paul’s proposal is that we resolve not to give up this war.