It’s What We Believe, Not How We Behave

Q. I have a question on Romans. What does Paul really mean in Romans 7:25 where he said that “with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin”. Does this mean that even though he can’t outwardly keep the law that pleases God as long as he has the will of wanting to do what is right, it is already a mode of serving the law of God?

A. Not quite. Romans 7:25 is the summary statement for what Paul had written beginning in Romans 7:14. And that was his confession that no matter how hard he tried, he just couldn’t keep the law to God’s satisfaction. In fact, the harder he tried the worse he seemed to get. He loved the law and knew it was right but he just couldn’t stop breaking it. Then in a moment of anguish, he said,

“What a wretched man I am. Who will rescue me from this body of death?” (Romans 7:24)

In verse 25 he gave thanks to God who sent Jesus to rescue him, summarizing his plight in verse 25, before going on to say, “Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1) and explaining in detail just how God rescued him and us in the balance of chapter 8.

Taken together these two chapters really demonstrate the contrast between Law and Grace and show how man’s predicament can only be resolved through total reliance on the completed work of Jesus Christ.

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