Just A Cop Out?

Q. RE: Romans 7: 14-25. Paul wrote that even though he tried to stop sinning he couldn’t. But then he said God viewed his sins as coming from his sin nature and not from him, as if “the devil made me do it.” How is that not a cop out?

A. In a sense the devil did make us do it. He deceived Adam and Eve and led them into sin. As a result, all of their descendants were afflicted with a sin nature, including us. This makes it impossible for us to live sin free lives even though we strive to live in a manner that’s pleasing to God, out of gratitude for what He’s done for us (Romans 12:1).

When we are born again God chooses to begin seeing us as we will be when our sin nature is removed in the rapture/resurrection (2 Cor. 5:17). He can do this because the penalty for all our sins was paid at the cross (Colossians 2:13-14). In the mean time He thinks of our subsequent sins as products of our sin nature, and no longer attributes them to us. As Paul said, ” Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it” (Romans 7:20).

But on a more basic level, if Romans 7:14-25 was just Paul’s cop out and therefore not theologically correct, do you think the Holy Spirit who was guiding Paul in his writing would have let it become part of God’s word?

Blessed are they whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed are they whose sin the Lord does not count against them and in whose spirit is no deceit (Psalm 32:1-2).

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