Day 3 Read: Romans 7:17-23
So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. 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. 20 Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. 21 So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. 22 For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, 23 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.
Reflect: What did Paul mean when he said sin was living inside him? How can Christians have sin living in them?
Consider: Paul says, “What I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing.” His words must be measured against his life for interpretation. Had Paul not done much that he desired to do in obedience to Jesus Christ? Had he not suffered greatly for the sake of the spread of the gospel, nearly losing his life on more than one occasion? Certainly, there is evidence that Paul did much of what he wanted to do. What then of his words? He is speaking of the sinful capacity that lives in him still. If it were up to Paul (or to us), we would do only what the law wants us to do. Yet we keep on doing the opposite. Paul does not mean that he does only evil, or that he does more evil than good, but that the conflict with evil is one that keeps on (present active indicative of prasso). The lure of sin is not dead though we have died to it. It will not die during “this present age” until we die physically. Only in “the age to come” will we be free from doing those things which we ought not to do.3
Respond: What two laws does Paul reference in verses 21-23? What are the key differences between these two laws? What is the battle between these two laws like for you?
3 Kenneth Boa and William Kruidenier, Romans, vol. 6, Holman New Testament Commentary (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2000), 230–231.