“For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good.” —Romans 7:15, 16
The unsaved sinner doesn’t “consent with the law that it is good.” He violently disagrees with the law and suppresses God’s truth in unrighteousness (Romans 1:18). Because the unsaved sinner hates God (Romans 1:30), he hates the law of God because it comes from God and is holy, just and good (Psalm 78:1; Romans 7:12).
Well, is this then the “carnal Christian”? Is this about the doctrine that suggests that someone is saved; yet, he still walks in open carnality and willful sin? The first part of Romans 7:16 should put that to rest, because there is recognition of conviction that the saved life doesn’t live up to the law: “If then I do that which I would not…” In other words, the verse says, “If I do that which I do not want to do, do not wish to do, do not desire to do, I agree that the law is good because it reveals to me that I actually have sinned; that I have done wrong; that my actions were not glorifying to God; that what I has not met His holy standard in the law!” That does not sound like someone who is blissfully ignorant of sin and sin’s reproach against God.
No. Since there is recognition of sin, and that there is a struggle between the standard of the law and the weakness in the flesh, that is great evidence that such a one is saved; not as one that is unsaved or one who is walking in willful disobedience. Clearly, the first part of Romans 7:16 supports the view of a person whose will is set on doing what the law requires, but fails.
Paraphrasing Romans 7:15 we might say, “I want to please God, but I don’t. I want to walk righteously but I fail. I want to keep from sinning but I sin despite my best efforts.” Does that sound like the unsaved? No way. The only reason the unsaved will do “righteously” is because they are selfishly concerned with the reprisals of their sin. These are the cries of a maturing Christian, or at least of a mature Christian, such as the apostle Paul. The mature Christian recognizes sin for what it is: an offense to God.
I didn’t stop being a human being (“carnal, sold under sin” according to Romans 7:14). Sin continues to be a very present reality, everyday, all the time. This is why Christ’s righteousness is IMPUTED to me and my sin is IMPUTED to Him. That is reality. Yet, the power of salvation presents a dynamic truth in the life of a Christian because the Christian life is not stagnant. It grows in grace, is strengthened in faith, and is conforming to the image of Christ for God’s glory. Therefore, sin is loathsome to me; sin is hated by me; my sin offends me because it offends my God.
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Read the previous article in this series, “Carnal, Sold Under Sin.”