Romans 7 Commentary
ROMANS 7 COMMENTARY
v.4 “By baptism we share in the death of Christ. That means that, having died, we are discharged from all obligations to the law and become free to marry again. This time we marry, not the law, but Christ. When that happens, Christian obedience becomes not an externally imposed obedience to some written code of laws, but an inner allegiance of the spirit to Jesus Christ.”
vv.8-13 “Set a thing in the category of forbidden things or put a place out of bounds, and immediately they become fascinating. In that sense the law produces sin. […] Is, then, the law a bad thing because it actually produces sin? Paul is certain that there is wisdom in the whole sequence. (i) First he is convinced that, whatever the consequence, sin had to be defined as sin. (ii) The process shows the terrible nature of sin, because sin took a thing—the law—which was holy and just as good, and twisted it into something which served the ends of evil. The awfulness of sin is shown by the fact that it could take a fine thing and make it a weapon of evil. That is what sin does. It can take the loveliness of love and turn it into lust. It can take the honourable desire for independence and turn it into the obsession for money and for power. It can take the beauty of friendship and use it as a seduction to the wrong things. That is what Carlyle called ‘the infinite damnability of sin.’ The very fact that it took the law and made it a bridgehead to sin shows the supreme sinfulness of sin. The whole terrible process is not accidental; it is all designed to show us how awful a thing sin is, because it can take the loveliest things and defile them with a polluting touch.”
vv.14-25 “Paul is baring his very soul; and he is telling us of an experience which is of the very essence of the human situation. He knew what was right and wanted to do it; and yet, somehow, he never could. He knew what was wrong and the last thing he wanted was to do it; and yet, somehow, he did. He felt himself to be a split personality. It was as if two men were inside the one skin, pulling in different directions. He was haunted by this feeling of frustration, his ability to see what was good and his inability to do it; his ability to recognize what was wrong and his inability to refrain from doing it.
“When the evil impulse attacked, the Jew held that wisdom and reason could defeat it; to be occupied with the study of the word of the Lord was safety; the law was a prophylactic; at such a time the good impulse could be called up in defense.
“Paul knew all that; and knew, too, that, while it was all theoretically true, in practice it was not true. There were things in man’s human nature—that is what Paul meant by this fatal body—which answered to the seduction of sin. It is part of the human situation that we know the right and yet do the wrong, that we are never as good as we know we ought to be. At one and the same time we are haunted by goodness and haunted by sin.”
vv.24-25 “Caught up in this spiritual warfare, Paul cried out: What a wretched man am I! Who is able to free me from the ‘clutches of my own sinful nature?’ (The ‘body of death’ was like a corpse that hung on him and from which he was unable to free himself. It constantly interfered with his desire to obey the higher impulses of his new nature. Who is able to rescue the believer crying out for deliverance? The answer is, Thanks be to God, there is deliverance through Jesus Christ our Lord (v.25). Through the death and resurrection of Christ, God has provided the power to live in the freedom of the Spirit (cf. 8:2).”
 The Letter to the Romans. 2000, c1975 (W. Barclay, lecturer in the University of Glasgow, Ed.). The Daily study Bible series, Rev.ed. (Ro 7:7). Philadelphia: The Westminster Press.
 The Letter to the Romans. 2000, c1975 (W. Barclay, lecturer in the University of Glasgow, Ed.). The Daily study Bible series, Rev.ed. (Ro 7:14). Philadelphia: The Westminster Press.
 The Letter to the Romans. 2000, c1975 (W. Barclay, lecturer in the University of Glasgow, Ed.). The Daily study Bible series, Rev.ed. (Ro 8:1). Philadelphia: The Westminster Press.
 The letter to the Romans. 2000, c1975 (W. Barclay, lecturer in the University of Glasgow, Ed.). The Daily study Bible series, Rev.ed. (Ro 8:1). Philadelphia: The Westminster Press.
 Mounce, R. H. (2001, c1995). Vol. 27: Romans (electronic ed.). Logos Library System; The New American Commentary (171). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.