Romans 7:7-25 is one of those passages that people take in isolation from the thread that Paul has been building thus far, and therefore get wrong. This is not describing the battle of the Christian life. Sure the Christian life is a battle, but this passage should not be used to describe your struggles with temptation!
Leading up to today’s reading Paul has shown us that we are released from the law to be under the Spirit. The law doesn’t help – it is a lazy overbearing husband that just points out where we have gone wrong (v.1-4). That begs today’s rhetorical question. Is the law sin? By no means! The purpose of the law is to reveal what sin is. It made sin come alive in a sense, because it codified it. Instead of bringing life it brought death, because it aroused the law of sin in us.
In these chapters we have three laws:
i) The Law – the ten commandments and associated legislation in the first five books of the Bible.
ii) The law of sin and death – once we knew right from wrong, the law of sin, our sinful nature, became active causing evil desires.
iii) Tomorrow we see the third law – the law of the Spirit, which is freedom from the law of sin and death.
So once we put 7:7-25 into context we see that it doesn’t describe the current state of a believer. It shows us the battle that awareness of the law causes in us when we are trying to be religious – we desire to be good, but can’t. Our flesh rules. It’s depressing, it shows us the best religion can do, which stinks, because we find we are held captive by the law of sin and death. Who will deliver us? Jesus! v.25.
Read on a few verses a day early – to see how we are freed from the depressing battle of religion into grace. And then live in the good of them and stop quoting v.19 when you struggle with sin. Quote 8:1 to yourself instead, because that is, believer, who you are now!