In Romans 7:14-23 we see a lot of evidence of regeneration. "But I am not really the one who is doing these hated things; it is sin living in me that does them." (New Century Version): this is the language of a man who is being regenerated. A man who is absolutely sure that his heart and nature has been renewed, but that sin still has power in him that is not of himself. Verse twenty-two: "In my mind, I am happy with God’s
law." (NCV) Again the language of a man who has been regenerated. He even dares to say when he does evil; in verse seventeen: "But I am not really the one who is doing these hated things; it is sin living in me that does them." (NCV) This is very important that we grasp what this is saying!
In the first two sections of Romans, Paul is dealing with justification and sanctification. In his dealing with justification, he lays the foundation for the doctrine of sin in the plural form. Sins, as the transgressions that we commit. Then in the second part of the fifth chapter he begins to talk of
sin, not as a transgression, but as a power! Can you imagine what a terrible loss it would be for you and me if Paul had not written this second half of Romans seven? Without this understanding of the sinfulness of the believer, that we can have a renewed heart; and still, sin at times has power over us. Without this vital truth, I would personally still be a miserable Christian totally confused and completely caught up in perfectionism. We would have missed the answer to the question we all want answered as to sin in the believer.
And what is the answer? As believers, as regenerate people, we have been renewed; and we can say with Paul, "In my mind, I am happy with God’s law." (NCV)
Next week we will expand on these verses and consider the impotent man.