Wednesday, August 12, 2009
The Wretched Man is not a Christian
I've been preparing further notes on Romans 7 for one of my courses today. Here's my solid gold, top four arguments why the Wretched Man is not a Christian:
(1) Paul asks two questions in Rom 7.7 (What then should we say? That the law is sin?) and Rom. 7.13 (Did what is good, then, bring death to me?) which relates to the thoughts about pre-conversion stated in Rom 7.5 about how the law aroused sin and lead to death. Paul argues that while the law activated sin leading to death, the law is not the author of sin and death.
(2) The references to being in the ‘flesh’ (vv. 14, 18, 25) show that 7.14-25 are a commentary on what the life in flesh first mentioned in 7.5 looks like.
(3) When Paul describes the ‘I’ as ‘sold under sin’ (Rom. 7.14) this conflicts with what he says about Christians in Romans 6 where he declares that they have been freed from sin (Rom. 6.6-7, 17-18, 22).
(4) The subject struggles to obey the law (Rom. 7.22, 25), while Christians are free from the law (Rom. 6.14-15; 7.6).
Paul Meyer wrote: ‘There is not a syllable in Romans 7:7-25 about life in Christ, and … Paul himself has signaled to his readings in both 7:6 and 8:1-2 that the rest of chapter 7 is to be understood as the antithesis to chapter 8 and not in simple continuity with it’..Ultimately what is described here is not the Christian’s struggle with sin, but the absolute defeat of the self by sin’s power in the unregenerate state.