BibleTools.info

Bible Verse Explanations and Resources


Loading...

Romans 7:25

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

I thank God through Jesus Christ - Instead of ευχαριστω τῳ Θεῳ, I thank God, several excellent MSS., with the Vulgate, some copies of the Itala, and several of the fathers, read ἡ χαρις του Θεου, or του Κυριου, the grace of God, or the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ; this is an answer to the almost despairing question in the preceding verse. The whole, therefore, may be read thus: O wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from the body of this death? Answer - The grace of God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Thus we find that a case of the kind described by the apostle in the preceding verses, whether it were his own, before he was brought to the knowledge of Christ, particularly during the three days that he was at Damascus, without being able to eat or drink, in deep penitential sorrow; or whether he personates a pharisaic yet conscientious Jew, deeply concerned for his salvation: I say, we find that such a case can be relieved by the Gospel of Christ only; or, in other words, that no scheme of redemption can be effectual to the salvation of any soul, whether Jew or Gentile, but that laid down in the Gospel of Christ.

Let any or all means be used which human wisdom can devise, guilt will still continue uncancelled; and inbred sin will laugh them all to scorn, prevail over them, and finally triumph. And this is the very conclusion to which the apostle brings his argument in the following clause; which, like the rest of the chapter, has been most awfully abused, to favor anti-evangelical purposes.

So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God - That this clause contains the inference from the preceding train of argumentation appears evident, from the αρα ουν, therefore, with which the apostle introduces it. As if he had said: "To conclude, the sum of what I have advanced, concerning the power of sin in the carnal man, and the utter insufficiency of all human means and legal observances to pardon sin and expel the corruption of the heart, is this: that the very same person, the αυτος εγω, the same I, while without the Gospel, under the killing power of the law, will find in himself two opposite principles, the one subscribing to and approving the law of God; and the other, notwithstanding, bringing him into captivity to sin: his inward man - his rational powers and conscience, will assent to the justice and propriety of the requisitions of the law; and yet, notwithstanding this, his fleshly appetites - the law in his members, will war against the law of his mind, and continue, till he receives the Gospel of Christ, to keep him in the galling captivity of sin and death."

  1. The strong expressions in this clause have led many to conclude that the apostle himself, in his regenerated state, is indisputably the person intended. That all that is said in this chapter of the carnal man, sold under sin, did apply to Saul of Tarsus, no man can doubt: that what is here said can ever be with propriety applied to Paul the Apostle, who can believe? Of the former, all is natural; of the latter, all here said would be monstrous and absurd, if not blasphemous.
  • But it is supposed that the words must be understood as implying a regenerate man, because the apostle says, Romans 7:22, I delight in the law of God; and in this verse, I myself with the mind serve the law of God. These things, say the objectors, cannot be spoken of a wicked Jew, but of a regenerate man such as the apostle then was. But when we find that the former verse speaks of a man who is brought into captivity to the law of sin and death, surely there is no part of the regenerate state of the apostle to which the words can possibly apply. Had he been in captivity to the law of sin and death, after his conversion to Christianity, what did he gain by that conversion? Nothing for his personal holiness. He had found no salvation under an inefficient law; and he was left in thraldom under an equally inefficient Gospel. The very genius of Christianity demonstrates that nothing like this can, with any propriety, be spoken of a genuine Christian.
  • But it is farther supposed that these things cannot be spoken of a proud or wicked Jew; yet we learn the contrary from the infallible testimony of the word of God. Of this people in their fallen and iniquitous state, God says, by his prophet, They Seek me Daily, and Delight to know my ways, as a nation that did Righteousness, and Forsook not the Ordinances of their God: they ask of me the ordinances of Justice, and Take Delight in approaching to God, Isaiah 58:2. Can any thing be stronger than this? And yet, at that time, they were most dreadfully carnal, and sold under sin, as the rest of that chapter proves. It is a most notorious fact, that how little soever the life of a Jew was conformed to the law of his God, he notwithstanding professed the highest esteem for it, and gloried in it: and the apostle says nothing stronger of them in this chapter than their conduct and profession verify to the present day. They are still delighting in the law of God, after the inward man; with their mind serving the law of God; asking for the ordinances of justice, seeking God daily, and taking delight in approaching to God; they even glory, and greatly exult and glory, in the Divine original and excellency of their Law; and all this while they are most abominably carnal, sold under sin, and brought into the most degrading captivity to the law of sin and death. If then all that the apostle states of the person in question be true of the Jews, through the whole period of their history, even to the present time; if they do in all their professions and their religious services, which they zealously maintain, confess, and conscientiously too, that the law is holy, and the commandment holy, just, and good; and yet, with their flesh, serve the law of sin; the same certainly may be said with equal propriety of a Jewish penitent, deeply convinced of his lost estate, and the total insufficiency of his legal observances to deliver him from his body of sin and death. And consequently, all this may be said of Paul the Jew, while going about to establish his own righteousness - his own plan of justification; he had not as yet submitted to the righteousness of God - the Divine plan of redemption by Jesus Christ.
  • It must be allowed that, whatever was the experience of so eminent a man, Christian, and apostle, as St. Paul, it must be a very proper standard of Christianity. And if we are to take what is here said as his experience as a Christian, it would be presumption in us to expect to go higher; for he certainly had pushed the principles of his religion to their utmost consequences. But his whole life, and the account which he immediately gives of himself in the succeeding chapter, prove that he, as a Christian and an apostle, had a widely different experience; an experience which amply justifies that superiority which he attributes to the Christian religion over the Jewish; and demonstrates that it not only is well calculated to perfect all preceding dispensations, but that it affords salvation to the uttermost to all those who flee for refuge to the hope that it sets before them. Besides, there is nothing spoken here of the state of a conscientious Jew, or of St. Paul in his Jewish state, that is not true of every genuine penitent; even before, and it may be, long before, he has believed in Christ to the saving of his soul. The assertion that "every Christian, howsoever advanced in the Divine life, will and must feel all this inward conflict," etc., is as untrue as it is dangerous. That many, called Christians, and probably sincere, do feel all this, may be readily granted; and such we must consider to be in the same state with Saul of Tarsus, previously to his conversion; but that they must continue thus is no where intimated in the Gospel of Christ. We must take heed how we make our experience, which is the result of our unbelief and unfaithfulness, the standard for the people of God, and lower down Christianity to our most reprehensible and dwarfish state: at the same time, we should not be discouraged at what we thus feel, but apply to God, through Christ, as Paul did; and then we shall soon be able, with him, to declare, to the eternal glory of God's grace, that the law of the Spirit of life, in Christ Jesus, has made us free from the law of sin and death. This is the inheritance of God's children; and their salvation is of me, saith the Lord.
  • I cannot conclude these observations without recommending to the notice of my readers a learned and excellent discourse on the latter part of this chapter, preached by the Rev. James Smith, minister of the Gospel in Dumfermline, Scotland; a work to which I am indebted for some useful observations, and from which I should have been glad to have copied much, had my limits permitted. Reader, do not plead for Baal; try, fully try, the efficiency of the blood of the covenant; and be not content with less salvation than God has provided for thee. Thou art not straitened in God, be not straitened in thy own bowels.

    Albert Barnes
    Notes on the Whole Bible

    I thank God - That is, I thank God for effecting a deliverance to which I am myself incompetent. There is a way of rescue, and I trace it altogether to his mercy in the Lord Jesus Christ. What conscience could not do, what the Law could not do, what unaided human strength could not do, has been accomplished by the plan of the gospel; and complete deliverance can be expected there, and there alone. This is the point to which all his reasoning had tended; and having thus shown that the Law was insufficient to effect this deliverance. he is now prepared to utter the language of Christian thankfulness that it can be effected by the gospel. The superiority of the gospel to the Law in overcoming all the evils under which man labors, is thus triumphantly established; compare 1 Corinthians 15:57.

    So then - As the result of the whole inquiry we have come to this conclusion.

    With the mind - With the understanding, the conscience, the purposes, or intentions of the soul. This is a characteristic of the renewed nature. Of no impenitent sinner could it be ever affirmed that with his mind he served the Law of God.

    I myself - It is still the same person, though acting in this apparently contradictory manner.

    Serve the law of God - Do honor to it as a just and holy law Romans 7:12, Romans 7:16, and am inclined to obey it, Romans 7:22, Romans 7:24.

    But with the flesh - The corrupt propensities and lusts, Romans 7:18,

    The law of sin - That is, in the members. The flesh throughout, in all its native propensities and passions, leads to sin; it has no tendency to holiness; and its corruptions can be overcome only by the grace of God. We have thus,

    (1)A view of the sad and painful conflict between sin and God. They are opposed in all things.

    (2)we see the raging, withering effect of sin on the soul. In all circumstances it tends to death and woe.

    (3)we see the feebleness of the Law and of conscience to overcome this. The tendency of both is to produce conflict and woe. And,

    (4)We see that the gospel only can overcome sin. To us it should be a subject of everincreasing thankfulness, that what could not be accomplished by the Law, can be thus effected by the gospel; and that God has devised a plan that thus effects complete deliverance, and which gives to the captive in sin an everlasting triumph.

    Matthew Henry
    Concise Bible Commentary
    This passage does not represent the apostle as one that walked after the flesh, but as one that had it greatly at heart, not to walk so. And if there are those who abuse this passage, as they also do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction, yet serious Christians find cause to bless God for having thus provided for their support and comfort. We are not, because of the abuse of such as are blinded by their own lusts, to find fault with the scripture, or any just and well warranted interpretation of it. And no man who is not engaged in this conflict, can clearly understand the meaning of these words, or rightly judge concerning this painful conflict, which led the apostle to bemoan himself as a wretched man, constrained to what he abhorred. He could not deliver himself; and this made him the more fervently thank God for the way of salvation revealed through Jesus Christ, which promised him, in the end, deliverance from this enemy. So then, says he, I myself, with my mind, my prevailing judgement, affections, and purposes, as a regenerate man, by Divine grace, serve and obey the law of God; but with the flesh, the carnal nature, the remains of depravity, I serve the law of sin, which wars against the law of my mind. Not serving it so as to live in it, or to allow it, but as unable to free himself from it, even in his very best state, and needing to look for help and deliverance out of himself. It is evident that he thanks God for Christ, as our deliverer, as our atonement and righteousness in himself, and not because of any holiness wrought in us. He knew of no such salvation, and disowned any such title to it. He was willing to act in all points agreeable to the law, in his mind and conscience, but was hindered by indwelling sin, and never attained the perfection the law requires. What can be deliverance for a man always sinful, but the free grace of God, as offered in Christ Jesus? The power of Divine grace, and of the Holy Spirit, could root out sin from our hearts even in this life, if Divine wisdom had not otherwise thought fit. But it is suffered, that Christians might constantly feel, and understand thoroughly, the wretched state from which Divine grace saves them; might be kept from trusting in themselves; and might ever hold all their consolation and hope, from the rich and free grace of God in Christ.
    Ellen G. White
    Mind, Character, and Personality, vol. 1, 229.5

    The Mind the Determining Factor—Said Paul, “With my mind serve I the law of God.” Becloud this mind through indulgence of animal appetite and passions, and the moral powers are weakened so that the sacred and common are placed upon a level.—Letter 2, 1873. 1MCP 229.5

    Read in context »
    Ellen G. White
    Spiritual Gifts, vol. 4a, 146

    Others are too active in body and mind. The mind of such must rest as well as the body, and without it, will be overworked, and the constitution must break down. Satan exults to see the human family plunging themselves deeper, and deeper, into suffering and misery. He knows that persons who have wrong habits, and unsound bodies, cannot serve God so earnestly, perseveringly and purely as though sound. A diseased body affects the brain. With the mind we serve the Lord. The head is the capitol of the body. If the finger is pricked, the nerves, like the telegraphic wires, bear the intelligence immediately to the brain. Satan triumphs in the ruinous work he causes by leading the human family to indulge in habits which destroy themselves, and one another; for by this means he is robbing God of the service due him. 4aSG 146.1

    In order to preserve health, temperance in all things is necessary. Temperance in labor, temperance in eating and drinking. Because of intemperance a great amount of misery has been brought upon the human family. The eating of pork has produced scrofula, leprosy and cancerous humors. Pork-eating is still causing the most intense suffering to the human race. Depraved appetites crave those things which are the most injurious to health. The curse, which has rested heavily upon the earth, and has been felt by the whole race of mankind, has also been felt by the animals. The beasts have degenerated [in] size, and length of years. They have been made to suffer more than they otherwise would by the wrong habits of man. 4aSG 146.2

    There are but a few animals that are free from disease. They have been made to suffer greatly for the want of light, pure air, and wholesome food. When they are fattened, they are often confined in close stables, and are not permitted to exercise, and to have free circulation of air. Many poor animals are left to breathe the poison of filth which is left in barns and stables. Their lungs will not long remain healthy while inhaling such impurities. Disease is conveyed to the liver, and the entire system of the animal is diseased. They are killed, and prepared for the market, and people eat freely of this poisonous animal food. Much disease is caused in this manner. But people cannot be made to believe that it is the meat they have eaten, which has poisoned their blood, and caused their sufferings. 4aSG 146.3

    Read in context »
    Ellen G. White
    Testimonies for the Church, vol. 1, 150

    I saw that through the past summer the prevailing spirit has been to grasp as much of this world as possible. The commandments of God have not been kept. With the mind we serve the law of God; but the minds of many have been serving the world. And while their minds were all occupied with things of earth and serving themselves, they could not serve the law of God. The Sabbath has not been kept. By some the work of six days has been carried into the seventh. One hour, and even more, has often been taken from the commencement and close of the Sabbath. 1T 150.1

    Some of the Sabbathkeepers who say to the world that they are looking for Jesus’ coming, and that they believe we are having the last message of mercy, give way to their natural feelings, and barter, and trade, and are a proverb among unbelievers for their keenness in trade, for being sharp, and always getting the best end of a bargain. Such would better lose a little and exert a better influence in the world, and a happier influence among brethren, and show that this world is not their god. 1T 150.2

    I saw that brethren should feel interested for one another. Especially should those who are blessed with health have a kind regard and care for those who have not good health. They should favor them. They should remember the lesson taught by Jesus of the good Samaritan. 1T 150.3

    Read in context »
    Ellen G. White
    Testimonies on Sexual Behavior, Adultery, and Divorce, 100.1

    Origin of Impure Acts—None can glorify God in their body, as He requires, while they are living in transgression of the law of God. If the body violates the seventh commandment, it is through the dictation of the mind. If the mind is impure, the body will naturally engage in impure acts. Purity cannot exist in the soul of one who yields his body to impure acts. If the body is serving lust, the mind cannot maintain consecration to God. To preserve a sanctified mind, the body must be preserved in sanctification and honor. The mind will then serve the law of God, and yield willing obedience to all its claims. Then, with the apostle, such can yield their members as instruments of righteousness unto God.... TSB 100.1

    Read in context »
    More Comments