There is no strength or power in ourselves against “the law of sin which is in our members” (Rom 7:23). The Father has lefts us much dependent on the Lord Jesus’ work on the Cross for our deliverance as for our forgiveness! It is wholly because we died with Him on the Cross, both to sin and to the whole legal principle, that sin’s power for those in Christ is broken.
“I thank God (for deliverance) through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Rom 7:25). The answer to Paul’s self-despairing question, “Who shall deliver me?” is a revelation, even identification with Christ in His death! For just as the sinner struggles in vain to find forgiveness and peace, until he looks outside himself to Him who made peace by the Blood of His Cross, just so does the quickened soul, struggling unto despair to find victory over sin by self-effort, look outside himself to the risen Lord Jesus—in whom he is, and in whom he died to sin and to the law!
Paul was not delivered from the reign of sin by Christ, but through Him; not by anything He then or at that time did for him, but through the realization of the fact that he had died with Christ on the Cross to this hated indwelling sin, and law of sin; and to God’s Law, which gave sin its power. “The strength of sin is the law’ (1 Cor 15:56).
The sinner is not forgiven by what Christ now does, but by faith in what He did do at the Cross, for the word of the Cross is the power of God (1 Cor 1:18). Just so, the believer is not delivered by what Christ does for him now; but in the revelation to the soul of identification with Christ’s death unto sin and the law on the Cross: for again, the word of the Cross is the power of God!
It will be by the Holy Spirit that this deliverance is wrought in us; as we shall see in Romans Eight. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, and by “the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus” is God’s order. To sum up Paul’s great discoveries in this struggle of Romans Seven: That sin dwelt in him—though he delighted in God’s Law. That his will was powerless against it. That the sinful self was not his real self. And that there was deliverance through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Ah, what relief to Paul’s soul—probably out yonder alone in Arabia, struggling more and more in vain to compel the flesh to obey the Law. To have revealed to his weary soul the second glorious truth of the Gospel—that he had died with Christ, to sin, and to Law which sin had used as its power.
And now the conclusion—which is the actual text of Romans Seven. “So then I of myself with the mind”—this is the real new-creation self, which the Apostle has over and over said that “sin that dwelleth in Him” was not! “With the mind”—all the spiritual faculties included, indeed, the soul-faculties of reason, imagination, sensibility—which even now are “being renewed” by the Holy spirit, day by day.
“Am subject to God’s Law” (or will)—all new creatures can say, “But with the flesh sin’s law.” He saw it at last, and bowed to it—that all he was by the flesh, by nature, was irrevocably committed to sin. So he gave up—to see himself wholly in Christ (who now lived in him) and to walk not by the Law, even in the supposed powers of the quickened life—but by the Spirit only; in whose power alone the Christian life is to be lived. “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death” (Rom 8:2).
- Wm R Newell
(Miles J Stanford, “Position Papers,” Vol. Two, pg. 360, mjsbooks.com)