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Romans 7:15-25 - Exposition

For that which I do (rather, work, or perform, or accomplish, κατεργάζομαι ) I know not : for not what I would, that I do (rather, practise; the verb here is πράσσω ); but what I hate, that I do ( ποιῶ ). But if what I would not that I do, I consent unto the Law that it is good ( καλός ). Now then ( νυνὶ δὲ , not in temporal sense, but meaning, as the case is ) it is no more I that work ( κατεργάζομαι , as before ) it, but sin that dwelleth in me. For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth not good ( ἀγαθόν ): for to will is present with me; but to perform ( κατεργάζεσθθαι ) that which is good ( τὸ καλὸν ) is not ( ου) , rather than οὐχ αὐρίσκω as in the Textus Receptus, is the best-supported reading). For the good ( ἀγαθόν ) that I would I do not ( οἰ ποιῶ ): but the evil which I would not, that I practise ( πράσσω ). But if what I ( ἐγὼ , emphatic) would not, that I do ( ποιῶ ), it is no longer I ( ἐγὼ , again emphatic) that work ( κατεργάζομαι ) it, but sin that dwelleth in me. I find then the law, that to me who would do good, evil is present. For I delight in the Law of God after the inward man. But I see a different law in my members (on what is meant by "members" ( μέλεσι ) see note under Romans 6:13 ) warring against the law of my mind, and brining me into captivity to (or, according to some readings, by ) the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? (probably in the same sense as "the body of sin" in Romans 6:6 ; see note thereon. Translate certainly as in the English Version; not this body of death, as if it meant this mortal body) Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the Law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin. In the note introducing this whole section ( Romans 6:7 -25)its general drift has been intimated. The following additional comments may further explain the part of it which begins at Romans 6:15 .

(a) in its usual sense, with the usual significance of the absence or the presence of the article, in Romans 7:7 , Romans 7:9 , Romans 7:12 , Romans 7:14 , Romans 7:16 ; and in Romans 7:22 , still in the same sense, we have "the Law of God." We find also,

(b) in Romans 7:23 , "the law of my mind," whereby I delight in the "Law of God." Here "law" assumes a different sense from the other, but one in which the word is often used; as when we speak of the laws of nature, having in view, not so much a fiat external to nature which nature must obey, as the uniform rule according to which nature is found to work. The Latin word norma expresses the idea. Thus "the law of my mind" means the normal constitution of my higher and better self, whereby it cannot but assent to "the Law of God. Then

(c) we have "the law of sin in my members;" i.e., in a similar sense, an antagonistic rule or constitution dominant in my σάρξ . Lastly,

(d) in Romans 7:21 , the general law (in like sense) of my complex human nature, which necessitates this antagonism: "the law, that when I would do good" (in accordance with the law of the mind), "evil is present with me" (in virtue of the other law). Ancient and other commentators have been much puzzled as to the meaning of Romans 7:21 , from taking τὸν νόμον at the beginning to denote the Mosaic Law, as νόμος usually does when preceded by the article. But not so when there is something after it to denote a different meaning; as there is here in the ὅτι at the end of the verse, meaning that, not (as some have understood it) because.

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