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FROM THE PASTOR'S STUDY

Topic: Message Outlines: Chapter 7

Romans 7:13-25 (7)

by Darrel Cline
(darrelcline biblical-thinking.org)

Chapter # 7 Paragraph # 3 Study # 7
May 1, 2007
Lincolnton, N.C.

(308)

Thesis:Good does not exist "in the flesh" of men.

Introduction:Last week I argued that Paul's double disclaimer of personal responsibility in Romans 7:17 and 7:20 had a very critical consequence. That consequence, in a nutshell, is this: if one is not to take responsibility for the evil that comes out of one's body, neither can he take credit for the good. Men are pretty heavily invested in trying to get out of the "blame", but are equally invested in taking the "credit". Both are severe bondages that end up generating more death than most of us want to endure.

After that study I decided that I might ought to review at least one aspect of the larger picture so that we do not get unbalanced in our grasp of reality. It is true that Paul twice declares his lack of responsibility for sin that arises out of his body; but it is also true that Paul declared at least seven times in these verses that he "did/practiced/accomplished" the evil that was arising out of his body. So I want to briefly review the facts as the larger context presents them. First, there is the fact that the Bible claims that human beings are, at the most basic level, "souls", not "spirits" and not "bodies". Then, Paul claims that the best analogy of the inner human realities is that of the marriage of a man and a woman. In that analogy, the "man" is the "spirit" which is the ultimate "fruit producer" and the woman is the "soul" that is the ultimate "fruit bearer" and the body is the physical level agent by which the fruit is given its ability to make its impact. Thus, there are actually four ways a person can be viewed as an "I". A person can be viewed as the visible person -- the body. A person can be viewed as a "soul" that is only made visible by inference that arises from the actions of the body. A person can be viewed as a "one" made of two (the two shall become one flesh) in the union of "soul" and "spirit" when the "spirit" is seen as the Adamic husband. And a person can be viewed as a "one" made of two in the union of "soul" and "spirit" when the "Spirit" is seen as the resurrected Christ husband. Thus, when Paul refers to the various "I" realities in making his statements, we must be careful to understand which of the four possibilities it is to which he refers.

When Paul disclaims both the "blame" and the "credit", he is doing so at the level of himself as a "soul". The "spirits" which are responsible for the blameworthy, or credit worthy, actions are not "him" and "they" get either the "blame" or the "credit". In Ephesians 2, Paul claims that it is the prince of the power of the air that is the "spirit" that produces the fruit in the sons of disobedience, and in Galatians 5, Paul claims that it is the Holy Spirit Who is the "spirit" that produces the fruit in those who walk with God.

So, as we continue in our study this evening of Paul's explanation of the inner workings of the believer who is living in a significant internal conflict, we need to be aware that Paul is working at the most profound level of explanation so that we may understand how we may best be "loyal souls" in respect to our resurrected Lord.


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