A Contextual Exegesis of Romans 7:7-25


Romans 7 has a long history of controversy and celebration in the Christian church. It is the paradigmatic passage for the struggling Christian – the believer who seeks to find comfort in the failures of Paul – and the anthropological implications have come to dominate the church’s understanding and application of the passage. Unfortunately, such an understanding and application is rooted in contextual ignorance. Although Romans 7 may function to provide anthropological insight for the Christian progressing through sanctification, this analysis will seek to demonstrate that this is only a secondary implication – one that is subservient to the authorial intent of the passage.

In Paul’s epistle to the Romans, 7:7-25 functions as a clarification to Paul’s affirmation in 7:1-6 concerning the Christian’s having died to the law, which primarily consists in illuminating the goodness of the law, the wickedness of sin, and the inability of the flesh to obey God’s law. This analysis will prove the clarifying function of 7:7-25 by (1) analyzing the general and particular context, (2) conducting exegesis in light of those contexts, and (3) summarizing the main points of the passage.

Context and Structure

First, Romans 7 must be viewed from the perspective of its placement within the whole epistle. There is a purpose as to why the apostle wrote Romans 7, and that purpose is most certainly connected to the flow of his argument from chapters one to fifteen. Secondly, from the general context, the epistle to the Romans is perhaps one of the most structured of Paul’s letters, therefore providing an important particular context for the student to gain closer connections to Romans 7.

Generally: The Main Theme of the Epistle to the Romans

Regarding the general context, the main theme of Romans has long been identified in 1:16-17, and rightfully so. The regrettable conclusion, however, is that ‘justification by faith’ has been isolated to subsume the entire epistle. Cranfield asserted that the main theme of the epistle is stated in Rom. 1:16b-17 – God’s righteousness is being revealed in the gospel, where ‘he who is righteous by faith shall live’ – and this theme is elucidated throughout the entire epistle, therefore rendering exegesis as being primarily determined by observing 1:18-15:13 (the main body of the epistle) and its specific relation to 1:16b-17.[1] Nonetheless, the exclusivity of this theme forces the reader to interpose justification throughout the entire letter, and justification essentially drops from the epistle after Romans 4. Other scholars have noted the main theme as something to do with resolving the Jewish/Gentile conflict in Rome, or as Paul’s dialogue with the Jews in Rome, and there are many others; but it is best to observe the several themes of Romans, and from this observation one can then discern how all of the themes can come together in one ultimate theme.

It is not unprofitable to venture to the level of broadness that Schreiner posed, he commented, “God’s glory is indeed ultimate.”[2] Paul’s main theme and ultimate purpose in writing the epistle to the Romans – just as it is with all that he does – is for the magnification of God’s glory. This affirmation provides an extremely important exegetical and hermeneutical implication: in Romans, Paul did not write a theological treatise to woo future readers with pursued complexity and hidden truths within syntactical niceties. After this realization, perhaps the student feels less inclined to parse each section with the scrutiny of a hermeneutical scalpel and more inclined to begin with the widest perspective. If the student begins wide, far, and broad – all reasonably so – he can begin to take a few steps forward, attempting to identify the main theme that provides the epistle’s distinct function from its ultimate purpose. Moo disagrees with the popular scholastic consensus that ‘justification by faith’ is the theme of the letter. He commented, “Certainly a good case can be made for it. But I do not finally think that it can stand as the overarching theme.”[3] He continued, “There is too much in Romans that cannot, without distortion, be subsumed under the heading of justification.”[4] Romans 5-8, for example, can be related to justification as its fruits or implications (as Cranfield asserted), but justification does not appear to be a constant reference point employed by Paul in this section. Though it may be best to stop attempting to fit ‘justification by faith’ into every section of the epistle for the sake of simplicity, the theme is nonetheless critical to the epistle to the Romans. A broader theme, therefore, is the theme of ‘the gospel,’ which easily incorporates the crucial emphasis of ‘justification by faith’ in 1:18-4:25.[5] Surely, the ‘gospel’ as the theme may be too broad to provide a distinctive progression for Romans, but it better serves to incorporate the various emphases throughout the epistle – e.g. justification by faith, the interplay between Jew and Gentile, etc. – and perhaps again refreshes ‘scholastic reaching’ by notifying the student that this is indeed a letter, and not specifically some theological treatise most apparently written with such a logical point-by-point progression as many modern readers wish it to be (though it is as close to such a thing as any other letter in the NT). As to not linger too long, it is best to understand the main theme of Romans as ‘the gospel.’ Too simple to be profound for some scholars, truly, the gospel is what best summarizes and unifies every topic and purpose in the epistle. More elucidated, the theme can be stated from 1:16-17 as follows: “the gospel is the saving power of God in which the righteousness of God is revealed.”[6]

Particularly: Romans 5-8

Therefore, since Moo selects a more broad theme, he describes 5:1-8:39 as “the assurance provided by the gospel: the hope of salvation.”[7] The theme of the ‘hope of sharing in God’s glory’ (cf. 5:2 and 8:18, 30) “brackets all of chaps. 5-8” and therefore “the assurance of glory is the overarching theme in this second major section of Romans.”[8]

Cranfield commented, these four chapters are “intended to describe the life which those who are righteous by faith are to live.”[9] Each chapter in Romans 5-8 expounds a different characteristic for those who have been justified by faith. In chapter 5, it is peace with God; in chapter 6, it is sanctification; in chapter 7, it is freedom from the law’s condemnation; and in chapter 8, it is the indwelling of God’s Spirit. Although this structure may be a bit overdrawn, it is certain that Romans 5-8 elucidates characteristics of the Christian life, and the overarching characteristic is hope. Therefore, as Schreiner concluded, “the long discussion on the law in chapter 7 relates directly to the hope of believer” – i.e. that their “future inheritance will not be realized through the law.”[10]

Contextual Conclusion

Therefore, in the contextual understanding of Rom. 7: (1) generally considered, Paul clarifies that though his gospel means that one is not justified by law but by faith, the law is still good, holy, righteous, and spiritual; and (2) particularly considered, Paul explains that the future inheritance and glorious hope of those who are justified by faith is not realized through the law – i.e. the law is not in itself a means of sanctification or glorification in the same way that it is not a means of justification. The conclusions throughout Paul’s argument for the gospel have included several revolutionary implications for the law (cf. 5:20; 6:14; 7:1-6), and it is in light of these startling claims that the apostle must provide a valuable clarification – i.e. the law is good, holy, and righteous, and his gospel does not nullify its goodness.

Exegesis: The Affirmation and Clarification

Within chapter 7, there are two basic divisions: the affirmation of the Christian’s freedom from the law (7:1-6) and the clarification of that affirmation (7:7-25).[11] Exegetical analysis will concentrate on the latter division, the clarification of the characteristic in 7:7-25; but as all clarifications are inextricably tied to what it is they clarify, a brief summation of 7:1-6 (Paul’s affirmation) must be the entrance into exegesis of 7:7-25 (Paul’s clarification).

Romans 7:1-6 – Paul’s Affirmation

Paul’s affirmation in 7:6 consists in four parts: 7:1 provides the principle that informs the rest of this section; 7:2-3 follows that principle with an illustration; 7:4 applies the principle of 7:1 to the Christian life; and 7:5-6 further explains the application of the principle to the Christian life in 7:4. Therefore, 7:4 is the key verse in this passage.

The principle of 7:1 is that death breaks the bondage of the law – i.e. “death severs one’s bondage to the law.”[12] The illustration of 7:2-3 essentially demonstrates that death breaks the bondage of the law, but it is not a strict analogy. As soon as one attempts to turn 7:2-3 into an analogy for 7:4-6, they will encounter some difficulties – e.g. in 7:2-3, the woman’s husband dies so that she may marry another, but in 7:4 it is the Christian who dies that he or she may belong or be remarried to Christ.[13] There is some correspondence between the illustration and its application (as expected) in 7:4 – i.e. the additional point: “severance from the law enables one to enter into a new relationship.”[14] But the key is to recognize that 7:2-3 functions to illustrate 7:1 rather than provide an analogy for 7:4-6.

Nonetheless, 7:4 takes the now illustrated principle and applies it to the Christian life, where Paul notes ἐθανατώθητε τῷ νόμῳ (ethanatōthēte tō nom­ō, you have been put to death to the law). Just as Christians have died to sin (Rom. 6:2) and been released from sin (Rom. 6:6), so too they have died to and been released from the law. Moreover, as Schreiner noted, “the passive verb ethanatōthēte indicates that God is the one who puts believers to death.”[15] The divine initiative emphasized here continues, as it is διὰ τοῦ σώματος τοῦ Χριστοῦ (dia tou sōmatos tou Christou, through the body of Christ) that Christians have died to the law. The Pauline language here is similar to that used in his other epistles (cf. 1 Cor. 10:16; 11:24; Eph. 2:13-15; Col. 1:22) referring to Christ’s atoning, redemptive, reconciling death on the cross. Therefore, Rom. 7:4 is best understood as intimating that “believers have been freed from the law because Christ offered his body as a sacrifice for our sins and by so doing freed us from the law’s condemnation.”[16] ‘Through the body of Christ’ certainly connotes the idea that it was the death of Christ that brought the Christian’s death to the law. Why, then, did Paul employ σώματος (sōmatos, body) rather than θανάτοs (thanatos, death)? Though there have been many posed answers to this question, the best indication comes from Paul’s parenthetical notation in the purpose clause of 7:4. Most emphatic, the Christian has died to the law for two very definitive purposes: (1) εἰς τὸ γενέσθαι ὑμᾶς ἑτέρῳ (eis to genesthai hymas heterō, in order that you all belong to another) and (2) ἵνα καρποφορήσωμεν τῷ θεῷ (hina karpophorēsōmen tō theō, so that we bear fruit for God), which is basically synonymous to the purpose stated in 7:6, ὥστε δουλεύειν ἡμᾶς ἐν καινότητι πνεύματος (hōste douleuein hēmas en kainotēti pneumatos, so that we serve in newness of Spirit). These two stated purposes in 7:4 are separated by Paul’s parenthetical notation concerning whom the Christian now belongs to, that is, ‘to him who has been raised from the dead.’ It is in this context of death and dying where Paul emphasizes that the Christian’s death to the law is purposed in providing the freedom necessary to unite them to a living and resurrected Christ – a startling interjection, indeed. Thus, Paul’s use of σώματος (sōmatos, body) rather than θανάτοs (thanatos, death) seemingly functions to emphasize that for the Christian, death is not the final claim. Jesus’ death accomplished the Christian’s death to the law, but Jesus’ body was resurrected so that death to the law could bring new life in Christ. Freedom from the law does not mean that the Christian is free to sin. Kruse commented, “Believers need to be released from the law in order that they may ‘bear fruit for God.’”[17]

What is the extent of this freedom? What does it mean that the Christian has died to the law, having been released from its binding? Cranfield and Stott take this to mean that the Christian has died to the condemnation of the law (cf. Rom. 8:1).[18] It is certainly true that the Christian has died to the condemnation of the law, but Paul appears to be expressing more than that in Rom. 7. Schreiner correctly noted that it is evident that the apostle also understands the law “as a power that wields influence over human beings and exercises control by provoking sin.”[19] More than a mere judicial nullification of the law’s condemning power, though importantly included, Paul is expressing the Christian’s freedom from the law’s corrupted instrumentation.

Therefore, the main point from the key verse (7:4) of Paul’s affirmation (7:1-6) is that Christians have died to the law through the body of Christ for the twofold purpose of belonging to the resurrected Christ and producing fruit for God. 7:5-6 continues to explain 7:4 by contrasting pre-conversion ‘living in the flesh’ (7:5) with post-conversion serving in the ‘newness of Spirit.’ Post-conversion is described as ‘dying to’ and being ‘released from the law’ for the purpose of serving in the ‘new way of the Spirit.’ Importantly, Paul includes the first person ‘we’ in this section to mark his inclusion as having been set free to serve in the Spirit as a fellow Christian. 7:6 literally translates, “so that we serve in [the] newness of [the] Spirit and not in [the] oldness of [the] letter.”[20] This contrast between the ‘newness of Spirit’ and the ‘oldness of letter’ is certainly a contrast between the new and old covenant (cf. 2 Cor. 3:6; also Ezek. 36-27; Jer. 31:31-34). The new covenant has given believers life to walk in the Spirit; where Romans 8 will further elucidate the indwelling Spirit that makes this possible, Romans 7 explains the function of the law now that the Christian is alive in the Spirit under the new covenant. Essentially, the explanation conveys that the Spirit brings about the ability to produce fruit for God, not the law; and this emphasis is the primary concern of Rom. 8. Notice how 7:6 could easily transition right into Rom. 8, but instead, Rom. 7:7-25 is situated between the two texts. By this simple observation, it becomes clear that Rom. 7:7-25 functions as a necessary clarification before proceeding further into the idea of serving according to the indwelling Spirit. Understanding this, one can proceed into the exegesis of Rom. 7:7-25.

Romans 7:7:25 – Paul’s Clarification

The apostle affirmed that Christians have died to the law so that they could be united to Christ and produce fruit for God, living in the newness of the Spirit. Before elucidating the life lived in the newness of the Spirit, however, Paul must provide some clarification. Quite naturally, the plain affirmation of 7:1-6 instigates revolutionary implications concerning the law; and in 7:7-25, Paul provides some necessary clarifications as to answer those anticipated objections that his gospel nullifies the law. Kruse noted, “Paul’s purpose in 7:7-25 is not to defend the law per se…but to reject allegations that his gospel involves a denigration of the law.”[21] The apostle’s affirmation of the law as good is a means within the context of Paul’s overall defense of the gospel. The passage is purposed in (1) defending the goodness of the law within Paul’s gospel and (2) showing that the law is unable to triumph the wickedness of sin within itself.

The clarification passage (7:7-25) is divided in two main sections: 7:7-12 and 7:13-25. Both sections answer two questions that Paul himself poses and answers with an adamant μὴ γένοιτο· (mē genoito, by no means!). In 7:7-12 Paul asks ‘is the law sin?’ and in 7:13-25 he asks whether law is the cause of death.

7:7-12 – The Law is Good

In 7:7-12, through the exclusive use of the past tense, Paul recounts his own experience with the law before he was converted. Moreover, the apostle’s personal encounter is “paradigmatic of the story of the human race,” mirroring the “history of Adam and Israel.”[22] Most of the discussion regarding Romans 7 quickly escalates into a debate concerning the ‘I’ of 7:7-25, and the conclusions of that deliberation do provide important implications for exegesis. However, the main thrust and primary point of the passage is not contingent upon whether one correctly interprets the ‘I’ of 7:7-25. The importance of this statement cannot be overemphasized: whether the ‘I’ is autobiographical or some rhetorical impersonation, the main point of Rom. 7:7-25 emphasizes that the law is holy, righteous, and good. Nonetheless, the deliberation ought to be tackled in order to draw the most beneficial theological implications and applications from the text, but this analysis does not have the space afforded. For now, it is best to focus on the primary intentions of the passage, which concern the goodness and of the law and the wickedness of sin.

The progression of the passage contains four parts: (1) 7:7a asks and answers the question of clarification; (2) 7:7b-8 elucidates how 7:7a is not contrary to 7:5; (3) 7:9-11 clarifies the explanation of 7:7b-8 and equips it with a narrative; and (4) 7:12 is key verse that pronounces the deduced conclusion from 7:7-11.

The apostle poses his first question of clarification: is the law sin? He adamantly affirms that the law is not sin. This clarification, however, is interrupted and extended with ἀλλὰ (alla, yet). 7:7b-8 explains that though the law is not sin, it nonetheless (alla) functions to awaken sin. In fact, it appears that the law is necessary for man to experientially and intuitively know sin. This does not imply, however, that sin does not exist without the law – for ‘sin indeed was in the world before the law was given’ (Rom. 5:13) – rather, the law reveals (cf. Rom. 3:20) as well as intensifies and incites sin. It hints back to what he stated in 7:5, where sinful passions were ‘aroused by the law.’ In a reversal of Jewish tradition (cf. 2 Bar. 85.3-4), the apostle argues that “the law actually becomes an abettor to sin, and sin as an alien power employs the law to accomplish its own ends.”[23] Paul utilized the example of the tenth commandment, ‘You shall not covet.’ Schreiner correctly observed, “This is the only commandment that explicitly refers to the desires of one’s heart rather than merely to outward actions.”[24] Reaching deep into man’s desires, exposing his heart, covetousness is consonant with idolatry and self-worship (cf. Eph. 5:5; Col. 3:5), which is noted by Paul as the root of sin (Rom. 1:18-25).[25]

Throughout the passage, Paul hints at the goodness of the law – that it is not sin (7:7) and it promised life (7:10) – but it is blatantly concluded in 7:12, where the law is described as ‘holy and righteous and good.’ Conclusively, Paul clarifies in 7:7-12 that (1) the law is not sin, (2) but the law is a necessary instrument of sin to produce death, and (3) therefore, the law is good, as well as impotent under the control of sin.

7:13-25 – Man Is Unable to Obey the Good Law Within Himself

The second section (7:13-25) of Paul’s clarification (7:7-25) exclusively uses the present tense, providing an easy marker for division. Just like the previous section, 7:13-25 poses, answers, and explains a question of clarification. The progression begins with 7:13, the thesis of the passage, which is then explained and defended in three subsections: 7:14-17, 7:18-20, and 7:21-25. The first two subsections are marked by an initial confession (7:14, Οἴδαμεν γὰρ, oidamen gar, for we know; 7:18, Οἶδα γὰρ, oida gar, for I know), leading to an identical conclusion that closes each subsection (οὐκέτι ἐγὼ κατεργάζομαι αὐτὸ ἀλλὰ ἡ οἰκοῦσα ἐν ἐμοὶ ἁμαρτία, ouketi egō katergazomai auto hē oikousa en emoi hamartia, no longer am I the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me). 7:19-20 repeats what Paul says in 7:15-17, where 7:15b parallels 7:19; and 7:16a, 17 parallels 7:20.[26] The distinction resides in 7:15-17 emphasizing the goodness of the law in 7:14a and 7:16b, and 7:18-20 not repeating ὃ γὰρ κατεργάζομαι οὐ γινώσκω (ho gar katergazomai ou ginōskō, for I do not understand what I am doing). Since the first two subsections are not strictly paralleled, it appears that 17:18-20 further explains and not merely repeats 7:14-17. The third subsection begins with εὑρίσκω ἄρα (heuriskō ara, I find then) and continues to draw a final conclusion from the previous two subsections (7:14-20).

The question is asked in 7:13a (‘did that which is good, then bring death to me?’) and answered in 7:13b the same way he answered in 7:7b μὴ γένοιτο· (mē genoito, by no means!), which is followed by the thesis of 7:13-25 – i.e. sin is the cause of death, and the law is its instrument. Schreiner summarized the thesis, “Sin is the ultimate cause of death. The law is the instrumental cause, but it is not itself blameworthy, for it is inherently good.”[27] The law is vindicated from all blame, but it is in the same motion regarded as unable to triumph over the power of sin. In defending the fact that the law is not the cause of death, Paul affirms that the ‘law is spiritual.’ By contrast the ‘I’ is σάρκινός (sarkinos, ‘unspiritual,’ ‘flesh’ or ‘carnal’), which is a word that is also used in 1 Corinthians 3:1, 3 noting those infamous ‘carnal Christians’ in Corinth. The intimation in Romans 7, similar to 1 Corinthians 3, is that unlike the law, which is spiritual and given by God, the unspiritual is ‘sold under sin.’ The gār (for; omitted in the NIV) at the beginning of 7:15 indicates that Paul is providing an explanation for the previous statement – i.e. he is sold under sin, which is evidenced by the fact that he does not understand what he is doing. The second gār (for) provides further explanation: he is sold under sin, which is evidenced by the fact that he does not understand what he is doing; and he does not know what he is doing because he is doing those things he hates and does not want to do. As such, the law is not the instrumental cause of death because it is a bad or wicked instrument; rather, it is because Paul is ‘fleshly, sold under sin.’ Schreiner commented, “The reason the law is transgressed is not because it is flawed or unspiritual but because human beings are fleshly and under the control of sin.”[28] Paul is simply utilizing another means of expressing that the law is good and sin is bad.

Moving to the next subsection, however, Paul removes those comments about the goodness of the law, and further focuses on the inability to keep God’s law in the flesh. Therefore, in reading 7:14-20, the overwhelming consensus is that the law is good, but the flesh is unable to obey God’s law because of the flesh’s bondage under sin. The ‘I’ is “not performing the evil,” but the “responsibility for evil rests on indwelling sin.”[29] Luther commented, “So both are true: he does, and yet he does not.”[30] This does not absolve responsibility for Paul, but it does vindicate the goodness of the law and the wickedness of sin.

It appears best to detect a distinction between some of the uses of ‘law’ in 7:22-33 from the Mosaic law – i.e. a distinction is the most reasonable conclusion from Paul’s use of a ‘different’ or ‘another’ law in 7:23a.[31] Paul notes ‘law’ four times in 7:22-23: (1) the law of God, (2) a different law, (3) the law of my mind, and (4) the law of sin. Kruse determined that the ‘law of God’ in this context refers to the law of Moses; the ‘different law’ is the same as the ‘law of sin,’ which is ‘in the members of my body,’ waging war against the ‘law of my mind’; and the ‘inner man’ is “virtually synonymous with ‘the law of my mind,’” which delights in the ‘law of God’ – the law of Moses.[32] Therefore, this section once again ultimately expresses that “the root cause of the human predicament is identified as sin (the law of sin) and not the law of Moses.”[33] The law is good, but sin is wicked; and because man is stricken with moral inability, he is unable to follow God’s good law by his own strength.

7:21-25 demonstrates Paul’s accepted impotence within himself to obey the law of God. Francis Schaeffer correctly commented,

It is no more possible to keep the law in our own strength after we become a Christian than it was possible for us to be saved in the first place by keeping the law. It would be like a little branch taking off and saying, ‘I am the branch and I will bring forth fruit’…The little branch needs the connection with the vine.[34]

Yet, it is in this concession of impotence that the celebration of deliverance found in Jesus Christ can be seen. This is the essential point of the passage – i.e. to vividly demonstrate the inability of the flesh to obey the good law of God, which therefore leads to the glorious realization that Jesus Christ has commenced the new covenant where the Spirit equips believers to produce ‘fruit for God’ in His power. ‘Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price’ (Isa. 55:1). Truly, the deliberation of whether Paul speaks as an unbeliever or as a believer has little consequence into the obvious point being made – apart from the Spirit, sin enslaves the flesh as powerless to obey God’s law – and it is this emphasis that continues on in Rom. 8.


The main point of Romans 7 is to demonstrate (1) the vindication of the law as holy, good, and righteous, (2) the condemnation of sin as wicked, bad, and unrighteous, and (3) the impotence of the flesh under wicked sin to obey to the good law. Demonstrating the wickedness of sin and the impotence of the flesh under sin supports the claim that the law is good. Paul employs chapter 7 as a means of clarification – that although the righteous are justified by faith apart from the law (3:28), and although the law came in to increase the trespass (5:20), and although the Christian is not under law but under grace (6:14), the law is nevertheless holy, righteous, and good (7:12). The main objection continually propounded against Paul, the objection continually raised by Paul himself in the epistle, is that his gospel of grace nullifies the law; Romans 7 functions to answer that objection. F. F. Bruce summarized:

Paul’s gospel is thus fully absolved from the charge of antinomianism. When men and women have been justified by faith, right is still right, wrong is still wrong, and the will of God is still the rule of life. But for them the will of God is not simply enshrined in an external code of regulations: it is implanted within their hearts as a new principle of life.[35]

In light of the law’s goodness, sin’s wickedness, and the flesh’s impotence, Paul precedents the glorious truth of the power of the indwelling Spirit through Christ to overcome the power of indwelling sin, which is then the focus of Romans 8.

[1] C. E. B. Cranfield, A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on The Epistle to the Romans, (Edinburgh: T&T Clark Limited, 1975), 1:28-29. This is not to belittle 1:1-16a or 15:14-16:27, but the exegesis of those sections are not necessarily concerned with the connection to the overall theme of the epistle noted in 1:16b-17.

[2] Thomas R. Schreiner, Romans, BECNT (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 1998), 23.

[3] Douglas J. Moo, The Epistle to the Romans, NICNT (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2012), 28.

[4] Ibid., 28.

[5] Moo noted, “The word ‘gospel’ and the cognate verb ‘evangelize’ are particularly prominent in the introduction (cf. 1:1, 2, 9, 15) and conclusion (15:16, 19) of Romans – its epistolary ‘frame’” – and it is found in the thematic passage 1:16-17. Ibid., 29.

[6] Schreiner, Romans, 59.

[7] Moo, Romans, 33.

[8] Ibid., 293. Moo observed a chiastic pattern for the section where Romans 6 and 7 constitute a two-part center, elucidating the problem of sin (Rom. 6) and the problem of the law (Rom. 7); See Moo, Romans, 294.

[9] Cranfield, Romans, 1:253; Likewise, Kruse commented that 5:1-8:39 “spells out the blessings of salvation enjoyed by those whom God justifies,” Colin G. Kruse, Paul’s Letter to the Romans, (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2012), 224; Also, Barth noted that Romans chapters 5-8 elucidate the “full implications” of the revealed righteousness for salvation through faith, Karl Barth, Christ and Adam: Man and Humanity in Romans 5, trans. T. A. Small (New York: Octagon Books, 1983), 20.

[10] Schreiner, Romans, 248.

[11] It is interesting that seemingly each chapter in section V (5:1-8:39) contains a similar structure, where there is an initial sub-section affirming the characteristic of the justified life, which is then followed by “a necessary clarification of what has been said in it.” Cranfield, Romans, 1:254.

[12] Moo, Romans, 410. Barth commented, “The law also recognizes that death involves alteration, reversal, radical transformation, a metamorphosis of all predicates,” Karl Barth, The Epistle to the Romans, 6th edition, trans. Edwyn C. Hoskyns (New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 1968), 233.

[13] “The purpose was not to construct a point-for-point correspondence in the illustration,” Schreiner, Romans, 348.

[14] Moo, Romans, 414.

[15] Schreiner, Romans, 350.

[16] Kruse, Romans, 293.

[17] Ibid., Kruse, 294.

[18] Cranfield, Romans, 1:330; John Stott, Romans: God’s Good News for the World, (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 1994), 194.

[19] Schreiner, Romans, 351. Emphasis added.

[20] Kruse, Romans, 296; Kruse commented in his footnote on ‘so that,’ “By employing the expression ‘so that’ (hoste plus the infinitive) Paul shows that believers’ freedom from the law results in service ‘in the newness of the Spirit.’”

[21] Ibid., 297.

[22] Schreiner, Romans, 357.

[23] Ibid., 359.

[24] Ibid., 368.

[25] Moreover, in much of Jewish tradition, covetousness was known as the root of all sin. In Romans, 369, Schreiner cites Philo, Spec. Laws 4.15 §§84-94; Decal. 28 §§142, 150; 32 §173; Apoc. Mos. 19.3; Apoc. Abr. 24.9; Tg. Neof. 1 on Exod. 20:17.

[26] The parallel is more evident in the Greek: οὐ γὰρ ὃ θέλω τοῦτο πράσσω, ἀλλʼ ὃ μισῶ τοῦτο ποιῶ (15b)… οὐ γὰρ ὃ θέλω ποιῶ ἀγαθόν, ἀλλὰ ὃ οὐ θέλω κακὸν τοῦτο πράσσω (19) and εἰ δὲ ὃ οὐ θέλω τοῦτο ποιῶ…οὐκέτι ἐγὼ κατεργάζομαι αὐτὸ ἀλλὰ ἡ οἰκοῦσα ἐν ἐμοὶ ἁμαρτία (16a, 17)… εἰ δὲ ὃ οὐ θέλω [ἐγὼ] τοῦτο ποιῶ, οὐκέτι ἐγὼ κατεργάζομαι αὐτὸ ἀλλὰ ἡ οἰκοῦσα ἐν ἐμοὶ ἁμαρτία (20).

[27] Schreiner, Romans, 372.

[28] Schreiner, Romans, 373.

[29] Ibid., 374.

[30] Martin Luther, Commentary On Romans, trans. John Theodore Mueller (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Classics, 1976), 113.

[31] Many commentators sought to argue that there is but one law with two uses (good and sinful). This is true in the sense that there is only one law of Moses, but there are many principles; and if such a semantic concession resolves the argument, then it appears best to concede that there is ‘another’ or ‘different’ principle of sin.

[32] Kruse, Romans, 309.

[33] Ibid., 309.

[34] Francis Schaeffer, The Finished Work of Christ (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 1998), 178. Emphasis added.

[35] F. F. Bruce, Romans: an Introduction and Commentary, The Tyndale New Testament Commentaries, vol. 6 (Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2007), 55.


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