Summary: A sermon on Romans 7:7-25 talking about the battle within (Outline and seed thoughts came from Charles Spurgeon "The Fainting Warrior" http://www.sermoncentral.com/outsideurl.asp?outsideurl=http://www.spurgeon.org/sermons/0235.htm and notes from Dr. Jack
Joni Ericson Toda describes her first realization of the grim reality of her paralysis. Joni was only 15 when she was permanently paralyzed from the neck down as the result of a diving accident. She was rushed to the hospital for tests and x-rays to determine the extent of her injury. As she lay unclothed on a hospital cart, the sheet covering her slipped to the side leaving her partially exposed. In her modesty, Joni desperately wanted to cover herself, a small task easily and quickly accomplished before her accident. But now, as much as she wanted to make her arms and hands move, they simply would not respond. Joni knew in her mind exactly what she wanted to do, but her body was totally unresponsive. Joni’s difficulty only partially describes the situation in Romans 7, for it is one thing to have our body not do what we tell it to and quite another to realize that our body is obedient to something else.
There is controversy over this passage on what time frame Paul is talking about in his life. Paul refers to himself quite a lot. Notice how many times “I” is used. Some say that he is talking about his life before he met Jesus on the Damascus road. Other say that he is talking about his life right after his conversion to Christ, a new babe in Jesus. The view that makes the most sense to me is that he is talking about his life right now, as he is writing the book of Romans. He is talking about his Christian experience, baby, adulthood, and right now.
Some people have the idea that a man like St. Paul could not have suffered temptations and trials that we face. He is in a different class and is so far above sin. If we were to look upon the hearts of the saints that we so often admire, we would be appalled by their sins and passions. The fact is this: the nearer we draw to God, the most intensely we mourn over our evil hearts, and the more our sins, failings and temptations tease us day after day.
The Bible says that Jesus was tempted in every way and yet was without sin and we think that the apostles, who are not Jesus, did the same. When we catch a dose of reality here from the Apostle Paul, we are shocked. Paul suffers from the same conflicts, from the same inner turmoil that all of us deal with every day. What an encouragement and comfort this is.
Thesis: Let’s look at the two natures, the constant battle, and the weary warrior.
The two natures- Romans 7:18
Before we came to Christ for salvation, we had only one nature. The NIV calls it the sinful nature. Soul, spirit and body were all corrupt. There was no conflict because it was all bad.
Now wait a minute, I know many people who are not Christians who are good. Yes, when compared to others that might be true. The fact is that without Jesus Christ, we are described as sick, rotten, and dead. Ephesians 2:1-3: “As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts.” Notice that there is no conflict.
When a person becomes a Christian, the double cure is applied. The first and most important cure is for our legal problems. God, the Judge, through Jesus Christ and the cross declares “No penalty for you!” The second cure is for our sin sickness. God, the doctor, through the Holy Spirit (talk more about this next week), resurrects us (like Jesus Christ was resurrected from the dead) our souls and spirits into new life and gives us a new nature. Ephesians 2:4-6: But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus.
After this the Christian becomes a double man- two men in one. Some think that when we come to Christ the old nature is completely taken out of us; not so, for the Word of God and experience teaches us otherwise.
The "death TO sin" in chapter 6, is not a TOTAL death, not a complete removal of one's sinful tendencies, and sinful desires. Before Christ we were dead in our spirits, souls, but alive in our bodies. After Christ we are alive in our spirits, souls but dying in our bodies.