But then comes the sometimes confusing seventh chapter where some well-meaning believers conclude that a life of defeat is the norm. Didn’t Paul himself confess in v19, “For the good that I would, I do not; but the evil which I would not, that I do”? Reading those passages in the last half of the seventh chapter have led some Christians to throw in the towel in their fight against sin. If Paul himself couldn’t get victory over sin, who are we to think such a thing is possible in our lives? Reading chapter seven we quickly forget chapter six.
But that conclusion is based on a misunderstanding of Romans 7. After charging us to live in victory over sin in the sixth chapter, Paul goes on to explain in the seventh chapter how that goal is humanly impossible. Why? Paul explained in v23, “But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.” The law of sin at work in us is stronger than our best efforts to overcome it. The story of the Jews in the Old Testament is proof of that!
To find the answer don’t close your Bible at the end of chapter seven and walk away with a mindset of spiritual defeat. Read on to chapter eight! The answer is in the second verse, “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.” The indwelling Holy Spirit can accomplish on my behalf what I could never achieve on my own! Now read on to v4, “That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”
Did you hear that? The righteousness of the law is fulfilled in us as we depend on the Holy Spirit within. When we depend on the flesh, we fail. When we depend on the Spirit, we win! The rest of the eighth chapter goes on to develop that thought and ends with this victorious note, “Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us” (Romans 8:37).
Reject outright and fully all thoughts of a mediocre Christian existence. God the Father did not conceive the plan of salvation and Jesus did not die on the cross so we could experience partial victory. The Holy Spirit didn’t take up residence in our lives to slightly improve our win-loss record against sin. Settle for nothing less than complete victory, “For this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you” (1 Thess. 5:18)!
Pastor Todd Weston