Carnal Man: 2) Dual Personality
A Sermon on Romans 7:16-20Read more
Christians still battle against the flesh and it is a daily fight to do what is right. Yet there are some who think that the Christian life is a life of perfection and to fall short is to not be saved. In this passage, Paul is talking about an internal struggle of wanting to do good but not being able to. Is he referring to Christians or someone who is not a Christian? This is one of the most debated passages of Scripture and Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones’s sermon on Romans 7:16-20 titled “Carnal Man: 2) Dual Personality” takes the stance that Paul is explaining the internal quarrel of a believing Christian. Paul is acknowledging that there are two entities within himself: the whole man and the whole of his personality, and the man who is able to recognize the spiritual character of the law. This type of carnal duality is never found in an unregenerate person because an unsaved person is unaware and unashamed of the effect of sin on their life. It almost seems that Paul is having difficulty expressing his thoughts and Dr. Lloyd-Jones references it is because sin complicates everything. The moment that one is enlightened by the law, they can see both parts of themselves and draw these conclusions. It is important to note that Paul is not excusing his own actions but he is confessing them. Paul is also showing the terrible power of sin and the complete inability of the law to deliver.
Additional Scripture Translations
Romans 7:16-20, New American Standard Bible (NASB)
16However, if I do the very thing I do not want to do, I agree with the Law, that the Law is good. 17But now, no longer am I the one doing it, but sin that dwells in me. 18For I know that good does not dwell in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not. 19For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want. 20But if I do the very thing I do not want, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin that dwells in me.
Romans 7:16-20, King James Version (KJV)
16If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good. 17Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. 18For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. 19For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. 20Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.
About Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones
Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1899-1981) was a Welsh evangelical minister who preached and taught in the Reformed tradition. His principal ministry was at Westminster Chapel, in central London, from 1939-1968, where he delivered multi-year expositions on books of the bible such as Romans, Ephesians and the Gospel of John. In addition to the MLJ Trust’s collection of 1,600 of these sermons in audio format, most of these great sermon series are available in book form (including a 14 volume collection of the Romans sermons), as are other series such as "Spiritual Depression", "Studies in the Sermon on the Mount" and "Great Biblical Doctrines". He is considered by many evangelical leaders today to be an authority on biblical truth and the sufficiency of Scripture.