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Sermon #3125

The Carnal Man (Part 1)

A Sermon on the Carnal Man from Romans 7:14-15


Romans 7:14-15 ESV KJV
For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am of the flesh, sold under sin. For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. (ESV)

Sermon Description

The spiritual identity of the man in Romans 7:14-25 is the driving question interpreters face as they approach one of Scriptures most perplexing passages. After providing an introduction to the passage in the previous message, Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones begins to parse out in greater detail his own view of Romans 7:14-25 in this sermon. With pastoral sensitivity Dr. Lloyd-Jones maintains humility when expounding the passage, noting how truly difficult the section of Scripture is. He encourages his audience to not give up on difficult texts. He argues that Paul’s defense of the law remains the key contextual detail one must keep in mind. In this sermon Dr. Lloyd-Jones has his keen exegetical eye set on the phrase “sold under sin.” Of whom is such a statement true? Is this a description of an unregenerate man? Dr. Lloyd-Jones argues that it cannot be so due to the fact that an unregenerate man does not affirm that he has such a condition. Is this a description of a regenerate man? Lloyd-Jones says that it cannot be since such a view contradicts Paul’s description of a regenerate man elsewhere in Romans. What is the solution then? Listen to this fascinating sermon by Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones as he works through this complex and complicated passage in Paul’s most famous letter

Sermon Breakdown

  1. The passage under consideration is Romans 7:14-25. This section has led to much discussion and controversy due to its difficulty.
  2. We should not be discouraged by the difficulty of this passage. We should rely on the Holy Spirit for enlightenment and resolve to study it diligently.
  3. The overriding theme of this section is what the law cannot do - it cannot justify or sanctify us.
  4. The subsidiary theme is that the law condemns and kills us not because of any fault in itself, but because of the sin in us.
  5. Verse 14: We know the law is spiritual, but I am carnal, sold under sin. This is a key statement. "Sold under sin" means in slavery to sin. Sin is the master, I am the slave.
  6. No unregenerate person could make such a statement about themselves. They do not understand the spiritual nature of the law or recognize their own carnality and slavery to sin.
  7. This statement also does not describe the regenerate. They are no longer under sin but under grace. They have died to sin and been freed from its slavery.
  8. Verse 15: The life of the person described in v.14 is one of frustration, defeat and failure. They do what they do not want to do and do not do what they want to do.
  9. This verse does not mean the person always does wrong and never right, but describes their life in a balanced, general sense.
  10. This verse cannot describe the unregenerate, who do not have this inner conflict or hatred of sin. Nor can it fully describe the regenerate, who have been freed from slavery to sin.
  11. Verse 15 describes someone who sees the spiritual character of the law, wants to keep it, but finds in practice that they cannot. They are carnal, sold under sin, yet desire to obey the law.

The Book of Romans

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.