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Sermon #3126

Carnal Man: 2) Dual Personality

A Sermon on Romans 7:16-20


Romans 7:16-20 ESV KJV
Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I …

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Sermon Description

What is the spiritual identity of the man? Is he regenerate? Unregenerate? Or carnal? This has been the burning question Dr. Marytn Lloyd-Jones has been asking of Romans 7:15-25. After having carefully worked through several verses already, in this message Dr. Lloyd-Jones continues to aid his listeners through this difficult passage. Looking at the larger context of Romans, Dr. Lloyd-Jones reminds us that Paul is not merely telling us about his personal experience in Romans 7. Instead, Paul is defending his view of the law. As the apostle is neither denouncing the law nor attributing the responsibility for sin to the law, the question remains: how does sin come to pass then? In answering this question, the apostle Paul makes one of the most daring statements in all the Bible. Paul asserts that sin dwells in me! In other words, sin takes up residence in each person. As such, says Dr. Lloyd-Jones, we must realize that sin is not just outside but is part of our very nature. Listen as he explains the power of sin, the dual nature of man, and how this all connects to finding out the spiritual identity of the man in Romans 7.

Sermon Breakdown

  1. The apostle Paul is describing a man who is carnal and sold under sin. This man does things he does not allow or understand. He wills to do good but does not do it. Instead, he does what he hates.

  2. Paul draws two deductions about this man's position. The first deduction is that if this man does what he does not want to do, he agrees with the law that it is good. He consents to the goodness of the law.

  3. The second deduction is that it is no longer this man who sins, but the sin that dwells within him. There is a kind of duality within this man.

  4. Paul introduces a division in this man's personality. There is an "I" that sees the spiritual nature of the law and agrees with it, and there is the "sin that dwells within me" that is more powerful.

  5. Paul is not excusing this man or disclaiming his responsibility. Rather, Paul is making a confession about the weakness and paralysis this man finds within himself.

  6. Paul is showing the terrible power of sin and the inability of the law to deliver us, even when we see its spiritual nature. The law cannot overcome the sin that dwells within us.

  7. Though this man consents to the law and sees its goodness, he cannot perform the good he wills to do. His ability is paralyzed by the sin within.

  8. Paul repeats himself to reinforce how difficult these truths are to grasp and to help his readers understand. He is concerned with showing what the law cannot do because of the weakness of the flesh.

  9. The "I" that wills to do good is not the same as the "me" in whom no good dwells. There are two parts within this man, and his whole personality is able to observe them both.

  10. Paul is not attacking the law but showing that it cannot deliver us from sin's power and tyranny. The law's purpose is to show us our sin, not provide salvation.

  11. We must understand these truths so we can live in the power of Christ and bear fruit for God's glory. We must magnify God's grace and rejoice in being united to Christ.

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.