The Wretched Man Identity (2)
A Sermon on Romans 7:13-25
13Therefore did that which is good become a cause of death for me? Far from it! Rather it was sin, in order that it might be shown to be sin by bringing about my death through that which is good, so that through the commandment sin would become utterly …
13Was then that which is good made death unto me? God forbid. But sin, that it might appear sin, working death in me by that which is good; that sin by the commandment might become exceeding sinful. 14For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am …
Having unpacked numerous New Testament passages in the first part of this series, Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones moves to an in-depth look at three possible identities of the wretched man: the regenerate, the unregenerate, or the immature Christian. In this sermon on Romans 7:13-25 titled “The Wretched Man Identity (2),” Dr. Lloyd-Jones shows that the identity of this wretched man in Romans 7 is not the regenerate man as this is incompatible with other scriptural teaching. But neither is it describing an unregenerate man, as the man is experiencing genuine conviction of sin. He shows an awareness of his own weakness and failure, but there is no mention of the Holy Spirit and indwelling Christ in the text, thus it cannot be an unregenerate man. Having shown he is neither a regenerate or unregenerate man, Dr. Lloyd-Jones turns to the question of whether this can be a description of an immature believer. He emphatically denies this possibility because no matter the situation, it is impossible for a Christian to utter the cry of verse 24. The Christian does not despair. No, he fights sin and uses restraint and care to mortify his flesh. So then how do we identify this man? How are we to understand the meaning of Paul’s words? Dr. Lloyd-Jones directs our attention to Paul’s intent in writing this passage. The intent is to show that the law is not salvific. This is the point Paul is trying to highlight in dramatic fashion. When man tries to keep the law, he falls under conviction, but has no hope. He doesn’t know or understand the truth of the gospel. This, says Dr. Lloyd-Jones is the central meaning of this difficult passage of Scripture. In Dr Lloyd-Jones’s own words, the man described in Romans 7 is “a man who is experiencing an intense conviction of sin, a man who has been given to see, by the Spirit, the holiness of the Law; and he feels utterly condemned. He is aware of his weakness for the first time, and his complete failure” ( D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Exposition of Chapter 7:1-8:4 The Law: Its Functions and Limits, Edinburgh, Banner of Truth, 1973, p.255). Paul is showing us that there is one great and glorious hope for us. What the law could not do, thanks be to God, the grace of God provides.
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.