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 sinful.
The Conflict of Serving Two Masters
14For we know that the Law is spiritual, but I am fleshly, sold into bondage to sin. 15For I do not understand what I am doing; for I am not practicing what I want to do, but I do the very thing I hate. 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.
21I find then the principle that evil is present in me, the one who wants to do good. 22For I joyfully agree with the law of God in the inner person, 23but I see a different law in the parts of my body waging war against the law of my mind, and making me a prisoner of the law of sin, the law which is in my body’s parts. 24Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death? 25Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, on the one hand I myself with my mind am serving the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh the law of sin.
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 carnal, sold under sin. 15For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. 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. 21I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. 22For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: 23But 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. 24O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? 25I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.
Who is the wretched man that Paul mentions in this passage? In this sermon on Romans 7:13–25 titled “The Wretched Man Identity,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones concludes his study of this question. He says the person Paul speaks of in this passage is a servant of sin and therefore cannot be regenerate. For all throughout the rest of Scripture, Christians are said to be free from the law and no longer slaves to sin. There is truly freedom in Christ. This cannot be an immature Christian either because all Christians, regardless of maturity, are still in Christ and sanctified in His blood. According to Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, this passage can only be understood as speaking of the unregenerate person that is still in sin and a slave under the law. What does this mean for the Christian life? Dr. Lloyd-Jones says this means Christians are free from the dominion of sin and the law. They are no longer slaves, but children and inheritors. All Christians can live in the power of the Spirit and can know the freedom from sin.
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.