Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Life Under Moses or Carnal Christianity?

We have seen that life under the Mosaic Law produced bondage because of its works principle ("do this and live"), a situation that Paul vividly describes in (drum roll please)…

Romans 7.

Theologians have spilled plenty of ink debating whether Paul is speaking of a regenerate or unregenerate person in that text. My answer to that question is "No." Let me explain.

We all notice immediately that there is a contrast of some sort between Romans 7 on the one hand and Romans 6 and 8 on the other. In chapter 6 we are told that the person who is not "under the law" is no longer subject to sin's dominion, while the subject of chapter 7 is "sold as a slave to sin." In chapter 8 we are told that those who have the Spirit are not like those who are "in the flesh [and who] cannot please God," yet in chapter 7 the "wretched man" expressly tells us that he "is carnal."

To muddy the waters a bit (as if things aren't murky enough), chapter 8 explains that those who do not have the Spirit have minds that are "hostile to God," while the subject of chapter 7 "delights in the law of God according to the inward man."

I have tipped my hand a bit already, but before I lay my cards on the table, what do YOU make of all this?