Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Rom 7

Pastor Lane Keister has an interesting, albeit brief, defense of the traditional Reformed interpretation of Rom 7. Especially the first paragraph:

greenbaggins said,January 7, 2015 at 2:12 pm 
RB, it is easy to admit that 7:14 is the most difficult obstacle to my reading of the text. However, I believe that the difficulty disappears once one realizes that Paul is not saying that the entire “I” is enslaved. He uses the word “I” in several different senses in the passage. Sometimes he means only the regenerate part of him. Sometimes he means the whole person. Never does he say that “I” is only the remaining sin. In other words, it is only the remaining sin that is enslaved, not the whole “I.” This, I believe, fully answers the problem you raise. 
You would admit, would you not, that there is in fact a conflict going on in the “I” of Romans 7? Let me ask you this: what non-believer do you know of who even knows this struggle at all? That is, in my opinion, the ultimate Achilles heel of the non-regenerate interpretation of Romans 7: the unbeliever does not struggle with sin. To quote the song from “My Fair Lady”: “When temptation comes I fall right in.” 
Further, you have not answered my points about the inward man delighting in the law of the Lord (something the unbeliever CANNOT do), or the contextual indicators in 1 Corinthians and Ephesians about what “the inner man” means. I have already said that Romans 7 does not describe what is always and constantly the case; and this would explain why the Christian is not enslaved. You have also not answered my argument about the sequence in the last part of the chapter. Why would the thanksgiving for freedom PRECEDE the statement about still being enslaved (again, it is ONLY the indwelling sin that is enslaved). 


  1. What do you think of Moo's take on this verse? If I'm reading him correctly (which is ever questionable), in his classic Romans commentary he seems to indicate that the phrase "sold under sin" clinches the argument for a description of a non-Christian. He continues,

    "However, while it is true that Christians are still very much influenced by sin, and will, perhaps, never finally overcome sin's influence in this life, Paul appears to say more than that here. His language points to a condition of slavery under sin's power. And I question whether Rom 6 allows us to say that the Christian is "under the power of sin" in this sense. In fact, Paul is saying just the reverse in that chapter; Christians have "died to the power of sin" (v. 2) and are therefore no longer "slaves of sin" (vv. 18, 22)...Earlier in Romans (3:9), Paul summarizes his teaching about people outside of Christ by asserting that they are all "under sin." Christ delivers the believer from this condition, but the egō here in Rom. 7 confesses that he is still in that condition."

    So from what I can tell, Moo seems to be at odds with Keister. What are your thoughts? Am I reading him wrong, or does one have the better argument over the other?

    1. Moo takes an iconoclastic position on Rom 7. Here's another possibility:


    2. The arguments at the link make good sense, thanks for that.