The Battle Within

Romans 7:15-25

Jerry A. Collins




ü      Is there still a struggle with sin as a believer?

ü      Can I expect to have victory over sin in my life?

ü      What is the nature of the conflict in my spiritual life?


How many times in our lives have we regretted doing or saying something that we wish we would not have done or said. Of course, this is true for everyone one of us. On the flip side, we have felt the same when we have not done or said what we should have done or said. And what is it that we should attribute this struggle to? There is still an intense struggle with sin within the believer. This struggle is described for us in this chapter. Why is it that we do things we do n not really want to do? Or not do things we really know we should do? In this passage we will learn that even though I am dead to sin in Christ, sin has not died to me. And the conflict that exists within me is sin’s attempt to win back through my old nature the territory it once held before Christ.


(1) The responsibility for death belongs to sin not the Law 13a. The Law is good because it is something that the Lord gave. Twice in this verse the Law is described as good. There is nothing inherently wrong with Law. It does not have a flaw and is not responsible for death.

(2) Sin’s use of something good, the Law, to bring death, shows sin’s sinfulness 13b. God cannot be criticized for giving the Law. The Law is good even tho it is the means by which sinfulness is revealed and incited within us. Sin in is, the propensity to rebel against God’s nature, uses the commandment, a good thing by nature, as an instrument to keep on producing death in a person making sin very sinful. So sin in us manifests its true nature as opposed to God. The result is always the death of something. Twice death is mentioned. Sin and death are always in cahoots. Four times ‘sin’ is mentioned. Sin is anything contrary to the character of God in my life. Sin enslaves me outside of Christ and wants to hold me hostage after I come to Christ. The Law of God is not the problem.


(1) Man sold under sin but Law is spiritual 14  The Law comes from God who is Spirit, expressing God’s will. The Law came from God making it good by nature. In contrast, Paul using self as example, those fleshy, made of flesh had been sold under sin an remain there. As a result, indwelling sin continues to seek to claim what it considers its property even after one becomes a Christian. While the Law is sinless we are not. Even tho we are dead to sin in Christ, does not mean that sin has lost it’s appeal to our human nature which is still itself sinful.

(2) My inability to have victory in good only proves I am sold under sin 15-20

Proof 1: I am impotent to prevent wrong 15-17  He begins with a quandary—I do not understand the things I do. The proof he tells us is the influence of his human nature to do the very things he despised doing and approving and vice-versa. Again, the Law is not the cause of the sin. It is described as ‘good’ meaning ‘noble’ excellent’—it is only doing it’s job to expose and incite sin in me. The conclusion in vs 17, our problem like his is traceable to the sin that dwells within us, our sin nature. The source of sin is within us. While we are sinners because we commit acts of sin (chp 3),and sinners because we are descendents of Adam sharing his guilt (chp 5), we are also sinners because we possess a nature thoroughly sinful (chp 7). It’s penalty has been paid for; it’s power broken; it’s presence still with us.

Proof 2: I am impotent to do right 18-20  First, the statement in vs 18a says that sin has corrupted our human nature. It is not our literal physical bodies but the principle of sin inherent within us and our bodies and minds an instrument of sin’s expression. The proof in 18b-19 is my inability to do the good I wish to do. Not only do I still do things I know are wrong—I also do not do things I know are right! My old sinful nature is still an old sinful nature even after I come to Christ. I cannot reform it I can only be redeemed from it. This is the essence of the spiritual struggle I now live with as a believer.

(3) The result is that there are two laws conflicting within me 21-25a

First, is the reality of the conflict 21

There is a principle learned from this experience and it is the reality of and ever-present evil in us whenever we want to do good. It is the presence of my sinful nature or old nature that is still enticed by the allurement of sin. Second, a description of this conflict 22-23.  Now that I am a believer I have a new nature or capacity for loving spiritual truth. So like Paul we joyfully concur in our spirit with Gods law for us today in the commands of Christ vs 22. That was not the case before Christ. However, vs 23 there is another  law at work within me and is continually doing two things: (1) waging war against the law of my mind. This indwelling principle of sin mounts a military campaign against my new nature trying to gain victory by controlling this law (new nature) of the mind—called this because of the new capacity I have for perceiving and making moral judgments. This is under attack. (2) Attempts to make me a prisoner of the law of sin. Take control and make me captive so as not to be able to resist my sinful nature bringing only defeat and frustration into my life.

Third, victory over the conflict 24-25a  Question 24: Who will rescue me? As long as we are in our bodies we face conflict with indwelling sin and defeat in our own strength. Sin works thru the human body bringing only death or death-dealing consequences. Answer 25a: It is not escape from temptation but victory over it. The final triumph will be joining the resurrected Christ forever in eternity free from presence of sin totally new natured.


While awaiting freedom from presence of sin we still face conflicts between new natures and our sinful natures. Conversion gained us forgiveness but not the removal of this evil presence


(1) Do not allow sins continued presence in your life discourage you. Your willingness to resist it both assures you that you are God’s child and prepares you for your eternal home.

(2) Understanding your depravity is essential for holiness for if you cannot see your sinfulness then what motivates you to change?

(3) Our struggle with sin is not just against specific sins but also our basic human nature. There is a personal power working in the defective nature of people.

(4) We learn that the human nature is not essentially good but bad. It cannot be reformed it is sinful. It must be removed.

(5) Sanctification does not progress by obeying laws but is apart from law. We can never please God in the flesh even as a believer. Sin deceives us by thinking that problems can be solved by the flesh.

(6)Law is like a x-ray machine—it can expose the cancer called sin but it cannot sure. So the law is holy and good. You cannot blame the xray for exposing the problem for without it you would not have known that you had a problem. So the revelation of our sin that makes us aware of our lostness and alienation from God is a work of grace accomplished by the HS’s presence in our lives. Acknowledge laws place making is aware of sin by same Power that can heal us of it.