Have the Firstfruits of the Spirit

Romans 8:20-24 For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope, Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and travails in pain together until now. And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body. For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man sees, why doth he yet hope for? 

‘Vanity’ [Greek: mataiotes] disappointing misery. People became vain willingly but became subject to misery unwillingly.

‘Delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God’ this refers to the renovation of the heavens and earth by fire when creation will be rid of all bondage of corruption and made new for the eternal perfect state (2Pet. 3:10-13; Heb. 1:10-12; 12:25-28; Isa. 65:17; 66:22-24; Rev. 21-22).

‘Corruption’ [Greek: phthora] moral corruption, decay, ruin, depravity, wickedness (8:21; 1Cor. 15:42, 50; Gal. 6:8; 2Pet. 1:4; 2:12, 19). Also translated “perish” (Col. 2:22) and “be destroyed” (2Pet. 2:12).

‘The glorious liberty of the children of God’ literally, “freedom of the glory of the children of God – the glory of eternity” (8:18; 1Cor. 2:9).

‘Groans and travails in pain’ Groans and toils in labour and hardship.

‘Not only they, but ourselves also’ – not only the corrupt, depraved creations but we who are redeemed also suffer and wait for the final redemption of the body (1Cor. 15:51-58; Php. 3:21).

‘The firstfruits of the Spirit’ – the first blessings of the outpoured Spirit upon all flesh. Greek: aparche used of the first of several kinds of blessings (8:23; 11:16; 16:5; 1Cor. 15:20, 23; 16:15; Jas. 1:18; Rev. 14:4).

‘Groan’ [Greek: stenazo] to sigh deeply, bewail (8:23; Mark 7:34; 2Cor. 5:2, 4; Heb. 13:17; Jas. 5:9).

‘Adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body’ this adoption refers to the change of our bodies from mortality to immortality. Just like one is adopted from one family to another, saints are to be adopted physically into the family of immortal beings (Php. 3:21; 1Cor. 15:51-58).

‘For we are saved by hope’ in the final analysis, present salvation is a hope. Many things can happen before the final change to immortality and eternal life.

The Earnest Expectation

Romans 8:18-19 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. For the earnest expectation of the creature waits for the manifestation of the sons of God. 

‘Sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us’ no suffering can compare with the eternal glory (1Cor. 2:9; 2Cor. 4:17). Eight facts about Christian suffering is given: Suffering is not strange or unusual for Christians (1Pet. 4:12; 2Tim. 3:12). One should rejoice when a partaker of the sufferings of Christ (1Pet. 4:13; Matt. 5:10). The greater the suffering the greater the joy and glory (8:17-18; 1Pet. 4:13). Besides the greater glory to come, the Christian has the Holy Spirit upon him now to enable him to endure (8:26-27; 1Pet. 4:14;). Christian sufferings glorify God (8:17-18; 1Pet. 4:14). It is an honour, not a shame, to suffer as a Christian (1Pet. 4:16). Though sufferings begin with Christians, they end in an eternal weight of damnation to the ungodly (1Pet. 4:17-18). Sufferings should be borne by Christians, in patience as in the will of God, realizing that God is always faithful to His own in their sufferings (1Pet. 4:19; 1Cor. 10:13).

‘Earnest expectation’ [Greek: apokaradokia] anxious-looking with an outstretched body (Php. 3:20).

‘Creature’ [Greek: ktisis] Creation (Mark 10:6; 13:19; Rom. 1:20; 8:22; 2Pet. 3:4; Rev. 3:14), creature (Mark 16:15; Rom. 1:25; 8:19-21, 39; 2Cor. 5:17; Gal. 6:15; Col. 1:15, 23; Heb. 4:13); building (Heb. 9:11); and ordinance (1Pet. 2:13). Here it refers to the whole creation waiting for the removal of the curse.

‘Waits for’ [Greek: apekdechomai] wait for (8:19, 23, 25; 1Cor. 1:7; Gal. 5:5) and look for (Php. 3:20; Heb. 9:28; 1Pet. 3:20). ‘The manifestation of the sons of God.’ When the sons of God will be manifested before all as joint-heirs of Christ God will also restore nature in all its glory with no effect of the curse on it.

Joint-heirs with Christ

Romans 8:15-17 For you have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself bears witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. 

‘Spirit of bondage again to fear’ Spirit and nature of satan (Eph. 2:2; John 8:44; 1Jn. 3:8; Heb. 2:14-15). You have not received a spirit of slavery to relapse again into fear and terror, but you have received the Spirit of freedom and sonship to break every bondage.

‘The Spirit of adoption’ Spirit and nature of God (5:5; 8:2, 9, 11, 15-16; Gal. 4:4-6). ‘Adoption’ – Sonship (8:15, 23; 9:4; Gal. 4:5; Eph. 1:5). Adopted sons share the same rights and privileges as one born in the family. Because of sonship, we receive the fullest evidence of it by the Spirit (8:14-16; Gal. 4:6-7).

‘Abba, Father’ [Aramaic for Father] only used by Jews where both parents of a real son were Jews, or of a proselyte of the covenant. Not used when the mother was a slave (Gal. 4:24). This indicates the true relationship of Jesus to God.

‘Itself’ – Himself, for He is a person.  It is of the greatest importance that we believe in the divinity of the Holy Spirit, and also His personality. It is only when we learn these truths that we can give Him the honour, worship, adoration, and personal respect that we give to God. We must learn that the Holy Spirit is not a mere power that we need to get hold of and use, but we must learn that He is a person who is infinitely wise, holy, just, and gracious, and who seeks to get hold of us and use us. We must become acquainted with Him as a person and not merely as an influence or power derived from a person. The following points prove that He is a real person: Personal names are given to Him; personal pronouns are used of Him (John 14:16-26; 15:26; 16:7-15); personal attributes are ascribed to Him; personal works are ascribed to Him; personal references are made concerning Him; personal treatment is ascribed to Him. He can be resisted (Acts 7:51); tempted (Acts 5:9); grieved (Eph. 4:30); lied to (Acts 5:3-4); blasphemed (Matt. 12:31-32); insulted (Matt. 12:31-32; Heb. 6:4-6; 10:26-29); quenched (1Thess. 5:19); vexed (Ps. 78:40; Isa. 63:10); quieted (Zech 6:8); fellowshipped (Php. 2:1); and otherwise mistreated or obeyed like any other person. In the Holy Spirit’s relationship to men He is spoken of as searching hearts, regenerating, sanctifying, helping, convicting, teaching, quickening, guiding, witnessing, interceding, revealing, working, hearing, speaking, helping, communing, appointing, commanding, counselling, comforting, inspiring, assuring, calling, hearing, and in many ways acting as a real person.

‘Our spirit’ – this is our mind or understanding (1Cor. 2:11).

‘And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ …’ this is the 1st New Testament prophecy in Romans (8:17-250). Not only children, but also heirs (8:17; Eph. 3:6; Heb. 11:9; 1Pet. 3:7).

‘If so be that we suffer with him’ this refers to our sufferings for His sake, as all are called to endure (8:17-18; Col. 1:24; 2Tim. 2:12; 3:12).

‘Glorified together’ all will be glorified together with Christ (Col. 3:4; 1Thess. 4:13-17; 1Cor. 15:23, 51-58).

Sons of God

Romans 8:12-14 Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. For if you live after the flesh, you shall die: but if you through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, you shall live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. 

‘Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh’ – So then, we owe the flesh nothing. It has no more control of our lives. We must not live in the sins of the flesh or we shall die. But if we will put to death the practices of the flesh by the Spirit, we shall live (8:12-13; Gal. 5:16-26; Col. 3:5-10).

The Flesh and Spirit life contrasted: The Fleshly Life: Minds things of flesh; carnally minded; spiritually dead; enmity to God; not subject to God; cannot be subject; cannot please God; not in the Spirit; not Christ’s; body alive to sin; spirit dead to God; no Christ; sinful life; no Holy Spirit; no physical quickening; debtor to flesh; no help from Spirit; the end is death. The Spiritual Life: minds things of Spirit (8:5); spiritually minded; alive (8:6); no enmity (8:7); subject to God; can be subjected; can please God (8:8); in the Spirit; is Christ’s (8:9); dead to sin; alive to God; Christ in life (8:10); righteous life; Spirit indwelling; a physical quickening; not a debtor (8:12); help from Spirit (8:13); the end is life.

‘Led by the Spirit of God’ – it is imperative for the child of God to be led by the Spirit, to live and walk in the Spirit, and to meditate on His Word and to obey it – if he is to have success and live a Christian life (8:1-16; Gal. 5:16-26; Jos. 1:8; Ps. 1:3-4). To be led by the Spirit one must live in obedience to all that is commanded to Christian living and behaviour in the Word of God – not to make decisions and then claimed to be led by the Spirit in them. God will not make our decisions for us, but can give us clarity when we know Him in our choices (Pro. 3:3-7).

‘The sons of God’ even so, we were children under bondage to the law until Christ came to redeem us from the law, that we might become adopted sons of God and free from the law (Gal. 4:3-7). Sons by adoption (8:15; Gal. 4:5; Eph. 1:5), not by begetting as in the case of Christ, who is the only begotten Son of God (John 1:14, 18; 3:16, 18).

Because of Righteousness

Romans 8:6-11 For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. But you are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwells in you. 

‘Carnally minded’ – to be “carnally minded” is the same as to “mind the things of the flesh,” and to be “spiritually minded” is to “mind the things of the Spirit” (8:5).

‘Carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be’ – minding the sins of the flesh is enmity with God (8:5). Such a mind will not obey the law of God, nor can it because it submits to sin. When it ceases to rebel then it ceases to sin. As long as it lives in rebellion it cannot please God (8:7-8).

‘But you are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you’ You Christians are not minding the things of the flesh, but of the Spirit, if the Spirit dwells in you. If you do not have the Spirit you do not belong to Christ. If Christ is in you (2Cor. 5:17-18), the body is dead to all sin, and the Spirit dominates your life as you live to all righteousness (8:10). If this is true, you can expect quickening for your mortal bodies by the Spirit that dwells in you (8:11).

‘Because of righteousness’ righteousness defined: Some argue that this righteousness is not personal holiness of obedience to the gospel, but mere legal righteousness – the righteousness of the law – and that it does not prove a man to be saved from sin, or born again. However, this is but human theory. If it was the righteousness of the law that is what must be fulfilled in those who are born again (8:1-4). Whatever the kind of righteousness it was something that: One could turn away from (Ezek. 3:20); if he did turn from it he committed iniquity or sin; he died if he left it and went into sin (Ezek. 3:20; 18:24-26; 33:13, 18); it would not be remembered if he did turn from it to commit sin (Ezek. 3:20); it gave him life as long as he kept it and did not turn from it to commit sin (Ezek. 3:21; 18:24); he had it until he did sin (Ezek. 3:21); it would not deliver him from death if he left it; but if he kept it he lived (Ezek. 33:12).

We have to conclude that if it had the power of life and death in it, depending on whether one kept it or not, then the kind of righteousness here is that which God demands in the New Testament of those who are born again (Matt. 6:33; Acts 10:35; Rom. 4:3-22; 6:13-20; 8:4; 1Peter 2:24). We have no authority to make this righteousness different from what God has always demanded, in both testaments. God requires us to fulfil the righteousness that the law demanded (8:4), so if a person was righteousness under the law for keeping it and one is righteous under grace for keeping it, then what is the difference? If all have been required to live by it, in either testament, then all must have it, or be lost (Ezek. 3:20; 18:24-26; 33:12-13; Jer. 22:3; 33:15; Hos. 10:12). To continue to live the righteous man must not return to sin or die in sin (Ezek. 3:20-21).

‘Quicken’ [Greek: zoopoieo] to make alive (1Cor. 15:22); give life (2Cor. 3:6; Gal. 3:21); and quicken (John 5:21; 6:63; Rom. 4:17; 8:11; 1Cor. 15:36, 45; 1Tim. 6:13; 1Pet. 3:18).

The Things of the Spirit

Romans 8:4-5 That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. 

‘Walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit’ by the walk of Christ in real flesh and yet without sin, He condemned sin in all flesh and made a way whereby no flesh had to continue in sin (6:1-23; 8:1-13; 2Cor. 5:17-18; 10:4-6; Gal. 5:16-26).

‘Mind’ [Greek: phroneo] set affections on. Those who set their affections on the sins of the flesh of Galatians 5:19-21; 1Corinthians 6:9-11; Colossians 3:5-10; Romans 1:29-32; Mark 7:19-21 will naturally fulfil them (Jas. 1:13-15). Those who set their affections on the things of the Spirit of Galatians 5:22-23; 1Corinthians 12:4-11; Colossians 3:12-14 will naturally fulfil them and such will not commit sin.

Many reasons are given in Romans that we should not continue living in sin: Death to sin nullifies it (6:2-3); resurrection from spiritual death (6:4-5); we walk in newness of life (6:4); death to sin and resurrection from sin means walking like Christ (6:5; 1Pet. 2:21-22; 1Jn. 2:6; 4:6, 17); the old man is crucified and dead (6:6; Eph. 4:22-24; 1Jn. 5:18); the body of sin is destroyed, that henceforth we should not sin (6:6); we are freed from sin (6:7, 18, 22); faith counts sin dead (6:8); sin has no dominion over us (6:9); sin not to reign in the body (6:12); the body must not yield to sin (6:13); married to Christ, not sin (7:4); we walk in the Spirit (8:1-4); we are made free from the law of sin (8:2); we are spiritually minded (8:6); Christ is in us, not sin (8:10); we are not debtors to sin (8:12); the Spirit mortifies sin in us (8:13); we have Spirit of freedom (8:15); intercession of Christ and the Holy Spirit keeps us (8:26-27, 34).

Condemned Sin in the Flesh

Romans 8:3 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh 

‘What the law could not do’ – There are many things that the Law of Moses COULD NOT DO: Justify one (Acts 13:38-39; Gal. 2:16); free one from sin and death (Rom. 8:2); free one from condemnation (Rom. 8:1-4); redeem (Rom. 3:24-31; Gal. 3:13-14); give inheritance (Rom. 4:13-14); bring righteousness (Rom. 8:4); impart the Holy Spirit (Gal. 3:2); perform miracles (Gal. 3:5); free one from the curse (Gal. 3:10-14); impart faith (Gal. 3:12); impart grace (Gal. 5:4); make one perfect (Heb. 7:19); control sin in man (Rom. 7:7-23; 8:2); keep man from sin (Rom. 7:7-23; 8:7); enable a man to obey (Heb. 7:18).

‘Weak’ [Greek: astheneo] weak or impotent. The law was powerless to control the flesh, for sin already had control of it before the law came (5:20; Gal. 3:19). Sin would not permit the flesh to obey the law (7:7-23).

‘God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh’ God had to undertake man’s deliverance from sin so that the flesh could be liberated to fulfil the righteousness that the law demanded (8:3-4).

‘Likeness of sinful flesh’ the reasons Christ had sinless flesh: Christ had no fall and was therefore sinless. Christ did not submit to satan and to his spirit and sinful nature (Eph. 2:2; John 8:44; 1Jn. 3:8). He came from the woman but was not of the seed of man (Gen. 3:15; Isa. 7:14; 9:6-7; Matt. 1:18-23; Luke 1:32-35; Rom. 8:3; Gal. 4:4; Php. 2:5-11; John 1:14; 1Tim. 3:16; Heb. 2:9-18). Man is recognized as the head of the race in all Scripture (Gen. 2:20-22; 2Cor. 11:3; Rom. 5:12-21). The iniquity of man, not woman, was passed as a curse upon children (Ex. 20:5; Num. 14:18; Deut. 5:9; Jer. 31:29-30; Ezek. 18:2-4). Mary was merely the means of God in bringing His own Son into a human body. He was conceived by the Holy Spirit, not by man who could not produce sinless offspring. God is holy and cannot produce sinful offspring. This is according to the law of reproduction in Genesis 1:22-28. Thus by means of a woman God could send Christ in the likeness of the flesh controlled by sin, and yet not of sinful flesh controlled by sin and satan (1Pet. 2:22)

No Condemnation

Romans 8:1-2 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. 

‘Now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus’ this proves that the experience of Romans 7:7-24 was not Paul’s at the time of the writing of Romans, for several reasons: Paul had no condemnation (8:1); Paul was free from the law of sin (8:2); Paul was free from eternal death (8:2); Paul’s sin condemned in his flesh (8:3); Paul was fulfilled righteousness (8:4); Paul had life and peace (8:6); Paul was Spirit-filled (8:9-11); Paul’s body was dead to sin (8:10); Paul’s flesh was crucified (8:12-13); Paul was walking in the Spirit and not after the flesh (8:1-4; Gal. 5:16-26).

‘In Christ Jesus’ we find many blessings in Christ: Redemption (Rom. 3:24; 1Cor. 1:30); freedom from condemnation (Rom. 8:1); spirit of life (Rom. 8:2); love of God (Rom. 8:39; 1Tim. 1:14); truth (Rom. 9:1); unity (Rom. 12:15; Gal. 3:28); faith (Acts 24:24; 1Tim. 3:13); sanctification (1Cor. 1:2, 30); wisdom (1Cor. 1:30; 4:10); righteousness (1Cor. 1:30); begetting (1Cor. 4:15); hope (1Cor. 15:19); security in death (1Cor. 15:18); resurrection (1Cor. 15:1-58; 1Thess. 4:1-18); joy (1Cor. 15:31); establishment in God (2Cor. 1:21); triumph (2Cor. 2:14); the uncorrupted Word (2Cor. 2:17); the law abolished (2Cor. 3:6-15); being a new creation (2Cor. 5:17-18); simplicity (2Cor. 11:3); liberty (Gal. 2:4); all spiritual blessings (Eph. 1:3); power (Eph. 1:20); heavenly places (Eph. 2:6); nearness to God (Eph. 2:13); eternal purpose (Eph. 3:11); self-humbling (Php. 3:14); higher calling (Php. 3:14); perfection (Col. 1:28); eternal life (2Tim. 1:11); grace (2Tim. 2:1); salvation (2Tim. 2:10) and preservation (Jude 1:1).

‘Law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death’ there are eight laws mentioned in Romans: the Law of Moses (2:12; 3:19; 7:12); the law of nature (2:14-15); the law of faith (3:27; 4:3-5, 11-24); the law of the mind (7:16, 21, 23); the law of sin (8:2, 23, 25); the law of righteousness (9:31); the law of God (7:22, 25); the law of the Spirit of life, that is, the Holy Spirit that works through the redemption of Christ to make free from, and to cancel the law of sin and death in all who are in Christ (8:2).

God through Jesus Christ

Romans 7:21-25 I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: But 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. O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I 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. 

‘Law’ – this is the law of the mind, which consents to the law of God (7:16, 21, 23).

‘Law of God’ – this is the law of Moses of Romans 7:1-16. ‘Inward man’ refers to the spirit of man which knows (1Cor. 2:11; 2Cor. 4:16; Eph. 3:16) and which is immortal (1Pet. 3:4). It also takes in the soul, that is, the seat of the feelings, emotions, and desires, for Paul not only knew and willed to do the will of God, but he delighted in it (cp. Ps. 1:2).

‘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’ the law of sin (7:23, 25; 8:2). That law is stronger than the law of the mind, for it captures man regardless of the protest of the law of the mind (7:23, 25). This victory is not occasional, but complete (7:24).

‘O wretched man that I am!’ this is not a picture of a redeemed soul, but of a captive of sin. Every statement in this chapter proves that this was Paul’s experience while bound by sin under the law and before he was freed from the law of sin and death, as in Romans 8:1-4. His testimony indicates deliverance was after the three days of blindness at Damascus (Acts 9:17-18). The experience must have been during these three days for he had lived in all good conscience before this (Acts 23:1; Gal. 1:13-14; Php. 3:6). In the new enlightened state of these three days, he saw that he had not really kept the law, saw that he was a helpless slave to sin and could not obey it as it should be kept. Hence, his conclusion of wretchedness.

‘The body of this death’ – there is an allusion here to the ancient custom of tyrants who bound a dead body to a living man, requiring him to carry it about until he died of contagion from the putrid mass.

‘I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord’ This is the answer to Romans 7:24. Jesus Christ is the only deliverer from sin (1:16; 10:9-10; Matt. 1:21; 1Jn. 1:9).

‘So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin’ – this is a misplaced conclusion which has caused many false doctrines to be taught. It should follow Romans 7:23 as the conclusion of the whole argument. It is not only the logical conclusion, but it starts out with the Greek: ara and oun, therefore. It means, “to conclude, the sum of what I have said,” etc. Many have used these words to prove Paul himself was not saved from sin. This would contradict all the arguments of Romans up to this point and what follows. He proves both before and after this that there is complete victory over the law of sin (1:16-18; 2:8-11; 3:5-8, 24-31; 4:1-24; 5:1-11; 6:1-23; 8:1-13).

No Good Thing

Romans 7:15-20 For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good. Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwells in me. For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwells no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwells in me. 

‘For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I’ After showing in Romans 7:7-14 that sin is more powerful than the law, Paul now shows that sin is more powerful than man who is a slave to sin (7:15-25). This verse is not to be used as an excuse to sin because we cannot help it! It states that when you are under sin, you will do things that you hate and will not be in control as long as you yield to a sinful nature. Christ has defeated sin and we have no excuse to stay in a sinful state. Not even the Old Testament saints yielded to sin after being freed from it as we can see in a summary of Hebrew 11.

‘I allow not’ – I do not approve of my slavery to sin.

‘What I would, that do I not’ – what I wish to practice, I cannot, for I am an unwilling slave to sin.

‘If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good’ – If I am forced to do what I do not want to do, then it is not I, but sin that enslaves by its indwelling power (7:16-20).

‘Will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not’ – I have a will, but it is so overpowered by the lusts of sin that I am helpless. My passion is stronger than my reason. My will, reason, understanding, and my conscience are on God’s side and consent to His will and law, but my slavemaster will not consent for me to serve God or His law.