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Sep 06, 2020

The Divided Man

Passage: Romans 7:14-25

Preacher: Andrew Repsold

Series: Romans

Keywords: sin, sanctification, flesh, new man, old man, internal battle


Have you ever wondered why there is such a struggle in your soul against sin and self? This passage gives us the answer...and the hope for a better and growing future in becoming like Christ.


Title: The Divided Man

Text: Romans 7:14-25

Because of today’s text, I can say with confidence that if you are a Christian here today, you have divided loyalties and love; part of you loves God and part of you still longs for sin. I used to just think this was just something I particularly struggled with but after looking at and preparing today’s passage, I can say confidently that if you are a Christian, you are divided in your love and loyalty.

Part of you completely delights in God and his word and his commands and his people, and you have great faith and boldness and no anxiety

And part of you still doubts and loves sin and hates God…and that part is your flesh!

Truth displayed in this text: If you have put our Faith in God, through Jesus Christ, you have been spiritually reborn (John 3:5) and are a new creation (2 Cor. 5:17) but your body remains “sold under sin” (Romans 7:14).

supporting verses:

  • 2 Cor. 5:17

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation: The old has gone, the new has come

  • Romans 6:17-18

17 But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, 18 and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness.

Before we read (in order for this passage to be less confusing) , I need to make sure we are all on the same page regarding what humans are: spiritual and physical.

Gen. 2:7Then the Lord God formed a man[a] from the dust of the ground (physical) and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life (spiritual), and the man became a living being.)  we have a body (material) and a soul. (immaterial)

examples: You are tall (body/material)

  • I love your humor (soul/immaterial)
  • You work hard (immaterial)
  • You have a nice smile (material)
  • You are so compassionate (immaterial)
  • You’re selfish…self absorbed. (immaterial)

We say “you” for all of those statements but they refer to the two different parts of human beings. The same is true of Paul in this passage.

Read through the text. Then identify that in his flesh, there is a “law of sin” “waging war” against his mind, which loves God and what is good.

Romans 7:14…

14 For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am of the flesh, sold under sin

15 For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. 

16 Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. 17 So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me.

18 For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. 

19 For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. 

20 Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me.

21 So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. 

22 For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, 

23 but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members

24 Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death

25 Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.

The Flesh/Body in Romans Ch. 7 (notice how it is described)

“I am of the flesh, sold under sin.”   v. 14

“sin that dwells within me.”   v. 16

“nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh.”   v. 18

“not the ability to carry it (the good he desires) out.”  v. 18

“sin that dwells within me.”   v. 20

“I see in my members another law waging war”   v. 23

“the law of sin that dwells in my members.”   v. 23 

“this body of death”   v. 24

“with my flesh I serve the law of sin.”   v. 25

Truth displayed in this text: If you have put our Faith in God, through Jesus Christ, we have been spiritually reborn (John 3:5) and are a new creation (2 Cor. 5:17) but our bodies are still “sold under sin” (Romans 7:14).

So…Your divided loyalties are evidence of your spirit being reborn but not yet your body.

Potential Objection

Paul is not describing his current experience as a reborn servant of Jesus but is reflecting upon his “pre-Christian” life.

-“nothing good dwells in me” (v. 20)

-I am not able to carry out the good that I desire (v. 18)

…Christians don’t say that, do they? Isn’t the indwelling Holy Spirit something good within me?

2 Peter 1:33 His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.

3 More verses supporting the duality of humans

and the remaining corruption of our flesh:

Romans 6:6

We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin.

Romans 8:23

23 And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.

2 Corinthians 5:4-5

For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by lifeNow the one who has fashioned us for this very purpose is God, who has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.

Romans 7:24-25

24 Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.

Bungee cord Analogy for this truth:  (Bungee cords represent your inner man)               

Phase 1: Slaves of Sin 
(both spiritually and bodily)

  • Dead in your transgressions (Colossians 2:13, Ephesians 2:5)
  • Free in regard to righteousness (Romans 6:20)

On-going or Future Oriented

•       Much more shall we be saved by his life (5:10)

•       We rejoice in suffering because it produces

     …character (Romans 5:3)

•       We will reign in this life (5:17)

•       …so that we might walk in newness of life (6:4)

•       We shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his (6:5)

•       …so that this body of sin might be brought to nothing (6:6)

•       Let not sin reign in your mortal body by presenting your members to sin (6:12)


Statements of Completion

•       We have been justified (Romans 5:1, 10)

•       We now have peace with God through Jesus Christ (5:1)

•       We have gained access into this grace (5:2,17)

•       We have died to sin (6:2)

•       We have been united with Christ in a death like his (6:5)

•       Our old self was crucified (6:6)

Phase 2: Slaves of Righteousness 
(spiritually but NOT yet bodily)

Phase 3: Complete Sanctification
(spiritually AND bodily!)

  • 1 Corinthians 15:51-55

51 Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. 53 For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. 54 When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written:

“Death is swallowed up in victory.”
55 “O death, where is your victory?
    O death, where is your sting?”

  • Revelation 22:3-5

Principles for Application


  1. Born again Christians currently experience an inner war between their sinful flesh and God’s Spirit who is in them.

-you will not always submit to the spirit, but will sometimes choose sin. This does not mean that you are not a new creation. There is a difference between being at peace with your sin and so you abide in it (1 John 3:6)…and being at peace with God and so it grieves you. No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him. 1 John 3:6 

  1. When we experience momentary failures of living into our true identity as children of God, our first step towards wholeness and health and beauty, is to        

            acknowledge our wretchedness, remember that it is God who delivers us, and strive to live into who you actually are (Romans 7:25)


Romans 8:1-6

“May we this week, set our mind not on the flesh but on the Spirit and experience your sanctifying power as we grow in righteousness.”

Go in peace. 

Closing questions to discuss the rest of the day or this week:

  1. Why did God choose to give us this “engagement period” with him where the Holy Spirit reigns in us as a deposit or guarantee of our future bodily resurrection but he chose for us to still have our flesh to make war against for 50ish years?

in other words…

  1. What things do we learn about God during this brief period of our existence that we wouldn’t know (or as well) if he had chosen for us to be regenerated spiritually and physically at the same moment?

-the depth of Power of the Spirit

  1. How does it better prepare us for the marriage, for reigning with Christ?
  2. What are some of the fleshly temptations/desires that you feel a consistent struggle with? (ex. excessive eating, sexual-lust/pornography, sleep (oversleep), videogames/leisure/entertainment), social media)
  3. How can I help you depend on God with that?