Question/Answers Segment: Romans 7, Are we slaves to sin or free?  Thanks Steve Moore!


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C Michael Patton
C Michael Patton

C. Michael Patton is the primary contributor to the Parchment and Pen/Credo Blog. He has been in ministry for nearly twenty years as a pastor, author, speaker, and blogger. Find him on Patreon Th.M. Dallas Theological Seminary (2001), president of Credo House Ministries and Credo Courses, author of Now that I'm a Christian (Crossway, 2014) Increase My Faith (Credo House, 2011), and The Theology Program (Reclaiming the Mind Ministries, 2001-2006), host of Theology Unplugged, and primary blogger here at Parchment and Pen. But, most importantly, husband to a beautiful wife and father to four awesome children. Michael is available for speaking engagements. Join his Patreon and support his ministry

    2 replies to "Theology Unplugged Broadcast #67: Romans 7, Are We Slaves to Sin or Free?"

    • stevemoore


      Thanks… loading it onto the ipod now. Appreciate it… I’m both eager and a bit anxious to hear what you’ve got to say – but regardless, I appreciate you addressing it.


    • stevemoore

      Michael, Rhome, and Greg –

      Thanks for taking my question and for chewing on it, wrestling with it, and handling it in the style common to TUP. I don’t know if y’all can indulge me on a few follow up points and questions, but I’ll post it regardless for others to chew on if nothing else. In no particular order…

      First – in my non-existent Greek, I thought that narrative was or could be done in the present tense as it can be in English “So here I am, skiing down the mountain, fresh powder everywhere. And then … a woolly mammoth jumps right in front of me!!” Is that not the case in Greek? I could have sworn that I read that in various places (I thought in my NASB Bible, notes). If so, then the issue of case doesn’t necessarily swing the verdict one way or the other, correct?

      Second – I appreciate the fact that you stated this is more than just a positional/practical discussion. I see that Paul really intends us to consider ourselves dead to sin in ch6, and this is consistent with not only the context but also his other writings where he calls the believer to live consistently with who Christ has made them to be. I think this is a key point in understanding how to live out the Christian life as there is real power in our association with Christ (as discussed previously by Paul in this section). I would certainly agree that there is not perfection, but I would also want to assert that there is real power to resist sin once in Christ and a new creature. This is not just a theoretical or abstract thing not to be grasped, else how could one ever expect to experience any amount of sanctification if there was no real power in our association with Christ?

      Chapter 7’s wretched man that I am discussion does not give me hope or comfort, as you mentioned it does for you. (Sorry guys!) For me, though I feel like I experience this myself, it does not give me hope or comfort. As does everyone born spiritually dead, I already had bondage to sin prior to being set free and so I really don’t want to be there – whether Paul is there or not. I want out! ;^) As we see in Romans 8 – who hopes for what they see? (or what they have already). I long to be like Christ, and I have hope (a confident expectation) that one day He will complete His work in me. I am comforted that He extends me grace and the ability to resist sin until that time. Sorry if this came across preachy – not my intention, I just wanted to share that this part of ch7 did not give me comfort.

      I agree wholeheartedly about the overarching point – the law is powerless by itself to sanctify. It may be good, but it as a system it cannot save me, nor make me more righteous before God. (I think I’ve summarized your statements accurately.)

      I see the controversy you mentioned about whether this is referring to a regenerate or unregenerate person. There are many statements made, and how can they all be true, and of whom are they true? I think you all touched on many of the points and counterpoints but there was one that I felt was overlooked. The one is a puzzler for me: is if this is a referring to regenerate person how can the law cause them to sin more? I can easily see how the law could introduce, expose, and entice sin in the unregenerate heart. But, if the law amplifies sin in the heart of a new covenant believer, then why would God write it on our hearts? I have serious troubles (being honest) seeing how the word of God, with which He washes us and sanctifies us (Eph) and writes on our hearts to cause us to be holy (new covenant, new heart – Jer, Ez, etc.) could have the opposite effect. Thoughts?

      As I said in the original question, I have my own theories about who this might be referring to, but that really open up too many cans of worms, so I’ll withhold them here. Don’t worry though, it is related to lots of the other questions I have. ;^)

      Thanks so much for engaging on this question, I appreciate your thoughts and comments very much and am thankful that there are folks out there who are willing to take on the tough questions, not back down, and give unplugged answers.


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