When you are a man, sometimes you wear stretchy pants in your room, just for fun.
Who is the man in Romans 7:14-25?
Is it a non-Christian? Is it an immature Christian? Is it a mature Christian?
Cogitate about that some and share your thoughts in the comments section.
Paul writes in the first person in the present tense, which plays a large role in my thinking that he's speaking of the normal Christian life, the Christian's ongoing struggle with indwelling sin.
(However, I've not always held that view, and at one time I adamantly held that Paul was speaking of the experience of the pre-conversion person. Perhaps I'll finally put together an argument for my view, but not today.)
Although not conclusive, it is encouraging to me that so many of my theological heroes* share the view that Paul is speaking of a converted person's struggles.
The following quote is from John Piper speaking about J.I. Packer on this topic. (I've not been able to track down Packer's original source, but will cite it when able.)
J. I. Packer wrote an article on this passage two years ago to defend the view that I am taking here. He said...
Paul is not telling us that the life of the "wretched man" is as bad as it could be, only that it is not as good as it should be, and that because the man delights in the law and longs to keep it perfectly his continued inability to do so troubles him acutely. . . . The "wretched man" is Paul himself, spontaneously voicing his distress at not being a better Christian than he is, and all we know of Paul personally fits in with this supposition.
So I think what Paul is saying is not that Christians live in continual defeat, but that no Christian lives in continual victory over sin. And in those moments and times when we fail to triumph over sin, Romans 7:14-25 is the normal way a healthy Christian should respond. (emphasis Gunny's)
*This is not an appeal to authority per se, but rather an appeasing confirmation for me personally. Though these lads may disagree on various other things, the following all agree that the man in Romans 7:14-25 is a converted individual:
- Matthew Bradley
- John Calvin
- Jonathan Edwards
- John D. Hannah
- Charles Hodge
- John F. MacArthur, Jr.
- John Murray
- John Owen
- J.I. Packer
- Arthur W. Pink
- John Piper
- J.C Ryle
- R.C. Sproul
- Charles Spurgeon