The devil has promoted a deadly lie and multitudes have swallowed it with the help of today’s false prophets.
The apostle Paul’s Christian experience has been grossly misrepresented by misapplication of his writings in Romans chapter 7. Most Protestants can probably quote these scriptures, for to them they tenaciously cling in an attempt to defend their sinning profession of religion.
For those with “ears to hear,” let us hear what the scriptures have to say about Paul’s testimony.
“For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin.
For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I …
For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth 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.
O wretched man that I am! … ” Rom. 7:14-19, 24.
What Paul wrote here to the congregation in Rome has become the Protestant creed. “Carnal … sold under sin … the evil which I would not, that I do.” To this they measure their lives, and without shame or embarrassment, they testify that they are sold under sin. Hence, we have denominations full of “sinning Christians,” helped on by their sinning preachers, who propagate “sin-you-must, sin-you-can’t-help-it” doctrines.
Is this the gospel Paul preached and lived? Is this all we can hope for in this New Testament dispensation? Was the promise in Matt. 1:21, that Jesus “shall save his people from their sins,” unfulfilled? Did the blood of Calvary have the power to purchase our deliverance from sin, once and for all, or must we ever be sinning and repenting, sinning and repenting, and only hope to some day grow out of it and do it less all the time? I believe the apostle Paul himself can help answer these questions.
Paul’s Personal Testimony
“And Paul, earnestly beholding the council, said, Men and brethren, I have lived in all good conscience before God until this day.” Acts 23:1, AD 60
“And herein do I exercise myself, to have always a conscience void of offence toward God, and toward men.” Acts 24:16, AD 60
“Ye are witnesses, and God also, how holily and justly and unblameably we behaved ourselves among you that believe.” I Thess. 2:10, AD 54
“Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.” I Cor. 11:1, AD 59
“Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.” Phil. 4:9, AD 64
“I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” Phil. 4:13.
What a contrast from Paul’s words in Romans 7! I don’t hear the Protestants quoting these scriptures. Now, either Paul was a hypocrite, a liar, or schizophrenic, or someone has grossly misinterpreted Romans 7.
It does not sound like an “O wretched man” experience here! My Bible shows that the testimony Paul gave in Acts 23:1 was written in AD 60. This is the same year Romans 7 was written. Was one written on a good day and another on a bad day?! How could he be carnal and stumbling into doing the things he knew were wrong, and at the same time be living in all good conscience before God and man? Notice further, that prior to AD 60, Paul held a glowing, victorious testimony. When is the last time you testified to living holy and unblamable? He said he was living a holy life and he wasn’t even in heaven yet! Is such grace possible? In Titus 2:11 and 12, Paul says that it is not only possible, but that we are instructed to do it. “Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world.” In I Thess. 2:10, it says that Paul had witnesses that he lived a holy life.
In I Cor. 11:1, the apostle exhorts us to follow him as he followed Christ. We will all agree that Christ had no “wretched man” experience. And if Paul did not obtain something more than the struggles he expressed in Romans 7, he’d probably tell us to follow someone who had more victory than he had.
In Phil. 4:9, he tells the saints, “Those things which ye have … seen in me, do.” How could he be so bold? Read verse 13 of the same chapter. Paul here said, “I can do all things … ” What he expressed he could not do in Rom. 7, he found the strength to do “through Christ.”
Paul’s personal testimony of salvation is one of consistent victory and power.
What Paul Taught
“ … Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?” Rom. 6:1, 2.
“Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness … But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life. For the wages of sin is death … ” Rom. 6:18, 22, 23.
“For to be carnally minded is death … Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.” Rom. 8:6, 7.
“Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world.” Titus 2:12, AD 65
“Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame.” I Cor. 15:34.
“Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.” II Tim. 2:19.
Did Paul teach higher than he lived? How could he say “I am carnal,” and then say in Rom. 8 that the carnal mind is enmity against God? Did he require of others what he admittedly couldn’t do himself? In Romans 2:1, Paul had a strong rebuke for those who judged others, while they were guilty of doing the same thing themselves.
If Paul was saying what Protestants today declare he meant in Rom. 7, then he was in no position to be a minister of the gospel of Jesus Christ. And, if the gospel can offer no more than that to a soul bound in sin, then what is the power of salvation?
The apostle John wrote in I Jn. 3:6-10, “Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him … He that committeth sin is of the devil … For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil. Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.”
Now, if John accepted Romans 7 as Paul’s personal Christian experience– “the evil which I would not, that I do”–as say the sin-you-musters of today, then those two brothers were preaching two different gospels and were not in unity with one another. In fact, John would not have accepted Paul as a saved brother in the Lord, declaring that whoever sins has not known God and is of the devil. John knew that Jesus had said, “Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin. If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed” (Jn. 8:34, 36), and “Go, and sin no more” (Jn.8:11b).
Romans 7 in Context
Now why did Paul express himself as he did in Rom. 7? After all, he did write it. Yes, he did, but who did he write it to? Let us put these scriptures in context. See verse 1 of that chapter. “I speak to them that know the law … ” Paul is writing concerning the Old Testament law and is referring back to his life when he was still living under that levitical law. Paul expressed himself in the present tense in Rom. 7. That is not uncommon for any of us to do on occasion when we are speaking of ourselves in a past situation—“Well, here I am, running down the street, and who do I see … ”
The law showed him his sin, but could not save him from his sinful nature. “For when we were in the flesh, the motions of sins, which were by the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death.”
No wonder he moaned, “O wretched man that I am!” He had been a strictly religious Pharisee, wanting to do right, yet falling short again and again. No power. He cries, “Who shall deliver me from the body of this death … ” Who indeed! Did he not meet Him on the road to Damascus? “I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
He expresses that he is under “the law of sin” in Rom. 7:25, then goes on to explain in Rom. 8, that Christ set him free. “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. 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.” Thank God! What the levitical animals of sacrifice could not do, the precious and powerful blood of Jesus Christ could do. Paul was able to leave his Old Testament experience and obtain a New Testament experience of salvation through faith and obedience in Jesus Christ. He became “a new creature.” Old things (including his old testimony) passed away and all things became new (II Cor. 5:17).
That does not mean that it was not possible for him to make a mistake or a misjudgment (that is not sin), but it does mean, according to multiplied scriptures in the Bible, not touched upon in this writing, that he could and did live a life free from committing any sin after he was saved. We are either a saint, or we are a sinner. When you live a surrendered life of obedience to God, He is “able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy.” Jude 24.
Heed Paul’s Warning
Paul preached a pure gospel, one which can “save to the uttermost.” This sinning religion so prevalent today is such as Paul warned of in II Cor. 11:4. It is indeed the preaching of “another gospel” and “another Jesus,” whom Paul did not preach. Dear ones, if you have been a victim of another gospel, “having a form of godliness, but denying the power therof: from such turn away.” That is Paul’s warning to you. Flee from error and run to the Deliverer, that One who died to set us free from sin. You too, can obtain a real experience of salvation, and say as Paul did, that you are living holily, justly, and unblameably in this present world.
The Fate of Those Who Sin
“The wages of sin is death … ” Rom. 6:23.
“Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? [See, we are Christians, too!] And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you [Just as John said, “whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him”], depart from me, ye that work iniquity [whether it be one sin or one hundred].” Matt. 7:22, 23.
Closing Words from the Apostle Paul
“I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.” Gal. 1:6-8.