New Defender's Study Bible Notes
7:4 dead to the law. Note that the law has not died; rather, we have died to the law. As a woman could marry a new husband only after her first husband had died, so we have been married, as it were, to our great Bridegroom after the law died or—what amounts to the same thing—we died to the law.
7:5 motions. “Motions” is an Old English term for “impulses,” which is the meaning of the Greek text. Paul is saying that the law itself, by its very prohibitions, generates sinful impulses, which lead to breaking the law.
7:6 the letter. Here “the letter” is synonymous with “the law.” In Christ we can serve the Lord, even keeping the law—not because of the law’s bondage, but because of the Spirit’s freedom (Romans 6:18).
7:8 concupiscense. That is, “strong sexual appetite.”
7:9 I died. The passage from Romans 7:7 through the end of the chapter describes the internal conflict in Paul (as in believers generally) between the old and new natures. Romans 7:22, for example (“I delight in the law of God after the inward man”), could not be the sincere testimony of an unsaved man, but it does reflect the attitude of a true Christian who loves God’s law (e.g., Psalm 119:7) but struggles with its temptations because of his still-active old sin-nature.
7:12 law is holy. God’s law is perfect (Psalm 19:7) and believers should honor it as representing perfectly the holiness and justice of God. But as sinners condemned by the law, our need is not justice but grace and mercy.
7:15 I do. Note the excessive use of the first person pronoun in this passage—no less than thirty-five times in Romans 7:15-24. The old nature, with which Paul was struggling, and with which every believer must struggle, is self-centered instead of Christ-centered. As long as the measure of things is “I-me-mine,” instead of the will of God, then Paul’s cry must soon be ours—“O wretched man that I am!” (Romans 7:24).
7:18 no good thing. Paul, before his conversion, could boast that he was, as “touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless” (Philippians 3:6). But then he came to see that all his “righteousnesses [were] as filthy rags” (Isaiah 64:6), and accepted “eternal life through Jesus Christ” (Romans 6:23). If such a man as Paul would have to confess that in his flesh there was nothing good at all, then surely every Christian must say the same.
7:22 inward man. The “inward man” is evidently here the same as the “new man,” for the “old man” (Romans 6:6) could never “delight in the law of God.”
7:23 law of sin. The “law of sin,” which is in our members, is the sin-nature inherited from Adam. It is the spiritual aspect of the universal law of entropy which governs the physical creation ever since God’s curse on the ground because of Adam’s sin.
7:24 who shall deliver me. The question, as rightly phrased by Paul, is not what or how, but who. Only the perfect Son of man can deliver a son of Adam from “the body of this death.” The only solution and victor in the struggle between the old and new natures in the believer is “Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 7:25).
7:25 the law of God. The final verse of this stressful soliloquy of the apostle makes it certain that he is not referring to a spiritual struggle before his conversion, but rather to the conflict between the old and new natures after his conversion.