By Norman P. Grubb
TROUBLE WITH “I”
Then the blast hit him. Paul found an inner uprising over which he had no control, which he named sin and which “wrought in me all manner of concupiscence” (Rom 7:8). He was devastated, not that there were these sin drives, but because he thought he ought to be able to control them. That was his condemnation and bondage.
This is how Paul put it: “In my newly-born and responsive condition, in which my whole desire is to fulfill the law and produce the fruit of the Spirit, there is this disturbing experience that when I want to do good, there is an evil presence controlling me (Rom 7:22). Yes, I want to and will live by God’s law. I would do the good and not the evil, but I am driven by this humiliating condition to say that something grabs and enslaves me.
“I am carnal and sold under sin,” Paul continues (Rom 7:14), “and there seems to be no escape. Here is the law, which I delight in, hammering at me with its godly standards. But I find myself helpless and hopeless. I have the will; but there is nothing in my flesh…my human makeup…has the capacity to combat this negative power drive, which has me in its grasp (Rom 7:18). I am a wretched man (Rom 7:24) – newborn, but still as sin slave! Where lies the trouble? Is there a remedy?”
The trouble is in that deceived, independent “I” (popping up thirty-two times in those nineteen verses) – the enormous delusion – which the law came to expose. Independent self reaction is first of all Satan’s delusion about his own created selfhood, and then the lie which he imparted to us all at the Fall.
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