The Meaning of Romans 7:25 Explained

Romans 7:25

KJV: I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.

YLT: I thank God -- through Jesus Christ our Lord; so then, I myself indeed with the mind do serve the law of God, and with the flesh, the law of sin.

Darby: I thank God, through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then I myself with the mind serve God's law; but with the flesh sin's law.

ASV: I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then I of myself with the mind, indeed, serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.

What does Romans 7:25 Mean?

Study Notes

Grace (in salvation). ( Romans 5:2 ); ( Romans 5:15-21 ); ( Romans 11:5-6 ); ( Romans 3:24 ).
( See Scofield John 1:17 ).
"Sin" in Romans 6, 7 is the nature in distinction from "sins," which are manifestations of that nature.
Compare ( 1 John 1:8 ) with ( 1 John 1:10 ), where this distinction also appears.
Grace (in salvation). ( Romans 5:2 ); ( Romans 5:15-21 ); ( Romans 11:5-6 ); ( Romans 3:24 ).
( See Scofield John 1:17 ).

Verse Meaning

The solution to this dilemma is not escape from temptation but victory over it.
"The source of Paul"s wretchedness is clear. It is not a "divided self" [1], but the fact that the last hope of mankind, religion, has proven to be a broken reed. Through sin it is no longer a comfort but an accusation. Man needs not a law but deliverance." [2]
The last part of this verse is another summary. "I myself" contrasts with "Jesus Christ." Apparently Paul wanted to state again the essence of the struggle that he had just described to prepare his readers for the grand deliverance that he expounded in the next chapter.
There are two problems involving the interpretation of chapter7 that merit additional attention. The first is this. Was Paul relating his own unique experience, or was he offering his own struggle as an example of something everyone experiences? Our experience would lead us to prefer the latter alternative, and the text supports it. Certainly Paul must have undergone this struggle, since he said he did. However every human being does as well because we all possess some knowledge of the law of God, natural (general) revelation if not special revelation or the Mosaic Law, and a sinful human nature.
The second question is this. Does the struggle Paul described in Romans 7:14-25 picture the experience of an unsaved person or a Christian?
Arguments for the unsaved viewProCon1.This was the most popular view among the early church fathers.Other views held by the fathers have since proved false.2.The terminology "of flesh" or "unspiritual," and "sold into bondage to sin" or "sold as a slave to sin" ( Romans 7:14) fits an unbeliever better than a Christian.These are appropriate terms to use in describing the Christian"s relationship to his or her sinful human nature.3.If Romans 7:14-25 describes Christians, it conflicts with how Paul described them in Romans 6:3.Two different relationships of the Christian are in view in these two passages. In chapter6 our relationship to sin is in view, but in chapter7 it is our relationship to our human nature.4. Romans 8:1 marks a change from dealing with the unsaved to the saved condition. Romans 8:1 marks a transition from the domination of the sinful human nature to deliverance through Jesus Christ.5.The absence of references to the Holy Spirit and Jesus Christ, except in Romans 7:25, shows that an unsaved person is in view here.Paul"s argument did not require these references since the conflict in view is between the law and the flesh (human nature).Arguments for the saved viewProCon1.Augustine and the Reformers held this view.Older support by the church fathers favors the other view.2.The change from past tense in Romans 7:7-13 to present tense in Romans 7:14-25 indicates that Romans 7:14-25 describe Paul"s post-conversion experience.Paul used the present tense in Romans 7:14-25 for vividness of expression.3.If Paul described his pre-Christian life here, he contradicted what he said of it in Philippians 3:6.In Philippians 3Paul described his standing before other people, but here he described his relationship to God.4.The argument of the epistle proceeds from justification (chs3-5) to sanctification (chs6-8).In chapter6 Paul also referred to preconversion experience ( Romans 6:6; Romans 6:8).5.The conflict is true to Christian experience.It is only apparently characteristic of Christian experience since the Christian is dead to sin.6.The last part of Romans 7:25 implies that this conflict continues after one acknowledges that deliverance comes through Jesus Christ.The end of Romans 7:25 is only a final summary statement.
As mentioned previously, I believe the evidence for the saved view is stronger, as do many others. [3]
The conflict described in Romans 7:13-25 is not the same one that Paul presented in Galatians 5:16-23. The opponent of the sinful human nature in Romans 7 is the whole Christian individual, but in Galatians 5 it is the Holy Spirit. The condition of the believer in Romans is under the Law, but in Galatians it is under Law or grace. The result of the conflict in Romans is inevitable defeat, but in Galatians it is defeat or victory. The nature of the conflict in Romans is abnormal Christian experience, but in Galatians it is normal Christian experience. [4]
This chapter is very important for several reasons. It corrects the popular idea that our struggle with sin is only against specific sins and habits whereas it is also against our basic human nature. Second, it shows that human nature is not essentially good but bad. Third, it argues that progressive sanctification does not come by obeying laws, a form of legalism called nomism, but apart from law. It also proves that doing right requires more than just determining to do it. All these insights are necessary for us to appreciate what Paul proceeded to explain in chapter8.
Related to the question of the believer"s relationship to the law is the subject of legalism.
"Legalism is that fleshly attitude which conforms to a code in order to glorify self. It is not the code itself. Neither is it participation or nonparticipation. It is the attitude with which we approach the standards of the code and ultimately the God who authored it." [5]
Legalism also involves judging the behavior of ourselves, or others, as acceptable or unacceptable to God by the standard of obedience to laws that we, rather than God, have imposed. Someone else has defined legalism (really nomism) as the belief that I can obtain justification and or sanctification simply by obeying rules.
Some Results of Our Union with Christ in Romans 6 , 7ChapterSixSevenSubjectThe believer"s relationship to sinThe believer"s relationship to the LawOur former conditionEnslavement to sin(cf. Romans 6:1-11)Obligation to the Law(cf. Romans 7:1-6)Our present conditionNo longer slaves of sin(cf. Romans 6:12-14)No longer obligated to keep the Law (cf. Romans 7:7-12)Our present dangerBecoming slaves to sin by yielding to it (cf. Romans 6:15-18)Becoming incapable of overcoming the flesh by trying to keep the Law(cf. Romans 7:13-24)Our present responsibilityPresent ourselves to God and our members as His instruments (cf. Romans 6:19-23)Trust and obey God who alone can enable us to overcome the flesh(cf. Romans 7:25 ff)

Context Summary

Romans 7:14-25 - The Conflict Within
The Apostle gives a further statement of his personal experience of the inability of the soul to realize the divine ideal which has been revealed to it as the norm and type of its attainment. Life does not run smoothly. There are effort, strain, failure, the consciousness of sin, the dazzling glory of sunlight on inaccessible peaks. Why is this? It is due to the lack of "power unto salvation." We are not strong enough to win any victory. We are weak through the flesh. There is a leakage through which our good desires vanish, as water through a cracked vessel.
Self is ever the difficulty. Before we find Christ, or are found of Him, we try to justify ourselves, and afterward to sanctify ourselves. Notice how full these verses are of I, and how little is said of the Holy Spirit. As the corpse of a criminal that was, in the old barbarous days, hung around the neck of a living man, so the flesh is to us, with all its evil promptings. But this background of dark experience, ending in vanity, vexation, disappointment, and misery leads to the following chapter, which is saturated with Pentecostal power. The distant anticipation of this revives us, like the scent of land to animals sick with a long voyage; and we thank our God. [source]

Chapter Summary: Romans 7

1  No law has power over a man longer than he lives
4  But we are dead to the law
7  Yet is not the law sin;
12  but holy, just and good;
16  as I acknowledge, who am grieved because I cannot keep it

Greek Commentary for Romans 7:25

I thank God [χαρις τωι τεωι]
“Thanks to God.” Note of victory over death through Jesus Christ our Lord.” [source]
So then I myself [αρα ουν αυτος εγω]
His whole self in his unregenerate state gives a divided service as he has already shown above. In 6:1-7:6 Paul proved the obligation to be sanctified. In 7:7-8:11 he discusses the possibility of sanctification, only for the renewed man by the help of the Holy Spirit. [source]

Reverse Greek Commentary Search for Romans 7:25

Romans 8:1 Therefore now []
Connecting with Romans 7:25. Being freed through Jesus Christ, there is therefore no condemnation now. [source]
Romans 7:18 In me []
The entire man in whom sin and righteousness struggle, in whose unregenerate condition sin is the victor, having its domain in the flesh. Hence in me considered as carnal (Romans 7:14). That another element is present appears from “to will is present with me;” but it is the flesh which determines his activity as an unregenerate man. There is good in the I, but not in the I considered as carnal. This is brought out in Romans 7:25, “With the flesh (I serve) the law of sin.” Hence there is added that is, in my flesh. [source]
Romans 1:8 Through Jesus Christ []
As the medium of his thanksgiving: “As one who is present to his grateful thoughts; in so far, namely, as that for which he thanks God is vividly perceived and felt by him to have been brought about through Christ.” Compare Romans 7:25; Colossians 3:17; Ephesians 5:20. In penitence and in thanksgiving alike, Jesus Christ is the one mediator through whom we have access to God. [source]
Romans 1:8 Through [δια]
As the mediator or medium of thanksgiving as in Romans 7:25. For (περι — peri). Concerning, about. That Or because. Either declarative or causal οτι — hoti makes sense here. Your faith (η πιστις υμων — hē pistis humōn). “Your Christianity” (Sanday and Headlam). Is proclaimed Present passive indicative of καταγγελλω — kataggellō to announce See also αναγγελλω — anaggellō to bring back news (John 5:15), απαγγελλω — apaggellō to announce from one as the source (Matthew 2:8), προκαταγγελλω — prokataggellō to announce far and wide beforehand (Acts 3:18). Throughout all the world (εν ολωι τωι κοσμωι — en holōi tōi kosmōi). Natural hyperbole as in Colossians 1:6; Acts 17:6. But widely known because the church was in the central city of the empire. [source]
Romans 15:14 I myself also [και αυτος εγω]
See note on Romans 7:25 for a like emphasis on himself, here in contrast with “ye yourselves” The argument of the Epistle has been completed both in the main line (chapters 1-8) and the further applications (9:1-15:13). Here begins the Epilogue, the personal matters of importance. [source]
Romans 5:18 So then [αρα ουν]
Conclusion of the argument. Cf. Romans 7:3, Romans 7:25; Romans 8:12, etc. Paul resumes the parallel between Adam and Christ begun in Romans 5:12 and interrupted by explanation (Romans 5:13.) and contrast (Romans 5:15-17). [source]
Romans 7:5 In the flesh [εν τηι σαρκι]
Same sense as in Romans 6:19 and Romans 7:18, Romans 7:25. The “flesh” is not inherently sinful, but is subject to sin. It is what Paul means by being “under the law.” He uses σαρχ — sarx in a good many senses. [source]
Romans 8:1 Therefore now [αρα νυν]
Two particles. Points back to the triumphant note in Romans 7:25 after the preceding despair. [source]
Romans 8:7 Neither indeed can it be [ουδε γαρ δυναται]
“For it is not even able to do otherwise.” This helpless state of the unregenerate man Paul has shown above apart from Christ. Hope lies in Christ (Romans 7:25) and the Spirit of life (Romans 8:2). [source]
1 Corinthians 15:57 But thanks be to God [τωι δε τεωι χαρις]
Exultant triumph through Christ over sin and death as in Romans 7:25. [source]
Galatians 2:20 No longer I [ουκετι εγω]
So complete has become Paul‘s identification with Christ that his separate personality is merged into that of Christ. This language helps one to understand the victorious cry in Romans 7:25. It is the union of the vine and the branch (John 15:1-6). Which is in the Son of God (τηι του υιου του τεου — tēi tou huiou tou theou). The objective genitive, not the faith of the Son of God. For me Paul has the closest personal feeling toward Christ. “He appropriates to himself, as Chrysostom observes, the love which belongs equally to the whole world. For Christ is indeed the personal friend of each man individually” (Lightfoot). [source]
2 Timothy 1:3 I thank [χαριν εχω]
“I have gratitude.” As in 1 Timothy 1:12. Robinson cites examples of this phrase from the papyri. It occurs also in Luke 17:9; Acts 2:47. Χαρις — Charis in doxologies Paul uses (1 Corinthians 15:57; 2 Corinthians 2:14; 2 Corinthians 8:16; 2 Corinthians 9:15; Romans 6:17; Romans 7:25). His usual idiom is ευχαριστω — eucharistō (1 Corinthians 1:4; Romans 1:8; Philemon 1:4; Philemon 1:3) or ευχαριστουμεν — eucharistoumen (1 Thessalonians 1:2; Colossians 1:3) or ου παυομαι ευχαριστων — ou pauomai eucharistōn (Ephesians 1:16) or ευχαριστειν οπειλομεν — eucharistein opheilomen (2 Thessalonians 1:3). [source]

What do the individual words in Romans 7:25 mean?

Thanks [be] then to God through Jesus Christ the Lord of us Then so myself I with the indeed mind serve law God’s - but [with] the flesh [the] law of sin
χάρις [δὲ] τῷ Θεῷ διὰ Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ τοῦ Κυρίου ἡμῶν Ἄρα οὖν αὐτὸς ἐγὼ τῷ μὲν νοῒ δουλεύω νόμῳ Θεοῦ τῇ δὲ σαρκὶ νόμῳ ἁμαρτίας

χάρις  Thanks  [be] 
Parse: Noun, Nominative Feminine Singular
Root: χάρις  
Sense: grace.
Θεῷ  God 
Parse: Noun, Dative Masculine Singular
Root: θεός  
Sense: a god or goddess, a general name of deities or divinities.
διὰ  through 
Parse: Preposition
Root: διά  
Sense: through.
Ἰησοῦ  Jesus 
Parse: Noun, Genitive Masculine Singular
Root: Ἰησοῦς  
Sense: Joshua was the famous captain of the Israelites, Moses’ successor.
Χριστοῦ  Christ 
Parse: Noun, Genitive Masculine Singular
Root: Χριστός  
Sense: Christ was the Messiah, the Son of God.
Κυρίου  Lord 
Parse: Noun, Genitive Masculine Singular
Root: κύριος  
Sense: he to whom a person or thing belongs, about which he has power of deciding; master, lord.
ἡμῶν  of  us 
Parse: Personal / Possessive Pronoun, Genitive 1st Person Plural
Root: ἐγώ  
Sense: I, me, my.
οὖν  so 
Parse: Conjunction
Root: οὖν  
Sense: then, therefore, accordingly, consequently, these things being so.
αὐτὸς  myself 
Parse: Personal / Possessive Pronoun, Nominative Masculine 3rd Person Singular
Root: αὐτός  
Sense: himself, herself, themselves, itself.
τῷ  with  the 
Parse: Article, Dative Masculine Singular
Sense: this, that, these, etc.
μὲν  indeed 
Parse: Conjunction
Root: μέν  
Sense: truly, certainly, surely, indeed.
νοῒ  mind 
Parse: Noun, Dative Masculine Singular
Root: νοῦς  
Sense: the mind, comprising alike the faculties of perceiving and understanding and those of feeling, judging, determining.
δουλεύω  serve 
Parse: Verb, Present Indicative Active, 1st Person Singular
Root: δουλεύω  
Sense: to be a slave, serve, do service.
νόμῳ  law 
Parse: Noun, Dative Masculine Singular
Root: νόμος  
Sense: anything established, anything received by usage, a custom, a law, a command.
Θεοῦ  God’s 
Parse: Noun, Genitive Masculine Singular
Root: θεός  
Sense: a god or goddess, a general name of deities or divinities.
τῇ  - 
Parse: Article, Dative Feminine Singular
Sense: this, that, these, etc.
δὲ  but  [with] 
Parse: Conjunction
Root: δέ  
Sense: but, moreover, and, etc.
σαρκὶ  the  flesh 
Parse: Noun, Dative Feminine Singular
Root: σάρξ  
Sense: flesh (the soft substance of the living body, which covers the bones and is permeated with blood) of both man and beasts.
νόμῳ  [the]  law 
Parse: Noun, Dative Masculine Singular
Root: νόμος  
Sense: anything established, anything received by usage, a custom, a law, a command.
ἁμαρτίας  of  sin 
Parse: Noun, Genitive Feminine Singular
Root: ἁμαρτία  
Sense: equivalent to 264.