Was Paul A Slave To Sin?
July 14, 2014
Is a born again person born of the Spirit? Yes. (John 3:3-8) Should a born-of-the-Spirit person be consider a spiritual person? Of course. Those who have God’s Spirit / Christ’s Spirit (John 14:23 // Rom. 8:9) dwelling within them are spiritual people. (1 Cor. 2:12-15) They have the mind of Christ (v. 16) and the life of Christ. (Gal. 2:20 // Col. 3:4)
Was the apostle Paul born of the Spirit? Of course. Then why does he say in Rom. 7:14, “I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin”? Many, many people claim that Paul is describing his own spiritual state (or lack thereof). They say that Paul was claiming to be unspiritual and sold as a slave to sin. This, they claim, even after Paul spent all of chapter 6 teaching that those who have been baptized into Christ (by the Spirit) have been freed from sin, its mastery, its power, and its life / aliveness within them. Paul’s slavery to sin they insist upon, even though Paul praises God in verse 17 of ch. 6 concerning those who “used to be slaves to sin” but have now wholeheartedly obeyed that form of doctrine which was delivered to them (by him and the other apostles).
So was Paul really a slave to sin? If he was, then he went to eternal death. (Rom. 6:16 & 8:13) But we know that Paul taught, as did the other apostles (Ja. 1:21,22 // 1 Peter 4:1,2 // 1 John 3:6-10), that Christ-followers walk in freedom from sin. (Rom. 6:1,2,18,22 // Gal. 5:13-25) And being that Paul told us to imitate him (1 Cor. 4:16 & 11:1 // Phil. 3:17 & 4:9), we can be assured that he practiced what he preached.
In Rom. 7:14 Paul is not describing his present condition in Christ. He is using a present-tense literary style to describe a “wretched man” (v. 24) in need of the Savior. (v. 24,25) Exclaiming thanksgiving to God, he proclaims the Savior to be Jesus Christ the Lord. (v. 25)
Those who say that they are in Christ, that Jesus is their Savior and Lord, and that they are on their way to Heaven, yet have to admit that they “desire to do what is good, but cannot carry it out” (see Rom. 7:18), are those who have not been rescued from their sinful nature. They have not crucified it through faith in the power of God. (Rom. 6:6,7 // Gal. 5:24 // Col. 2:12) They have not undergone the “baptism into Christ’s death” (see Rom. 6:3,4) so that the old life is gone and the new life is reality. (v. 5-8 // 2 Cor. 5:17)
Those in this sad case remain, through their lack of faith, under the rule of the evil realm and that spirit who works in those who are disobedient to God. (Eph. 2:2) Such people remain in death and are objects of God’s wrath. (v. 1,3) Such people are spiritually dead / unspiritual / sold as a slave to sin. Such people are in dire need of the Savior. The Savior’s name is Jesus, and He really does redeem and rescue people from all their slavery to sin. That is, if they believe and obey the True Doctrine of Christ found in God’s Word.