25 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.
25 I thank God [for deliverance]—through Jesus Christ our Lord!
Paul’s thanksgiving to God was for the positional victory already obtained (chapter six). He elucidated this further in chapter eight.
Here the “who” of the previous verse is answered—“Who will deliver me from the body of this death?” Since believers died federally in Christ, we enter into a state of deliverance through Christ. This is a life by faith in Christ’s work and the Holy Spirit’s indwelling power. The way of victory in Christian living is to look outside self. We look to Him who resolved the sin issue (Ro 3-5) and gave us the indwelling Holy Spirit for power (Ro 8).
The operating assets that Jesus provides in Romans 6 give the believer deliverance from the sin capacity (8:2). This verse is preparation for 8:1-4. What Christ did regarding the law shows the deliverance God affords him.
The phrase “through Jesus Christ our Lord” carries the idea of mediation. Jesus does something for us that neither the law nor self-effort could do.
Paul summarized verses 13 to 24 with “so then.” There is an ongoing tension in the believer that struggles between serving the law of God and the sin capacity.
[on the one hand] with the mind [rational thought] I myself [very emphatic] serve the law of God,
Paul portrayed himself with two terms here: “the mind” and “the flesh.” The “mind” was his renewed person while the “flesh” was his sin capacity. His dilemma was that he served two different laws. One law was the law of God and the other was the law of sin. Paul was caught in a tension between both.
The “mind” is the part of the soul that contains a compilation of principles from God’s Word. Without these principles we cannot apply them to experience.
The word “serve” is in the present tense. There are two laws already present in Paul’s life whereby he served both God and sin. “Serve” applies to both the law of God and the law of sin. Paul presented these laws as active in his life. Both laws held tension in his life. He loved the Word but he was under the influence of the sin capacity. This tension is irreconcilable until the believer goes to heaven.
but [on the other hand] with the flesh the law of sin.
On the other hand Paul was still a slave to his sin capacity. The inward pull of the law of sin is the frustrating problem for Christians. Sanctification is an ongoing process. We never complete the struggle with sin as long as we live. The temptation to yield to the belief system and seek pleasure from this world system will always be there. The important thing is to know that the temptation will always be there and not to assume that there will be some point of complete victory over sin.
Death to sin does not mean freedom from commission of sin.
Both the “law of the mind” and “the law of sin” operate in their own sphere. Both seek to influence the soul of the believer every day. The Christian resolves the issue by applying principles of God’s Word to experience and dependence on the Holy Spirit (chapter 8). This is a daily issue.
It is painfully obvious that Christians do not have the resources in themselves to live the Christian life. This chapter has demonstrated that the sin capacity dwells in the believer, and his will is powerless against it without Christ. Discovery of the powerlessness to live the Christian life by the self is at the heart of Christian living.
There is nothing blameless in self but there is something worthy in the Savior. This prepares us for chapter eight—God’s answer to the powerlessness of the believer to live the Christian life.