by Mike Ratliff
1 Οὐδὲν ἄρα νῦν κατάκριμα τοῖς ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ. (Romans 8:1 NA27)
1 There is therefore now no condemnation to the ones in Christ Jesus. (Romans 8:1 Possessing the Treasure New Testament V1)
Romans 8 is best understood after reading the Apostle Paul’s exposition of his own “wretched man” trapped in a “body of death” in Romans 7:14-25.
 For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am of the flesh, [w]sold under sin.  For I do not understand my own actions. For [x]I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.  Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with [y]the law, that it is good.  So now [z]it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me.  For I know that nothing good dwells [a]in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out.  [b]For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing.  Now if I do what I do not want, [c]it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me.
 So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand.  For [d]I delight in the law of God, [e]in my inner being,  but I see in my members [f]another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members.  Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from [g]this body of death?  Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.
(Romans 7:14-25 ESV)
[w] 1 Kgs. 21:20, 25; 2 Kgs. 17:17; Isa. 50:1; 52:3
[x] ver. 18, 19; [Gal. 5:17]
[y] 1 Tim. 1:8; [ver. 12]
[z] ver. 20
[a] Gen. 6:5; 8:21; Job 14:4; 15:14; Ps. 51:5
[b] ver. 15
[c] ver. 17
[d] Ps. 1:2; 112:1; 119:35
[e] 2 Cor. 4:16; Eph. 3:16; [1 Pet. 3:4]
[f] Gal. 5:17; [James 4:1]
[g] [ch. 6:6; 8:23]
There are some who teach from this passage saying that it describes Paul’s life before Christ citing that this description is contrary to his own account or description of true believers in Romans 6 (cf. vv. 2,6,7,11,17,18,22) . However, as we read this passage it is obvious that this is a believer because he desires to obey God’s law and hates his sin. He is humble, recognizing that nothing good dwells in his humanness. He sees sin in himself, but not as all that there is, and he serves Jesus Christ with his mind. This very struggle was my desperate struggle for a couple of decades and I get private emails from many readers in the same boat, doubting the veracity of their salvation because they are in the same battle. Why are they in despair? Why was I in despair for so long? The churches, the religious systems of which we were part of told us in their pragmatism that there would be some point when we would outgrow this and reach some level of maturity and would no longer struggle like this. If that did not happen either we were very immature or not Christians at all. Continue reading