‘Sin living in me’





[Romans 7:17-20]




                Look at Romans 7:17, 20: “As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me.  …  Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.”  The Apostle Paul repeatedly said twice that “it is sin living in me.”  Here, “me” refers to the Apostle Paul himself.  Who is Paul?  He was a zealous persecutor of the church.  Look at Philippians 3:6 and 1 Timothy 1:13 – “as for zeal, persecuting the church …” (Phil.3:6), “Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, …” (1 Tim.1:13).  While on his way to arrest Christians in Damascus, he met Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9). See the conversation between Jesus and Saul (Paul):


                Jesus: “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” (v. 4)

                Paul: “Who are you, Lord?” (v. 5)

                Jesus: “"I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting” (v. 5)


Since Jesus is the Head of the Church, Saul (Paul) persecuted Christians was persecuting Jesus.  Saul (Paul) accepted Jesus and became a member of the church.  He becomes an apostle to the Gentiles (Rom.11:13; Gal.2:8).  When Paul served in Antioch, he became a missionary.  He went to present-day Europe and stayed in Corinth for three months, writing the book of Romans.


                The Apostle Paul repeatedly said, “it is sin living in me,” and “in” here refers to Paul’s own flesh.  Look at Romans 7:18 – “I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. ...”  Then what is “sinful nature”?  Look at Romans 7:14 – “…  I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin.”  ‘My sinful nature’ (v.18) means that Paul was of the flesh.  And when he said that he belonged to the flesh, he meant the flesh that was lying in temptation and corruption.  Because of Adam's transgression, we also sinned and fell.  Although Adam was created as a living spirit, he became a slave to sin because he disobeyed the word of God's covenant and sinned against God.  Look at 1 Corinthians 6:19 – “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own.”  The Bible says that our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit.  In other words, the Holy Spirit dwells within us.  So we are saints.  Look at 1 Corinthians 1:2 and 3:3 – “To the church of God in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be holy, …” (1:2), “You are still worldly. …” (3:3).  But the Bible still says that we are “worldly” or “carnal.”  Although we have been regenerated, so we are saints, but we are still of the flesh.  Therefore, not only the Apostle Paul, but also the bodies of our saints are bodies that are subject to temptation and corruption.


                In Romans 7:17, 20, the word “living” does not mean taking advantage of opportunity to invade.  Also, it doesn’t mean to be invited as a guest.  Nor is it temporary lodging/chartering.  The word “living” means to dwell.  For example, as long as we live on this earth, we are dwelling (permanent residence) on this earth.  The Holy Spirit dwells in us (1 Cor. 6:19), and sin also dwells in us (Rom. 7:17, 20).  As long as we live on this earth, sin dwells in us.  Until the Second Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, this sin cannot be destroyed in dwelling in us.  Also, in Romans 7:17, 20, where the Apostle Paul says, “sin living in me,” we need to consider the origin of sin.  In Genesis 2:17, God’s command/law, “You shall not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.”  But when the woman was tempted by the crafty serpent she took some of the fruit that was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom and at it and gave some to her husband Adam, who was with her, and he ate it too (3:6).  So she made Adam to disobey God’s command and they both fell into sin.  What was the result?  Look at Romans 5:12 – “Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned.”  When we consider the origin of this sin, we must also consider the origin of the gospel.  Look at Genesis 3:15 – “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.”  About 4,000 years later, this prophecy was fulfilled by Jesus Christ on the cross (Jn. 19:30).  That is, Jesus bruised the serpent's head on the cross (smashed Satan's head).  Therefore, He accomplished all our salvation.  The serpent (Satan) bruised Jesus' heel.  That is, Satan crucified Jesus.  Look at Colossians 2:15 – “And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.”  Here, “the power and authorities” refers to the evil angel, Satan.  Jesus overcame Satan on the cross.


                The power of sin dwells in the saints.  Satan was defeated by Jesus on the cross and still remains.  The remnants of Satan's minions still remain.  So we are in a spiritual warfare against Satan.  Look at Galatians 5:17 – “For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want.”  We are at war with the Holy Spirit who dwells within us and the lusts of the flesh within us.  That is why we must constantly fight against Satan and his minions.  The Apostle Paul did not understand that he was not doing what he wanted, but was doing what he hated (Rom. 7:15).  He did not do the good he wanted, but did the evil he did not want (v. 19).  He could see that there was nothing good in his old sinful nature, when he saw that he wanted to do good, but cannot carry it out (v. 18).  He thought that the law made him sin, but he realized that it was not.  He realized that it was Satan's servants in him that he sinned, and he admitted/confessed that the law was good (v. 14).  And he confessed that the sin that dwelled in him was causing him to do evil he did not want (vv. 17, 20).  While we are on this earth, we must fight the power of sin within us.  Since Jesus Christ already defeated Satan by bruising Satan's head on the cross (Gen. 3:15; Jn. 19:30; Col: 2:15), we must lead a combative faith life with the assurance of victory.  We must obey God and resist the devil.  Then the devil will flee (Jam. 4:7).  Look at 1 Corinthians 15:52-54: “in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.  For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality.  When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: "Death has been swallowed up in victory.”  This prophecy will be fulfilled.  Therefore, we must fight well in this spiritual battle and stand before the Lord by believing in the victory of Jesus Christ on the cross.