Does the struggle Paul described in Romans 7:14-25 picture the experience of an unsaved person or a Christian?
|Arguments for the unsaved view|
|1.||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” (v. 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 7:14-25 describes Christians, it conflicts with how Paul described them in 6:3.||Two different relationships of the Christian are in view in these two passages. In chapter 6 our relationship to sin is in view, but in chapter 7 it is our relationship to our human nature.|
|4.||8:1 marks a change from dealing with the unsaved to the saved condition.||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 v. 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 view|
|1.||Augustine and the Reformers held this view.||Older support by the church fathers favors the other view.|
|2.||The change from past tense in 7:7-13 to present tense in 7:14-25 indicates that verses14-25 describe Paul’s post-conversion experience.||Paul used the present tense in verses 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 3 Paul described his standing before other people, but here he described his relationship to God.|
|4.||The argument of the epistle proceeds from justification (chs. 3—5) to sanctification (chs.6—8).||In chapter 6 Paul also referred to preconversion experience (vv. 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 verse 25 implies that this conflict continues after one acknowledges that deliverance comes through Jesus Christ.||The end of verse 25 is only a final summary statement.|
I believe the evidence for the saved view is stronger, as do many others.
(NET – Constable`s Notes, Romans 7:14-25)