An unsaved person or a Christian has this kind of struggle?

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
Pro Con
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
Pro Con
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. 68).
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)


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