Can You Overcome Sin? Navigating Romans 7 to Find Freedom and Victory Over Sin [Ruminating Romans]


The book of Romans holds a chapter that has intrigued and confused believers for generations: Romans 7. In this blog post, we’ll walk through Romans 7 and its neighboring chapter, Romans 8, to uncover the message of struggle, redemption, and victory.

Agonizing Question in Romans 7

24What an agonizing situation I am in! So who has the power to rescue this miserable man from the unwelcome intruder of sin and death? Romans 7:24 TPT

After I was saved at the age of 16, my pastor taught on Romans 7, which was surprising since he didn’t often preach out of Romans because
he told us was too difficult for us to understand. His whole message from Romans 7 was about what a mess we were in until Jesus came in the rapture to take us home. We were all sinners that sinned every moment of every day in word, thought, and deed. This is who we are – sinners, and this is what we do – sin.

But the way I see it, the apostle Paul strategically placed Romans 7  to highlight the tension between sin and grace, the law and faith, humanity and a new humanity.

Unraveling the Mess: The Reality of Sin

Let’s dive into the mess every human faces:

8It was through God’s commandment that sin was awakened in me and built its base of operation  within me to stir up every kind of wrong desire. For in the absence of the law, sin hides dormant. 
9-10I once lived without a clear understanding of the law, but when I heard God’s commandments, sin sprang to life and brought with it a death sentence. The commandment that was intended to bring life brought me death instead. 
11Sin, by means of the commandment, built a base of operation within me, to overpower me and put me to death. Romans 7:8-11 TPT

Paul gets straight into the heart of the matter, humanity’s struggle against the onslaught of sin. The passage reveals the human condition, sin’s desire to set up a base of operation within you.

The War Within: Humanity’s Identity Crisis

Paul’s words continue:

 14For we know that the law is divinely inspired and comes from the spiritual realm,  but I am a human being made of flesh and trafficked as a slave under sin’s authority. 
15I’m a mystery to myself,  for I want to do what is right, but end up doing what my moral instincts condemn. 
16And if my behavior is not in line with my desire, my conscience still confirms the excellence of the law. 
17And now I realize that it is no longer my true self doing it, but the unwelcome intruder of sin in my humanity. 
18For I know that nothing good lives within the flesh of my fallen humanity. The longings to do what is right are within me, but willpower is not enough to accomplish it.  
19My lofty desires to do what is good are dashed when I do the things I want to avoid. 
20So if my behavior contradicts my desires to do good, I must conclude that it’s not my true identity doing it, but the unwelcome intruder of sin hindering me from being who I really am.
21Through my experience of this principle, I discover that even when I want to do good, evil is ready to sabotage me. 
22Truly, deep within my true identity, I love to do what pleases God. 
23But I discern another power operating in my humanity, waging a war against the moral principles of my conscience  and bringing me into captivity as a prisoner to the “law” of sin—this unwelcome intruder in my humanity. Romans 7:14-23 TPT
These verses lay out the condition of humanity. The sad part is, most Christians currently see themselves living out what is in these verses!
Well, I’m here to tell you Romans 7 is describing the unbeliever, not the Christian! If you are born again, this is NOT who you are. If it was, why did Jesus have to suffer so severely to leave us basically in the same condition as we were BEFORE we got saved?!
How do I know? Because Romans 8 FOLLOWS Romans 7!


From Despair to Hope: The Life of the New Creation

So let’s go back to the opening Scripture and let Paul answer his own question:

24What an agonizing situation I am in! So who has the power to rescue this miserable man from the unwelcome intruder of sin and death?  

25I give all my thanks to God, for his mighty power has finally provided a way out through our Lord Jesus, the Anointed One! So if left to myself, the flesh is aligned with the law of sin, but now my renewed mind is fixed on and submitted to God’s righteous principles. Romans 7:24-25 TPT

1So now the case is closed. There remains no accusing voice of condemnation against those who are joined in life-union with Jesus, the Anointed One. Romans 8:1


Embracing Victory: The Closing Note

Romans 8 shows us that Jesus is the way out of sin.  You are free from the power of sin described in Romans 7. Sin no longer has dominion over you because you now belong to Christ.

In our next post in the Ruminating Romans series, we’ll shine a light on what the life of the believer looks like through based on Romans chapter 8.