A special thanks to Jay Street for all the hard study that led to this video!
This video was adapted from his 6-part podcast series on Romans 7:7 - 8:4.
Check out this series on Bible Crux as well as all his other good content!
If you would like to study this issue from a more technical point of view, you can read Jay Street's article for the Master's Seminary Journal.
A special thanks to Sam Yang for making the intro music!
Check out his YouTube channel, Jungi Geetah!
"Getting Ready" by Sam Yang
"Happy & Inspirational Acoustic" by BestBackgroundMusic
WallDeca: Dry-Erase Thick Fine Line Markers
IS THERE ANY SPIRITUAL PROGRESS IN ROMANS 7?
The seventh question we need to answer is this: Is there any spiritual progress in Romans 7?
The Holy Spirit may not be active in Romans 7, but I realize that doesn’t necessarily mean it isn’t talking about a Christian. That being the case, I would say this: Even if there’s no Spirit, there should at least be progress in his walk with the Lord. What do I mean by progress? Progress, defined biblically, is the fruit of obedience. Romans itself records this definition just a few verses before chapter 7:
For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. But what fruit were you getting at that time from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life. (Romans 6:20–22)
Progress is fruit, because fruit leads to sanctification, which is the process by which God makes Christians more holy through obedience. In order to see progress, we need to see fruit. There must be concrete evidence in a believer’s life that he is turning away from sin and obeying the Lord. The fruit of obedience is that evidence.
So, do we find any fruit of obedience in Romans 7? No, there is none. That may not sound right, if you’ve always believed Romans 7 is talking about a Christian struggling with sin. But I want to encourage you to scan the chapter again and try to identify any fruit or obedience. You won’t find any. All you will find is what the most famous verses tell us:
For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate . . . For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. (Romans 7:15b, 18b–19)
Notice, Paul never claims to do what’s right. In fact, he claims the opposite. He only claims to do what’s wrong. It may seem like he’s making progress, but what we often identify as progress is actually just a desire to make progress. That’s the best thing he has going for him—the only thing he has going for him—and it’s still not enough to stop him from sinning. As good as his desires may be, they do not represent the biblical definition of spiritual progress.