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Romans 7 – The Bible Doesn't Contradict Itself?

Bro. Mike Miller

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The Word of God is the basis for our faith. “Faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.” If the Bible obviously contradicts itself how could we possibly have any faith in it? How could we base our eternal destiny on what it says if one chapter tells us something and the next chapter contradicts it? There are places where there might appear to be a contradiction to the casual reader, but to the person who reads and studies the whole Bible, it makes perfect sense. However, what has been done with Romans 7 is to make blatant, obvious contradictions.

Many people, including preachers and Sunday School teachers, who preach Romans 7 as the normal Christian experience obviously don’t know that Romans 6 and 8 are in the Bible, too. Let’s pretend that we are talking to one of these people and we are quoting from Romans 6 and see what he has to say. Now remember, Romans 7 is the basis for his faith and everything he believes must be reconciled somehow to fit with his twisted interpretation, so these answers are not at all absurd or unreasonable, considering what he professes to believe about salvation and deliverance from sin. As a matter of fact they are exactly what the average “Christian” believes in our day.

What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? Rom. 6:1

“Of course! Where sin abounds grace does much more abound!”

Never mind that the Bible says in the next verse, “God forbid.” God NEVER encourages, or excuses sin. Sin NEVER glorifies God and it is NEVER his will, or part of his will! Let’s read another verse for him.

Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. Rom. 6:6

His understanding of this verse would have to be, “Well, this is after we die, because we all know that we have this rotten flesh and we can never live right as long as we are living in this vile body.”

For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace. Rom. 6:14

“The first part is heresy because we all sin every moment of every day in thought, word, and deed. But I like that second part about not being under the law. Where did you read that?”

What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace?… Rom. 6:15

“Why not? If we are not under the law, then we aren’t really sinning when we break it, are we?”

Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness. Rom. 6:18

“This is when we all get to heaven. We will not be free from sin until we die and are freed from this evil body God created us with. We will all serve God in heaven in true righteousness, but that is impossible here on earth.”

For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness. Rom. 6:20

“Oh yeah, while we lived on earth in bodies of clay we never could do right, so we were free from righteousness. Hallelujah! I sure am glad God doesn’t hold that against us!”

But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life. Rom. 6:22

“That means we are free from the PENALTY of sin – not the power or the presence of sin. We aren’t going to hell when we die because we have professed Christ as our Saviour. We now have everlasting life and we will be holy when we get to heaven.”

Hopefully, you can see the point. Anytime we take one verse or chapter out of the Bible and misinterpret it we are in trouble. We then have to wrest all the other Scriptures to make them compatible with our fleshly ideas. We must study the Bible as a whole and make sense of the different things in which God instructs us. The Bible, as a whole, teaches us that there is sin and there is righteousness. There are converted people, and there are unconverted people, and the difference is clear and distinct. Saved people walk after the Spirit and lost people walk after the flesh. Saved people have victory over continual, habitual sin in their lives, while lost people may want to do right, but are never able to consistently do so. Jesus came to save sinners from their sin, not just to promise them a “home in heaven bye and bye.”

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. 2 Cor. 5:17

How can anyone who reads the rest of the Bible, and especially the New Testament, look at Romans 7 and believe that it is speaking of the normal Christian experience? It is confusion and contradiction on a large scale. Anyone whose mind is working properly cannot accept such contradiction and confusion. Taking this view of Romans 7 will certainly not encourage holy living. It will not produce faith in people who hear it because it undermines the Word of God with its blatant contradiction of so many other Scriptures.

Romans 6:3-5 speaks of being baptized into Christ. This is talking about spiritual baptism, not water baptism, but it’s the same picture we use to describe what water baptism is about. It is a testimony to the world that we have died with Christ, we have buried the old man, and we are risen anew to walk with Him. They will say something like, “Baptized in the likeness of Christ’s death; raised in the likeness of his resurrection.” Then the new convert will come to Sunday School or a revival meeting and hear that he might as well give up on being free from sin because it isn’t going to happen this side of the grave. What confusion!

But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof. Rom. 13:14

We are told not to make provision for the flesh. We are not to give place to the devil. But isn’t that exactly what we are doing when we say that we are “carnal, sold under sin” and make that the basis for understanding everything else about the Christian life? Another contradiction!

For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. Rom. 8:5

God always makes the way clear. It is fleshly-minded men who muddy the waters. Carnally-minded people want to make a way for a person to be walking in the Spirit and walking after the flesh at the same time, but God doesn’t allow such a thing in his Word. One must wrest the Scriptures and take verses, or even whole chapters, out of context in order to support such a teaching.

In order to believe Romans 7 represents what the Spirit-filled walk is all about a person has to ignore Romans 8. There is not a chapter anywhere else in the Bible that is more full of victory than Romans 8. For example:

Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. Rom. 8:37

The first of chapter 8 refutes the idea that the best Christian experience is “O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from this body of death.”

There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. Rom. 8:1

Those who claim their experience as “I am carnal, sold under sin” cannot claim this verse also. It is a plain contradiction. If they are carnal that means they are walking after the flesh. If Romans 8:1 is true you can’t walk after the flesh and be free from condemnation. The only way that would be possible would be if you have a reprobate mind. You would feel no condemnation then.

Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. Rom. 8:7

So we have people who believe that they are Christians, but their very mind is enmity with God, they are not subject to the law of God, and neither indeed can be. That is a strange thing indeed considering what 1 John 2:3-4 says:

And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.

Because our friend we talked to above takes parts of the Bible out of context he would take great comfort in this verse out of Romans 8:

So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. Rom. 8:8

But we must tell him that it doesn’t end there. We need to read the next verse also:

But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. Rom. 8:9

We are not in the flesh? That’s right! If the Spirit of God dwell in you, then you are not walking after the flesh. The common understanding in this apostate age is that we are really two people living in the same body and we are both carnal and spiritual at the same time. That is an absolute falsehood that is not taught anywhere in the Word of God. It is the invention of men and the result of the influence of ancient Gnosticism that flesh is evil and therefore as long as we live in a body of flesh we are going to be evil. You cannot have the Spirit of God dwelling in you and walk after the flesh at the same time. What we are talking about here is a habit of life, or lifestyle. A true Christian is capable of being influenced by fleshly things and even capable of sinning, but it is not his habit or lifestyle any longer. He is delivered from that. He is no longer a servant of sin, but a servant of righteousness. Those who believe Romans 7 to be the normal and best experience of the Christian life boldly deny that fact with their teachings.

It IS important what you believe and teach about Romans 7. I remember while on the mission field in Mexico a song that was a favorite among many of the church people. The title of the song was “Siempre Pecaré,” which literally means “I Will Always Sin.” No kidding! The theme of the song was Romans 7 and what a loser a Christian is. He is worthless, useless, helpless, and hopeless in this life. No matter how hard he tries or what he does, he is always going to sin. One of the lines of the song even said “all I do is sin.” Now anyone who knows anything about the Bible would see immediately that whoever wrote that song has misunderstood the Scriptures. Not only that, but they have misunderstood what salvation is all about. What a pity when people in church preach, teach, and sing songs about defeat and hopelessness and present it as the best God has to offer sinful men! You can be sure that if any sinner embraces this kind of teaching he will live it that way. Could that explain why the churches are full of people like this? Could this be part of the reason the world has no regard for the church or Christianity any more? It matters what you believe about Romans 7!

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