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You cannot read Romans 7 without first reading Romans 8:1.
Romans 8:1 Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
There is something strangely encouraging about Paul's vulnerability at this point.
Remember every book of the Bible was not written in chapter in verse form; But written as one continuous letter.
For example, the Romans letter was written to the church at Rome.
The church at Rome included multiple house churches, Which meant that Paul was writing to multiple house churches and each house church would have an opportunity to read Paul's letter
I believe Paul is sharing a deep vulnerability with us and we should take note.
I believe we all can relate to what Paul is saying in Romans 8:1
It gives every appearance that Paul has faced self-condemnation
Meaning Paul is Contending with emotions, thoughts, habits, & attitudes that work on him in such a way that he is tempted to be condemning of himself.
What does it mean to be self-condemning?
I think it is easy to label yourself as someone who is no good, someone who is incapable of change, or someone who is viewing themselves as a worthless person based on their past.
Did Paul have these issues? An apostle of Jesus Christ?
For I am the least of the apostles, and not fit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 1 Corinthians 15:9
It's not hard to imagine that Paul contended with how he treated the Church of Jesus Christ before he became a Christian
Paul literally killed brothers and sisters in Christ before he became a Christian.
Paul’s past was hard and again it's not hard to imagine that Paul would have been tempted with self-condemnation in regard to literally murdering Christians.
So how did Paul come to express “therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”
Experience is a great teacher; so, let's work through Romans 7 knowing that we are going to discover the reasons Paul was experienced in self-condemnation.