Romans 7: An Old Covenant Struggle Seen Through New Covenant Eyes

Romans 7 is possibly one of the most cherished texts in church history. But it is also one of the most controversial passages in Scripture. Many resonate with Paul’s ambivalence and insist that Paul is speaking about the Christian’s daily struggle with sin. Others strongly disagree and purport that Paul’s struggle is too defeating for the Christian life, and he must be speaking for unbelievers. However, it will be argued in this article that both sides of the debate have been speaking past each other for centuries because both sides are asking the wrong question. This is not a passage about whether Paul is speaking as a Christian or not, but whether Paul is speaking as someone under the Old Covenant or the New Covenant. Thus, when the reader’s perspective is properly adjusted, he can rightly ascertain Paul’s spiritual status in the passage—Paul is speaking as a believer under the Old Covenant before the inauguration of the New Covenant.

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