Romans 7 begins with the importance of dying to the law. Believers must die to the law as the way of salvation. Dying to the law is necessary because our sinfulness makes it impossible for the law to save. Dying to the law is not the same as the law dying. The law continues to serve the necessary function of pointing out sin and showing sin to be just what it is, exceedingly sinful.
As we grow in Jesus, we come to understand better the spirituality of the law and the reality of sin in our lives. Ellen White said it best when she said, “The closer you come to Jesus, the more faulty you will appear in your own eyes; for your vision will be clearer, and your imperfections will be seen in broad and distinct contrast to His perfect nature. This is evidence that Satan’s delusions have lost their power; that the vivifying influence of the Spirit of God is arousing you” (Ellen G. White, Steps to Christ, 64, 65).
Actual Christian growth leads to a greater and greater acknowledgment of the reality of sin in our lives. Closeness to Jesus will lead to more recognition of sin in our lives, not less. Through the process of sanctification, we progressively come to understand better the plague of sin in our lives and our desperate ongoing need for Jesus.
If we are coming closer to Jesus, we will better understand the holiness and beauty of His character and will better see our deficiencies. Like Paul, we will sometimes be confused by our own bad behavior (Romans 7:14). We will be frustrated by our inability to fully practice what we will to do (Romans 7:15). We will be bewildered by our failure to perform the good we want to do (Romans 7:18). We continually acknowledge that nothing good dwells in our flesh (Romans 7:18). We will see that even when we will to do good, evil is present with us (Romans 7:21) and that even when we delight in the law of God in our inner being, the power of sin is still at work in our bodies (Romans 7:23). We will also recognize that these weaknesses don’t represent who we are in Jesus (Romans 7:17, 20).
When we are confronted with our failures, we will freely acknowledge our wretchedness and seek deliverance (Romans 7:24). For the kinds of inwrought sin we all battle, there is only one solution: “I thank God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (Romans 7:25).