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Romans 7:17 - Natural Corruption Bookmark

That natural corruption, which adheres strongly even to those that are regenerated, and is not completely gone. (Geneva Bible Translation Notes)

So now, no longer am I the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. (NASB)

Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. (KJV)

So I am not the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it. (NLT)

But now it is no longer me doing it, but sin that lives in me. (NET)

Here we have some figurative language expressed because we know that it is the person who commits sin.  However, Paul is illuminating the hidden motivation of reprobate hearts.  The power of sin that dominates us so that even our acts that are righteous in our sight fall woefully short of the mark because of this inward dwelling dysfunction.  Perhaps the NLT 1st Edition adds to the idea:

But I can't help myself, because it is sin inside me that makes me do these evil things.

Dr. Albert Barnes explains well this tension between our new nature and our old self:

But the apostle makes a distinction between sin and what he intends by the pronoun “I”.  By the former he evidently means his corrupt nature.  By the latter he refers to his renewed nature, his Christian principles.  He means to say that he does not approve or love it in his present state, but that it is the result of his native propensities and passions.  In his heart, and conscience, and habitual feeling, he did not choose to commit sin, but abhorred it.  Thus, every Christian can say that he does not choose to do evil, but would wish to be perfect; that he hates sin, and yet that his corrupt passions lead him astray. (Dr. Albert Barnes)

We also see here that sin dwells in our hearts (makes itself at home) which (according to Dr. Barnes) is where the expression "in-dwelling sin" originates.  This is in contrast to:

Rom 8:9  But you are not controlled by your sinful nature. You are controlled by the Spirit if you have the Spirit of God living in you. (And remember that those who do not have the Spirit of Christ living in them do not belong to Him at all.) (NLT)

1Co 3:16  Don't you realize that all of you together are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God lives in you? (NLT)

It is important for us to see the origin of our rebellion against God that darkens our ability to understand rightly and also perverts our judgment.  Dr. Adam Clarke describes this "principle" that  "acts in it, (our soul) as its lord, or as a tyrant."

Now contrast this with John's words:

1Jn 3:9  Those who have been born into God's family do not make a practice of sinning, because God's life is in them. So they can't keep on sinning, because they are children of God. (NLT)

Now we begin to see the battle that is present in us each and every day!  But we shall soon see that there is victory already one in this daily battle because of the indwelling Holy Spirit.

But sin that dwelleth in me; the old man, the carnal I, the evil present with him, the law in his members; which not only existed in him, and wrought in him, and that at times very strongly, but dwelt in him, had its abode in him, as it has in all regenerate persons, and will have, as long as they are in the body. (Dr. John Gill)

Gal 5:17  The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions. (NLT)

That coexistence and mutual hostility of “flesh” and “spirit” in the same renewed man, which is so clearly taught in Romans 8:4, etc., and in Galatians 5:16, etc., is the true and only key to the language of this and the following verses. (It is hardly necessary to say that the apostle means not to disown the blame of yielding to his corruptions, by saying, “it is not he that does it, but sin that dwelleth in him.” Early heretics thus abused his language; but the whole strain of the passage shows that his sole object in thus expressing himself was to bring more vividly before his readers the conflict of two opposite principles, and how entirely, as a new man - honoring from his inmost soul the law of God - he condemned and renounced his corrupt nature, with its affections and lusts, its stirrings and its outgoings, root and branch). (A Commentary on the Old and New Testaments by Robert Jamieson, A. R. Fausset and David Brown)

Perhaps James gives us the insight into this struggle:

What is causing the quarrels and fights among you? Don't they come from the evil desires at war within you? You want what you don't have, so you scheme and kill to get it. You are jealous of what others have, but you can't get it, so you fight and wage war to take it away from them. Yet you don't have what you want because you don't ask God for it. And even when you ask, you don't get it because your motives are all wrong—you want only what will give you pleasure. You adulterers! Don't you realize that friendship with the world makes you an enemy of God? I say it again: If you want to be a friend of the world, you make yourself an enemy of God. What do you think the Scriptures mean when they say that the spirit God has placed within us is filled with envy? But He gives us even more grace to stand against such evil desires. As the Scriptures say, "God opposes the proud but favors the humble." So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world. Let there be tears for what you have done. Let there be sorrow and deep grief. Let there be sadness instead of laughter, and gloom instead of joy. (James 4:1-9 NLT)

That natural corruption, which adheres strongly even to those that are regenerated, and is not completely gone. (Geneva Bible Translation Notes)

So now, no longer am I the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. (NASB)

Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. (KJV)

So I am not the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it. (NLT)

But now it is no longer me doing it, but sin that lives in me. (NET)

Here we have some figurative language expressed because we know that it is the person who commits sin.  However, Paul is illuminating the hidden motivation of reprobate hearts.  The power of sin that dominates us so that even our acts that are righteous in our sight fall woefully short of the mark because of this inward dwelling dysfunction.  Perhaps the NLT 1st Edition adds to the idea:

But I can't help myself, because it is sin inside me that makes me do these evil things.

Dr. Albert Barnes explains well this tension between our new nature and our old self:

But the apostle makes a distinction between sin and what he intends by the pronoun “I”.  By the former he evidently means his corrupt nature.  By the latter he refers to his renewed nature, his Christian principles.  He means to say that he does not approve or love it in his present state, but that it is the result of his native propensities and passions.  In his heart, and conscience, and habitual feeling, he did not choose to commit sin, but abhorred it.  Thus, every Christian can say that he does not choose to do evil, but would wish to be perfect; that he hates sin, and yet that his corrupt passions lead him astray. (Dr. Albert Barnes)

We also see here that sin dwells in our hearts (makes itself at home) which (according to Dr. Barnes) is where the expression "in-dwelling sin" originates.  This is in contrast to:

Rom 8:9  But you are not controlled by your sinful nature. You are controlled by the Spirit if you have the Spirit of God living in you. (And remember that those who do not have the Spirit of Christ living in them do not belong to Him at all.) (NLT)

1Co 3:16  Don't you realize that all of you together are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God lives in you? (NLT)

It is important for us to see the origin of our rebellion against God that darkens our ability to understand rightly and also perverts our judgment.  Dr. Adam Clarke describes this "principle" that  "acts in it, (our soul) as its lord, or as a tyrant."

Now contrast this with John's words:

1Jn 3:9  Those who have been born into God's family do not make a practice of sinning, because God's life is in them. So they can't keep on sinning, because they are children of God. (NLT)

Now we begin to see the battle that is present in us each and every day!  But we shall soon see that there is victory already one in this daily battle because of the indwelling Holy Spirit.

But sin that dwelleth in me; the old man, the carnal I, the evil present with him, the law in his members; which not only existed in him, and wrought in him, and that at times very strongly, but dwelt in him, had its abode in him, as it has in all regenerate persons, and will have, as long as they are in the body. (Dr. John Gill)

Gal 5:17  The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions. (NLT)

That coexistence and mutual hostility of “flesh” and “spirit” in the same renewed man, which is so clearly taught in Romans 8:4, etc., and in Galatians 5:16, etc., is the true and only key to the language of this and the following verses. (It is hardly necessary to say that the apostle means not to disown the blame of yielding to his corruptions, by saying, “it is not he that does it, but sin that dwelleth in him.” Early heretics thus abused his language; but the whole strain of the passage shows that his sole object in thus expressing himself was to bring more vividly before his readers the conflict of two opposite principles, and how entirely, as a new man - honoring from his inmost soul the law of God - he condemned and renounced his corrupt nature, with its affections and lusts, its stirrings and its outgoings, root and branch). (A Commentary on the Old and New Testaments by Robert Jamieson, A. R. Fausset and David Brown)

Perhaps James gives us the insight into this struggle:

What is causing the quarrels and fights among you? Don't they come from the evil desires at war within you? You want what you don't have, so you scheme and kill to get it. You are jealous of what others have, but you can't get it, so you fight and wage war to take it away from them. Yet you don't have what you want because you don't ask God for it. And even when you ask, you don't get it because your motives are all wrong—you want only what will give you pleasure. You adulterers! Don't you realize that friendship with the world makes you an enemy of God? I say it again: If you want to be a friend of the world, you make yourself an enemy of God. What do you think the Scriptures mean when they say that the spirit God has placed within us is filled with envy? But He gives us even more grace to stand against such evil desires. As the Scriptures say, "God opposes the proud but favors the humble." So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world. Let there be tears for what you have done. Let there be sorrow and deep grief. Let there be sadness instead of laughter, and gloom instead of joy. (James 4:1-9 NLT)



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