for in my inner being i delight in God's law; but i see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. [rom 7.22:23]
for if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. [rom 8.13:14]
That's always my reaction when I read Romans 7. How can you do what you don't want to do? How can "sin" be making the choice for you? Doesn't that take away personal responsibility? I feel like I've come to a new understanding of this passage in the past few weeks. For me, here is the key, in the words of a wise man: we are not physical beings with a spiritual dimension; rather, we are spiritual beings with a physical dimension.
Here's my interpretation: we usually use "I" for our physical and spiritual selves interchangeably, and Paul is distinguishing between the two. Most live entirely for their physical selves and many live for their physical nature while acknowledging a spiritual dimension. Every physical being is sinful. The key is recognizing that we don't have to live for our physical selves; by surrendering ourselves to God we may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in this world caused by evil desires [ii.pet.1.4].
Living within our physical selves is like staying in a cage when the door is wide open. It means living incompletely when there is so much more to life. By entering into God's family, we have the opportunity to live for our full, spiritual selves, and to recognize that living for our physical selves is a choice. Sin is not a choice for the physical self, but it is for the spiritual self.
For me, every time I sin I am refusing this choice, refusing to acknowledge the truth of my spiritual self. Jesus took the blindfold off, and I'm trying to put it back on. i do not understand what I do. for what i want to do i do not do, but what i hate i do [rom.7.15].
I am trying to live for the reality of my spiritual self. In this light, my body is a gift from God that I can use for Him. It is a property of my existence, but not the definition of my existence. Paul says:
therefore, i urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God- this is your spiritual act of worship. do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is- his good, pleasing and perfect will. [rom.12.1:2]