If you get Romans 7 wrong, you’ll likely get the gospel wrong, too.
Thank you Brad! I have long thought of myself as a “Romans 7 Christian”. Thanks to you I now have a better understanding of why that is true. I am grateful.
Hi Jon, yes, the freedom we have in Christ is the freedom to, as you say, "choose the right way." We've been emancipated out of slavery to sin and death and enlisted as "slaves to righteousness leading to sanctification" (Rom. 6:19). The hopeful part, for me, is that even when I make the wrong choice, because of Christ, the righteousness of God is still mine by faith. Thanks for your comment.
You missed the transition at the beginning of chapter seven. Indeed, chapter 6 and the freedom from sin the Roman Christians have (Paul emphatically declares) cannot be reconciled linguistically with the portrayal that Paul makes that he is a wretched sinner, a total slave to sin. The transition shows why there is such a contrast between chapters 6 and 7. The woman is bound by law and cannot be free to marry another until her husband dies. Through the death of Christ, the law no longer applies and she may now marry Christ. As a Jewishman under law, Paul could want to follow the law, but could not obey it. He was married to his sin. Through the death of Christ, Paul is now free to belong to Christ and is free from sin. Can he fall into sin? Yes, just as he warned the Christians in chapter 6--they might offer their bodies to the law of sin and death--but they don't have to. They are freed from the law that used to bind them. They have a freedom now to choose the right way. Otherwise, the contrast between 6 and 7 is nonsense.
The implication of chapter 7 is that we can indeed choose to follow the law as non-believers and approve of it as right and good even before our salvation, but we are not at liberty to follow it because of the law of sin and death.