Paul discovered through somewhat scientific means that sin dwelt within his flesh. He analyzed his situation as to why, when he tried doing the good deeds of the good law, that he always committed sin instead. The Law was, as it were, slaying him instead of causing him to do good. He looked at his efforts and looked at his failure and discovered there was a law just as Newton discovered the law of gravity.
Everywhere you drop an apple, whether in Germany, Japan or Iceland, it will fall. This means there is a law at work here. A principle. A law is a way things react whenever in the same circumstances. It happens everytime! And it works everywhere! The law of gravity.
Similarly, Paul discovered that everytime he willed to do good, he sinned instead. It became a new Law or principle to him. (Romans. 7:21).
This led him to understand that it was not himself that was inherently evil, since he desired to do good (Romans. 7:15-19). He, himself, consented that the law was good. He did not willingly rebel against it. He wanted to obey it. Therefore the reason he was not obeying it could not possibly be that he was rebelling against it. It was not him. The only conclusion Paul could draw was that something was in him. It was separate from him in the sense that it was not inherently him, but it was in him.
And since Paul found that this reaction of evil acts always took place when he exerted his flesh or self effort to do good works, he narrowed the thing down to discover its identity. Whatever it was, it worked when "he", himself in his own will power and self-exertion of the flesh, was motivated to work. That act of resorting to himself through the power of his flesh in order to do good was the culprit behind getting this alien element within him to rise up and make him do evil. Therefore it had to be in his "flesh."
Narrowing it down further he realized that the flesh
contained something. It was certainly not a "good" thing as the Law was
good. It might cause some to think the Law was bad, since trying to keep
the Law seemed to always cause this evil to occur. But the Law was certainly
not bad (Romans. 7:7). But that something in his flesh certainly was bad
and not good at all.
He realized that he, himself, delighted in the Law. But another law existed which he then discovered. And that Law warred against the good law that was in his mind, which he willed to obey. And this newly discovered law was actually bringing him into captivity to the Principle of sin.
When He called on God for help, God delivered him through Jesus Christ's death on the cross. Its as though we died to be free of the old cruel husband, since he wasn't going to die (Romans. 7:2-4). And we died, but yet lived on to enjoy the freedom from the old man that our deaths provided. How can this be? Well, we died by faith, believing that Christ died instead us.
So, Paul said God delivered him in Romans. 7:25.
And another Law that existed, which he then found to be the answer, was the reality of the effort to believe and thus walk after the strength of the Spirit rather than the strength of the flesh. And so long as we rely upon God to deliver us through faith in the fact that we died with Christ, we remain above the law of sin and death above that newly discovered law that explained why he could not do good. We must continually realize that we need to rely upon God's Spirit to keep us above sin, and not rely upon our weak human power of self effort to stop sinning.
As much as the law of aerodynamics teaches us that
our presence in a certain shaped vehicle that is operating a certain way
will keep us above the law of gravity and thus cheat the
law of gravity, we can cheat the law of sin and death. And this higher
law, the law that cheat sin and death, is called the law
of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus. We must be in Christ
much as one would need to be in an airplane to escape the law of gravity.
And we are in Christ by having faith
His death for us! And that is what we must understand when we pray and
close our prayers saying, "In the name of Jesus Christ."
For more understanding of this truth, see my series
on ROMANS in the ROMANS page.