Who is "I"? Pondering Romans 7
What then shall we say? That the law is sin? By no means! Yet if it had not been for the law, I would not have known sin. I would not have known what it is to covet if the law had not said, “You shall not covet.” But sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment, produced in me all kinds of covetousness. Apart from the law, sin lies dead. I was once alive apart from the law, but when the commandment came, sin came alive and I died. (Romans 7:7-9)
I scribbled this down after bible class Sunday morning, so it might be a little scattered. I think that there are three popular answers to the question, “Who is ‘I’?” in Romans 7.
Paul – Before he became a “son of the Law”
Israel – Before she became a “child of the Law”
Humanity – before we reach an age of accountability
The worldview of the ancient believer in YHWH taught them to see their individual life as a recapitulation of the life of Israel. I am Israel. The feasts, the holy days, were sacraments calling the people of Israel, individually and corporately, to participate in the life of Israel — the Passover life, the Exodus life, the Wandering life, the Promised Land life, the Forgiven of Sin life.
Christ teaches his followers to take up their crosses and follow him. Jesus lived an Israel life, even being baptized into the forgiveness of sins and walking the path of the Suffering Servant of Isaiah and the Psalms. Each of his followers is called to life the Israel life, now called the Jesus Way.
So who is “I” in Romans 7?
Is it Paul? Yes!
Is it Israel? Yes!
Is it Adam? Yes!
Is it you? Is it me? Yes!
Live the mission. Walk the Jesus Road. Let the Israel life, the with-God life, the Immanuel life, the JESUS life, shine out of you to bless and transform the world!
in HIS love,