Theology; Is the Ethical Power of the Spirit stronger than the lust of the fles




Content                       1

Introduction                      2

A. Who is in slavery of sin in Rom 7:25 b?

-The Problem of   egou ; in Rom 7:25 b.(A)                           3

1 The ”I” is rhetorical! (Werner Georg Kümmel)                                                                                              3

2 The ”I” is Paul! (James D.G.Dunn)                                                                                                                    3

a The redaction of Rom 7:14-25 within the Roman

correspondence.  Dunn 1)                                                                                                                     4

b The strong argumentation in Rom 7. (Dunn 2)                                                                        5

c  The continuing experience of lust. (Dunn 3)                                                                         5

d The change of tenses. (Dunn 4)                                                                                            5

e ” The inner man” (Dunn 5)                                                                                                                                  5

f   Rom 7:25b the central pivot. (Dunn 6)                                                                                         6

g  The eschatological perspective. (Dunn 7)                                                                                               6

h  Gal 5:17 in the argumentation of Dunn                                                                                             8

i   Dunn’s dependence on the argumentation of Nygren and its                       validity.                                                                                                                                                               9

3) Cranfields middle position                                                                                                                    10

4) Summary  (1-3)                                                                                                                                    11

B. The Struggle betweeen flesh and Spirit in Gal 5:17.                                                                            12

–  Is the lust of the flesh irresistible in Galatians 5:17 ?

1.The relation between Rom 7:14-25 and Gal 5:17.                                                            12

2. Contradictio in adjecto-

3.. The slogan  – a ean théläte  a designation of the Judaizers?                                           13

4  Gal 5:17 in the light of the context.                                                                                        14

5 Summary (1-4)

Conclusion                                                                                                           15

End commentaries                                                                   16

TILLÄGG EFTER SEMINARIUM 13 OKT 2004               17


Is the ethical power of the Spirit overcome by the law of sin in Rom 7:25b or the lust of the flesh in Gal 5:17? The question is caused by our investigation of pneuma in Paul’s ethical texts. Beginning with the Thessalonian correspondence we found in 1 Thess 4:8 and 2 Thess 2:13 a dependence on Old Testament prophecies concerning the coming of a new ethical power in the hearts of God’s people. The principal one was found in Ezechiel 36:26 s. Without exception a complete future solution of the ethical dilemma is here promised by the outpouring of God’s spirit in the hearts of God’s people. In fact this promise found to be behind the two pneumatological statements in 1 Thess 4:8 and 2 Thess 2:13 are supposed to be not only behind these texts. A wide spread persuasion among NT- scholars  presume that Ezechiel 36:26 s  is the background of such main pneumatological texts concerning the ethical life as Rom 8:1ss and Gal 5:16-25. 2 If that should be right – and we have to investigate this in a coming paper – then we have to expect a total solution of the Spirit-filled Christians ethical dilemma even elsewhere in the Pauline writings , presupposed that Paul is consistent at least in ethical texts . For in Ez 36:27, the divine solution of the ethical dilemma is presented as totally successful, without  exception. The energy coming with God’s Spirit in the heart of God’s people is declared to be strong enough to overcome all sorts of human moral weaknesses and enable a life, where God’s statutes are followed and God’s will concerning the ethical life is fulfilled4 . After the coming of the Spirit no more obligation to sin due to human weakness, due to the power of flesh or the lust of sin.

The main task in this paper is not to take any position to the ”Traditionsforschung”   concerning the pneumatology in the rest of Paul’s ethical texts but rather just on the preliminary level put the question before us: Can such a solution of the ethical dilemma as is proclaimed by Ezechiel be relevant also for Paul’s description of Christian life  elsewhere, or are there any texts where this successful  solution  is questioned?

Objections to such a positive understanding of pneuma’s capacity  mainly have come from the understanding of two passages: Rom 7:25b (A) and Gal 5:17 5 (B).

Crucial for the understanding of Rom 7:25 b is the discernment of the ”I”-identity. Mainly two positions are upheld among the scholars on this issue; the so called majority 6  position with Werner G. Kümmel in the first line (1) and the

autobiographical or minority position here represented by James D G Dunn.(2). Even if  Gal 5:17 by many exegetes is used  as a cornerstone for their interpretation within the exegesis of Rom 7:25b, I give my position on this text and a short summary of the discussion in the second part (B) of this paper.


A. Who is in slavery of sin in Rom 7:25 b?

-The Problem of  ejgw; in Rom 7:25 b.

Who is in fact the ”I” in Rom 7 in general and in verse 25b in special? The question is crucial for our ability to consider pneuma’s possibilities to solve the Christians ethical dilemma according to Paul. This possibility is namely denied in 7:25b, if we consider the ”I” -identity to be  a Spirit-filled Christian like Paul.

1 The ”I” is rhetorical! (Werner Georg Kümmel)

The ”I” is rhetorical! This was understood by W.G.Kümmel  already in his dissertation ”Das BIld des Menschen im Neuen Testament” 1929 together with ”Römer 7 und die Bekehrung des Paulus” (UNT 17) Leipzig 1929 and reprinted, with consideration taken to the discussion 1929–1960 first in an English version ”Man in New Testament” and then in an extended German one: Römer 7 und das Bild des Menschen im NT, München 1974.

Two things have to be said about this work:

The ”I”-identity in Rom 7 is, according to Kümmel  to search not in a special person like Paul or in a special period in his life but in a ”rhetorical I ”.7                       This ”I” cannot be a Spiritfilled Christian 8 , because of the  contradiction between Roman 7 and the description of Christian life in Rom 8:14-13 and the one in Gal 5:16 . In Gal 5:16 an ethical successful life really is made possible by the power of the Spirit. That Paul in fact has  conquered the power of flesh in his own life is supposed in 1 Cor 9:26f. As a man who has found the solution of his personal ethical dilemma, he can be a model for others; 1 Cor 4:16.9

2  The ”I” is Paul! (James D.G.Dunn).

The so called ’majority position’ has -in spite of Werner Georg Kümmel’s very heavy and elaborate argumentation – been heavily attacked  by no less than James D G  Dunn  . Already in his  Tyndale Lecture delivered in Cambridge 1974.10 he took the old position of Augustine  and   Thomas Aquinas, Luther  and  Calvin, meaning that  ” in Rom 7 Paul describes his continuing experience as a believer.. his own experience now, even as a Christian.”11 He then developed and  deepened his position in his commentary on Romans 1988 and in his theology of Paul ten years later.12 In part the same view is upheld by the commentaries of C.E.B. Cranfield 13 and P. Stuhlmacher 14 .

J.D.G. Dunn’s eschatological perspective on the ethical  fight of a Christian already noticeable in his article 1973, was in fact  taken over and underlined by among others Don B Garlington in his two works on the obedience of faith.15

So also Dunn’s transference of Jesus existential status as flesh and Spirit as a model for Christian’s ethical tension between flesh and Spirit on the other.16

The way James D G Dunn has treated  his subject in considerable detail and his influence on scholars on this matter , causes us to in detail present and evaluate the arguments of Dunn and his followers.

2 a The redaction of Rom 7:14-25 within the Roman correspondence.

(Dunn’s first argument 1)

Dunn’s first reason to doubt Kümmel’s ”I”-identification has to do with the place Rom 7:14-25 has got within the Roman correspondence. In fact he finds Rom 7:14-25 with this interpretation to be ” an unnecessary interruption and  digression in Paul’s thought much more suited to Rom. 2-3 than that of 6-8.17

This must not be so. If we  regard Rom 1:16  as the principal declaration18  for the Roman letter we will already in the beginning of the letter find a declaration with the focus on  the gospel as a new way to righteousness. This righteousness – dikaiosuvnh – is not only understood in a forensic way (Rom 5:1) but as its Hebrew equivalent  – sedaqah   – indicates also contains an ethical character.19 The lack of this righteousness in an ethical sense is very well depicted in the rest of Roman 1:24-32. The lack of this righteousness leads to condemnation for Jews as well as for pagans, without any protection from the law  Rom 2-3. After the declaration of faith as the way to receive righteousness in a forensic sense ch.4-5 he continues to declare in what way the ethical consequences can be achieved. Roman 6-8. As the law was not able to produce righteousness for Jews and pagans in 2-3, it is the wrong solution, even for converted people (Christians?20  in Rom 7:14-25, not having the ethical power of the Holy Spirit in Rom 8. 21

In fact this  twofold character of the concept ” justification ” is in fact traced back to the Antiochean origin of Paul and for its ethical signification could be traced to texts like 1 Cor 1:30; 6:9-11.22

In the same direction Krister Stendahl avoiding the question of the ” I ” -identity in Ro 7:13-25 by claiming that  the only thing Paul wants to do in this chapter, is to show how the law is wrong medicine for the solution of the ethical question. The positive solution still exists already here and now, by the Holy Spirit about which he (Paul) speaks in ch. 823 .

In the same direction  M. Theobald   claiming that Roman  7 is to see as an answer to the question raised by the Jewish opponents namely that the law is  inadequate to solve the ethical question 24 .

With consideration taken to these rhetorical and compositional facts the place of Rom 7 talking about a converted but not yet Spiritfilled Christian could well be motivated between ch 6 and 8.

2 b The strong argumentation in Rom 7. (Dunn 2)

Dunn’s second argument against Kümmel is that Paul’s ’ anguish and frustration of vv. 15ff. and 24 is too real, too sharpy poignant to permit any reduction of the ”I” to a mere figure of style’ .25

Dunn- according to me- here overlooks the fact that Paul emotionally was so connected with the fate of the spiritual struggle of the members in his churches as he could declare their weakness to be his  and their stumbling to fill him with indignation- 2 Cor 11:29 . The vivid way in which Paul can describe the emotions of this rhetorical ”I” is in fact a testimony of his identification with the receivers of the letter


2 c  The continuing experience of lust. (Dunn 3)

Dunn’s third argument against Kümmel, is that Paul uses  pluperfect with imperfect sense  in v 7, ” to describe the beginning of a  continuing experience;  he still experiences lust.” Of cause in this matter Dunn is right; the experience of lust is in no way exclusive for a person without Christ. It is a general human experience  for Jews and pagans, for people with the law and for them without the law. Yes, even for those having the Spirit, that is even for Paul. It is a continuing experience for a  Spirit-filled Christian. In this way the experience of verse 7 might well fit into a Spirit-filled Christian life. But this is not the question in this context. Verse 7 is only the beginning of a description of helpless slavery under the law of sin depicted in 14-25b. With this climax as the end of Paul’s description we have to conclude, that: It is in fact a great difference between being opposed by the lust of sin on one side, and being in the slavery of sin on the other. 26 Thus the grammatical construction can in no way exclude the existence of a rhetorical ”I” in Roman 7 being another one than Paul as a Spirit-filled person.

2 d The change of tenses. (Dunn 4)

Dunn  sees the change of tenses between imperfect in vv. 7-13 and present tense in 14 ss, as an expression of a shift in Paul’s personal life, a  shift indicating ’ a resistance and firmness of purpose which was lacking in vv. 7-13 27   .

This shift he combines with the coming of the Spirit in ch. 8, not taking into consideration the great difference between  the successful fight against the power of flesh and sin in chapter 8, conferred with the defeat in Rom 7:25b. Thus Dunn only sees a faint variation between Rom 7 and Rom 8. It is in no way a victory over sin, only different degrees of ” resistance and firmness of purpose” and can in this way not respond to the ethical successful life of a Spiritfilled Christian in Rom 8.

 2 e ” The inner man” (Dunn 5)

Paul’s mentioning ” the inner man” of  v.22 causes Dunn (5) to place the ”I” personality in Rom 7 among the ’believers, as part of the new age, where his nous  should be renewed by the Spirit’ and regarded as equal with the renewed mind in Rom 12:2 and with his by the Spirit renewed inner man in  2 Cor 4,16 as  the ” closest parallel to the usage in Rom 7,22” . According to me, 2 Cor 4,16 must be regarded as a description of believers, already in possession of the Spirit. Here, however the Spirit is not at all mentioned. With H.D.Betz, we have to realize that: ”2 Cor 4.16 and Rom 7.22 represent two different interpretations” (28) Consequently the expression ” ” the inner man” must be regarded as a void anthropological term. It is supposed originally to come from Plato (29) into the later writings of Paul, but from the beginning without any connection at all with the divine Spirit (30) .

2 f Rom 7:25b the central pivot. (Dunn 6)

As the sixth argument and in fact his main one, Dunn regards  Rom 7:25b as ” the central pivot on which our whole understanding of Paul’s gospel turns. It is the stone  on which the majority interpretations of Rom. 7,14-25 break and fall”.

In fact  the aujto;” ara egou  tou mèn noi doulevou nómou theú  egou tou men noi doulevou theou th de sarki nomou ‘amartias.

“. has been understood in two ways; either as an underlining and reinforcement of the ”I” in the sense:’ I myself’

or as a distinction between myself and the existence of other qualifications such as I and the Spirit, I and Christ.

Dunn understands the expression in the first sense; I, even I, that is ”I myself” and adds ”The ’mind’ here must be the mind renewed by the Spirit (cf. Rom 12.2) ”31 and repeats his earlier false understanding of the mind here and its supposed contact with the Spirit. Paul obviously uses the Greek word nous  in a profane, secular sense, a term, without any contact with the Spirit. ( 1 Cor 1:10, Phil  4:7, 2 Th 2:2)32 .

That no divine Spirit is involved here is obvious, seen from the position of verse 7:25b in the end of chapter 7 and as a summary of what is said before 14-24, but even as a hint of what is to come  8:3. The most natural understanding of Rom 7:25b then will be: ” I myself, without Christ ”,33  especially since Christ as the one coming with the solution of the ethical dilemma, is mentioned just before in 7:25a.  Some scholars34  find it odd that Rom 7:25a should precede 25 b and proposes another order of the verses. However no other order exists among the MS of Romans and the sequence of thought with an anticipation in 7:25 a of what is to come in Rom 8:1 ss, followed by a repetition of 14-24 and its disastrous situation without Christ in 7:25b seems to be logic and natural.35 The insertion of the exultance of praise to God-7:25a can be seen as a benediction, so usual in Jewish and early Christian texts 36 , but also as an indication of what is to come in 8:1 ss.

2 g) The eschatological perspective (Dunn 7)

                       In order to in the light of Roman 8:1 ss come to terms with his understanding of Roman 7:14-25 as being a description of the daily ethical struggle of a Spirit-filled Christian  Dunn  develops an eschatological perspective.  He does so by confusing the physical power of death in 8,10 with the ethical power of flesh and writes ” even men of the Spirit die (1. Thess. 4,13, 1. Cor.15,26)…. In v.10 the continuity of thought between 7,14-25 and 8 is perhaps most clearly evident and the continuing paradox of flesh and Spirit, death and life, comes to striking expression.”37

Already in  April the year before he developed the same perspective in his article: ” Jesus-flesh and spirit: an exposition of Romans I.3-4.38 , but from a Christological perspective, seeing a parallel between Jesus and the Christian. As Jesus had an existence both as a human being in flesh and as God’s Son in Spirit , so even the Christian.  By drawing this parallel, Dunn tries to show that being in the flesh, yes even in the slavery of sin is in fact to participate in the same situation as Jesus. The difference between Jesus being in flesh but without sin 39 , compared with the one  being in the slavery of the flesh in Rom 7:14-25 is not given any attention at all. In the way he uses  this parallel, Dunn in fact neglects the difference between the physical realm of flesh, and the dominion of flesh as an ethical power.40

In his 14 years later published  commentary on Romans, he introduces the death and resurrection of Jesus, as modeled even in the ethical war of the Christian.41

Dunn’s combination of flesh as a negative pole in an ethical sense and death as a physical threat to human existence is a very odd one and does not exist in the text at all. What is at stake is not flesh as an expression of human weakness, because of which human beings are deadly beings. What is in the center of Paul’s ethical argumentation, is the victory over ” flesh ” as a weapon for sin. Dying , not being able to survive in a physical sense never is combined with  p e r s o n a l  sin or guilt. In a total different way Paul talks about death as a general human experience, not caused by one’s  individual sin but by the sin of the first human being, Adam. (1 Cor 15:22 with par.) By making this false combination, Dunn even denies the possibility of a victory over the power of flesh and writes: ”He must of cause constantly choose to live katà pneuma  and to resist life katà sárka, putting to death the deeds of the body by the power of the Spirit (Rom .8,13), but that is a war he cannot win so long as the body is the body of flesh.”42  In his commentary, he even makes a caricature of those claiming sinlessness. He proclaims them to be the rich ones, or the kings, to which Paul makes allusion to in 1 Cor 4:8 and declares the lack of victory over the sin as an expression of the eschatological tension, in itself a proof of the identification with Christ 43 .

Dunn’s only response to the cry of Rom 7:24 is the resurrection. ”In either case the redemption will be achieved through Christ presumably at and / or by means of his Parousia

( cf. 11:26; 1 Cor 15:42-57; 1 Thess 1:10)”.44

Rom 7:25b then will be ” a classic statement of the eschatological tension ” 45 Thus his description of the ethical tension will at the same time be a description of the eschatological tension. In the same way the eschatological tension in Phil 3:10 will be turned into an ethical one.46 However, when Paul in Phil 3:10 is talking about ” sharing his (Christ’s) sufferings” we are not before the ethical struggle of Jesus, nor are we with Paul’s longing for ” the power of his resurrection” talking about a longing for ethical power to overcome sin sinful desires of the flesh, no, he is talking about the same thing as in 2 Cor 4:16-18 namely the longing for the divine glory that lasts for ever. The race he in Phil 3:10-16 is running in which something already is gained, but other things remain, could rather be seen in the light of 1 Cor 15:10 where Paul talks about what he by the grace of God already has achieved 47  and by that also opens up for that which is to come.

As a conclusion: The existence of 7:25 a cannot change the impression that in 7:25 b we have to do with a life without the control of the Spirit.

A similar type of confusion as the one found with Dunn above we also meet with in  P. Stuhlmacher’s  way of handling Rom 7: 25b. By alleging the word of fleshly human weakness in Mark 14:38 he finds  a reason to suppose that even Rom 7:25b must be about the Christian life here and now.48

As is shown by H.D. Betz  there is no contradiction whatever between the existence as a human being in the flesh on one side, and as such be enabled by the Spirit to overcome the ethical power of flesh, and live according to the Spirit  on the other 49 . In fact this was shown already by  W.G.Kümmel ,  especially in his 1974 edition of Römer 7 und das Bild des Menschen im Neuen Testament.  Was in fact this not known for  J,D,G, Dunn in his Tyndale Lectures 1974  reproduced in  his article 197550?

2 h  Gal 5:17 in the argumentation of Dunn

A reason for the belief that even the Spirit-filled  Christian cannot resist the power of flesh  is according to Dunn the reading in Gal. 5.17  he gar sarx epithymei katá tou pneumatos to de pneuma kata tes sarkós , tauta dé gár antíkeitai allélois, ina mé ha än ean thélate tauta poiete. and his belief that   i{na shall be understood in a consecutive sense51 . He then tries to defend his opinion by pointing to the fact that man cannot avoid physical weakness. Dunn then makes a caricature  of his opponents by saying:  ” For them the logic of Paul’s thought indicates that the coming of the Spirit meant the end of the flesh and of life in the flesh ” 52 . Apparently, Dunn doesn’t make a difference between flesh as physical weakness impossible to overcome and flesh as an ethical power overcome by the power of the Holy Spirit. Quite contrary. In a raw of four texts, Rom 8:17;  2 Cor 12:9; 2 Cor.4:7-5:5 and Phil. 3:10 f. all talking about human physical weakness and death as impossible to withdraw even for the Spirit-filled Christian he tries to prove that even the ethical defeat in Rom 7:14-25 is relevant for the description of a Spirit-filled Christian53 . As we found earlier, the Spirit is absent in Rom 7:14-25, not even present in the concept of nous. That is why we are standing in another situation in Gal 5:17. The way J.D.G. Dunn tries to see Gal 5:17 in the light of his misunderstanding of Rom 7:14-25 consequently cannot influence our understanding of the latter text.  I will treat Gal 5:17 more in detail below and in this investigation question if a consecutive  comprehension of  i{na is the most adequate understanding, since the believer at least in the light of the context seems to have to make a choice, either follow the flesh and then meet with the resistance from the Spirit, or the opposite and then have to resist the temptations of the flesh.

2 i ) Dunn’s dependence on the argumentation of Nygren and its validity.

In order to gain support for his opinion Dunn praises the commentary of  A. Nygren . However, the dilemma with  Nygren is that he only has two categories to choose between, in finding the ”I” -identity of Roman 7:14-25. Either the converted born again Christian or the unconverted non-Christian. The latter position he finds with the pietists, but cannot do with this one, as  the ”I” in Rom 7:7-25 in  spite of all moral weakness still confesses himself to be  converted. He at least wants to do what is right even if he lacks the possibility to perform it.

There is a conceptual error here. For Nygren  being ’converted’ and being ’born again’ is one and the same thing, for the pietists however being ’born again’ has to do with the successful life depicted in Roman 8. Nygren  admits, that against Rom 8, there is a low estimation of – in his mind- the Christian life we meet in Roman 7:14-25.54   Obviously the man we meet in Rom 7:14-25 is a converted one. However, conferred with Rom 8, he is not in access of the ethical power emanating from the Holy Spirit. Out from this the question emerges; is there any difference between the two concepts of Christian initiation, from where does the term ”conversion” stem, and from where ” born again”? Conversion is used mainly by the synoptic gospels for a process of initiation before the coming of the Spirit55 . Being born again an expression stemming from the John’s Gospel occurs with a divine origin, a Christian initiation including the Spirit.56 O.Modalsli 57  goes so far as to identify the ”I” in Rom 7:14-25 with a Christian but in himself without the Spirit given by Christ.

The reason for Paul in Rom 7:14-25 to use  present  tense, instead of  preteritum  does not like  Nygren  force a special apprehension of identity on us, as if it should indicate Paul now, in his Christian and Spirit-filled status. No, this vivid description, must be regarded as a literary feature. to indicate the acuteness and the actuality of the problem in itself.

However one of the main reasons to reject the interpretation of  Nygren , in this point followed by  Dunn  is  again the fact that he denies the complete victory over the power of sin, and regards ” being in the flesh ” as equivalent with  the presence of sin in life, not only as a temptation but as a power impossible to resist 58 . Once again we have to repeat the difference between   peripatein en sarki  and  kata sárka peripatoúntas.

(2 Cor. 10:3) obviously hidden for Nygren. .

Neglected is again the texts where Paul indeed  talks about a possible fulfillment of the law, Rom. 3:31, of a successful treatment of his own body.

He like Dunn later disregards the meaning of texts like

1 Cor 9:26f; ”I punish my body and enslave it” ” douolagógó,

1 Cor 4:4f I am not aware of anything against myself, but I am not thereby acquitted.

1 Cor 4:16 ”I appeal to you, then, be imitators of me”.

All indicating a successful victory over sin in the life of Paul.

The inability to fulfill the law in Rom 7:14-25 comes according to  Nygren  from the fact that the law cannot function as a way to salvation and to suppose that it should be possible for a Christian to fulfill the law, would be to reintroduce the law as a way to salvation59. What in fact is neglected by  Nygren is the fulfilling of the requirement of the law, Rom 8:4 by those who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. Even if the law here is not used as a way of salvation, it is as Gundry has declared, used as the ethical norm.60

3. Cranfield,s middle position

An interesting middle position in the sense that ”I” is recognized-like with W.G.Kümmel- to represent a rhetorical ”I”, but still 7:25 b represents the daily life’s  struggle of a full-scale Christian is given by C.E.B. Cranfield 61 . One of the reasons for him is the fact that the preceding verses, 7:24, 25a not can be said to speak about anything else, than the final solution from the deadly body  ejk tou’ swvmato” tou’ qanavtou touvtou given at  the resurrection. Thus admitting that against this final solution only the present  situation exists, given in 7:25 b, as a description of  the ongoing Christian life.

That also includes that the expression ” I myself”  not can indicate what is true ’apart from Christ’s intervention’, but rather as underlining the full personal involvement of the Christian as the subject of both statements tou noi doulevou nomou theou th’ de sarki   and th/..sarki; (doulevou) nómó hamartías

By this he doesn’t want to admit a continued sinfulness – as should, according  to Cranfield, be the false comprehension of Luther’s  simul peccator et justus – but a ’moral earnestness contained in v.24, expressing the Christian’s engagement, in the very depths of his personality as one who is being renewed by God’s Spirit62.

By this he in fact denies the continued life in sin so clearly expressed in 7:25 b as being a summary of what is said earlier very clearly in 7:19 b alla o ou thelou kakón, touto prássou  and  7:23 b  kai aichmaltodsontá me en tou nomo en tou nomó tés hamartías. Of cause, Cranfield   has a very strong argument in putting 25a as the expression of the final solution against the now existing situation. However his understanding  becomes less trustworthy confronted with the consequences of being continuously in the slavery of sin. Two positions than remain for us:

1) 7:25a is only to be seen as an interruption in the sequence of thoughts, not trying to here prefigure Rom 8:1 ss

2) 7:25 a as an overall expression, both for the deliverance from a continued life in sin,caused by the victory over the flesh on one side and the final deliverance of the existence of the flesh caused by the resurrection on the other.

A reason to se the expression more as a deliverance from the slavery of sin caused by the coming of the Spirit in Roman 8:1 ss and its  victory over the body’s deadly impulses to sin, is the fact that resurrection never is described as a deliverance of materiality: ’no this deadly body shall be made alive again- 8:11- and the body in itself shall be free- 8:23 – th;n ajpoluvtrwsin tou’ swvmato” hJmw’n. ’ 63 If so Rom 7:24 can be seen mainly as a cry for that deliverance which is depicted in Rom 8:1ss.

Thus with a lot of commentaries among them P. Stuhlmacher 64  I regard Rom 7:24 as a foretaste of what is to come in Roman 8:2, where a deliverance is depicted from the deadly impulses from the body, which lies behind the slavery of sin in 7:24, sin that according to the end of the foregoing chapter, 6:23 leads to death. In this perspective the expression ”this body of death” –  ek tou soumatos tou thanátu toutou (7:24) could be seen.

A 4) SUMMARY   (A,1-3)

The introductory question, if the ethical power of the Holy Spirit is strong enough to overcome the law of sin in Rom 7:25b has been denied by scholars who regard the text as talking about the life of a Spiritfilled Christian like Paul.

The reasons to suppose this have come

* from the place Rom 7:25b has in the Roman letter – in the midst of chapters 6 and 8 talking about the Christian life,

* the vivid and strong argumentation, impossible to come from another one than the one involved,

* the use of present tense as if the struggle goes on now, and the fact that 7:25b talks about the mind , by Paul often used in combination with a renewal from the Holy Spirit.

Efforts even have been made to see Rom 7:25 b as the pivot in Paul’s theology of Christian life and with the help of an eschatological perspective postpone the victory over the law of sin.

Our investigation has shown

* that Rom 7:25b as a description of a Spirit-filled Christian’s life stands in conflict with a lot of texts where the Spirit-filled Christian life really is shown as victorious over the slavery of sin.

* that Rom 7 exists between chapters 6 and 8 dealing with Christian life can be well motivated with consideration taken to its main purpose; to show that the law even is invalid to produce righteousness  in the life of a converted Christian.

* that the vivid and strong argumentation from the side of Paul easily can be understood in the light of his involvement in the spiritual struggle of the churches, so also with his use of present tense.

* that the concept of ”mind” often is used by Paul without any connection with the Spirit

* the effort to see Rom 7:25 b as a pivot in Paul’s theology of Christian life in fact presupposes a misunderstanding of other texts mainly Gal 5:17.

* that the eschatological perspective postponing the victory over the law of sin in fact  presupposes an identification with flesh as the human form of existence with a slavery under the flesh’s law of sin.

Finally, in this part of our study we  have to recognize the invalidity of the reasons used to declare the man in Rom 7:25b bound by the slavery of sin  in his flesh to be a Spiritfilled Christian.

B. The Struggle between flesh and Spirit in Gal 5:17.

–  Is the lust of the flesh irresistible in Galatians 5:17 ?

1. The relation between Rom 7:14-25 and Gal 5:17

Having found that none of the reasons given by scholars to interpret Rom 7:14-25 and its description of man in the slavery of sin to be the picture of the life of a Spiritfilled Christian we now turn to Gal 5:17. Our main question still is if there exists any contradiction in Paul’s writings to the pneumatological perspective given already in the Thessalonian correspondence. Here the pneumatology in Paul’s ethical texts is  to be seen as a fulfillment of the prophecy  given in Ez 36:27 of a coming total victory over the flesh and its obligation to sin. As we found in our study of Roman 7:14-25 scholars representing the minority position- among others J.G.Dunn65  and A. Nygren66 tried to see the struggle with the law of sin in Rom 7:25b in the light of the struggle against the lust of flesh in Gal 5:17 as if the two texts were talking about the same situation. Others like  W.G.Kümmel67 and O.Modalsli 68   declared the situation to be quite another  namely that we in Rom 7:14-25 had to do not  with a Spiritfilled Christian, but  with someone without the Spirit and in Gal 5:17 with someone influenced by the Spirit .

In Rom 7:25b the ”I” in his flesh is a slave to  the law of sin, and in Gal 5:17 the Spirit is opposed by flesh .

In the first part of this work we denied the existence of the Spirit in Rom 7:14-25. This is not possible in Gal 5:17.

2. Is Gal 5:17 a ’contradictio in adjecto’ ?

5.17 he gar sarx epithymei katá tou pneumatos, to de pneúma katá tes “sarx”, taut gár allehlois antikeita, inta me ho ean theléate taúta poiete.

Assuming that the Spirit is present in Gal 5:17 but not in Rom 7:14-25 the problem is not solved. Even if the Spirit  obviously is present in Gal 5:17, the question still remains: Is the Christian free to follow the Spirit?

The reason for this question is namely that  according to one possibility , the conjunction i{na in – 5. 17 he gar sarx epithymei katá tou pneumatos, to de pneúma katá tes “sarx”, taut gár allehlois antikeita, ina me ho ean theléate taúta poiete.

– can be understood in a strict consecutive sense. In that case man is not free to follow the Spirit , but is opposed by  sarx.

On the other hand, we cannot as in Rom 7:14-25 talk about a non-resisted dedication to a carnal lifestyle, since the same type of paralyzation of the will to follow the Spirit will occur even for the one who wants to dedicate his life to the desires of the flesh. In that case the flesh will be opposed by the Spirit – to de pneúma katá tes “sarx” and the human will be paralyzed: ina me ho ean theléate taúta poiete.                      Seen from this perspective we are in Gal 5:17 apparently  facing a ’contradictio in adjecto’. Because of this scholars  like  H.D. Betz  have talked about a paralyzation of the human will,  without the ability to carry out its intentions.69

Schlatter A. 70  regards the opposition between flesh and Spirit to lead to a compromise in both directions; the one wanting to follow the Spirit will be restricted by the flesh and the one willing to follow the flesh prevented by the Spirit. He regards the Christians as half persons standing in a non-completed dualism.

Some like J.D.G. Dunn and F.F. Bruce, have tried  to solve this dilemma by putting Gal 5:17 into an eschatological perspective a perspective we had to decline in the first part of this paper.

Facing this  crux interpretum  we have to evaluate three things: From where does indeed the expression ina me ho ean theléate taúta poiete. come? (3)

What is the meaning of Gal 5:17 within its context ? (5)

3.. The slogan – a} eja;n qevlhte – a designation of the Judaizers?

What will is in in fact  addressed by the expression a} eja;n qevlhte ? Is it the will of the Spirit, the flesh or the human will? From where does the expression come, and how does it fit into the argumentation of Paul?

According to a multitude of scholars71 , Paul is in his Galatian correspondence defending his law-free gospel against the accusations from  some Jewish intruders in the Church of Galatia, according to which the only way to overcome sin and the desires of the flesh in fact was to put one’s shoulder once again under the yoke of the law of Moses. However to do this was according to Paul n o t to get rid of the desires of the flesh, quite opposite, it indicated a restart in flesh. Gal 3:3   enarchamenoi pneúmati, nun sarkí epiteleisthe… .

Seen from this perspective, the slogan  a} eja;n qevlhte could well -as is supposed by David Lull 72  – be  used by Paul to describe their will to live ”under the law” in order to avoid the ”desires of the flesh” – and  just in this find themselves to be in opposition to the Spirit, as well as those who want to follow the Spirit are opposed – ajntivkeitai –  the desires of their own flesh73 .

Concerning the role played by the human will, which seems to be paralyzed in both directions, D. Lull in fact has found a way to in full acknowledge this paralyzation and its apparently total lack of possibilities to act, by claiming its dependence of an infusion either by the flesh or by the Spirit. He writes: ”For the human ’will’ (to qevlein) is ’paralyzed’ by both the  flesh and the  Spirit, which seems to imply that human action ( poiei~n) is the doing of either the  flesh or the  Spirit. But this too is understandable in terms of the paragraph above: one’s  possibilities of action are determined by the sphere one belongs to, not by a evan qevlhte.”74 With this statement D. Lull succeeds in doing justice to the formal ’contradictio in adjecto’ without denying the possibilities of the Spirit to conquer the desire of the flesh and vice versa all depending of how the individual uses his possibilities  to make a choice. Obviously Lull has procured us with essential keys to unlock this ’contradictio in adjecto’ . However, by describing these possibilities of action  as ’determined by the sphere one belongs to’75 he seems to give a certain deterministic character to the description of the ethical struggle. He gives the impression that  the choice was made once for all, and the struggle  not continuous from day to day and from hour to hour  with possible not obligatory downfalls even among those being on the right side. Just in the letter to the Galatians we have examples of such hazardous failures Gal 6:1 and for that part elsewhere in the NT-1 John 2:1.

4) Gal 5:17 in the light of the context.

The paralyzation and determinism in Gal 5:17 will be seen in a new light when we turn to the context. In the previous verse there is a  possibility  to be led by the Spirit and then resist the desire of the flesh, underlined also in the following verse the 18th. A  life under the influence of the flesh, without any hindrance from the Spirit seems to be possible according to verse 19. In the light of this context there is a freedom for the individual in both directions,76 even if  Borse U. neglects the reciprocity here and prefers a dominance on the side of the flesh, pointing to the fact that in 5,18 the work of the Spirit is shown.77

This freedom for the individual gives us the impression that the conjunction  ina cannot be taken in a strict consecutive, but rather in a final sense78 . In that case the picture is clear: When a man wants to do what is right, he will meet with resistance from his flesh, and when he wants to satisfy his carnal desires he will be opposed by the Spirit.

Taken in a final sense  we are in this verse only informed about the intention of the Spirit or the flesh not any predestined consequences79 . Walter Bauer regards the  final sense  to be used here when the consequences only are imagined but never take place80 .

B 5) Summary  (B 1-4)

In the efforts to see Rom 7:25 b as an expression of a Spiritfilled Christians slavery under the law of sin a lot of scholars have tried to get support from a deterministic understanding of Gal 5:17 . They have tried to identify the slavery of the law of sin in the flesh in Rom 7:25b with the lust of the flesh and its opposition to the Spirit in Gal 5:17. By this they have proclaimed the lack of possibilities for the Spirit and especially for the one guided by the Spirit to overcome the desires of the flesh.

Even if the way Gal 5:17 is formulated can seem to open up for such an understanding, our investigation has shown that:

* The slogan – a ean théläte best can be understood in the light of the  situation of the letter, and not can be taken as a proof of an impossibility for the individual to make a choice.

* In the light of the context the decisive character of the conjunction   ina  cannot be consecutive but rather final.

In the light of these observations we have found a great difference between Rom 7:25b where the ”I” was denied the freedom from the slavery of the law of sin in his flesh and Gal 5:17 , where this freedom exists. Here it is possible to follow the Spirit and then defeat the lust of the flesh.



C O N C L U S I O N  (A and B)

Two texts – Rom 7:25b and Gal 5:17 -have among scholars been used to deny the possibilities of the Spiritfilled Christian to overcome the law of sin in Rom 7:25 b and the lust of the flesh in Gal 5:17. We have found that in Rom 7:25 b the Spirit does not exist and in Gal 5:17 the individual is free to let his will be infused by the flesh or by the Spirit. If he chooses the latter alternative he will in fact overcome the desire of the flesh. The overall perspective in my research: Is the pneumatological tradition from Ez 36:27  found already behind the ethical texts in 1 Thess 4:8 and 2 Thess 2:13 possible to combine even with the rest of Paul’s writings especially with consideration to Rom 7:25 b and Gal 5:17? As far as these texts concern the fulfillment of the promise of a full victory over the power of sin for God’s people here and now cannot be denied.



End commentaries

Kollla vad Dunn  sagt om (1) n 16 hos Kümmel,

Kommentarorer efter Dunn.

The debate after Dunn.

Has Dunn

* The fact that Garlington without putting anything new to it, inf acts copies, yes repeats the commentary of JDG Dunn (113) gives us a reason for our investigation.

2 b Garlingtons support for Dunn’s eschatological perspective.   46

2 c Jesus fleshly weakness as model for the Christians ethical failure.

Dunn admits that strong reasons speak for the case of Kümmel. First  his separation of Rom 7:14-25 from Gal 5:17 by the observation that in Rom 14-25 man is in slavery but in Gal 5:17, man is put before a e -he may walk according to the Spirit or he may gratify the desires of the flesh. Yet in opposition to Kümmel,  Dunn regards  Rom 7 to be ”something different” for Kümmels view lies in his interpretation of Gal 5:17 in which man is put before a choice he may walk according to the Spirit or he may gratify the desires of the fleshwhere Dunn tries to solve the contradiction between  the ”wretched man of 7,23 and the exultance of the Christian in 7,6. 7,14 against 8,2”  by giving  Gal 5:17, not taking into consideration what Kümmel 81  already has underlined, namely that the cases are different. A choice lies before the man of Gal 5,17- .(For more on Gal 5:17, see below).

I f  Rom 7 should not deal with Paul himself, Dunn regards it to belong to Rom. 2-3 inad of 6-8, where Rom 7:7-25 according to Dunn becomes ’an unnecessary interruption and digression in Paul’¨s train of thought’82 . Of cause, the understanding of the ”I” -identity in Rom 7:14-25 ”hinges …. much on one’s assessment of its particular niche withing the edifice of the Pauline theology” 83

2 b Garlingtons support for Dunn’s eschatological perspective.

                      2 c Jesus fleshly weakness as model for the Christians ethical failure. (Dunn 1)

To the six arguments against One of this perspectives is the eschatological one, supported by  Garlington   who with Dunn points at the human weakness of Jesus as an experience of the the Christian, and in this respect of view understands the human slavery under the law of sin, as a counterpart to Jesus weakness in his flesh.84 The fact that Jesus is presented as the One without sin conferred with the man in Rom 7:14-25 who is depicted as one in slavery of sin doesn’t seem to bother the two scholars Dunn and Garlington.

Garlington’s argument that their can be no victory over sin so long as  the warfare still goes on, is not an adequate illustration of the Christians position85 . It is enough to point upon the fact that the victory of Jesus over the temptations in Luke 4:13. Even not in the picture given by the letter to the Hebrews, do we find this Hebr. 4:15.

Note even the prayer of Jesus ”And lead us not into temptation” giving us a glimpse of the everyday life of a Christian, where even if the victory is won, it must be vindicated every time it is questioned.

His argument, that even Paul in Phil 3:12 is speaking in the language of the Christian warfare, turns itself once again to be a confusion between  ethical completeness , and the final consummation of a Christians pilgrimage.86

Jfr studien om att göra Guds vilja, qelhma qeou, Horn 126.


* 2 Kor 5 about the sinlessness of Jesus. 2 Cor  5:21

* ”It is well known that here is no concistency in Paul’s use of the term pnevma.” Davies W.D.-48 185.

* Polemiken mot ”simuliustus et peccator.

222 It is a simplification and even a falisifcation of the complexity of Paul’s thought to pin down Judsitifcaion by Faith as its quintessence.

* Barrett,Obligation 76’The things you wish to do’, you being tha man that you are, may well be bad things; and the Spirit is at work to prevent you from doing them. The result is doubtless a mixture of good and evil, but there is fruit of the Spirit as well as works of the flesh.’

*westerholm 86 on Wesley’s definition of born again.

*i. Bultmann

151 Man  lives int he ”flesh”, that is, int he sphere of thigns visible and tangible, subject to corruption and death ( ”NT,” 18). Life ”inte  the  flesh” does not in itself imply sin.

*Konsistensfrågan, bedömt Räisänens angrepp om ”de som av naturen hålla lagen” med  Dunn hos Westerholm 189.

W 218: “refuses to impose his authority in some ethical matters because to do so would violate the principle that the Spirit leads other believers into a discernment of God’s will” ( cf. Rom.14:1-15:13; Phil. 3:15; PHILEM. 8-9; NOTE 1 Cor. 6:12 and 10:23 may well represent a distortion of this element in Paul’s teaching) (65-72). Frank Thielman from Plight to Solution.

* Se Laato,W 227. Against him Rom 5: God’s love poured out in our hearts!

* Concerning justification in two meanings, confer Westeholm 245

*Concerning consistency, see the W. 247 about the influence of personal experience.

*Barclay 181 concerning living in but not by flesh.’

* Tannehill (78) shows that there is no problem with the mortality of the body in Rom 8:10 and the possibility to live without sin.

* Zimmerli-83,249 ad Hes 36:27 For “spirit”# in the OT is never simply an “insight, understanding,” but a power which gives a man strength to do new things ( 1 Sam 10:6f). The new thing here is the obedience which is now possible with regard to Yahweh’s commands and the new way of life

Ps 51

I den hebreiska versionen, tycks  en syftning på människoanden vara näraliggande. Det faktum att Paulus dock i sina citat av GT använder den grekiska översättningen av LXX, ger dock anledning att återkomma i frågan om eventuellt inflytande i den paulinska pneumatologin. Se Posner etc.¨

J Vos [1] som ser en rak utveckling av andebegreppet, alltifrån den gudomliga ledning som “andebärarna” bestod med under 8:e århundradet och rättsskipningen i Domartiden av andesmorda karismatiker till individualiseringen av religiositeten med profeten Hesekiel  och de efterexiliska profeterna.

Hos Hesekiel, ser han också förekomsten av en Andens ögonblickliga ingivelse, stundens ingivelse, (Das Gebot der Stunde) som alltså inte längre har att göra med den genom profeterna förmedlade Andens ledning, utan snarare den i ögonblicket mottagna andeingivelsen.[2]

Since LXX translates ruach in anthropological sense with nous we can  Eftersom LXX återger RUACH i antropologisk mening med nous (se ThAT 397) kan vi sluta oss till att Pls med förkärlek uppfattar pneuma såsom syftande på Guds Ande, då inget annat anges

[1] s 2 Vos Johannes Sijko Traditionsgeschichtliche Untersuchungen zur paulinischen Pneumatologie.  Assen 1973

[2] s 41 Nach 36..Die Gabe des göttllichen Geistes dient dazu, Israels Gerechtigkeit bzw. seine Heiligkeit in der Zukunft zu gewährleisten. Die Reihenfolge: Reinigung, Erneuerung des menschlichen Geistes, gabe des göttlichen Geistes ist dieselbe wie in Ps 51…Auszugehen ist auch hier davon, daß der göttliche Geist der den göttlichen Willen offenbarende prophetische Geist ist, der jedem Einzelnen zuteil wird. Durch die Gabe des Geistes wird die Kriste des theolgischen Lehramtes aufgehoben sein ( vgl 34,10ff).

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