Paul believed that without the help of God, on our own, mankind was doomed to sin. In fact, in chapters six and seven, he personalizes sin. Sin “enslaves” (6:17), seizes opportunities (7:8,11), and deceives (verse 11).
The law of God has a role to play in all this, for after all, if there were no laws, there would be no sin.
But that doesn’t mean the law is bad. It isn’t. It is holy, righteous, and good.
I, on the other hand, have a tendency to take the road of disobedience. It’s my own weakness really. That’s why Paul calls refers to it as a “body of sin” and a “sinful nature.”
When I yield myself to life according to my tendencies and weaknesses, I am bound to find myself captive to sin.
The real difficulty with the “problem Christians” in Rome was that they had given themselves over to live as they pleased without regard for what God pleased. Thinking that they only had to be “religious” (ie. Jewish), they turned away from holy living.
There was an alternative: Rather than follow their own leading, they could submit to the leading of God through His Spirit. But could they possibly be successful in being led by the Spirit? Chapter eight provides the answer. The Spirit provides not only direction, but power.
Those who focus on the miraculous manifestations of the Spirit focus on the least important of the Spirit’s blessings. The real blessing – the permanent blessing – is the power to conquer sin.
Are you following the Spirit’s leading? You can tell, and so can others. If a Christian’s life looks like one guided by the Spirit of God, it will be confident, kind, ethical and moral. If it doesn’t look that way, it isn’t.