What is Romans 7:19 about? (KJV), “For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do”.


Here is my take on the point that Paul is trying to make, and something I have found to be true in my own walk with God.

We are triune beings, body – soul – spirit. The flesh (body) is always at war with the spirit, and our soul is the buffer zone between the two. The body relates to the world, the spirit relates to God (since this was written to the believer), and the soul is where our emotions, intellect and free-will reside. Therefore we do make the determination of whether we listen to the flesh or the spirit:  Romans 8:5  For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.

Furthermore, when we accept Jesus Christ into our lives our spirit is immediately and perfectly washed clean through the power of His blood and the working of the Holy Spirit. However, the soul is part of progressive transformation and it is something we must work on:  Philippians 2:12  Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.

Finally, the flesh is not perfected until we are transformed out of this world, either through death or Christ’s return.

I have found that no matter how long I walk with God (now 39 years) that if I were to one day get up and listen to what my flesh wanted I would sin and displease God. Even though I have been saved for many years and filled with the Holy Ghost I know my flesh would still be drawn to things that might be pleasurable but for a moment, but would be contrary to what God would want.

I used to believe that after so many years of being a Christian that somehow I would not be tempted, not want things from the past, not want things that pleased the flesh. It is sometimes frustrating to think that I could so easily slip back to these old habits and way of life if I were to just relax and forget about God for even a short time. I think that was the frustration Paul was writing about, that after all he had been through he still had temptations common to all. The good news is he immediately responds that even so, the spirit man within him was leading him to things of Christ and therefore he would follow the spirit rather than the flesh.

Paul was extremely task oriented and had to be constantly reminded, through his own weakness, that is was not about him or what he could do, but all about Christ and what He could do. I find it interesting that this extremely task oriented person is the one who wrote Corinthians 13. Paul relized that even if he could move mountains but did not love it was noth9ing in God’s sight.

Very good question. I hope this helped.
Pastor Brad