Has then what is good become death to me?
that it might appear sin,
was producing death in me
through what is good,
so that sin
through the commandment
might become exceedingly sinful.
For we know that the law is spiritual,
but I am carnal, sold under sin.
For what I am doing,
I do not understand.
For what I will to do,
that I do not practice;
but what I hate,
that I do.
If, then, I do what I will not to do,
I agree with the law that it is good.
But now, it is no longer I who do it,
but sin that dwells in me.
For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells;
for to will is present with me,
but how to perform what is good I do not find.
For the good that I will to do,
I do not do;
but the evil I will not to do,
that I practice.
Now if I do what I will not to do,
it is no longer I who do it,
but sin that dwells in me.
I find then a law, that evil is present with me,
the one who wills to do good.
For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man.
But I see another law in my members,
warring against the law of my mind,
and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin
which is in my members.
O wretched man that I am!
Who will deliver me from this body of death?
I thank God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!
So then, with the mind I myself serve the law of God,
but with the flesh the law of sin.
Paul does not connect sin to himself anymore.
The reason for Paul finding a law that evil is present in him, is that he wills and delights in the law of God from the inward man.
The commands are used to show how wicked sin is.
So far in the book of Romans, Paul explained concrete facts about sin and the gospel. Now he gives an insight of a struggle within himself. He argues that the law did not bring death, but sin brought it. The perfect law of God shows that sin is exceedingly sinful. In light of Romans 1 and 2, the roots of sin are: self-seeking self-righteousness For example, Paul wrote of his covetousness in the earlier verses of this chapter. Covetousness is a form of self-seeking in saying: "I must have what belongs to that person!" and also self-righteousness in saying: "God, I deserve that! Why are you giving it to others and not to me?!!". This can lead to theft, lies, adultery, murder and many more wicked deeds. It led to wars and massacres in the past. Sin is a terrible monster! And it dwells in every one of us. Praise God that it will not have dominion over the believer! Twice Paul mentions that it is no longer him who does sin but sin that dwells in him. Paul does not connect sin to himself anymore because he knows that he is forgiven in Christ. But there is still sin dwelling in his body of death. This leads him to cry out: "Who will deliver me from that body of death?" This is the cry of a person that tries to live for God in his own strength. He wants and tries hard to please God but finds himself over again in sinning. This person needs the grace of God to live victoriously. It takes to come to an understanding of ones own end of resources before grace is accessible. Paul mentions the victory of that struggle: "I thank God - through Jesus Christ our Lord!" It is Christ who delivers from the body of death. Alone through Christ is a believer pleasing God. Chapter 8 is an explanation of the life of victory in Jesus. Application I can identify much with the struggle Paul describes here. It seems to me a constant struggle of ups and downs. I enjoy the grace of God in Christ and then slowly I start to rely on myself, till I find myself burdened crying out: "Who will deliver me from that body of death?" This, when it is more than just words, opens up the appreciation of the grace of God again. The periods of enjoyment of the grace of God seem to get longer as I'm growing in faith, it seems. Also, the realization of indwelling sin gets uglier. When indwelling sin overwhelms me, I cast myself into the truth of chapters 3,4,5 and 8. The only way out is by looking away to Christ the beginner and finisher of His good work in me.