Vous êtes sur la page 1sur 6

Ellen G.

White on Romans 7

EGW equates the prodigal son to the man of Romans 7:

Whatever the appearance may be, every life centered in self is squandered. ​Whoever
attempts to live apart from God is wasting his substance. He is squandering the precious years,
squandering the powers of mind and heart and soul, and working to make himself bankrupt for
eternity. The man who separates from God that he may serve himself, is the slave of mammon.
The mind that God created for the companionship of angels has become degraded to the
service of that which is earthly and bestial. This is the end to which self-serving tends. {COL
200.3}
If you have chosen such a life, you know that you are spending money for that which is
not bread, and labor for that which satisfieth not. There come to you hours when you realize
your degradation. Alone in the far country you feel your misery, and in despair you cry, ​"O
wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?" Romans 7:24.
It is the statement of a universal truth which is contained in the prophet's words, "Cursed be the
man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the Lord.
For he shall be like the heath in the desert, and shall not see when good cometh; but shall
inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, in a salt land and not inhabited." Jeremiah 17:5, 6.
God "maketh His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on
the unjust" (Matthew 5:45); but men have the power to shut themselves away from sunshine
and shower. ​So while the Sun of Righteousness shines, and the showers of grace fall
freely for all, we may by separating ourselves from God still "inhabit the parched places
in the wilderness.​" {Christ’s Object Lessons 201.1}

EGW likens the paralytic to the man of Romans 7:

Through the same faith we may receive spiritual healing.​ By sin we have been severed
from the life of God. Our souls are palsied. Of ourselves we are no more capable of living
a holy life than was the impotent man capable of walking. ​There are many who realize their
helplessness, and who long for that spiritual life which will bring them into harmony with God;
they are vainly striving to obtain it. ​In despair they cry​, ​"O wretched man that I am! who shall
deliver me from this body of death?" Romans 7:24, ​margin. Let these desponding, struggling
ones look up. The Saviour is bending over the purchase of His blood, saying with inexpressible
tenderness and pity, "Wilt thou be made whole?" He bids you arise in health and peace. Do not
wait to feel that you are made whole. Believe His word, and it will be fulfilled. Put your will on the
side of Christ. Will to serve Him, and in acting upon His word you will receive strength. Whatever
may be the evil practice, the master passion which through long indulgence binds both soul and
body, Christ is able and longs to deliver. He will impart life to the soul that is "dead in
trespasses." Ephesians 2:1. He will set free the captive that is held by weakness and misfortune
and the chains of sin. {Desire of Ages 203.2}
EGW compares the man of Romans 7 with a “cold, lifeless” spirituality:
Isaiah had denounced the sin of others; but now he sees himself exposed to the same
condemnation he had pronounced upon them. ​He had been satisfied with a cold, lifeless
ceremony in his worship of God. ​He had not known this until the vision was given him of the
Lord. How little now appeared his wisdom and talents as he looked upon the sacredness and
majesty of the sanctuary. How unworthy he was! how unfitted for sacred service! His view of
himself might be expressed in the language of the apostle Paul, "O wretched man that I am!
who shall deliver me from the body of this death?" {4BC 1139.1}
But relief was sent to Isaiah in his distress. [Isaiah 6:6, 7 quoted.] . . . {4BC 1139.2}
The vision given to Isaiah represents the condition of God's people in the last days. They
are privileged to see by faith the work that is going forward in the heavenly sanctuary. "And the
temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in his temple the ark of his
testament." As they look by faith into the holy of holies, and see the work of Christ in the
heavenly sanctuary, they perceive that they are a people of unclean lips,--a people whose lips
have often spoken vanity, and whose talents have not been sanctified and employed to the
glory of God. Well may they despair as they contrast their own weakness and unworthiness with
the purity and loveliness of the glorious character of Christ. But if they, like Isaiah, will receive
the impression the Lord designs shall be made upon the heart, if they will humble their souls
before God, there is hope for them. The bow of promise is above the throne, and the work done
for Isaiah will be performed in them. God will respond to the petitions coming from the contrite
heart (RH Dec. 22, 1896). {4BC 1139.3}

EGW says it is not enough to know the law, to perceive the character of God, but to connect
with Christ is the only way. The following statement makes it clear that the man of Romans 7
was convicted but he did not yet have Christ in his life:

It is not enough to perceive the loving-kindness of God, to see the benevolence,


the fatherly tenderness, of His character. It is not enough to discern the wisdom and
justice of His law, to see that it is founded upon the eternal principle of love. ​Paul the
apostle saw all this when he exclaimed, "I consent unto the law that it is good." "The law is holy,
and the commandment holy, and just, and good." But he added, in the bitterness of his
soul-anguish and despair, "I am carnal, sold under sin." Romans 7:16, 12, 14. H​e longed for
the purity, the righteousness, to which in himself he was powerless to attain, and cried
out, "O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from this body of death?" Romans
7:24​, margin. Such is the cry that has gone up from burdened hearts in all lands and in all ages.
To all, there is but one answer, "Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of
the world." ​John 1:29. {SC 19.1}
Many are the figures by which the Spirit of God has sought to illustrate this truth, and
make it plain to souls that long to be freed from the burden of guilt. When, after his sin in
deceiving Esau, Jacob fled from his father's home, he was weighed down with a sense
of guilt. Lonely and outcast as he was, separated from all that had made life dear, the one
thought that above all others pressed upon his soul, was the fear that his sin had cut him off
from God, that he was forsaken of Heaven. In sadness he lay down to rest on the bare earth,
around him only the lonely hills, and above, the heavens bright with stars. As he slept, a strange
light broke upon his vision; and lo, from the plain on which he lay, vast shadowy stairs seemed
to lead upward to the very gates of heaven, and upon them angels of God were passing up and
down; while from the glory above, the divine voice was heard in a message of comfort and
hope. Thus was made known to Jacob that which met the need and longing of his soul--a
Saviour. With joy and gratitude he saw revealed a way by which he, a sinner, could be restored
to communion with God. The mystic ladder of his dream represented Jesus, the only medium of
communication between God and man. {SC 19.2}
This is the same figure to which Christ referred in His conversation with Nathanael, when
He said, "Ye shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the
Son of man." John 1:51. In the apostasy, man alienated himself from God; earth was cut off
from heaven. Across the gulf that lay between, there could be no communion. But through
Christ, earth is again linked with heaven. With His own merits, Christ has bridged the gulf which
sin had made, so that the ministering angels can hold communion with man. ​Christ connects
fallen man in his weakness and helplessness with the Source of infinite power.​ {SC 20.1}
But in vain are men's dreams of progress, in vain all efforts for the uplifting of humanity,
if they neglect the one Source of hope and help for the fallen race. "Every good gift and every
perfect gift" (James 1:17) is from God. There is no true excellence of character apart from Him.
And the only way to God is Christ. He says, "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man
cometh unto the Father, but by Me." John 14:6. {Steps to Christ 21.1}

EGW likens the man of Romans 7 to men who profess to be followers of God but “fall to a low
level”, “never overcoming”, never getting the victory:

When man is a partaker of the divine nature, the love of Christ will be an abiding
principle in the soul, and self and its peculiarities will not be exhibited.​ But it is sad to see
those who should be vessels unto honor indulging in the gratification of the lower nature and
walking in paths that conscience condemns. ​Men professing to be followers of Christ fall to
a low level, always mourning over their shortcomings, but never overcoming and
bruising Satan under their feet. Guilt and condemnation constantly burden the soul, and
the cry of such might well be: "O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the
body of this death?" Romans 7:24. Through indulgence in sin, self-respect is destroyed;
and when that is gone, respect for others is lessened; we think that others are as
unrighteous as we are ourselves. ​ {6T 52.3}
At our yearly convocations these things should be set before the people, and they
should be​ encouraged to find in Christ deliverance from the power of sin.​ He says: "When
ye shall search for Me with all your heart, . . . I will be found of you." Jeremiah 29:13, 14. The
standard should be elevated, and the preaching should be of the most spiritual character, that
the people may be led to see the reason of their weakness and unhappiness. Many are
unhappy because they are unholy. Purity of heart, innocence of mind, only can be blessed of
God. When sin is cherished, it can in the end produce nothing but unhappiness; and the sin
which leads to the most unhappy results is pride of heart, the lack of Christlike sympathy and
love. {6 Testimonies 53.1}
Another statement from EGW; Again she shows that the man of Romans 7 is convicted but not
yet converted:

Yet the hunger of the soul is unsatisfied.​ You would fain feed on the husks that the
swine do eat. ​You try to content yourself with that which ministers to the carnal and
earthly nature, but you know that you are spending money for that which is not bread,
and your labor for that which satisfies not. Alone in the far country you feel your
wretchedness, and in despair you cry, "O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me
from the body of this death?" Romans 7.24. ​ {GCB, December 1, 1895 par. 6}
The prodigal son in his wretchedness "came to himself." The deceptive power that Satan
had exercised over him was broken; he saw that his misery was the result of his own folly, and
he said, "How many hired servants of my father's have bread enough and to spare, while I
perish with hunger! I will arise, and go to my father." {GCB, December 1, 1895 par. 7}

EGW tells in the following quote how it was when Paul was convicted that he said “O wretched
man that I am.” When he was a pharisee he was outwardly “blameless” but his heart was not.
This is the man of Romans 7. EGW connects it all together:

Paul realized his weakness, and well he might distrust his own strength. Referring
to the law, he says, "The commandment, which was ordained to life, I found to be unto
death." He had trusted in the deeds of the law. He says, concerning his own outward life,
that as "touching the law" he was "blameless;" and he put his trust in his own
righteousness. But when the mirror of the law was held up before him, and he saw
himself as God saw him, full of mistakes, stained with sin, he cried out, "O wretched man
that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?" ​{ST, November 24, 1890 par.
6}
Paul beheld the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world. He heard the voice
of Christ saying, "I am the way, the truth, and the life; no man cometh unto the Father but by
me." He determined to avail himself of the benefits of saving grace, to become dead to
trespasses and sins, to have his guilt washed away in the blood of Christ, to be clothed with
Christ's righteousness, to become a branch of the Living Vine. He walked with Christ, and Jesus
became to him--not a part of salvation, while his own good deeds were another part, but--his all
in all, the first and last and best in everything. He had the faith that draws life from Christ, that
enabled him to conform his life to that of the divine example. This faith claims nothing for its
possessor because of his righteousness, but claims everything because of the righteousness of
Christ. {ST, November 24, 1890 par. 7}

Another statement by EGW:

By sin we have been severed from the life of God.​ ​Of ourselves we are utterly
incapable of living a holy life. ​There are many who realize their helplessness, and who long
for that spiritual life which will bring them into harmony with God; they are vainly striving to
obtain this life. I​n despair they cry, "O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from
this body of death?"​ Let these desponding, despairing ones look up.​ The Saviour bids
them arise in health and peace. Do not wait to feel that you are made whole. Believe His Word,
and it will be fulfilled. Put your will on the side of Christ. Will to serve Him, and in acting upon His
Word you will receive strength. Whatever may be the evil practise, the master-passion, which
through long indulgence binds you soul and body, Christ is able and longs to deliver. He will
impart life to the soul that is "dead in trespasses." He will set free the captive that is held by
weakness and misfortune and the chains of sin. {ST, January 20, 1904 par. 1}

My comments on Romans 7:

There is a word in the greek that is translated “wretched”:


Greek: talaiporos

The word means “wretched” or “miserable”.


It is used in a greek tragedy to indicate: the outcry of one who
has discovered the depth of evil in one's self and expresses the depth of
his despair.

It is only found twice in the New Testament:


Rom. 7:24 O ​wretched​ man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?
and
Rev. 3:17 Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing;
and knowest not that thou art ​wretched​, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:

Now we know that Jesus said “I will spue thee out of my mouth” to the Laodicean Church and
one of their attributes is being “wretched,” in fact it is the first attribute. We know the Laodiceans
are not converted. They have not let Christ into the heart. So the use of the word in connection
with the Laodiceans is troubling for its use in Romans 7.

But at least the man in Romans 7 knew he was wretched. The Laodiceans do not.

Also in Romans 7 it says “who shall deliver me.” This is a cry of a man that needs to be
delivered but hasn’t been delivered yet. Thus this verse and chapter cannot apply to a
Converted Christian. Paul knew the “wages of sin is death” and “to be carnally minded is death”
(Rom. 8:6) but when he cried “O wretched man that I am” he did not yet know “who [could]
deliver” him. He ended up finding that the “gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our
Lord.” He found that Jesus could deliver. Romans 7 is talking about Paul as a convicted man
but not a saved man.

Romans 8 is talking about a saved man:


There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after
the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free
from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the
flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the
flesh:

That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after
the Spirit. 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. ​For to be carnally minded is death​; but to be spiritually
minded is life and peace. ​Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not
subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot
please God. But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God
dwell in you. ​Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. Rom. 8:1-9

I have come to this conclusion based on the Bible and the Writings of Ellen G. White.