Living by Grace

Dedicated to providing guidance in daily living through the power of God's grace as experienced in our union with Christ.

This Body of Death

 O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?     Romans 7:24


In the passage on sanctification, found in Romans 5:12 through 8:39, Paul refers to the believer’s body twelve times. He uses the word “death” multiple times. Eleven of those usages refer to a believer’s mental and spiritual state of mind because of sin in his life.


With the term “body of death” Paul is showing that the believer’s body can be involved in sins that lead to that state of death. This in no way indicates that the body itself is sinful. Romans 7:5 says:

For when we were in the flesh, the sinful passions which were aroused by the law were at work in our members to bear fruit to death.


“Members” refers to the parts of a believer’s body. Just before Paul’s “O wretched man that I am” statement, he writes.

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.


Paul’s clearest expression of “the law of sin” is found in Romans 7:9. There he writes:

I was alive once without the law, but when the commandment came, sin revived and I died.


When Paul sought to keep the command not to covet, he was filled with all manner of covetousness because he was attempting to keep the law in his own strength. His attempt activated his sin nature which aroused sinful passions in his body. The passions resulted in a spiritual state he calls “death” and prompted his cry, “O wretched man that I am who shall deliver me from this body of death?”


Paul answers his own question when he writes “Jesus Christ our Lord.” The larger context indicates that the answer is experiencing our union with Christ in crucifixion, burial, and resurrection.


When we attempt to serve God in our own strength, we bring the sin nature into power. The result is multiple sin problems—some of which may involve the body. “Death” is the result. Our answer for victory is the same as Paul’s.