Romans 7: Did Paul Struggle with Sinful Flesh?

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the war within

Some say that in Romans 7 Paul is describing his pre-Christian days. Other say no, that he is describing the constant battle with sin we all face. What say you? In this post, I present my opinion on this text, especially in relation to the Calvinistic teaching on Total Depravity and total inability.

Paul Does Not Teach Total Depravity in Romans 3

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Psalm 14

In Romans 3, Paul quotes several verses from the Hebrew Bible. Despite what Calvinists say, Paul is not teaching total depravity or total inability in this text. He is teaching universal sinfulness, but this does not keep a person from believing in Jesus for eternal life.

Is Paul teaching Calvinism in Romans 3:10-12?

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Romans 3 and Calvinism

Romans 3:10-12 is not about the Calvinistic ideas of Total Depravity or Total inability. Yes, universal sin is taught, but Paul’s point is to put Jewish people on the same footing as Gentiles regarding their standing before God. To see this, we need to understand the context of Romans 3 in light of the overall structure and argument of Paul in his letter to the Romans.

Amazed at Human Creativity in the Midst of the Fall

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typewriter art

I am constantly amazed at how the creativity which God has placed into the hearts of men shines through, even in places where the fall has brought devastating and paralyzing consequences.

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John 15:4-5 Does Not Teach Total Inability

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John 15 4-5 vine and branches

John 15:4-5 is talking about total inability, but not the total inability of unbelievers. Instead, Jesus is teaching about the total inability of disciples to do anything in the Kingdom of God by their own strength and resources.

John 8:43 does not teach total inability

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John 8:43 unable to listen or hear

John 8:43 is not a statement about the lifelong inability of some people to believe in Jesus for eternal life, but is a warning to those who reject the Gospel, continuing instead to deceive themselves.

John 6:44 is a key text for Total Depravity. Too bad it doesn’t teach it…

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draw to Jesus John 6:44

John 6:44, far from being verses about exclusion and inability, are staggering statements from Jesus that in Him, all are accepted, all are invited, and all are welcome. John 6:44 does not teach anything related to Calvinism, but the very opposite.

John 3:3 Does Not Teach Total Inability

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John 3:3

Calvinists use John 3:3 to defend Total Inability, but when John 3:3 is understood is context, it teaches the exact opposite. It is because people can understand the hope, grace, love, and mercy found the gospel of Jesus Christ that so many people find the gospel compelling.