Romans 7:21-23 So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. (22) For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, (23) but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members.
Paul is still talking to his brothers [fellow Jews] and states that evil lies close at hand when he wants to do right and obey the law of God. This evil makes him captive to the law of sin that dwells in his members. Back in verse 6 he had told his brothers, “But now we are released from the law, having died to that which held us captive, so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit and not in the old way of the written code.” Why would Paul be talking about law keeping in his post conversion state when he had just said that believers are released from the law that held them captive and serve in the new way of the Spirit? He wouldn’t! Therefore, starting in verse 7, Paul has been explaining the futility of serving in the old way of the written code. He has been explaining the time before his conversion when he was trying to establish his own righteousness through keeping the law.
To believe that Paul in this passage is talking about indwelling sin in himself as a believer, you have to believe that he was released from the law and died to that which held him captive at conversion, but then matured to a point where he again served in the old way of the written code and again became captive to the law of sin. No, Paul is contrasting the law, sin, flesh, and death with grace, Spirit, and life. In chapter 8 of Romans he develops this theme more thoroughly.
Focus on Christ #84