In Romans Chapter 7, Paul describes for us what the defeated Christian life is like. I’d suggest that Paul is arguing from experience. He knows because he’s been there. The first thing that characterizes the defeated Christian is confusion. That’s expressed in verse 15. It says, “For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.” The second thing that characterizes a defeated Christian is guilt and shame. Verses 16 and 17 read, “I know perfectly well that what I am doing is wrong, and my bad conscience proves that I agree with these laws I am breaking.”

Our consciences always move us to the reality of our sin. The reality of our sin always results in shame. In Genesis 3:7, Adam and Even saw their nakedness, that is their guilt, and they were ashamed. Sin is a real thing in life and so is guilt and shame that should and eventually will accompany it. Feelings of guilt and shame focus all of our attention on ourselves. In Romans chapter 7, Paul uses the first person pronoun (I, me, my, myself) 41 times. It’s all about his sin and his struggle and his confusion and his guilt and his shame. Feelings of guilt and shame cause us to withdraw and live defeated lives. Larry Richards writes, “A sense of guilt and shame blocks the flow of love which is the key motivation in the Christian’s life. God does not seek to make us respond to Him. Instead He sets us free and invites us to shake off our past failures, and step out to experience liberty.
As a basis for this freedom—to assure us of our acceptance even if we should fail—God clearly announces the great realities. Jesus has once and for all dealt with sin. With sin forgiven, both guilt and shame lose their grip. God is not ashamed of you. God does not condemn you as guilty.”

Chapter 7 or Romans ends (24-25), “Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!” The answer to our sin problem is not a 12 step program. It’s not a prescription. It’s not a procedure, a pamphlet or a principle. It’s a person! The war has been fought and has been won on our behalf. Chapter 8 begins with the exciting news of our victory. The first two verses read, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.” Max Lucado writes, “Think of it this way. Sin put you in prison. Sin locked you behind the bars of guilt and shame and deception and fear. Sin did nothing but shackle you to the wall of misery. Then Jesus came and paid your bail. He served your time; he satisfied the penalty and set you free. Christ died, and when you cast your lot with him, your old self died too. The only way to be set free from the prison of sin is to serve its penalty. In this case the penalty is death. Someone has to die, either you or a heaven-sent substitute. You cannot leave prison unless there is a death. But that death has occurred at Calvary. And when Jesus died, you died to sin’s claim on your life. You are free.”