So, when is Paul talking about here? Is he talking about life before we became believers, or life when we are believers? I believe that here he is talking about life before belief, even though many of the principles may have relevance for believers in our ongoing Christian walk. I do believe that there is an ongoing struggle in the Christian life between the flesh and the Spirit, which Paul details elsewhere:
Galatians 5:17 “For the flesh has desires that are opposed to the Spirit, and the Spirit has desires that are opposed to the flesh, for these are in opposition to each other, so that you cannot do what you want.“
Here Paul shows us why we need more than the law. The law in and of itself is spiritual and good. However, because of our sinful nature, it affects us in a different way. The law gives knowledge of sin, and by giving that knowledge it stimulates disobedience. It seems that once we know something is wrong, we want to do it even more (7:8)! What was supposed to bring life, actually brings death. Even when we want to do right, we end up doing wrong (7:23). If the law can’t save, what can? Only the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ on the cross for our sins (7:25)! Because of Him we are set free from the law (7:4), and we are able to live new lives in the Spirit (7:6).