“For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin.” (Romans 7:14)
The inability of the flesh is the topic of the remaining verses. It will soon be seen that man's nature, apart from the good graces of God, is completely incapable of producing that which is good. God's law and man's flesh are diametrically opposed to one another. The law is intended to create controversy in a good sense. Human opposition to God's commands is completely normal and expected because all men are, in the flesh, carnal. The word sold is a participle in the perfect tense. This tense is emphasizing the fact that man's flesh is in a hopeless and irreversible condition of sin. Apart from God's indwelling Spirit, there would be no hope of victory. The Spirit of God working in the lives of people has always been the catalyst for good choices and spiritual victory. This is why David prayed to God, “...take not thy holy spirit from me (Psalm 51:11).”
“For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good. Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.” (Romans 7:15-17)
The verb allow means to know, comprehend or understand. Paul is saying that the evil which his flesh continually produces is not what he desires or knows to be right. The things which he desires or wills to be so are not the things that his flesh produces; instead, his flesh continuously produces that which his inner man hates and knows to be wrong. The word consent means to agree with. This inability to continuously workout and produce that which is morally right should move a man to acknowledge the truth of God's law which says, “...there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not (Ecclesiastes 7:20).” This utter inability to workout or produce that which is good makes it clear that man's flesh has a serious problem, because even though the inner man desires to please God, his flesh cannot. It hates God's truth! The phrase that dwelleth is a participial phrase which is acting as an adjective modifying sin. A literal translation would read “the housed in me sin.” This participle is derived from the root word house. Sin is permanently housed in a man's flesh.