The Two "I's"
Beginning in Romans 7:7, Paul begins to introduce the two "I's" by speaking on behalf of Adam. Paul's first "I" is his Adamic identity, so he speaks as if he were Adam himself. This becomes most evident by verse 9, where he writes,
9 And I was once alive apart from the Law; but when the commandment came, sin became alive, and I died.
What or who is it that died? It was Paul's Adamic "I" that died. Paul's connection to Adam was what brought the death sentence upon him. "Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men" (Rom. 5:12). Paul's Adamic "I" was mortal on account of Adam's sin, because this "I" was under the authority and headship of Adam.
Rom. 7:14 brings this thought to a climax when Paul says, "I am fleshly, having been sold under sin" (The Emphatic Diaglott).
Beginning in verse 15, however, Paul introduces to us another identity, another "I." It is the "I" of his new identity in Christ, the "Last Adam."
15 For that which I am doing, I do not understand [ginosko, "to know; recognize"]; for I am not practicing what I would like [thelo, "will"] to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate. 16 But if I do the very thing I do not wish to do, I agree with the Law, confessing that it is good. 17 So now, no longer [ouketi, "not even"] am I the one doing it, but sin which indwells me.
Let me paraphrase this to identify the two "I's.
15 For that which my Adamic "I" does, Christ in me does not know intimately, nor does it approve, nor even does it recognize. For my Adamic "I" does not practice the things that Christ in me wills to do, but my Adamic "I" does the very thing that Christ in me hates. 16 But if my Adamic "I" does the very thing that violates the will of Christ in me, my Christ "I" agrees with the Law (in its sentence of death upon the Adamic "I"), confessing that the Law is absolutely correct in its judgment. 17 So now, it is not even "I" doing such lawless things, but the sin [sinful "I"] that indwells me.
So here Paul dissects himself to separate the two "I's" into their own unique identities. Romans 6:6 calls the Adamic "I" the "old self" (NASB), or literally, the "old man" (The Emphatic Diaglott). In that verse Paul says that this old man was crucified with Christ in order to do away with "the body of sin."
Hence, our Adamic identity-self was crucified in order to fulfill the just sentence of the Law upon the body of sin. The result is that a new creature, or a new creation, is resurrected or brought to birth, and this is the "I" that is Christ in you.
It is important to note that the old Adamic self is not raised from the dead. It remains dead.
Our second identity, "Christ in you," has an earthly mother; but because it has a heavenly Father, the curse from Adam is not passed down to this holy seed. Instead, Christ in you is able to function even within the confines of an earthly body—yet without sin, even as Jesus Himself (Heb. 9:28).
Paul concludes that the Christ "I" in us does not and cannot sin. Hence, if our body parts sin, it is because they are yet under the authority of the Adamic "I" and have not yet been fully crucified.
The Witness of John
John understood this as well, for he speaks of the "children of God" this way in 1 John 3:9, 10,
9 Everyone [pas] who is begotten of God does not sin [i.e., is sinless], because His seed abides in him; and he cannot sin, because he is begotten of God. 10 By this the children of God and the children of the devil are obvious. . .
Most translators have not understood the two "I's, and so they come up with some interesting translations and doctrines that tend to mislead people. But John shows that the "Christ in you" is a fetus that has been begotten (impregnated) by God Himself. Dr. Bullinger tells us in his notes on Matthew 1:2,
"begat. Gr. gennao. When used of the father = to beget or engender; and when used of the mother it means to bring forth into the world."
God the Father has begotten a holy seed within us. We are pregnant with Christ until our "mother" (flesh) gives birth to the manifested son of God. We were impregnated through our Passover experience, and this holy seed matures through Pentecost. It is finally brought to full birth through Tabernacles, at which time the old Adamic "mother" dies in childbirth, and our new identity is fully independent.
Both John and Paul understood that we have a holy seed within us which is incapable of sin. It is incapable of sin, because anything begotten of God cannot sin. Only that which is begotten of the first Adam can sin—and cannot help but sin, because of its inherent weakness—mortality.
Identifying the Real You
We are admonished to identify with the new "I" and reckon this holy seed to be the real "I." It is not only Christ in you, but it is also THE REAL YOU. It is both Son of God and Son of Man, for it has two parents, one from heaven and one from the earth. Jesus is the Pattern Son. Even as Mary was impregnated by the heavenly Father and brought forth Jesus the Christ, so also does the heavenly Father overshadow us and impregnate us with Christ, who shall be birthed in due time.
But let us finish Paul's thought process in Romans 7, and in the interest of understanding, I will insert the proper "I" to which Paul is referring:
18 For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my fleshly "I"; for the wishing ["willing"] is present in my Christ "I", but the doing of the good is not. 19 For the good that my Christ "I" wills to do, my Adamic "I" does not; but my Adamic "I" practices the very evil that my Christ "I" does not will to do.
Verse 20 is Paul's conclusion (paraphrased for clarity):
20 But if my Adamic "I" is doing the very thing that my Christ "I" does not will to do, my Christ "I" is not really even the one doing it, but sin which dwells in my Adamic "I."
Paul shows his frustration even in his own life, and yet we must keep in mind that he understood the power of the law of imputed righteousness. In fact, the imputation of righteousness is the real antidote to the frustration brought about when our Adamic flesh gets in the way of our genuine will to do what is right.
21 I find, therefore, this law, when I am willing to do right, that the wrong lies near me. 22 For I am pleased with the Law of God according to the inward man; 23 but I perceive another Law in my members warring against the Law of my mind, and making me a captive to that law of sin existing in my members. [The Emphatic Diaglott]
Here Paul calls his Christ "I" the "inward man." This inward man is in agreement with the Law of God, for, being sinless, it does not violate the Law. However, Paul's fleshly, Adamic "members" are at war with the Christ in Paul, attempting to take Paul "captive to that law of sin." The law of sin is not the divine Law, but the flesh's commandment: Thou Shalt Sin Some More.
Deliverance from the Adamic "I"
Paul concludes chapter 7 of Romans by encapsulating his frustration over the inner war:
24 Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death? 25 Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, on the one hand I myself with my [Christ] mind am serving the Law of God, but on the other, with my flesh the law of sin.
In other words, those who are truly identified with Christ are those who submit to the Divine Law. Those who are yet carnal—even if they think themselves to be spiritual—are the ones who follow the law of sin (i.e., violate the Law of God). When we are fully in tune with our Christ-Identity, we will never again violate the Law.
During our interim training period in the Feast of Pentecost, we are admonished to reckon our old lawbreaking mind dead. If we follow the leading of the Spirit, we will not fulfill the will or desire of the old Adam.
In Romans 8, then, Paul focuses upon this idea of being led by the Spirit. He bases this on the fact that our New Creation Man is that which has been raised from the dead (8:11). When our body parts are submitted to Christ-in-You, they will not fulfill the flesh's desire to sin.