by Steve Wagers

Dead Man Walking
Pastor Steve N. Wagers
Romans 7: 14-25
Galatians 2: 20

The 1995 film, "Dead Man Walking," based on the book of the same name, tells the story of Sister Helen Prejean, played by Susan Sarandon, who establishes a special relationship with Matthew Poncelet, a prisoner on death row, played by Sean Penn.

The title comes from the traditional call in America of "Dead man walking, dead man walking here!" from a prison guard as a condemned prisoner is led onto Death Row. The phrase originated from the 1909 poem by Thomas Hardy titled "The Dead Man Walking."

They hail me as one living,
But don't they know
That I have died of late years,
Untombed although?

I am but a shape that stands here,
A pulse less mould,
A pale past picture, screening
Ashes gone cold.

And when my Love's heart kindled
In hate of me,
Wherefore I knew not, died I
One more degree.

And if when I died fully
I cannot say,
And changed into the corpse-thing
I am to-day.

Yet is it that, though whiling
The time somehow
In walking, talking, smiling,
I live not now.
I believe it is safe to say that Paul qualified as a Dead Man Walking.

In Romans 6, we learn that we died with Jesus on the Cross; thus, we must KNOW, RECKON, and YIELD.

In Romans 7, the battle still rages. The dead man is still attempting to live.


Romans 7 has been a chapter of controversy for years. Who is the subject? There are 3 basic views:

1. Non-Christian Pharisee under the law. This was the view of the Greek Fathers.
2. A Carnal Christian.
3. A Normal Christian. This is the held of Augustine, Luther and Calvin. [1]

The 3rd view is correct. Paul writes in the 1st person to describe the struggle he had to endure.


7:14: "For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin."

7:22-23: "For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: 23 But I see another law in my members, wa ...

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