Is Paul speaking of his past or his present state in Romans 7? Or another way of asking is, Is the man of Romans 7 an unregenerate man or a regenerate born again Christian?
This is probably one of the most debated chapters in all of the Bible and how one interprets this chapter has a lot to do with how one can interpret other scripture as well. Things such as original sin and how salvation works.
Without a doubt this is an unregenerate man Paul is speaking of contrary to the popular belief that it is a saved man struggling with sin and is not able to overcome.
If one has followed closely the flow of Romans and payed close attention to Paul's continual contrasting of the sinner (unregenerate man) to the saint (regenerate man) then there should be no question of whom Paul is speaking of.
Without writing a book here and only keeping it simple I will point out something here many if not most have over looked.
Paul gives us an analogy of a woman/wife and two husbands in Romans 7:1-6. This analogy is drawing us a picture to explain what has been said in Chapters 5 and 6 and then goes on to point out his basic understanding of what he is going to say in chapters 7 and 8.
Paul does not stop in the middle of Romans to discuss marriage, but he does draw from what we know of how marriage works and what violates the law that binds a married couple.
Many theologians have stumbled over this analogy blaming Paul for putting such an analogy in here that makes no sense to what the context is saying. Some have said this is an analogy meant to simplify, but only made things more difficult to understand. I don't know how they come to that conclusion, as it does make perfect sense and is in detail to everything Romans 5-8 says.
One more thing before I explain How chapter 7 is an unregenerate man. Many are under the impression the first husband here is the law and the reason we are not under the law is because the law (first husband) died. No, the first husband is not the law and the law never has nor can die. We shall see who the first husband is and how we are no longer under the law.
I'll let you go back and read the verses from your Bible for the sake of writing them here, but I'll just explain them here in my own words.
Romans 7:2 and 3 is about chapter 5. In vv:2 and 3 it is understood that a woman is bound by the law to her husband as long as he is alive, but if he dies she is loosed from the law that binds them together in marriage. But if she marries another while he still lives then she is committing adultery. But if the first husband dies she is not an adulterous woman while married to another man.
At this point we must remember all the things Paul has been contrasting in Romans. He contrasts sin to righteousness, life to death, law to faith, Jews to Gentiles, Adam to Christ, and so on. Her we see Adam is contrasted to Christ and law to faith, so to say the first husband is the law and the second husband is Christ would be out of line to everything Paul has told us. The first husband is not the law, but rather it is Adam. Adam is the head of the human race, therefore the head of all mankind.
We see in Romans 5 that our problem began with Adam and the cure for that is to be in Christ. Adam is our head before we are saved and Christ is our head after we are saved.
Paul will tell us how the first husband dies in chapter 6 and this death makes it legal for us to be wed to Christ. The husband is also to be understood to be the old man crucified in chapter 6 and our flesh, body and members in chapters 6 and 8.
Romans 7:4 is about chapter 6. This is a one verse description of chapter 6. Just as we are crucified with Christ, buried with Him, and raised with Him "that we should bring forth fruit unto God" in this verse, so chapter 6 says the same things.
Romans 7:5 is about chapter 7. Just as we see here in this verse this man is in the flesh and a slave to sin and brings forth fruit unto death, we see the same man in Romans 7.
Romans 7:6 is about chapter 8. We are delivered from the law, because that thing that held us to it is now dead, that thing being the flesh, old man, body, members, body of flesh, the Adam part of us is now crucified and dead. So now we should serve in newness of spirit and not the oldness of the letter (law). This is a one verse description of Romans 8.
At this time we must see the tenses of Romans 7:4,5 and 6. Verse 4 is present tense, verse 5 is past tense, and verse 6 is present tense again. The man of Romans 7 is not a saved man.
I realize there are still a number of questions one may have and even still many objections, but this is only a basic outline of my thinking. Paul repeats himself a number of times reiterating what is being said in Romans and every time that the verses that fall in line for Romans 7, they are either in the past tense or describes a lost man condition.