Romans 7
Romans 7

Romans 7

Romans 7:1-25

1  Or do you not know, brethren (for I speak to those who know the law), that the law has dominion over a man as long as he lives?

2  For the woman who has a husband is bound by the law to her husband as long as he lives. But if the husband dies, she is released from the law of her husband.

3  So then if, while her husband lives, she marries another man, she will be called an adulteress; but if her husband dies, she is free from that law, so that she is no adulteress, though she has married another man.

4  Therefore, my brethren, you also have become dead to the law through the body of Christ, that you may be married to another—to Him who was raised from the dead, that we should bear fruit to God.

5  For when we were in the flesh, the sinful passions which were aroused by the law were at work in our members to bear fruit to death.

6  But now we have been delivered from the law, having died to what we were held by, so that we should serve in the newness of the Spirit and not in the oldness of the letter.

7  What shall we say then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! On the contrary, I would not have known sin except through the law. For I would not have known covetousness unless the law had said, “YOU SHALL NOT COVET.”

8  But sin, taking opportunity by the commandment, produced in me all manner of evil desire. For apart from the law sin was dead.

9  I was alive once without the law, but when the commandment came, sin revived and I died.

10  And the commandment, which was to bring life, I found to bring death.

11  For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it killed me.

12  Therefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy and just and good.

13  Has then what is good become death to me? Certainly not! But sin, that it might appear sin, was producing death in me through what is good, so that sin through the commandment might become exceedingly sinful.

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

15  For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do.

16  If, then, I do what I will not to do, I agree with the law that it is good.

17  But now, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me.

18  For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find.

19  For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice.

20  Now if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me.

21  I find then a law, that evil is present with me, the one who wills to do good.

22  For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man.

23  But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.

24  O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?

25  I thank God—through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin.

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1 year ago

Paul is dealing with people who are having to reconcile their understanding of God as a law giver, a law that has consequences of death if not followed to the letter, and God as merciful, providing eternal life in Christ. They had been married to Him through a law they were unable to keep, and therefore continually identified as condemned. Because much about the law was directly connected to passions of the flesh, every revelation of its details was like a direct awakening of those failures. Although obviously right in every portion of its dictates, because there was no accompanying relationship with God that would enable fulfilling it, as long as the flesh was the realm of their relationship with God, they were hopelessly doomed to failure. Paul demonstrates this in the latter portion of the chapter where he reveals that even then, as someone reborn and having revelation of Christ, he was incapable of fulfilling the requirements of the law through the efforts of the flesh. It wasn’t that the law itself was evil. It was only that it could only exacerbate evil as long as the flesh was alive as the means of fulfilling it.
The previous chapter secured the legal freedom we’ve been given in our death together with Christ from slavery to sin. It made clear that we no longer have to serve sin and that yielding to righteousness produces the fruit of eternal life in Christ. How to make that choice of serving righteousness is being shown here, though, that it can never be in returning to vain attempts of the flesh that will never be successful. We have been given new life in Christ, but that life will never find its fruit in righteousness by allowing the flesh to remain alive as its guide. There is yet a law in the flesh that can only condemn, while we’ve been given a new law of life that enables that necessary yielding to righteousness.

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