Romans Chapter 7

1 Or do you not know, brethren (for I am speaking to those who know the law), that the law has jurisdiction over a person as long as he lives?

2 For the married woman is bound by law to her husband while he is living; but if her husband dies, she is released from the law concerning the husband.

3 So then, if while her husband is living she is joined to another man, she shall be called an adulteress; but if her husband dies, she is free from the law, so that she is not an adulteress though she is joined to another man.

4 Therefore, my brethren, you also were made to die to the Law through the body of Christ, so that you might be joined to another, to Him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God.

5 For while we were in the flesh, the sinful passions, which were {aroused} by the Law, were at work in the members of our body to bear fruit for death.

6 But now we have been released from the Law, having died to that by which we were bound, so that we serve in newness of the Spirit and not in oldness of the letter.

In Romans Chapter Six Paul pointed out that we can, and should, overcome sin.

In Rom 7:1-6 Paul explains why we should overcome sin. His point is that we do not overcome sin because we are still under the Law, and specifically, still under the law of sin and death (i.e. if you sin you will die). In fact, he says that we are no longer bound to the Law. We are to obey the Law because we want to express love for God not because we want to be saved from spiritual death. That is, we serve in the newness of spirit, not in the oldness of the letter of the Law. But that begs the question of whether the Law then is bad.

7 What shall we say then? Is the Law sin? May it never be! On the contrary, I would not have come to know sin except through the Law; for I would not have known about coveting if the Law had not said, "YOU SHALL NOT COVET."

8 But sin, taking opportunity through the commandment, produced in me coveting of every kind; for apart from the Law sin {is} dead.

9 I was once alive apart from the Law; but when the commandment came, sin became alive and I died;

10 and this commandment, which was to result in life, proved to result in death for me;

11 for sin, taking an opportunity through the commandment, deceived me and through it killed me.

12 So then, the Law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good.

13 Therefore did that which is good become {a cause} {of} death for me? May it never be! Rather it was sin, in order that it might be shown to be sin by effecting my death through that which is good, so that through the commandment sin would become utterly sinful.

In Rom 7:7-13 Paul addresses the question: “If the Law results in death, is the Law bad?” His answer is that the Law is not bad. We die because our flesh (the part of us through which we are tempted) pulls us into violating the Law.

Rom 7:9 is interesting because it tells us that the Law doesn’t apply to a person immediately upon conception or even upon birth. There is a point, after birth, when the commandment ‘comes’. This is the point in time when a person is able to distinguish between good and evil – that is, the time when a person’s conscience develops. Once a person is able to distinguish between good and evil, if the person does evil then he / she sins, and consequently, he dies spiritually. Until that time, the person is alive spiritually. In stating Rom 7:9 it is clear that Paul believed that Adam’s sin is not applied to a person at any time.

14 For we know that the Law is spiritual, but I am of flesh, sold into bondage to sin.

15 For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I {would} like to {do,} but I am doing the very thing I hate.

16 But if I do the very thing I do not want {to do,} I agree with the Law, {confessing} that the Law is good.

17 So now, no longer am I the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me.

18 For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good {is} not.

19 For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want.

20 But if I am doing the very thing I do not want, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me.

21 I find then the principle that evil is present in me, the one who wants to do good.

22 For I joyfully concur with the law of God in the inner man,

23 but I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members.

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 mind am serving the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh the law of sin.

Then in Rom 7:14-25 Paul describes the problem that the flesh causes to us. Specifically, even when we want to obey God we cannot do it in peace because of the temptations through the flesh. It is a struggle, a constant battle until the day we die. So the next question is: “how can we ever get rid of this flesh?” Paul addresses that problem in the next chapter.

This battle with the flesh comes because we want to stop sinning but we have in us a component that draws us to sin. Paul says that as long as you want to stop sinning you are okay and that there is no condemnation for you i.e. your salvation is intact and you can still be assured of eternal life.


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