Romans 7 – Week 3
1 Now, dear brothers and sisters—you who are familiar with the law—don’t you know that the law applies only while a person is living?
2 For example, when a woman marries, the law binds her to her husband as long as he is alive. But if he dies, the laws of marriage no longer apply to her.
3 So while her husband is alive, she would be committing adultery if she married another man. But if her husband dies, she is free from that law and does not commit adultery when she remarries.
4 So, my dear brothers and sisters, this is the point: You died to the power of the law when you died with Christ. And now you are united with the one who was raised from the dead. As a result, we can produce a harvest of good deeds for God.
5 When we were controlled by our old nature,[b] sinful desires were at work within us, and the law aroused these evil desires that produced a harvest of sinful deeds, resulting in death.
6 But now we have been released from the law, for we died to it and are no longer captive to its power. Now we can serve God, not in the old way of obeying the letter of the law, but in the new way of living in the Spirit.
Paul uses an example of the death of a husband to explain the position of a Jew to the law after the death of Christ. He points out that just as a woman is not bound to a dead husband any longer, so are Jewish Believers not bound to keeping the law after the requirements of the law were fulfilled by Christ on the cross because of his death. In other words, the Old Testament law is like an old dead husband – he doesn’t hold authority any longer.
7 Well then, am I suggesting that the law of God is sinful? Of course not! In fact, it was the law that showed me my sin. I would never have known that coveting is wrong if the law had not said, “You must not covet.”[c]
8 But sin used this command to arouse all kinds of covetous desires within me! If there were no law, sin would not have that power.
9 At one time I lived without understanding the law. But when I learned the command not to covet, for instance, the power of sin came to life,
10 and I died. So I discovered that the law’s commands, which were supposed to bring life, brought spiritual death instead.
11 Sin took advantage of those commands and deceived me; it used the commands to kill me.
12 But still, the law itself is holy, and its commands are holy and right and good.
13 But how can that be? Did the law, which is good, cause my death? Of course not! Sin used what was good to bring about my condemnation to death. So we can see how terrible sin really is. It uses God’s good commands for its own evil purposes.
Struggling with Sin
14 So the trouble is not with the law, for it is spiritual and good. The trouble is with me, for I am all too human, a slave to sin.
15 I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate.
16 But if I know that what I am doing is wrong, this shows that I agree that the law is good.
17 So I am not the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it.
18 And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature.[d] I want to do what is right, but I can’t.
19 I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway.
20 But if I do what I don’t want to do, I am not really the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it.
21 I have discovered this principle of life—that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong.
22 I love God’s law with all my heart.
23 But there is another power[e] within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me.
24 Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death?
25 Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord. So you see how it is: In my mind I really want to obey God’s law, but because of my sinful nature I am a slave to sin.
It is clear from this reading that the law exposes our sin nature and that we’re in need of a savior. And Paul is the first one to own his sin as is evident in verses 15-17; as hard as he tries, Paul himself found 100% compliance with the law to be impossible. He realizes that he fails in nearly every category. But he knows this: Law keeping is not what makes you righteous in the first place. Keeping the law doesn’t now, nor did it ever, produce righteousness in anyone’s life The law only condemns.
In verse 14 and 15, Paul elaborates on his sin by saying: “So the trouble is not with the law, for it is spiritual and good. The trouble is with me, for I am all too human, a slave to sin. I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate.”
Paul is human! Paul has desires of the flesh, just like you and I, in such a way that he “Hates” it- which he chalks up to his sin nature. But there’s a power inside of him that redirects his desires. He’s referring to the Holy Spirit, claiming it’s the Holy Spirit that makes the Christian life work. Internally, not externally.
**PLEASE READ ROMANS 8-9 FOR NEXT WEEK**