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Romans Chapter 7


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Romans 7

Freedom from the Law of Moses
Or are you ignorant brothers (for I speak to men who know the law), that the law has dominion over a man for as long as he lives? 2 For the woman that has a husband is bound by law to the husband while he lives; but if the husband dies, she is discharged from the law of the husband. 3 So then if, while the husband lives, she be joined to another man, she shall be called an adulteress; but if the husband dies, she is free from the law, so that she is no adulteress, though she is joined to another man. 4 Therefore my brothers, you also were made dead to the law through the body of Christ; so that you should be joined to another, to him who was raised from the dead, that we might bring forth fruit to God. 5 For when we were in the flesh, the sinful passions, which were through the law, worked in our limbs to bring forth fruit to death. 6 But now we have been discharged from the law, having died to that wherein we were held; so that we serve in newness of the spirit, and not in oldness of the letter.
   7 What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid! However, I had not known sin, except through the law. For I had not known coveting, except the law had said: You shall not covet. 8 But sin, grabbing an opportunity through the commandment, worked in me all manner of coveting. For apart from the law, sin is dead and powerless. 9 And I once was alive apart from the law; but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died. 10 And the commandment, which was intended to life, this I found to be to death. 11 For sin, grabbing an opportunity through the commandment, deceived me, and through it- slew me.
   12 Thus the law is holy and the commandment is holy, righteous and good. 13 Did then that which is good become death to me? God forbid! But sin was shown to be sin, by the way it worked death in me through that which is good; and thus through the commandment, sin became shown as indeed exceedingly sinful.

Paul’s struggle with sin
   14 For we know that the law is spiritual; but I am carnal, sold unto sin. 15 For why I do what I do, I do not understand. For I do not do what I intend, but instead I do what I hate. 16 But if do what I would rather not do, then I agree that the law is good. 17 So now it is not I that do it, but the sin which dwells in me. 18 For I know that in me, that is, in my flesh, dwells no good thing. For the will to do good is present with me; but to actually do what is good is not present. 19 For the good which I would like to do I do not do, but the evil which I would not do, that I practice. 20 But if do what I would not wish to do, it is no more I that do it, but sin which dwells in me.
   21 So I find then a principle, that evil is present, although I wish to do good. 22 For I delight in the law of God after the inward man; 23 but I see a different law in my limbs, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity under the law of sin which is in my limbs. 24 Wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me out of the body of this death? 25 Thanks be to God- through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.



7:3,4 The law is dead; we are free from it and therefore don’t need to keep things like the Sabbath, feasts or food laws.

7:4 We are married to Jesus, and have ‘fruit’ by Him- acts and attitudes of righteousness.

7:11 Sin is personified- spoken of as a person although it is an abstract idea. Sometimes that ‘person’ is called ‘Satan’, the adversary. However, Paul’s exposition of sin here in Romans makes no mention of a personal, cosmic being called ‘Satan’. This is a pagan idea.

7:17 Sin within is the real problem we face, not an external Satan figure. Paul emphasizes here that he sins because of an internal principle within him (verses 18,20,23). We sin because we have within us an internal source of temptation to sin. Because sin comes from within (Mark 7:15-23) we must struggle for control of our thinking and to develop a spiritual mind. This is the essence of practical Christianity.

7:24 Paul felt “wretched” and yet elsewhere he shows his confidence that he will be saved and live for ever when Jesus returns. We can take comfort from his words here, when we feel that we are making little progress in the spiritual struggle against sin.