Romans 7

Freedom from the law that condemns the sinner 1
Sin and the law 7
The law cannot save from sin 13
A law finds evil when good is attempted 21
Who will deliver me? 24

Text Comments
 6:23  For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
 1 ¶ Know ye not, brethren, (for I speak to them that know the law,) how that the law hath dominion over a man as long as he liveth?
 1 Or are you ignorant (for I speak to those who [presumably] know law) that the law has lordship over a person as long as he lives? (literal translation)
  Or Paul is introducing an alternative to his assertion in chapter 6 that death to sin means one is no longer under the law. That alternative to believing this is misunderstanding the nature of the law which has no power to save. Remember that people of those days believed that obedience would bring salvation and worldly power. The Jews as a nation had rejected the one who offered grace. Grace is not license to break the law but offers forgiveness and power to live in righteousness free from the law which would then be unable to condemn them.
  As long as he lives So when he dies to sin, as in baptism ro0608ff, the law no longer condemns him to death which is the wages of sin. Christ is now his master. See 6:23 quoted at the left and consider ro0803.
.2  For the woman which hath an husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he liveth; but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband.
 2  For the woman under a husband has been bound by law to the living husband but if her husband dies she is discharged from the law concerning her husband. (literal translation).
 3  So then if, while her husband liveth, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress: but if her husband be dead, she is free from that law; so that she is no adulteress, though she be married to another man.
.4  Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God.
  2 - Woman We begin looking at another situation which is like sin and the law. The death of her husband (and his law) saves her from being condemned.
  4 - Are become dead Literally "were put to death" See ro0606
  4 - By the body of Christ It is by the sacrifical death of Christ for our sins that we are able to die to those sins being forgiven and cleansed. We are then "dead to the law" which has become powerless. 1pe0224, co0121f.
  4 - Be married to another Realizing the inability of the law to save, we die to it and, as Christ carried our sins in His body to His death. Then we rise with Him spiritually and are free to "marry" Him who only can save us.
  4 - Bring forth fruit The fruit of a reformed life brings glory to God mt0516, mt0716ff. Being free from the law does not mean that the sin it defines has become permissible v7.
.5  For when we were in the flesh, the motions of sins, which were by the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death.   In the flesh Having the natural tendencies without Christ ro0606. The alternative, "in the spirit" is seen at ro0809.
  Motions An old word for "emotions" or "passions."
  By the law At first it sounds as if the law makes us sin. The law itself would then be sinful. Paul clarifies that this is not so in v7. Look at the sentence here. The "motions" or sinful passions bring the fruit of death ja0115. These passions are our behavior when we try to live by the law because the law is unable to save us. Without applying the miracle of grace, we do what feels best for our own interest and the law condemns us to death.
 6  But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.   Delivered Not from obedience but from the bondage of trying to be saved on our own.
  Being dead ... Rather, "having died to what held us."
  Oldness of the letter "The letter of the law" is a modern English idiom implying the details of a requirement be followed. But "letter" here is from the Greek gramma which means a note, a bill, writing, or an epistle (a letter). Here we see it as the law that God wrote. It represents the old way of life without Christ. It is in contrast to serving "in newness of spirit."
  Thus we cannot take this verse as license to ignore the specifics of divine requirements.
.7 ¶ What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet.
 8  But sin, taking occasion by the commandment, wrought in me all manner of concupiscence ["desire," or "desire for the forbidden"]. For without the law sin was dead.
.9  For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died.
.10  And the commandment, which was ordained to life, I found to be unto death.
.11  For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it slew me.
.12  Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good.
   7 - Is the law sin? Here we see the purpose of the law to show us our sinfulness. Notice that Paul has the ten commandments in mind since he alludes to the 10th ex2017.
   8 - Sin was dead It didn't seem sinful.
   9 - Sin revived Notice Paul's use of language. When the law came to life, he died opposite of verse 8. Although sin was "dead," it was still sin. When considering the law, he realized his sin. The resulting hopelessness was a death sentence. "The wages of sin are death." 6:23.
   11 - The law used sin to kill me Discussed below.
   12 - Law is holy ... These three characteristics describe God's character as shown below. He wants to restore us into His image. Paul may have been thinking of the characteristics of God's law and ways He teaches us seen in Psalm 19 ps01907.
.13  Was then that which is good made death unto me? God forbid. But sin, that it might appear sin, working death in me by that which is good; that sin by the commandment might become exceeding sinful.   That which is good The law of the preceding verse.
  God forbid Should be translated "May it not happen."
  That it might appear sin Facing hopelessness helps us realize how terrible sin is.
.14 ¶ For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin.
.15  For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I.
 16  If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good.
 17  Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.
.18  For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.
 19  For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.
 20  Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.
  This discussion of the battle with sin would leave us without hope if isolated from its context. Some read it to argue that victory is impossible that we must expect to live in sin. But elsewhere Paul says we can escape 1co1013. Peter agrees 2pe0104. Every one of the seven churches of Rev. 2 and 3 was to have overcomers. See re0321.
  In verse 24 below, Paul expresses his anxiety. The solution is in the next chapter.
.21  I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me.
 22  For I delight in the law of God after 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.
   I find a law This natural inner force leading to evil, Paul says is a law. He sees a law as a guiding or controlling element. This law in his body parts fights God's delightful law and makes him a captive of its evil ways. See ro0802.
.24  O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this 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.
   Who shall deliver me? Is there hope for humans? According to the flesh how we feel we serve the the natural law of sin although, intellectually, we know it is wrong. Praise God! deliverance is through Jesus Christ our Lord.
   Paul continues to develop these thoughts in the next chapter.

Nullify the law because it is sinful?
    "For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it slew me. Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good. Was then that which is good made death unto me? God forbid. But sin, that it might appear sin, working death in me by that which is good; that sin by the commandment might become exceeding sinful. . . . O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?" (Rom. 7:11-13, 24)
    Paul felt just fine until the law pointed out his sin. Then he realized his guilt before God. This shows us how humanity is trapped in sin because all have sinned. Who will deliver me? he asks. The answer is in his next chapter, but let's turn to another verse to see the resolution of the dilemma.
   "And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;" (Col. 2:13, 14).
   Many see this verse as saying the law was gotten rid of, forgetting that in discussing the same situation in Rom. 7 (above) Paul made it clear that nothing is wrong with the law. It condemns the sinner, but by the grace of Christ's atoning sacrifice, we are forgiven. Then the lawsuit filed against us by the law failed in the court of heaven because Jesus forgave us. The document showing evidence of sin and demanding death was nailed to the cross! Following the metaphor here in Romans 7, Jesus Christ took our guilt. He was personally nailed to the cross. He is our passport to heaven as we accept His grace in and for us. "For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him." (2 Cor. 5:21)
   These passages are often misunderstood. I invite you to open your own Bible and study them prayerfully in their context. Paul's concern is obeying the ceremonial laws that pointed forward to Christ who had now come. They were written by hand in contrast to the ten commandments which were written by God with His finger.

Character of God seen in His law
"Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good." verse 12.
Holy Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy. (1 Pet. 1:16)
Just . . . just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints. (Rev. 15:3) 
Good O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him. (Ps. 34:8)
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