Romans 7 - Free From The Law

INTRODUCTION: Paul said he was writing to those who knew the law of God, and he wanted them to understand how that law was to convict every person of sin so they would turn to God by faith to have new life in Christ. All mankind has a sensual, worldly nature, and only faith in God can bring the spiritual nature to a person's life. This chapter of Romans is in my own paraphrase, to some extent in an amplified style, prepared by examining several translations, and with some use of a Greek lexicon.

NOTE: Verses in the comments are from the 1769 King JamesBible.


A - NO LONGER BOUND BY THE LAW

Romans 7 "1 Don't you know brothers, for I speak to those who know the law, that the law has dominion, sovereignty, and control over a man as long as he lives? 2 For example, the woman who has a husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he lives; but if the husband is dead, she is free from the law of marriage to her husband. 3 So then if, while her husband is alive, she marries another man, she shall be called an adulteress: but if her husband is dead, she is free from that law; so that she is not an adulteress if she marries another man. 4 Wherefore, my brethren, you also are now dead to the law by the body of Christ; that you should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit, productive works that honor God. 5 For when we were in the old nature of the flesh, the motivations of sins, which were defined by the law, were working in our bodies to bring forth the result, a final outcome of death. 6 But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead to that which had held us, we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the old way of the written code of the law down to every small detail thereof."

COMMENTS: Paul pointed out to those who knew the commandments of God, that trying to keep all of them perfectly actually produces a form of bondage with no possibility of freedom because it is impossible to keep the whole law. Freedom from the law is granted to those who place their trust in Christ, and that does not dishonor God's perfect law. Paul used the example of a married woman who becomes an adulteress if she is unfaithful to her husband, but she is free to marry another man and cannot be called an adulteress if her husband is dead.

Since Christ died to fulfill the law for each believer, we are free from the condemnation brought by the law of God, which cannot be satisfied any other way. We are now the bride of Christ, and we are justified under the new covenant we have in him who was raised from the dead. In this new relationship we should develop actions and attitudes in our lives that bring honor to our God and Savior. Before, when we were still bound by the law because of our inherent sin nature, we were under condemnation that would bring spiritual death. Since we are delivered from the law that we could not keep, we should now freely serve in our newness of spirit.


B - THE LAW OF GOD SETS THE STANDARD FOR HOLINESS

Romans 7 "7 What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Not at all! I would not have known sin, except for the law: for I didn't know about my lust, except the law says, you shall not covet. 8 But sin, being not at all deterred by a commandment, produced and expanded within me many kinds of covetous desires. For without the law sin was undefined and dead. 9 Once I was alive without the law: but when the commandment came, sin became an active, lively agent, and I died. 10 And the commandment, which was authorized and decreed to bring life, I found that it brought death. 11 For sin, now under the ordained authority of the commandment, deceived me, and through that I died. 12 For these reasons, the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good. 13 Was then that which is good made death to me? God forbid. But sin, that it might clearly be seen as sin, was working death in me by that which is good; so sin, by the commandment, might become exceedingly sinful."

COMMENTS: The law does not produce sin, but rather it brings sin into the full light of truth. Paul used the example of lustful desires that we have in varying degrees, that is clearly described as sin in the commandment against coveting. The sinful nature within us will not restrict our coveting, but the law of God defines the sinfulness coveting represents in us. When our sin is defined by the law of God, our deserved spiritual death is clearly shown. So, the commandments of God that outline the way to life, actually bring about death because our sinful nature assures that no person can keep the whole law. The law and the commandments of God are holy, fully just, and very good. This was the design of God to show us that sin is very abhorrent to him, and it will produce in us a rightly deserved death.


C - THE LAW IS SPIRITUAL, BUT MANKIND IS WORLDLY

Romans 7 "14 For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am worldly with sensual and temporal desires, sold like a slave to sin. 15 For I am confused by my own actions: for I don't do what I Know I should; but I do what I hate. 16 If then I do that which I don't want to do, I agree that the law is good. 17 Now then I am no longer doing it myself, but it is the sin that lives within me. 18 I know that in me, that is in this body of my flesh, nothing good is inside: for I have the will, but I can't find the way to perform that which is good. 19 For I don't do the good that I would like to do: but the evil that I do not want, that is what I do. 20 Now if I do what I don't want to do, I am no longer doing it on my own, but the sin that lives in me is compelling me."

COMMENTS: Paul said that we should know that the law from God is spiritual, but he said he (even as an apostle of Christ) was worldly with sensual and temporal desires. It was as if he was sold to be a slave to sin because his own actions were confusing to him. In this way Paul was relating to all other believers in the common dilemma of needing to fight against the natural tendency to do things that can clearly be seen by the law to be sinful, while failing to do things that would honor the Lord. If we know in our heart that some of the things we do are wrong, then we are agreeing that the law of God is good. Though we may try very hard to avoid sin, we often fail, and this should convince us that the sin nature is inherent within. Depending on our own strength and resolve to overcome sin and do only what is pleasing to God will continually fail because the sin nature can only be overcome by a new nature within us from God as Paul further explained.


D - CHRIST JESUS DELIVERS FROM THE BODY OF SIN AND DEATH

Romans 7 "21 Then I find a principal of conduct that when I desire to 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 rule governing my body, that strenuously fights against the law of my mind, and brings me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my body. 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 my body the law of sin."

COMMENTS: The evil that resides within our being becomes evident when we try to do good because we want to delight in the law of God. That presence within is continually working against the will of our mind, and we can become captive to that sin nature within our body. What a miserable, unhappy condition of being captive in this body of death; but there is hope through our Lord Christ Jesus! We must realize that while in the body we will tend to serve the law of sin, but with our heart and mind we may serve the law of God.

--- REFLECTIONS IN PRAYER ---

Lord, I thank you for directing Paul to write this passage about the function of your perfect commandments in scripture to convince me of the many ways in which I fall short of your standard of holiness. I have been set free from the penalty of the law that would have kept me in bondage to my sin nature as long as I discounted any part of it, or tried to keep all of it in my own strength. I agree with Paul that the law you have breathed out in scripture is spiritual, while my sin nature and the temptations of the world will have their affect on me until the day of my redemption. I offer my highest praise to my Savior Christ Jesus who has delivered me from this body of sin and death. Hallelujah, Amen!

Published 6 May 2016