Paul says we believers are no longer bound by the Law in the Old Testament. However, the Law reveals our sin. And we struggle with sin.
VERSE 1. Or don’t you know, brothers (for I speak to men who know the law), that the law has dominion over a man for as long as he lives?
men who know the law. The church in Rome was made up of two groups:
GROUP 1. Jewish people in Rome who became Christians. They are sometimes referred to as “Christian Jews.” They knew the Law.
GROUP 2. Gentiles in Rome who became Christians. We may assume they also knew the Law, at least partly.
the law has dominion. The Greek word for “dominion” is hkyrieuei. It means “authority.”
VERSE 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.
VERSE 3. So then if, while the husband lives, she is joined to another man, she would 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.
she is no adulteress, though she is joined to another man. A widow who marries again is not guilty of adultery.
VERSE 4. Therefore, my brothers, you also were made dead to the law through the body of Christ, that you would be joined to another, to him who was raised from the dead, that we might produce fruit to God.
you also were made dead to the law. As a wife is no longer married to her husband when he dies, so a Christian is no longer under the Law.
Just as a believer dies to sin, so too we also die to the Law. We are separated from it and set free from it:
Galatians 2:19. For I, through the law, died to the law, that I might live to God.
through the body of Christ. That is, because of Christ’s death on the cross.
you would be joined to another. We are joined to the Lord Jesus Christ.
produce fruit to God. Only a person who is spiritually alive can bear spiritual fruit.
VERSE 5. For when we were in the flesh, the sinful passions which were through the law worked in our members to bring out fruit to death.
VERSE 6. But now we have been discharged from the law, having died to that in which we were held; so that we serve in newness of the spirit, and not in oldness of the letter.
VERSE 7. What shall we say then? Is the law sin? May it never be! However, I wouldn’t have known sin, except through the law. For I wouldn’t have known coveting, unless the law had said, “You shall not covet.”
Is the law sin? The Law is NOT sin.
May it never be! That is, “Certainly not!” This is a vehement denial.
VERSE 8. But sin, finding occasion through the commandment, produced in me all kinds of coveting. For apart from the law, sin is dead.
apart from the law, sin is dead. This does not mean that sin has no existence without the Law. Rather, without the Law sin is less active, for the Law arouses sinful passions.
VERSE 9. I was alive apart from the law once, but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died.
2 Corinthians 3:7. But if the service of death, written engraved on stones, came with glory, so that the children of Israel could not look steadfastly on the face of Moses for the glory of his face, which was passing away,
VERSE 11. for sin, finding occasion through the commandment, deceived me, and through it killed me.
VERSE 12. Therefore the law indeed is holy, and the commandment holy, and righteous, and good.
VERSE 13. Did then that which is good become death to me? May it never be! But sin, that it might be shown to be sin, was producing death in me through that which is good; that through the commandment sin might become exceedingly sinful.
the law is spiritual. This is the conclusion of what Paul wrote above. And it would have been an accepted fact among Jews and Christians of those days.
Jeremiah 7:4. Don’t trust in lying words, saying, ‘The LORD’s temple, the LORD’s temple, the LORD’s temple, are these.’
John 4:24. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.
Romans 7:14. For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am fleshly, sold under sin.
VERSE 15. For I don’t know what I am doing. For I don’t practice what I desire to do; but what I hate, that I do.
I don’t know what I am doing. Paul sees himself like a little child whose honest answer to why he did something wrong is, “I don’t know.”
what I hate, that I do. Both non-Christians and Christians can say this same thing.
the law that it is good. Here the Greek word for “good” is kalos. It means beautiful, noble, excellent.
it is no more I that do it. Some people point to this verse and claim that they are not culpable for their deeds. Do you have sins that have become habitual and are difficult to eradicate?
sin which dwells in me. Paul is speaking of the conflict between his desires and the sin within him. He is not avoiding personal responsibility for his actions.
VERSE 18. For I know that in me, that is, in my flesh, dwells no good thing. For desire is present with me, but I don’t find it doing that which is good.
in me … dwells no good thing. That is, in his sinful nature there dwells no good thing.
VERSE 19. For the good which I desire, I don’t do; but the evil which I don’t desire, that I practice.
VERSE 20. But if what I don’t desire, that I do, it is no more I that do it, but sin which dwells in me.
VERSE 21. I find then the law that, to me, while I desire to do good, evil is present.
VERSE 22. For I delight in God’s law after the inward man,
VERSE 23. but I see a different law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity under the law of sin which is in my members.
VERSE 25. I thank God through Jesus Christ, our Lord! So then with the mind, I myself serve God’s law, but with the flesh, sin’s law.
I thank God through Jesus Christ, our Lord! In the end, any victory we experience is thanks to the Lord Jesus Christ.
Unless otherwise noted, all Bible quotations on this page are from the World English Bible and the World Messianic Edition. These translations have no copyright restrictions. They are in the Public Domain.