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Chapter 7

Commentary by Tom Brown


Rom 7:1
1 Do you not know, brothers-- for I am speaking to men who know the law-- that the law has authority over a man only as long as he lives?
No one is ever prosecuted for any crime if they are dead.
2 For example, by law a married woman is bound to her husband as long as he is alive, but if her husband dies, she is released from the law of marriage.  
3 So then, if she marries another man while her husband is still alive, she is called an adulteress. But if her husband dies, she is released from that law and is not an adulteress, even though she marries another man.  
4 So, my brothers, you also died to the law through the body of Christ, that you might belong to another, to him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit to God. Paul uses an illustration about marriage to make his point that we died to the Law through the body of Christ, so that we might belong to Christ.

that we might bear fruit to God. This is the purpose of belonging to Christ is 

5 For when we were controlled by the sinful nature, the sinful passions aroused by the law were at work in our bodies, so that we bore fruit for death.  
6 But now, by dying to what once bound us, we have been released from the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code. Two ways to serve God: by the law or by the Spirit. The Spirit is the new way for the Christian.

Amplified:  "...So now we serve not under [obedience to] the old code of written regulations but [under obedience to the promptings] of the Spirit in newness [of life]."

written code. Christianity has often turned to written regulations to keep people from sinning, such as making people worship on the Sabbath, or dress codes, or drinking and smoking codes. As with all codes, they always need updating. The Law of Moses is no different. There are many codes and regulations under the Law of Moses that surely need updating, such as codes dealing with slavery, death sentence for sexual immorality, or the test for the unfaithful wife (see Numbers 5:11-31). The believer cannot live under a code that needs constant updating. The Holy Spirit prompts us in the way we should live, and He takes into consideration the time we live in, place we are at and people we are with.
7 What shall we say, then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! Indeed I would not have known what sin was except through the law. For I would not have known what coveting really was if the law had not said, "Do not covet." The law is not sin anymore than a rule is sin. A rule is made originally to help keep you from sin or mistakes, but it is inadequate to do it.
8 But sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, produced in me every kind of covetous desire. For apart from law, sin is dead. When a law says, "Thou shall not" it sometimes makes us want to do it.
9 Once I was alive apart from law; but when the commandment came, sin sprang to life and I died. This shows it is possible to be spiritually alive before becoming old enough to accept Christ. Little children go to heaven.
10 I found that the very commandment that was intended to bring life actually brought death. The law aroused in us the opposite effect than what was intended. This does not prove that the law is evil, only that we were evil and rebellious. Every parent who has ever made a rule for their children did it for the sake of their children, not intending to harm them.  
11 For sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, deceived me, and through the commandment put me to death.  
12 So then, the law is holy, and the commandment is holy, righteous and good.  
13 Did that which is good, then, become death to me? By no means! But in order that sin might be recognized as sin, it produced death in me through what was good, so that through the commandment sin might become utterly sinful. through the commandment sin might become utterly sinful. Teenagers without rules may still do the same things that kids with rules do but the one with the rules show their rebellion. The same is true of the Law. For us to disobey the Law shows our rebellion. The Law intended to show us our sinfulness. 
14 We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. In the next verses, Paul shows the WILL is eventually useless in overcoming sin.
15 I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.  
16 And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good.  
17 As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me.  
18 I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. I cannot carry it out. Paul had the willingness to live holy, but he could not carry it out. None of us can carry out the holy life on our own.
19 For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do-- this I keep on doing. This is a description of his life without the power of the Spirit.
20 Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.  
21 So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me.  
22 For in my inner being I delight in God's law;  
23 but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. law of sin. It is the sin principle in us that compels us toward sin.
24 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? What a wretched man I am! Our feeling of frustration is echoed by Paul.

Who will rescue me. Paul knows that we need rescuing not simply "will power" to do good. Mistakes people make in trying to overcome sin!

  1. Promise God to do better.
  2. Consecrate oneself at the altar.
  3. Criticizing oneself for failing.
  4. Concentrate on the doís and don'ts of the Bible.

We must understand our helplessness before we can receive Godís solution for the sin problem.

25 Thanks be to God-- through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God's law, but in the sinful nature a slave to the law of sin. Thanks be to God. Paul is anticipates the solution that God offers for the believer in overcoming sin. The answer is in chapter eight.

Previous  Chapter 8

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