Reflections on Scripture

by Wayne Bandy

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      Romans - Chapter 07 (Contemporary English Version)
    1. My friends, you surely understand enough about law to know that laws only have power over people who are alive.
    2. For example, the Law says that a man's wife must remain his wife as long as he lives. But once her husband is dead, she is free
    3. to marry someone else. However, if she goes off with another man while her husband is still alive, she is said to be unfaithful.
    4. That is how it is with you, my friends. You are now part of the body of Christ and are dead to the power of the Law. You are free to belong to Christ, who was raised to life so that we could serve God.
    5. When we thought only of ourselves, the Law made us have sinful desires. It made every part of our bodies into slaves who are doomed to die.
    6. But the Law no longer rules over us. We are like dead people, and it cannot have any power over us. Now we can serve God in a new way by obeying his Spirit, and not in the old way by obeying the written Law.
    7. Does this mean that the Law is sinful? Certainly not! But if it had not been for the Law, I would not have known what sin is really like. For example, I would not have known what it means to want something that belongs to someone else, unless the Law had told me not to do that.
    8. It was sin that used this command as a way of making me have all kinds of desires. But without the Law, sin is dead.
    9. Before I knew about the Law, I was alive. But as soon as I heard that command, sin came to life,
    10. and I died. The very command that was supposed to bring life to me, instead brought death.
    11. Sin used this command to trick me, and because of it I died.
    12. Still, the Law and its commands are holy and correct and good.
    13. Am I saying that something good caused my death? Certainly not! It was sin that killed me by using something good. Now we can see how terrible and evil sin really is.
    14. We know that the Law is spiritual. But I am merely a human, and I have been sold as a slave to sin.
    15. In fact, I don't understand why I act the way I do. I don't do what I know is right. I do the things I hate.
    16. Although I don't do what I know is right, I agree that the Law is good.
    17. So I am not the one doing these evil things. The sin that lives in me is what does them.
    18. I know that my selfish desires won't let me do anything that is good. Even when I want to do right, I cannot.
    19. Instead of doing what I know is right, I do wrong.
    20. And so, if I don't do what I know is right, I am no longer the one doing these evil things. The sin that lives in me is what does them.
    21. The Law has shown me that something in me keeps me from doing what I know is right.
    22. With my whole heart I agree with the Law of God.
    23. But in every part of me I discover something fighting against my mind, and it makes me a prisoner of sin that controls everything I do.
    24. What a miserable person I am. Who will rescue me from this body that is doomed to die?
    25. Thank God! Jesus Christ will rescue me. So with my mind I serve the Law of God, although my selfish desires make me serve the law of sin.
Reflections

Romans - Chapter 07

Entered: August 30, 2005
[REFER TO CHAPTER 6]

Entered: September 29, 2011

Paul continues to explain to those who are tied to the law of Moses for salvation why the law is not capable of saving a person. We can only be saved through faith in Jesus Christ and His death to atone for our sin.

Previously, Paul pointed out that the law is merely a teacher making us aware of how God wants us to live. Now he says that rather than keeping us from sin, through the law "sin sprang to life." (7:9) Prior to our knowledge of the law, we do things that are contrary to the law, but they are not willful acts against God. But once we become aware of the law we still do not stop doing them, but now they are willful acts against God, because now we know what He wants yet do not do it. 

Paul goes on to explain that it is not the knowledge of what is wrong that keeps a person from doing wrong. For example, Paul says that although he wants to do good, he does not do it. Instead, he does the wrong that he does not want to do. He agrees with the law but he still does not do it. The problem is that the sin nature that lives within him causes him to go against the law. He says, "So now I am no longer the one doing it, but it is sin living in me." (7:17)

To Paul's Christian brothers who were formerly enslaved to the law, Paul says to quit depending on the law. Now that they have, through faith, identified with the death of Christ they are dead to the law: "You also were put to death in relation to the law through the crucified body of the Messiah." (7:4) Therefore, the law no longer has power over them(or us). They have been released from it. The law is good in that it makes us aware of sin, but it has no power to set us free from sin. 

What, then, is the solution? "Who will rescue me from this body of death?" (7:24) To this, Paul answers, "I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord!" (7:25) Jesus is the One who can rescue us from this body of death. Because Paul, through faith in Christ, has been credited for righteousness, his mind is now in agreement with "the law of God," even though his flesh is still enslaved to the "law of sin." (7:25) As a Christian, he still sins, but he no longer does so willfully. His will is in agreement with God's will.