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Romans 7 New King James Version (NKJV)

Freed from the Law

Or do you not know, brethren (for I speak to those who know the law), that the law [a]has dominion over a man as long as he lives? For the woman who has a husband is bound by the law to her husband as long as he lives. But if the husband dies, she is released from the law of her husband. So then if, while her husband lives, she marries another man, she will be called an adulteress; but if her husband dies, she is free from that law, so that she is no adulteress, though she has married another man. Therefore, my brethren, you also have become dead to the law through the body of Christ, that you may be married to another—to Him who was raised from the dead, that we should bear fruit to God. For when we were in the flesh, the sinful passions which were aroused by the law were at work in our members to bear fruit to death. But now we have been delivered from the law, having died to what we were held by, so that we should serve in the newness of the Spirit and not in the oldness of the letter.

Sin’s Advantage in the Law

What shall we say then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! On the contrary, I would not have known sin except through the law. For I would not have known covetousness unless the law had said, “You shall not covet.” But sin, taking opportunity by the commandment, produced in me all manner of evil desire. For apart from the law sin was dead. I was alive once without the law, but when the commandment came, sin revived and I died. 10 And the commandment, which was to bring life, I found to bring death. 11 For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it killed me. 12 Therefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy and just and good.

Law Cannot Save from Sin

13 Has then what is good become death to me? Certainly not! But sin, that it might appear sin, was producing death in me through what is good, so that sin through the commandment might become exceedingly sinful. 14 For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am carnal, sold under sin. 15 For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do. 16 If, then, I do what I will not to do, I agree with the law that it is good. 17 But now, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. 18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find. 19 For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice. 20 Now if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me.

21 I find then a law, that evil is present with me, the one who wills to do good. 22 For I delight in the law of God according to 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. 24 O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of 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.

Footnotes:

  1. Romans 7:1 rules
New King James Version (NKJV)

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Romans 7 New Century Version (NCV)

An Example from Marriage

Brothers and sisters, all of you understand the law of Moses. So surely you know that the law rules over people only while they are alive. For example, a woman must stay married to her husband as long as he is alive. But if her husband dies, she is free from the law of marriage. But if she marries another man while her husband is still alive, the law says she is guilty of adultery. But if her husband dies, she is free from the law of marriage. Then if she marries another man, she is not guilty of adultery.

In the same way, my brothers and sisters, your old selves died, and you became free from the law through the body of Christ. This happened so that you might belong to someone else—the One who was raised from the dead—and so that we might be used in service to God. In the past, we were ruled by our sinful selves. The law made us want to do sinful things that controlled our bodies, so the things we did were bringing us death. In the past, the law held us like prisoners, but our old selves died, and we were made free from the law. So now we serve God in a new way with the Spirit, and not in the old way with written rules.

Our Fight Against Sin

You might think I am saying that sin and the law are the same thing. That is not true. But the law was the only way I could learn what sin meant. I would never have known what it means to want to take something belonging to someone else if the law had not said, “You must not want to take your neighbor’s things.”[a] And sin found a way to use that command and cause me to want all kinds of things I should not want. But without the law, sin has no power. I was alive before I knew the law. But when the law’s command came to me, then sin began to live, 10 and I died. The command was meant to bring life, but for me it brought death. 11 Sin found a way to fool me by using the command to make me die.

12 So the law is holy, and the command is holy and right and good. 13 Does this mean that something that is good brought death to me? No! Sin used something that is good to bring death to me. This happened so that I could see what sin is really like; the command was used to show that sin is very evil.

The War Within Us

14 We know that the law is spiritual, but I am not spiritual since sin rules me as if I were its slave. 15 I do not understand the things I do. I do not do what I want to do, and I do the things I hate. 16 And if I do not want to do the hated things I do, that means I agree that the law is good. 17 But I am not really the one who is doing these hated things; it is sin living in me that does them. 18 Yes, I know that nothing good lives in me—I mean nothing good lives in the part of me that is earthly and sinful. I want to do the things that are good, but I do not do them. 19 I do not do the good things I want to do, but I do the bad things I do not want to do. 20 So if I do things I do not want to do, then I am not the one doing them. It is sin living in me that does those things.

21 So I have learned this rule: When I want to do good, evil is there with me. 22 In my mind, I am happy with God’s law. 23 But I see another law working in my body, which makes war against the law that my mind accepts. That other law working in my body is the law of sin, and it makes me its prisoner. 24 What a miserable man I am! Who will save me from this body that brings me death? 25 I thank God for saving me through Jesus Christ our Lord!

So in my mind I am a slave to God’s law, but in my sinful self I am a slave to the law of sin.

Footnotes:

  1. 7:7 “You . . . things.” Quotation from Exodus 20:17.
New Century Version (NCV)

The Holy Bible, New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.

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