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Romans 7-9 Common English Bible (CEB)

Freedom from the Law

Brothers and sisters, I’m talking to you as people who know the Law. Don’t you know that the Law has power over someone only as long as he or she lives? A married woman is united with her husband under the Law while he is alive. But if her husband dies, she is released from the Law concerning her husband. So then, if she lives with another man while her husband is alive, she’s committing adultery. But if her husband dies, she’s free from the Law, so she won’t be committing adultery if she marries someone else. Therefore, my brothers and sisters, you also died with respect to the Law through the body of Christ, so that you could be united with someone else. You are united with the one who was raised from the dead so that we can bear fruit for God. When we were self-centered, the sinful passions aroused through the Law were at work in all the parts of our body, so that we bore fruit for death. But now we have been released from the Law. We have died with respect to the thing that controlled us, so that we can be slaves in the new life under the Spirit, not in the old life under the written Law.

The function of the Law

So what are we going to say? That the Law is sin? Absolutely not! But I wouldn’t have known sin except through the Law. I wouldn’t have known the desire for what others have if the Law had not said, Don’t desire to take what others have.[a] But sin seized the opportunity and used this commandment to produce all kinds of desires in me. Sin is dead without the Law. I used to be alive without the Law, but when the commandment came, sin sprang to life, 10 and I died. So the commandment that was intended to give life brought death. 11 Sin seized the opportunity through the commandment, deceived me, and killed me. 12 So the Law itself is holy, and the commandment is holy, righteous, and good.

Living under the Law

13 So did something good bring death to me? Absolutely not! But sin caused my death through something good so that sin would be exposed as sin. That way sin would become even more thoroughly sinful through the commandment. 14 We know that the Law is spiritual, but I’m made of flesh and blood, and I’m sold as a slave to sin. 15 I don’t know what I’m doing, because I don’t do what I want to do. Instead, I do the thing that I hate. 16 But if I’m doing the thing that I don’t want to do, I’m agreeing that the Law is right. 17 But now I’m not the one doing it anymore. Instead, it’s sin that lives in me. 18 I know that good doesn’t live in me—that is, in my body. The desire to do good is inside of me, but I can’t do it. 19 I don’t do the good that I want to do, but I do the evil that I don’t want to do. 20 But if I do the very thing that I don’t want to do, then I’m not the one doing it anymore. Instead, it is sin that lives in me that is doing it.

21 So I find that, as a rule, when I want to do what is good, evil is right there with me. 22 I gladly agree with the Law on the inside, 23 but I see a different law at work in my body. It wages a war against the law of my mind and takes me prisoner with the law of sin that is in my body. 24 I’m a miserable human being. Who will deliver me from this dead corpse? 25 Thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then I’m a slave to God’s Law in my mind, but I’m a slave to sin’s law in my body.

Set free by the Spirit

So now there isn’t any condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and death. God has done what was impossible for the Law, since it was weak because of selfishness. God condemned sin in the body by sending his own Son to deal with sin in the same body as humans, who are controlled by sin. He did this so that the righteous requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us. Now the way we live is based on the Spirit, not based on selfishness. People whose lives are based on selfishness think about selfish things, but people whose lives are based on the Spirit think about things that are related to the Spirit. The attitude that comes from selfishness leads to death, but the attitude that comes from the Spirit leads to life and peace. So the attitude that comes from selfishness is hostile to God. It doesn’t submit to God’s Law, because it can’t. People who are self-centered aren’t able to please God.

But you aren’t self-centered. Instead you are in the Spirit, if in fact God’s Spirit lives in you. If anyone doesn’t have the Spirit of Christ, they don’t belong to him. 10 If Christ is in you, the Spirit is your life because of God’s righteousness, but the body is dead because of sin. 11 If the Spirit of the one who raised Jesus from the dead lives in you, the one who raised Christ from the dead will give life to your human bodies also, through his Spirit that lives in you.

12 So then, brothers and sisters, we have an obligation, but it isn’t an obligation to ourselves to live our lives on the basis of selfishness. 13 If you live on the basis of selfishness, you are going to die. But if by the Spirit you put to death the actions of the body, you will live. 14 All who are led by God’s Spirit are God’s sons and daughters. 15 You didn’t receive a spirit of slavery to lead you back again into fear, but you received a Spirit that shows you are adopted as his children. With this Spirit, we cry, “Abba, Father.” 16 The same Spirit agrees with our spirit, that we are God’s children. 17 But if we are children, we are also heirs. We are God’s heirs and fellow heirs with Christ, if we really suffer with him so that we can also be glorified with him.

Our suffering and our hope

18 I believe that the present suffering is nothing compared to the coming glory that is going to be revealed to us. 19 The whole creation waits breathless with anticipation for the revelation of God’s sons and daughters. 20 Creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice—it was the choice of the one who subjected it—but in the hope 21 that the creation itself will be set free from slavery to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of God’s children. 22 We know that the whole creation is groaning together and suffering labor pains up until now. 23 And it’s not only the creation. We ourselves who have the Spirit as the first crop of the harvest also groan inside as we wait to be adopted and for our bodies to be set free. 24 We were saved in hope. If we see what we hope for, that isn’t hope. Who hopes for what they already see? 25 But if we hope for what we don’t see, we wait for it with patience.

26 In the same way, the Spirit comes to help our weakness. We don’t know what we should pray, but the Spirit himself pleads our case with unexpressed groans. 27 The one who searches hearts knows how the Spirit thinks, because he pleads for the saints, consistent with God’s will. 28 We know that God works all things together for good for the ones who love God, for those who are called according to his purpose. 29 We know this because God knew them in advance, and he decided in advance that they would be conformed to the image of his Son. That way his Son would be the first of many brothers and sisters. 30 Those who God decided in advance would be conformed to his Son, he also called. Those whom he called, he also made righteous. Those whom he made righteous, he also glorified.

31 So what are we going to say about these things? If God is for us, who is against us? 32 He didn’t spare his own Son but gave him up for us all. Won’t he also freely give us all things with him?

33 Who will bring a charge against God’s elect people? It is God who acquits them. 34 Who is going to convict them? It is Christ Jesus who died, even more, who was raised, and who also is at God’s right side. It is Christ Jesus who also pleads our case for us.

35 Who will separate us from Christ’s love? Will we be separated by trouble, or distress, or harassment, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? 36 As it is written,

We are being put to death all day long for your sake.
    We are treated like sheep for slaughter.[b]

37 But in all these things we win a sweeping victory through the one who loved us. 38 I’m convinced that nothing can separate us from God’s love in Christ Jesus our Lord: not death or life, not angels or rulers, not present things or future things, not powers 39 or height or depth, or any other thing that is created.

The tragedy of Israel’s unbelief

I’m speaking the truth in Christ—I’m not lying, as my conscience assures me with the Holy Spirit: I have great sadness and constant pain in my heart. I wish I could be cursed, cut off from Christ if it helped my brothers and sisters, who are my flesh-and-blood relatives. They are Israelites. The adoption as God’s children, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the Law, the worship, and the promises belong to them. The Jewish ancestors are theirs, and the Christ descended from those ancestors. He is the one who rules over all things, who is God, and who is blessed forever. Amen.

Israel and God’s choice

But it’s not as though God’s word has failed. Not all who are descended from Israel are part of Israel. Not all of Abraham’s children are called Abraham’s descendants, but instead your descendants will be named through Isaac.[c] That means it isn’t the natural children who are God’s children, but it is the children from the promise who are counted as descendants. The words in the promise were: A year from now I will return, and Sarah will have a son.[d]

10 Not only that, but also Rebecca conceived children with one man, our ancestor Isaac. 11 When they hadn’t been born yet and when they hadn’t yet done anything good or bad, it was shown that God’s purpose would continue because it was based on his choice. 12 It wasn’t because of what was done but because of God’s call. This was said to her: The older child will be a slave to the younger one.[e] 13 As it is written, I loved Jacob, but I hated Esau.[f]

14 So what are we going to say? Isn’t this unfair on God’s part? Absolutely not! 15 He says to Moses, I’ll have mercy on whomever I choose to have mercy, and I’ll show compassion to whomever I choose to show compassion.[g] 16 So then, it doesn’t depend on a person’s desire or effort. It depends entirely on God, who shows mercy. 17 Scripture says to Pharaoh, I have put you in this position for this very thing: so I can show my power in you and so that my name can be spread through the entire earth.[h] 18 So then, God has mercy on whomever he wants to, but he makes resistant whomever he wants to.

19 So you are going to say to me, “Then why does he still blame people? Who has ever resisted his will?” 20 You are only a human being. Who do you think you are to talk back to God? Does the clay say to the potter,Why did you make me like this?[i] 21 Doesn’t the potter have the power over the clay to make one pot for special purposes and another for garbage from the same lump of clay? 22 What if God very patiently puts up with pots made for wrath that were designed for destruction, because he wanted to show his wrath and to make his power known? 23 What if he did this to make the wealth of his glory known toward pots made for mercy, which he prepared in advance for glory? 24 We are the ones God has called. We don’t come only from the Jews but we also come from the Gentiles. 25 As it says also in Hosea,

I will call “my people” those who aren’t my people,
    and the one who isn’t well loved, I will call “loved one.”[j]

26 And in the place where it was said to them,

You aren’t my people,
    there they will be called “the living God’s children.”[k]

27 But Isaiah cries out for Israel,

Though the number of Israel’s children will be like the sand of the sea,
    only a remaining part will be saved,
28         because the Lord does what he says completely and quickly.[l]

29 As Isaiah prophesied,

If the Lord of the heavenly forces had not left descendants for us,
    we would have been like Sodom,
    and we would have become like Gomorrah.[m]

Israel and God’s righteousness

30 So what are we going to say? Gentiles who weren’t striving for righteousness achieved righteousness, the righteousness that comes from faith. 31 But though Israel was striving for a Law of righteousness, they didn’t arrive. 32 Why? It’s because they didn’t go for it by faith but they went for it as if it could be reached by doing something. They have tripped over a stumbling block. 33 As it is written:

Look! I’m putting a stumbling block in Zion,
    which is a rock that offends people.
And the one who has faith in him will not be put to shame.[n]

Common English Bible (CEB)

Copyright © 2011 by Common English Bible

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