This is the seventh installment of what I hope to be a complete “translation” of Romans. Please note that this is not scripture; it is my understanding of scripture. Any with questions or concerns should check the original.
Seventh chapter of Romans
Are you not aware, brothers, that the laws of this world apply as long as you live? I’m talking to those that know the law.
For example, a wife is legally tied to her husband as long as he lives. But when he dies, then she is free. So then, if while her husband is a live, she marries another man, she has sinned sexually … but if her husband is dead, she may marry another man without committing any sin.
In just the same way, you died to the spiritual laws of the old testament through Christ Jesus – so that you can “marry” to another, even Jesus Himself, raised from the dead. And this is all so that we can bear fruit for God.
Because when we were controlled by our old, sinful nature, the ungodly desires aroused by the law were at work in our bodies … so that we were separated from God, even to death. But now, by dying to the law, we have been released from the law. And now we serve in the new way of the Spirit of God, not in the old way of the written code.
So what shall we say? Is the law sin? God forbid! We would not even know what sin is apart from the law. For example, I would not have truly known what it is to covet – desire another’s property – if the law had not said: Do not covet!
But sin takes the opportunity given by the law – because our nature is to do what we should not – and created in me all kinds of covetous desires.
Without law, there is no sin. Before I knew the law, I was alive. But when I understood that there was a law, and what it required of me, sin revived in me and I died. So the law, which was given so that we might live, was actually killing me.
Which proves that the law is just and right and good: it finds and shows things in my life – even now – that are not God-honoring. For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am unspiritual – sold as a slave to sin.
I don’t understand my own self, or what I do. Because I do not do what I want to do; in fact, I do what I hate. And in that contradiction, my life testifies to me that the law is good.
And sin is more powerful than I am, for I do the things that I do not want to do. I have the desire to to what is right, but I cannot follow through. I know that nothing good lives in me.
I find this principle at work: when I want to do good, sin is in my face. In the depths of my heart I love God and His will for my life, but there is another power at work in me, waging war against me, and making me prisoner to its power in my body.
So in my mind I serve God, but with my sinful nature I serve sin.
Oh wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God there is a deliverer: Jesus Christ our Lord!
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