Read Romans 7:1-25
1Do 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? 2For 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. 3So 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.
4So, 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. 5For 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. 6But 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.
7What 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." 8But sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, produced in me every kind of covetous desire. For apart from law, sin is dead. 9Once I was alive apart from law; but when the commandment came, sin sprang to life and I died. 10I found that the very commandment that was intended to bring life actually brought death. 11For sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, deceived me, and through the commandment put me to death. 12So then, the law is holy, and the commandment is holy, righteous and good.
13Did 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.
14We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. 15I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. 16And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. 17As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. 18I 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. 19For 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. 20Now 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.
21So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. 22For in my inner being I delight in God's law; 23but 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. 24What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? 25Thanks 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. (NIV)
Paul begins this section of his letter with a premise that most people understood, that when one dies, one’s obligation to contracts signed during life are now null and void. He uses marriage as an example of this kind of release from a contract upon the death of one of the makers of the marriage covenant. Death released the remaining spouse to marry again. For Paul, he takes this to an understanding that before Christ, we are married to the law. But when we accept Christ, we die and become a new creation and are now freed to marry again. This time, we do not marry another law, but we become wed to Christ and are now dead to the law. Our obedience is now not to some written code or word, but to the very Word of God, Christ. Our obedience is done then out of love.
Paul then moves into a section where he opens up his own heart and his own struggle with serving God. He lets the readers know that even he struggles with getting it right every day. He says he doesn’t do the good things he wants to and ends up doing the things he doesn’t want to do. I think all of us can relate to this frustration. We can all look to times where we didn’t get it right and failed.
Paul reiterates his believe in the purpose of the law which is not salvation, but for humanity to see the sin in their lives and thus seeing the sin in their lives, the need for Christ in their lives. And from there he says that without Christ, he and all of us would be lost forever, but he gives thanks that it is Christ who rescues us from this fate.
This is a powerful summary of our faith. We die to self and are reborn when we accept Christ. This new birth frees us from the law to bind ourselves to Christ. And in binging ourselves to Christ, we find freedom from the bondage of our everyday failings.
This is a wonderful summary of our faith. What does forgiveness of sin mean to you? What does it mean to realize our failures, but know that God still loves us and has purpose for us?
Blessings and Peace: