No Longer Bound to the Law
7 Now, dear brothers and sisters—you who are familiar with the law—don’t you know that the law applies only while a person is living? 2 For example, when a woman marries, the law binds her to her husband as long as he is alive. But if he dies, the laws of marriage no longer apply to her. 3 So while her husband is alive, she would be committing adultery if she married another man. But if her husband dies, she is free from that law and does not commit adultery when she remarries.
4 So, my dear brothers and sisters, this is the point: You died to the power of the law when you died with Christ. And now you are united with the one who was raised from the dead. As a result, we can produce a harvest of good deeds for God. 5 When we were controlled by our old nature, sinful desires were at work within us, and the law aroused these evil desires that produced a harvest of sinful deeds, resulting in death. 6 But now we have been released from the law, for we died to it and are no longer captive to its power. Now we can serve God, not in the old way of obeying the letter of the law, but in the new way of living in the Spirit.
God’s Law Reveals Our Sin
7 Well then, am I suggesting that the law of God is sinful? Of course not! In fact, it was the law that showed me my sin. I would never have known that coveting is wrong if the law had not said, “You must not covet.” 8 But sin used this command to arouse all kinds of covetous desires within me! If there were no law, sin would not have that power. 9 At one time I lived without understanding the law. But when I learned the command not to covet, for instance, the power of sin came to life, 10 and I died. So I discovered that the law’s commands, which were supposed to bring life, brought spiritual death instead. 11 Sin took advantage of those commands and deceived me; it used the commands to kill me. 12 But still, the law itself is holy, and its commands are holy and right and good.
13 But how can that be? Did the law, which is good, cause my death? Of course not! Sin used what was good to bring about my condemnation to death. So we can see how terrible sin really is. It uses God’s good commands for its own evil purposes.
Struggling with Sin
14 So the trouble is not with the law, for it is spiritual and good. The trouble is with me, for I am all too human, a slave to sin. 15 I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate. 16 But if I know that what I am doing is wrong, this shows that I agree that the law is good. 17 So I am not the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it.
18 And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. I want to do what is right, but I can’t. 19 I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway. 20 But if I do what I don’t want to do, I am not really the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it.
21 I have discovered this principle of life—that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. 22 I love God’s law with all my heart. 23 But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me. 24 Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? 25 Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord. So you see how it is: In my mind I really want to obey God’s law, but because of my sinful nature I am a slave to sin.
Paul says so much in each chapter, it’s hard to narrow it down to a couple sentences. For me today, what really caught my attention was the first 4 verses. As he compares how a widow is released from the law of marriage because of the death of the husband, so are we released from the law because of the death of Christ. This really clicked in my mind today, maybe just a moment of clarity. The widow is now free to pursue a new relationship, just as we are now free to pursue the new relationship of grace in Jesus. No longer are either bound by their old covenant.
Verse 8 also stood out to me today. “But sin used this command to arouse all kinds of covetous desires within me! If there were no law, sin would not have that power”. A kind of vicious circle is described here. Without the law, we do not know we are sinning. The law then points out our sin. Once we know about the sin, sin (the enemy) uses that to get us to sin more, even though we don’t want to. Paul says the law is not the problem, because it is spiritual and good, it is him, and us, because we are human and slaves to sin.
16 But if I know that what I am doing is wrong, this shows that I agree that the law is good.” The law is still as valid as the day God inscribed those commands on the stone tablets. The principles and values meant by those laws are still the same we hold to today. Paul says that when we sin, and we know it is wrong, we agree with God’s law. The difference now is that sin does not have the power over us anymore for all those who live in Christ. We have freedom from the legalities of it, freedom from sin’s accusations, freedom from sin’s guilt. We have freedom in the grace of God through the work of Jesus on the cross. Satan has no hold on us any longer, nor any right to accuse us. Let’s rejoice in that today.
God, we thank you for your law, and we thank you for sending Jesus to be our atonement when we break that law. God help us to always know when we have done wrong and confess it. Help us to understand that Satan has no right over us any longer, nor do his accusations. Help us to understand the grace we have in Christ. Thank you Jesus for you blessings, may you encourage each person reading today. In Jesus name, amen.