The Jewish law
I am talking now to my own countrymen, you Jewish people. You know the law that God gave to Moses. That law is for people to follow only while they are alive. It is not there for them after they die. 2-3 I’ll talk about one part of the law to show you what I mean. That law says that a woman is only allowed to marry one man. If a married woman sleeps with a man that is not her husband, as if he is her husband, she breaks that law, and she is guilty. But if her husband dies, then she can marry another man and sleep with him, and she will not be breaking any law.
You know that Jesus died for us. His body was dead on the cross. And, my friends, you believe in Jesus, so it is like you died too. So that old law is not for you any more. You belong to Jesus now. He came alive again, and it’s like you have a new life now too. God gave you that life so that you can do a lot of good things for him.
You know, we all have a bad part in us that wants us to do bad things. And at first, when we didn’t believe in Jesus, that bad part in us was our boss. And when that law told us not to do bad things, that bad part in us made us think about those bad things and want to do them, and so we did them anyway. So we had to die. But now we believe in Jesus, we don’t have to live that old way any more. It’s like we died to that old way, so we don’t have to follow that old law any more. We have the Holy Spirit in us now, and he helps us to do what God wants us to do. So we live that new way now.
That law shows us that we go wrong
Some people might reckon that the old law is no good because it made us go wrong, but that’s not true. The law is good. You see, God gave people the law to clearly show them what is right and what is wrong. For example, a part of that law says, “If something belongs to somebody else, don’t think about getting it for yourself.” Now think about this. If somebody doesn’t know that law, they don’t know that it is wrong to want to get other people’s things.* And, you know, we all have a bad part in us that wants to do bad things, so when that bad part in us hears the law, it makes us want to do that same wrong thing that the law talks about. But if we don’t hear that law, that bad part in us cant get us to go wrong like that. And you know, some people didn’t know that law at first, but after they heard it, that bad part in them made them want to do those bad things. 10 So then they had to die. You see, it’s like this. That law’s job is to show us how to live, but we don’t do everything it says, so the law tells us that we have to die. 11 That bad part of us uses that law to trick us, so that we do bad things. And then we have to die.* 12 But that law itself is really good. It tells us to do things that God says are right and good.
13 So, does that good law kill people? No way. It’s like this. That law shows us the things that God said are wrong, and that law says that we have to die if we do those wrong things. So that law shows us that it is really bad to go wrong, and to do bad things against God.
A fight goes on inside us
14 The problem is not the law, it is us. We know this. That law came from God, so there is nothing wrong with that law. But there is something wrong with us. We keep on going wrong. There is a bad part inside us that makes itself our boss, and we do whatever that boss tells us to do. 15 We don’t understand it. We want to do good things. But we can’t do those good things that we want to do. Instead, we do the things that we hate.* 16 We don’t want to do those bad things. We know that they are wrong. So that shows that, really, we agree with the law and we reckon the law is good. 17 So really, it’s not us that does those bad things. It’s that bad part of us that is inside us.
18 We know that we cant do anything good by ourselves. We want to do the right thing, but we cant. 19 We keep on trying to do good things, but we can’t. No, we keep on doing the bad things we don’t want to do. 20 That proves it. It’s not us that does those bad things. It’s that bad part inside us that does those bad things.
21 This is what happens. It is like another law. Every time we try to do something good, that bad part of us wants to take control and make us go wrong.
22 Really, we ourselves, we want to live the right way, 23 but there is a big fight going on inside us. That bad part of us makes its own law. It makes us think the wrong way. It makes us its prisoners so that we can’t do the things we really want to do. 24 We feel really sorry for ourselves. How can we get free from this bad boss in our bodies that will make us die? Who can make us free?
25 Thank God, Jesus Christ can make us free. He is the answer. God made a way for us to be free. Jesus will be our new leader, and he is stronger than that old boss inside us.
This is what I have been saying up until now. We ourselves, we really want to do things that are right, but we have a bad part in us that is our boss, and it makes us do things that are wrong.
* 7:7 Exodus 20:17; Deuteronomy 5:21 * 7:11 Genesis 3:13 * 7:15 Galatians 5:17