Brothers and sisters, (I'm speaking here to people who know the law),* don't you see that the law has authority over someone only while they're alive? For example, a married woman is bound by the law to her husband while he's alive, but if he dies, she's released from this legal obligation to him. So if she lives with another man while her husband is alive, she would be committing adultery. However, if her husband dies and then she marries another man, she wouldn't be guilty of adultery.
In the same way, my friends, you've become dead to the law through the body of Christ, and so now you belong to someone elseChrist, who was raised from the dead so that we could live a productive life for God. While we were controlled by old nature, our sinful desires (as revealed by the law) were at work within us and resulted in death. But now we've been set free from the law, and have died to what kept us in chains, so that we can serve in the newness of the spirit and not the old letter of the law.
So what do we conclude? That the law is sin? Of course not! I wouldn't have known what sin was unless the law defined it. I wouldn't have realized that wanting to have other people's things for myself was wrong without the law that says, “Don't desire for yourself what belongs to someone else.” But through this commandment sin found a way to stir up in me all kinds of selfish desiresfor without law, sin is dead. I used to live without realizing what the law really meant, but when I understood the implications of that commandment, then sin came back to life, and I died. 10 I discovered that the very commandment that was meant to bring life brought death instead, 11 because sin found a way through the commandment to deceive me, and used the commandment to kill me!
12 However, the law is holy, and the commandment is holy, right, and good. 13 Now would something that is good kill me? Of course not! But sin shows itself to be sin by using good to cause my death. So by means of the commandment, it's revealed how evil sin really is. 14 We realize that the law is spiritual; but I'm all-too-human,§ a slave to sin. 15 I really don't understand what I'm doing. I do the things I don't want to do, and what I hate doing, that's what I do! 16 But if I'm saying that I do what I don't want to, this shows that I admit the law is good and right. 17 So it's no longer me who does this, but sin living in me 18 for I know that there's nothing good in me as far as my sinful human nature is concerned. Even though I want to do good, I'm just not able to do it. 19 The good I want to do, I don't do; while the evil I don't want to do, that's what I end up doing! 20 However, if I'm doing what I don't want to, then it's no longer me doing it, but sin living in me.
21 This is the principle I've discovered: if I want to do what's good, evil is always there too. 22 My inner self is delighted with God's law, 23 but I see a different law at work within me that is at war with the law my mind has decided to follow, making me a prisoner of the law of sin that is within me. 24 I'm totally miserable! Who will rescue me from this body that's causing my death?* Thank Godfor he does this through Jesus Christ our Lord! 25 Here's the situation: while I myself choose with my mind to obey God's law, my human nature obeys the law of sin.
* 7:1 Paul's use of the word for law can have various meanings, but usually refers to the whole system of Jewish belief. Much of this has to do with rule-keeping. 7:4 Literally, “bear fruit for God.” 7:7 Quoting Exodus 20:17 or Deuteronomy 5:21. § 7:14 Literally, “flesh.” * 7:24 Literally, “body of death.”