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Paul and the law.
1 Are you unaware, brothers (for I am speaking to people who know the law), that the law has jurisdiction over one as long as one lives?
Thus a married woman is bound by law to her living husband; but if her husband dies, she is released from the law in respect to her husband.
Consequently, while her husband is alive she will be called an adulteress if she consorts with another man. But if her husband dies she is free from that law, and she is not an adulteress if she consorts with another man.
In the same way, my brothers, you also were put to death to the law through the body of Christ, so that you might belong to another, to the one who was raised from the dead in order that we might bear fruit for God.
For when we were in the flesh, our sinful passions, awakened by the law, worked in our members to bear fruit for death.
But now we are released from the law, dead to what held us captive, so that we may serve in the newness of the spirit and not under the obsolete letter.
2 3 What then can we say? That the law is sin? Of course not! Yet I did not know sin except through the law, and I did not know what it is to covet except that the law said, "You shall not covet."
But sin, finding an opportunity in the commandment, produced in me every kind of covetousness. Apart from the law sin is dead.
I once lived outside the law, but when the commandment came, sin became alive;
then I died, and the commandment that was for life turned out to be death for me.
For sin, seizing an opportunity in the commandment, deceived me and through it put me to death.
So then the law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good.
4 Did the good, then, become death for me? Of course not! Sin, in order that it might be shown to be sin, worked death in me through the good, so that sin might become sinful beyond measure through the commandment.
We know that the law is spiritual; but I am carnal, sold into slavery to sin.
What I do, I do not understand. For I do not do what I want, but I do what I hate.
Now if I do what I do not want, I concur that the law is good.
So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me.
For I know that good does not dwell in me, that is, in my flesh. The willing is ready at hand, but doing the good is not.
For I do not do the good I want, but I do the evil I do not want.
Now if (I) do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me.
So, then, I discover the principle that when I want to do right, evil is at hand.
For I take delight in the law of God, in my inner self,
but I see in my members another principle at war with the law of my mind, taking me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. 5
Miserable one that I am! Who will deliver me from this mortal body?
Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Therefore, I myself, with my mind, serve the law of God but, with my flesh, the law of sin.
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1 [1-6] Paul reflects on the fact that Christians have a different understanding of the law because of their faith in Christ. Law binds the living, not the dead, as exemplified in marriage, which binds in life but is dissolved through death. Similarly, Christians who through baptism have died with Christ to sin (cf Romans 6:2-4) are freed from the law that occasioned transgressions, which in turn were productive of death. Now that Christians are joined to Christ, the power of Christ's resurrection makes it possible for them to bear the fruit of newness of life for God.
2 [7-25] In this passage Paul uses the first person singular in the style of diatribe for the sake of argument. He aims to depict the disastrous consequences when a Christian reintroduces the law as a means to attain the objective of holiness pronounced in Romans 6:22.
3 [7-12] The apostle defends himself against the charge of identifying the law with sin. Sin does not exist in law but in human beings, whose sinful inclinations are not overcome by the proclamation of law.
4 [13-25] Far from improving the sinner, law encourages sin to expose itself in transgressions or violations of specific commandments (see Romans 1:24; 5:20). Thus persons who do not experience the justifying grace of God, and Christians who revert to dependence on law as the criterion for their relationship with God, will recognize a rift between their reasoned desire for the goodness of the law and their actual performance that is contrary to the law. Unable to free themselves from the slavery of sin and the power of death, they can only be rescued from defeat in the conflict by the power of God's grace working through Jesus Christ.
5  As in Romans 3:27 Paul plays on the term law, which in Greek can connote custom, system, or principle.
"What then shall we say? That the law is sin? By no means! Yet, if it had not been for the law, I should not have known sin. I should not have known what it is to covet if the law had not said, "You shall not covet." (Romans 7:7; RSV)
If this is true, then we must acknowledge that man cannot be guilty of coveting, since he doesn't know what 'coveting' consists of; he cannot murder even if he unjustly, and by forethought, kills another since he has never heard the word, murder, and he does not know what it means. This is the most heinous of concepts man can begin to consider as a defense.
Simply put, any thing or any person which leads another to commit a crime (sin) is an accomplice to that act. If any thing, or any person, leads another to do evil, then that thing or person is also evil. Righteousness cannot lead one to unrighteousness, therefore, the law which was conceived and administered by the Lord God, and not Satan, cannot be evil or cause one to sin. Nor can evil work through it.
A thought is suggested for a second time. Without the Law, if Paul had snuck up behind another and killed him, committed murder, would it not still be murder? Without any concept of God, there is within the human animal a sense of fair and unfair. Even if we are a blank concerning the existence of God, we are not restricted from having a sensibility of right and wrong.
Paul's argument is extremely juvenile because he assumes that before the Law there was no sin! "Apart from the law, sin lies dead." (Romans 7:8; RSV)
If there is no law, sin cannot exist. That is what he is saying, but just moments ago he said that before the law there was sin, the sin of Adam and Eve. He is wrong on both accounts.
The web becomes so complex that Paul weaves in an attempt to deceive, that even he cannot keep up with it. All his 'wisdom' becomes foolishness. Unfortunately, the deception has worked, and continued for two thousand years. The giving of the Spirit becomes a 'wholesale' item, the free gift received, those in the church are no longer saints but the children of God, and if the children of God, then heirs. (Romans 8:16-17; RSV)
And now Paul strikes upon the ultimate theory, and the ultimate confusion.
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