Now, dear brothers and sisters a -- you who are familiar with the law -- don't you know that the law applies only to a person who is still living?
Let me illustrate. 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.
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.
So this is the point: The law no longer holds you in its power, because you died to its power when you died with Christ on the cross. And now you are united with the one who was raised from the dead. As a result, you can produce good fruit, that is, good deeds for God.
When we were controlled by our old nature, sinful desires were at work within us, and the law aroused these evil desires that produced sinful deeds, resulting in death.
But now we have been released from the law, for we died with Christ, and we are no longer captive to its power. Now we can really serve God, not in the old way by obeying the letter of the law, but in the new way, by the Spirit.
Well then, am I suggesting that the law of God is evil? Of course not! The law is not sinful, but it was the law that showed me my sin. I would never have known that coveting is wrong if the law had not said, "Do not covet." b8
But sin took advantage of this law and aroused all kinds of forbidden desires within me! If there were no law, sin would not have that power.
I felt fine when I did not understand what the law demanded. But when I learned the truth, I realized I had broken the law and was a sinner, doomed to die.
So the good law, which was supposed to show me the way of life, instead gave me the death penalty.
Sin took advantage of the law and fooled me; it took the good law and used it to make me guilty of death.
But still, the law itself is holy and right and good.
But how can that be? Did the law, which is good, cause my doom? Of course not! Sin used what was good to bring about my condemnation. So we can see how terrible sin really is. It uses God's good commandment for its own evil purposes.
The law is good, then. The trouble is not with the law but with me, because I am sold into slavery, with sin as my master.
I don't understand myself at all, for I really want to do what is right, but I don't do it. Instead, I do the very thing I hate.
I know perfectly well that what I am doing is wrong, and my bad conscience shows that I agree that the law is good.
But I can't help myself, because it is sin inside me that makes me do these evil things.
I know I am rotten through and through so far as my old sinful nature is concerned. No matter which way I turn, I can't make myself do right. I want to, but I can't.
When I want to do good, I don't. And when I try not to do wrong, I do it anyway.
But if I am doing what I don't want to do, I am not really the one doing it; the sin within me is doing it.
It seems to be a fact of life that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong.
I love God's law with all my heart.
But there is another law at work within me that is at war with my mind. This law wins the fight and makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me.
Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin? c25
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.
Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved. (New Living Translation - The Bible Online)