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Romans 7 MSG/NIV - Online Parallel Bible

 
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1 You shouldn't have any trouble understanding this, friends, for you know all the ins and outs of the law - how it works and how its power touches only the living. 1 Do you not know, brothers--for I am speaking to men who know the law--that the law has authority over a man only as long as he lives?
2 For instance, a wife is legally tied to her husband while he lives, but if he dies, she's free. 2 For example, by law a married woman is bound to her husband as long as he is alive, but if her husband dies, she is released from the law of marriage.
3 If she lives with another man while her husband is living, she's obviously an adulteress. But if he dies, she is quite free to marry another man in good conscience, with no one's disapproval. 3 So then, if she marries another man while her husband is still alive, she is called an adulteress. But if her husband dies, she is released from that law and is not an adulteress, even though she marries another man.
4 So, my friends, this is something like what has taken place with you. When Christ died he took that entire rule-dominated way of life down with him and left it in the tomb, leaving you free to "marry" a resurrection life and bear "offspring" of faith for God. 4 So, my brothers, you also died to the law through the body of Christ, that you might belong to another, to him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit to God.
5 For as long as we lived that old way of life, doing whatever we felt we could get away with, sin was calling most of the shots as the old law code hemmed us in. And this made us all the more rebellious. In the end, all we had to show for it was miscarriages and stillbirths. 5 For when we were controlled by the sinful nature, the sinful passions aroused by the law were at work in our bodies, so that we bore fruit for death.
6 But now that we're no longer shackled to that domineering mate of sin, and out from under all those oppressive regulations and fine print, we're free to live a new life in the freedom of God. 6 But now, by dying to what once bound us, we have been released from the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code.
7 But I can hear you say, "If the law code was as bad as all that, it's no better than sin itself." That's certainly not true. The law code had a perfectly legitimate function. Without its clear guidelines for right and wrong, moral behavior would be mostly guesswork. Apart from the succinct, surgical command, "You shall not covet," I could have dressed covetousness up to look like a virtue and ruined my life with it. 7 What shall we say, then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! Indeed I would not have known what sin was except through the law. For I would not have known what coveting really was if the law had not said, "Do not covet."
8 Don't you remember how it was? I do, perfectly well. The law code started out as an excellent piece of work. What happened, though, was that sin found a way to pervert the command into a temptation, making a piece of "forbidden fruit" out of it. The law code, instead of being used to guide me, was used to seduce me. Without all the paraphernalia of the law code, sin looked pretty dull and lifeless, 8 But sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, produced in me every kind of covetous desire. For apart from law, sin is dead.
9 and I went along without paying much attention to it. But once sin got its hands on the law code and decked itself out in all that finery, I was fooled, and fell for it. 9 Once I was alive apart from law; but when the commandment came, sin sprang to life and I died.
10 The very command that was supposed to guide me into life was cleverly used to trip me up, throwing me headlong. 10 I found that the very commandment that was intended to bring life actually brought death.
11 So sin was plenty alive, and I was stone dead. 11 For sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, deceived me, and through the commandment put me to death.
12 But the law code itself is God's good and common sense, each command sane and holy counsel. 12 So then, the law is holy, and the commandment is holy, righteous and good.
13 I can already hear your next question: "Does that mean I can't even trust what is good [that is, the law]? Is good just as dangerous as evil?" No again! Sin simply did what sin is so famous for doing: using the good as a cover to tempt me to do what would finally destroy me. By hiding within God's good commandment, sin did far more mischief than it could ever have accomplished on its own. 13 Did that which is good, then, become death to me? By no means! But in order that sin might be recognized as sin, it produced death in me through what was good, so that through the commandment sin might become utterly sinful.
14 I can anticipate the response that is coming: "I know that all God's commands are spiritual, but I'm not. Isn't this also your experience?" Yes. I'm full of myself - after all, I've spent a long time in sin's prison. 14 We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin.
15 What I don't understand about myself is that I decide one way, but then I act another, doing things I absolutely despise. 15 I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.
16 So if I can't be trusted to figure out what is best for myself and then do it, it becomes obvious that God's command is necessary. 16 And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good.
17 But I need something more! For if I know the law but still can't keep it, and if the power of sin within me keeps sabotaging my best intentions, I obviously need help! 17 As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me.
18 I realize that I don't have what it takes. I can will it, but I can't do it. 18 I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.
19 I decide to do good, but I don't really do it; I decide not to do bad, but then I do it anyway. 19 For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do--this I keep on doing.
20 My decisions, such as they are, don't result in actions. Something has gone wrong deep within me and gets the better of me every time. 20 Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.
21 It happens so regularly that it's predictable. The moment I decide to do good, sin is there to trip me up. 21 So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me.
22 I truly delight in God's commands, 22 For in my inner being I delight in God's law;
23 but it's pretty obvious that not all of me joins in that delight. Parts of me covertly rebel, and just when I least expect it, they take charge. 23 but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members.
24 I've tried everything and nothing helps. I'm at the end of my rope. Is there no one who can do anything for me? Isn't that the real question? 24 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?
25 The answer, thank God, is that Jesus Christ can and does. He acted to set things right in this life of contradictions where I want to serve God with all my heart and mind, but am pulled by the influence of sin to do something totally different. 25 Thanks be to God--through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God's law, but in the sinful nature a slave to the law of sin.