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Romans 7

Christians are free from the authority of Moses' Laws

1 My Christian friends, you know about laws. You know that we have to obey them. The laws have authority over someone while they are still alive. 2 So think about this. A woman who has a husband must stay with him as long as he still lives. That is what the law says. But if her husband dies, she becomes free from that law about her husband. 3 While her husband is alive, the law has authority over her. If she goes to live with another man, the law says that she has done something wrong. But if her husband dies, she becomes free from that law. If she then marries another man, she will not be doing anything wrong.

4 My friends, it is like that for you also. When Christ's body died on the cross, you were united with him. It is like you have died, so that you are no longer under the authority of Moses' Laws. Now you are free to belong to someone else. You belong to Christ, whom God raised up after his death. As a result, we can live in a good way that will make God happy. 5 In our old lives, we did the bad things that we wanted to do. Moses' Laws brought bad thoughts into our minds. As a result, our bodies did many wrong things. In the end, those bad things lead to death. 6 But now we have become free from the Law that God gave to Moses. That Law no longer has authority over us because we have died. We do not still try to obey rules that someone has written down. That is not how we serve God. Instead, we serve God in a new way. God's Spirit helps us to please him.

Moses' Laws teach us about sin

7 So then, someone might say, ‘The Law that God gave to Moses must be bad.’ No! Certainly, they are not bad! Without those laws, I would not have known what sin really is. One rule says, ‘You must not want to take things that belong to other people.’ Without that rule, I would not have known that it is wrong to want other people's things. 8 But that rule gave sin a chance to come into my thoughts. As a result, I started to want all kinds of wrong things. If there is no law to tell us what is wrong, then sin has no power.

9 As for me, there was a time when I did not know Moses' laws. I was living without any laws to obey. But later, I learned what that rule taught. Sin now had power in my life. 10 As a result, I died. God gave that rule to people so that they could live in a good way. But instead, that rule brought death to me. 11 That rule gave sin a chance to deceive me. So, I died as a result of that rule. 12 So then, we understand that God's Law itself is completely good. God gave all those rules and they are right and good.

7:10Paul means that he died in his spirit. He understood that he had not obeyed God's laws. He knew that he had become separate from God. He did not have the true life which God gives to believers. See Romans 5:12-14.

13 So, someone might say, ‘This means that something good brought death to you.’ No! God's Law did not do that! It was sin that brought death to me. Sin used God's good Law to show that I was guilty. Because of that, we can see that sin is really very bad. The rules in God's Law help sin to become even worse.

The power of sin in our lives

14 We understand that the Laws which God gave to Moses are spiritual. But I am weak and human. I am like a slave that has sin as my master. 15 I do not understand the things that I do. I do not do the good things that I want to do. Instead, I do the things that I hate. 16 But I do not want to do those wrong things. So then I am agreeing that God's Laws are good. 17 So, it is not really I myself who am doing those wrong things. Instead, sin has power in my life. It is sin that causes me to do wrong things.

18 I know that there is nothing good in me. I am a weak human person. I want to do what is good. But I am unable to do it. 19 I do not do the good things that I want to do. Instead, I continue to do the bad things that I do not want to do. 20 So, when I do bad things that I do not want to do, what does that show? It shows that it is not really I myself who am doing those wrong things. It is sin that causes me to do wrong things because it has power in my life.

21 So I understand what is happening in me. Whenever I want to do something good, I can only choose something bad. 22 Deep inside myself, I really love God's Law and I want to obey his rules. 23 So, my mind tells me to obey God's rules. But my body wants to make me do something else. Every part of me fights against what my mind tells me to do. Sin has power over my body so that I am like a prisoner. 24 This makes me very sad! My body is leading me to death. I need someone to make me free from the power of sin over my body. 25 I thank God! He has made me free, because of what Jesus Christ has done.

So then, with my mind I want to obey God's Law. But, at the same time, as a weak human person, I serve sin as my master.