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1YOU know very well, my brothers (for I am speaking to those well acquainted with the subject), that the Law can only exercise authority over a man so long as he is alive.

2A married woman, for example, is bound by law to her husband so long as he is alive. But if he dies, then his legal claim over her disappears.

3This means that, if she should give herself to another man while her husband is alive, she incurs the stigma of adultery. But if, after her husband's death, she does exactly the same thing, no one could call her an adulteress, for the legal hold over her has been dissolved by her husband's death.

4So, my brothers, the death of Christ on the cross has made you "dead" to the claims of the Law, and you are free to give yourselves in marriage, so to speak, to another, the one who was raised from the dead, that we may be productive for God.

5While we were "in the flesh" the Law stimulated our sinful passions and so worked in our nature that we became productivefor death!

6But now that we stand clear of the Law, the claims which existed are dissolved by our "death", and we are free to serve God not in the old obedience to the letter of the Law, but in a new way, in the Spirit.

7It now begins to look as if sin and the Law were the same thingcan this be a fact? Of course it cannot. But it must be admitted that I should never have had sin brought home to me but for the Law. For example, I should never have felt guilty of the sin of coveting if I had not heard the Law saying "Thou shall not covet".

8But the sin in me, finding in the commandment an opportunity to express itself, stimulated all my desires. For sin, in the absence of the Laws has no life of its own.

9As long, then as I was without the Law I was alive. But when the commandment arrived, sin sprang to life and I "died".

10The commandment, which was meant to be a direction to life, I found was a sentence to death.

11The commandment gave sin its opportunity, and without my realizing what it was doing, it "killed" me.

12It can scarcely be doubted that the Law itself is holy, and the commandment is holy, fair and good.

13Can it be that something that is intrinsically good could mean death to me? No, what happened was this. Sin, at the touch of the Law, was forced to show itself as sin, and that meant death for me. The contact of the Law showed the utterly sinful nature of sin.

14For we know that the Law itself is concerned with the spiritualit is I who am carnal, and have sold my soul to sin.

15My own behaviour baffles me. For I find myself doing what I really loathe but not doing what I really want to do.

16Yet surely if I do things that I really don't want to do, I am admitting that I really agree that the Law is good.

17But it cannot be said that "I" am doing them at allit must be sin that has made its home in my nature.

18And, indeed, I know from experience that the carnal side of my being can scarcely be called the home of good! I often find that I have the will to do good, but not the power.

19That is, I don't accomplish the good I set out to do, and the evil I don't really want to do I find I am always doing.

20Yet if I do things that I don't really want to do then it is not, I repeats "I" who do them, but the sin which has made its home within me.

21My experience of the Law is that when I want to do good, only evil is within my reach.

22For I am in hearty agreement with God's Law so far as my inner self is concerned.

23But then I find another law in my bodily members, which is in continual conflict with the Law which my mind approves, and makes me a prisoner to the law of sin which is inherent in my mortal body. (7:25b) For left to myself, I serve the Law of God with my mind, but in my unspiritual nature I serve the law of sin.

24It is an agonising situation, and who can set me free from the prison of this mortal body?

25I thank God there is a way out through Jesus Christ our Lord.



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