Romans 7: Breaking the Law of Sin

Why do most laws not have expiration dates?

Author’s Thoughts
Authors’s insights pending.
Author’s Paraphrase
Romans 7:1 My friends, don’t you know that those who follow the rule of law are under its restrictions for as long as they live?
King James
Romans 7:1 Know ye not, brethren, (for I speak to them that know the law,) how that the law hath dominion over a man as long as he liveth?

In what ways should husbands and wives share responsibilities in marriage?

Author’s Thoughts
Authors’s insights pending.
Author’s Paraphrase
Romans 7:2 For example, as long as a woman remains married to a man, she lives under his authority. But if her husband dies, she is released from needing to please him.
King James
Romans 7:2 For the woman which hath an husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he liveth; but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband.

How long should a marriage commitment last?

Author’s Thoughts
Authors’s insights pending.
Author’s Paraphrase
Matthew 19:4–12 “Haven’t you read the scripture?” Jesus asked. “From the beginning, God made them male and female. That is why a man leaves his father and mother, is united with his wife, and the two become one. Since they are no longer two but one, and God has joined them, no one should separate them.”
“If that is true, why did Moses command a man to write his wife a bill of divorce and send her away from his house?”
Because of your hard hearts, Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but that was not God’s plan from the beginning. I say, for any reason other than sexual unfaithfulness, any man who divorces his wife and marries someone else commits adultery. And anyone who marries a divorced woman commits adultery.”
Jesus’ disciples said, “If that is the only reason a man can divorce his wife, it is better to never marry.”
Jesus said, “Not everyone can accept what God intends for marriage and for being single. Some have never had a desire to marry, and others choose to remain single for the sake of the Kingdom of Heaven. You should only wear the marriage garment if it fits.”
Romans 7:3 While her husband was alive, she would have been an adulteress if she had joined herself to another man. But if her husband has died, she is free to marry someone else.
King James
Matthew 19:4–12 And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, 5 And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.
They say unto him, Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement, and to put her away?
He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so. And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery.
His disciples say unto him, If the case of the man be so with his wife, it is not good to marry.
But he said unto them, All men cannot receive this saying, save they to whom it is given. For there are some eunuchs, which were so born from their mother’s womb: and there are some eunuchs, which were made eunuchs of men: and there be eunuchs, which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it.
Romans 7:3 So then if, while her husband liveth, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress: but if her husband be dead, she is free from that law; so that she is no adulteress, though she be married to another man.

How does being joined with Christ make the Law irrelevant?

Author’s Thoughts
Authors’s insights pending.
Author’s Paraphrase
Romans 7:4 In the same way, fellow Christians, the law is dead that you may be committed to being and doing everything that God wants. You are now joined to Jesus, who was raised from the dead.
King James
Romans 7:4 Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God.

Why do Christians sometimes struggle with sinful desires?

Author’s Thoughts
Authors’s insights pending.
Author’s Paraphrase
Romans 7:5 While we lived under the law, we struggled with sinful desires that felt good at the time but had deadly consequences.
King James
Romans 7:5 For when we were in the flesh, the motions of sins, which were by the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death.

When might it be wrong to obey the Law?

Author’s Thoughts
Authors’s insights pending.
Author’s Paraphrase
Romans 7:6 But now, compliance with written commandments is a dead issue. We follow God, responding to the direction of the Holy Spirit, not a written code of behavior.
King James
Romans 7:6 But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.

What is the Law’s ultimate purpose?

Author’s Thoughts
Authors’s insights pending.
Author’s Paraphrase
Romans 7:7 What do you think, then? Are rules bad? No, if it weren’t for commandments like “you must not want what others have,” we might not have recognized our sinful desires.
King James
Romans 7:7 What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet.

In what ways do laws reveal wrongdoing but fail to correct it?

Author’s Thoughts
Authors’s insights pending.
Author’s Paraphrase
Romans 7:8–9 When we have commandments—speed limit signs, for example—all kinds of wrong desires lead us to ignore the traffic laws. We know what the sign says, but we believe we can drive at the speed we want, lying to ourselves that we are doing right. But if there are no laws, we have no sin. Without speed limit signs but with a desire to drive safely, we can live in the freedom of doing what is right. As soon as we have the laws with their restrictions, sin revives as we want to drive our own fatal ways.
King James
Romans 7:8–9 But sin, taking occasion by the commandment, wrought in me all manner of concupiscence. For without the law sin was dead. For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died.

How is the Law counter-productive, leading to death instead of life?

Author’s Thoughts
Authors’s insights pending.
Author’s Paraphrase
Romans 7:10 The commandment that was designed to give life became a catalyst for our death.
King James
Romans 7:10 And the commandment, which was ordained to life, I found to be unto death.

What leads us to think our ways are better than God’s ways?

Author’s Thoughts
Authors’s insights pending.
Author’s Paraphrase
Isaiah 55:9 “As the stars are so distant from Earth, so are my thoughts and methods far above yours.”
Romans 7:11 Although we were told what to do, we were still deceived into thinking our ways were better, until it was too late.
King James
Isaiah 55:9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.
Romans 7:11 For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it slew me.

If our laws are just and beneficial, why don’t people do a better job at following them?

Author’s Thoughts
Authors’s insights pending.
Author’s Paraphrase
Romans 7:12–14 Being just and beneficial, the laws themselves are good. Am I saying the good commandments cause us to do wrong? Not at all. My desire to do something else led me to sin and death, and afterward the commandment reminded me how terribly wrong my decision was. The problem is not with laws, which have a spiritually good purpose, but with our human nature that is a slave to fleshly gratification.
King James
Romans 7:12–14 Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good. Was then that which is good made death unto me? God forbid. But sin, that it might appear sin, working death in me by that which is good; that sin by the commandment might become exceeding sinful. For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin.

What must we do to win the battle between flesh and spirit?

Author’s Thoughts
Authors’s insights pending.
Author’s Paraphrase
Acts 2:38 “Repent,” Peter said, “and be baptized. By the authority of Jesus Christ, your sins will be forgiven and you will receive this gift of the Holy Spirit.
Romans 7:15 A battle rages between what we know in our hearts and what our minds and bodies say would be good. I don’t do what my spirit says I should do, so I wind up doing what my moral instincts condemn.
1 Corinthians 9:26–27 I run the race with relentless determination. I don’t fight like the boxer who throws punches at the air, but I surrender my body, making myself a captive to Christ, lest I should miss the truth of my own preaching.
Galatians 5:16 Let me make this perfectly clear: if you listen to God’s Spirit within, you will seek to please him and to benefit others, not to satisfy your selfish desires.
King James
Acts 2:38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
Romans 7:15 For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I.
1 Corinthians 9:26–27 I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.
Galatians 5:16 his I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.

Can we always trust what our conscience tells us? Why or why not?

Author’s Thoughts
Authors’s insights pending.
Author’s Paraphrase
John 16:13 “But when the Spirit of Truth comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own authority but will say only what he hears. He will reveal to you things to come.”
Romans 7:16 If my conscience convicts me for my wrong thoughts or actions, I am agreeing with the goodness of the law that says I should have acted differently.
2 Corinthians 1:12 We take pride in a clear conscience, because our dealings everywhere have been without reproach. Not with worldly wisdom but in simplicity and godly sincerity, we have preached both to believers and unbelievers.
1 Timothy 4:2 With their conscience seared with a hot iron, people will speak with deep conviction as if their lies were the truth.
King James
John 16:13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.
Romans 7:16 If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good.
2 Corinthians 1:12 For our rejoicing is this, the testimony of our conscience, that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, we have had our conversation in the world, and more abundantly to you-ward.
1 Timothy 4:2 Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;

Are people “basically good” or “basically bad”? Why?

Author’s Thoughts
Authors’s insights pending.
Author’s Paraphrase
Jeremiah 17:9 The heart can be so deceptive that wicked people deceive even themselves.
Romans 2:15 The knowledge of right and wrong is written on hearts, not on paper, blogs, or e-books. People’s own conscience either condemns or commends their deeds.
Romans 7:17–18 Clearly then, the real “me” desires to do right, but my contrary, fleshly desires are still alive, preventing me from doing the good I know to do.
2 Corinthians 5:17 Those who are alive in Christ are new creatures, unlike who they were before. The old life in the flesh is over, and a new life in the spirit has begun.
King James
Jeremiah 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?
Romans 2:15 Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;)
Romans 7:17–18 Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.
2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

If we’re not working to please the Lord, whom might we be working to please?

Author’s Thoughts
Authors’s insights pending.
Author’s Paraphrase
Romans 7:19–20 When I find myself doing anything other than what would please the Lord, I’m not doing what I really want, but my sinful nature is still at work.
King James
Romans 7:19–20 For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.

When we choose to do one thing and not another, we might say, “I have no choice.” Obviously, there was a choice, so what is the more complete truth?

Author’s Thoughts
Authors’s insights pending.
Author’s Paraphrase
Romans 7:21 Without exception, every time I know to do good, I face an option to go my own self-serving way.
King James
Romans 7:21 I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me.

Why do some people find great pleasure in serving the Lord while others do not?

Author’s Thoughts
Authors’s insights pending.
Author’s Paraphrase
Romans 7:22 But I find greater pleasure in serving God, which satisfies who I really am.
King James
Romans 7:22 For I delight in the law of God after the inward man:

What are some of the pleasures that entice people to sin?

Author’s Thoughts
Authors’s insights pending.
Author’s Paraphrase
Romans 7:23 I fight against the foolish thinking that there is any real benefit in the selfish pleasures that would make me a slave to sin.
King James
Romans 7:23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.

Paul visualized absence from the Lord and being bound in sin as “terrible agony.” How does that perspective compare to the viewpoint of those who are living in sin?

Author’s Thoughts
Authors’s insights pending.
Author’s Paraphrase
Romans 7:24 I would be living in terrible agony, if I didn’t know who has the power to deliver me from sin and death.
King James
Romans 7:24 O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?

What prevents surrendering our “whole being” to the Lord?

Author’s Thoughts
Authors’s insights pending.
Author’s Paraphrase
Romans 7:25 Thank God, through Jesus Christ our Lord, I can commit my whole being to pleasing him and not allow sin to rule over me.
King James
Romans 7:25 I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.