Freedom from the Law
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? 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 8: But sin, taking occasion by the commandment, wrought in me all manner of concupiscence. For without the law sin was dead. 9: For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died. 10: And the commandment, which was ordained to life, I found to be unto death. 11: For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it slew me. 12: Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good. 13: 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.
Freedom from the power of sin
14: For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin. 15: For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. 16: If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good. 17: Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. 18: 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. 19: For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. 20: Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. 21: I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. 22: For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: 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. 24: O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? 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.
Paul goes on to explain the freedom that a Christian finds from the Mosaic Law. He says that the Law can only act on those who are alive. It’s like a woman who is bound by law to her husband while he lives but if he dies she is free from the obligations of the law to her husband. Now if she married another man while he lived, she would be called an adulterer, but if her first husband dies she is free to marry a second husband. So says Paul you have died in Christ to the Mosaic Law so that you might be married to Christ. The Mosaic Law brought forth death to the Jews who lived under it but now believers are delivered from the Mosaic Law, because they are dead in Christ and raised up to a new life in Christ. So was there anything wrong with the Mosaic Law? No. The law was holy, just and good. And if it had not been for the law men would not have known objectively what sin was. But when the Law said, you shall not covet, so sin became clear for all to see. Before the Law was revealed everyone thought that they were ok, but when the Law came men realised they were sinners and knew that they were dead to God. The Mosaic Law which was supposed to give life became actually the means of rendering a man separated from God. It was not the Law itself that separated me from God but sin that l committed. The Mosaic Law was spiritual but l was in the flesh and a slave to sin. I find that the good things that l want to do l cannot do and the evil things that l hate, l can’t stop doing them. In my mind l want to do well but the flesh in me is completely bad and l am unable to do the good that l want to do. Paul says, l find an overwhelming power is continually present in me so that the good l want to do l just can’t do. Paul is describing his life as a Christian here and he says, l find that there is an all out war in my body which is completely opposed to the law of my mind. And most of the time the flesh brings my mind into captivity. What am l going to do, says Paul, what a wretched man l am who can deliver me from the flesh with brings me into sin? And then he answers his own question… I thank God that victory is found in the Lord Jesus Christ. So in the spirit, l serve the leading of God, but in my flesh, l serve the controlling power of sin. In this passage Paul has graphically described the war between the flesh and the Spirit in the christians life, between the old nature and the new nature.