An Analogy from Marriage
7:1Or are ye ignorant, brethren (for I speak to men who know the law), that the law hath dominion over a man for so long time as he liveth?1 7:2For the woman that hath a husband is bound by law to the husband while he liveth; but if the husband die, she is discharged from the law of the husband. 7:3So then if, while the husband liveth, she be joined to another man, she shall be called an adulteress: but if the husband die, she is free from the law, so that she is no adulteress, though she be joined to another man.
7:4Wherefore, my brethren, ye also were made dead to the law through the body of Christ;2 that ye should be joined to another3, even to him who was raised from the dead, that we might bring forth fruit unto God. 7:5For when we were in the flesh, the sinful passions, which were through the law, wrought in our members to bring forth fruit unto death. 7:6But now we have been discharged from the law, having died to that wherein we were held; so that we serve in newness of the spirit, and not in oldness of the letter.
- law hath dominion over a man for so long time as he liveth. Paul is referring to the law of sin and death, which is temporary. Compare to law of God (7:22), which is eternal.
- made dead to the law through the body of Christ; We are free of the (carnal) law of sin and death because we are members of the (spiritual) body of Christ.
- that ye should be joined to another...that we might bring forth fruit unto God. Christ came so that we may bear the fruit of oneness (joined to another).
The Law and Sin
7:7What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Howbeit, I had not known sin, except through the law: for I had not known coveting, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet:7:8but sin, finding occasion, wrought in me through the commandment all manner of coveting: for apart from the law sin is dead. 7:9And I was alive apart from the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died; 7:10and the commandment, which was unto life, this I found to be unto death: 7:11for sin, finding occasion, through the commandment beguiled me, and through it slew me. 7:12So that the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and righteous, and good.
7:13Did then that which is good become death unto me? God forbid. But sin, that it might be shown to be sin, by working death to me through that which is good; --that through the commandment sin might become exceeding sinful.
The Inner Conflict
7:14For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin. 7:15For that which I do I know not1: for not what I would, that do I practise; but what I hate, that I do. 7:16But if what I would not, that I do, I consent unto the law that it is good. 7:17So now it is no more I that do it, but sin which dwelleth in me. 7:18For I know that in me, that is, in my flesh, dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me, but to do that which is good is not. 7:19For the good which I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I practise. 7:20But if what I would not, that I do, it is no more I that do it, but sin which dwelleth in me.
7:21I find then the law, that, to me who would do good, evil is present. 7:22For I delight in the law of God2 after the inward man: 7:23but I see a different law in my members,3 warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity under the law of sin which is in my members. 7:24Wretched man that I am!4 who shall deliver me out of the body of this death? 7:25I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord.
- For that which I do I know not. Paul switches to present tense in vv14-25 and this section is the basis for the General Confession in liturgical and evangelical: ALMIGHTY and most merciful Father, We have erred and strayed from thy ways ... And there is no health in us. Unity rejects this theology.
- For I delight in the law of God. The law of God is the orderly working out of the principle of Being, or the divine ideals, into expression and manifestation throughout creation (MBD/Law).
- a different law in my members. The law of sin and death. See 8:2: For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus made me free from the law of sin and of death.
- Wretched man that I am! Unity never provided commentary on any of part of this chapter, most likely because: If, through the power of our thought and word, we affirm the opposite of life and talk about the absence of life, we rob the body cells of their natural element. This treatment will eventually bring death to the organism. Let us not say, "I am tired"; "I am weak"; "I am sick." Rather, let us say, "I am strong"; "I am well"; "I am alive with the life of God now and forevermore." (RW/Death)
Fillmore Study Bible annotations by Mark Hicks
Following Entry: Rom. 8