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Chapter 7

1Do you not know, brothers—for I am speaking to men who know what law is—that law governs a man only as long as he lives? 2For a married woman is bound by law to her husband while he lives, but if he dies, the marriage law no longer applies to her. 3So if she marries another man while her husband is alive, she is called an adulteress, but if her husband dies, she is free from that law, and can marry someone else without being an adulteress. 4So you, in turn, my brothers, in the body of Christ have become dead as far as the Law is concerned, so that you may belong to another husband, who was raised from the dead in order that we might bear fruit for God. 5For when we were living mere physical lives the sinful passions, awakened by the Law, operated through the organs of our bodies to make us bear fruit for death. 6But now the Law no longer applies to us; we have died to what once controlled us, so that we can now serve in the new Spirit, not under the old letter.

7Then what shall we conclude? That the Law is sin? Certainly not! Yet, if it had not been for the Law, I should never have learned what sin was; I should not have known what it was to covet if the Law had not said, “You must not covet.” 8That command gave sin an opening, and it led me to all sorts of covetous ways, for sin is lifeless without law. 9I was once alive and without law, but when the command came, sin awoke and then I died; 10and the command that should have meant life in my case proved to mean death. 11The command gave sin an opening and sin deceived me and killed me with it. 12So the Law itself is holy, and each command is holy, just, and good.

13Did what was good, then, prove the death of me? Certainly not! It was sin that did so, so that it might be recognized as sin, because even through something that was good it effected my death, so that through the command it might appear how immeasurably sinful sin was. 14We know that the Law is spiritual, but I am physical, sold into slavery to sin. 15I do not understand what I am doing, for I do not do what I want to do; I do things that I hate. 16But if I do what I do not want to do, I acknowledge that the Law is right. 17In reality, it is not I that do these things; it is sin, which has possession of me. 18For I know that nothing good resides in me, that is, in my physical self; I can will, but I cannot do what is right. 19I do not do the good things that I want to do; I do the wrong things that I do not want to do. 20But if I do the things that I do not want to do, it is not I that am acting, it is sin, which has possession of me. 21I find the law to be that I who want to do right am dogged by what is wrong. 22My inner nature agrees with the divine law, 23but all through my body I see another principle in conflict with the law of my reason, which makes me a prisoner to that law of sin that runs through my body. 24What a wretched man I am! Who can save me from this doomed body? 25Thank God! it is done through Jesus Christ our Lord! So mentally I am a slave to God’s law, but physically to the law of sin.

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