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An Example from Marriage

7 1Brothers [and sisters], you all understand the law [of Moses]. So surely you know that the law rules over a person only while he is alive. 2[I will give you an example]: A woman must stay married to her husband as long as he is alive. But if her husband dies, then she is made free from the law of marriage. 3But if that woman marries another man while her husband is still alive, the law says she is guilty of adultery.* But if the woman's husband dies, then that woman is made free from the law of marriage. So if that woman marries another man after her husband dies, she is not guilty of adultery. 4In the same way, my brothers [and sisters], your old selves died and you became free from the law* through the body of Christ. Now you belong to someone else. You belong to the One (Christ) that was raised from death. We belong to Christ so that we can be used in service to God. 5In the past, we were ruled by our sinful selves. The law made us want to do sinful things. And those sinful things we wanted to do controlled our bodies, so that the things we did were only bringing us spiritual death. 6In the past, the law held us like prisoners. But our old selves died and we were made free from the law. So now we serve God in a new way, not in the old way with the written rules. Now we serve God in the new way with the Spirit.*

Our Fight Against Sin

7You might think that I am saying that sin and the law* are the same thing. That is not true. But the law was the only way I could learn what sin means. I would never have known what it means to want something wrong. But the law said, "You must not want [things that belong to other people]."* 8And sin found a way to use that command and make me want every kind of wrong thing. So sin came to me because of that command. But without the law, sin has no power. 9I was alive without the law before I knew the law. But when the law's command came to me, then sin began to live. 10And I died [spiritually] because of sin. The command was meant to bring life, but for me that command brought death. 11Sin found a way to fool me by using the command. Sin used the command to make me die [spiritually]. 12So the law* is holy, and the command is holy and right and good. 13Does this mean that something that is good brought death to me? No! But sin used something that is good to bring death to me. This happened so that I could see what sin is really like. It happened to show that sin is something very, very bad. And the command was used to show this.

The Conflict in Man

14We know that the law* is spiritual. But I am not spiritual. Sin rules me like I am its slave. 15I don't understand the things I do. I don't do the [good] things I want to do. And I do the [bad] things I hate to do. 16And if I don't want to do the [bad] things I do, then that means that I agree that the law is good. 17But I am not really the one doing these [bad] things. It is sin living in me that does these things. 18Yes, I know that nothing good lives in me--I mean nothing good lives in the part of me that is not spiritual. I want to do the things that are good. But I don't do those things. 19I don't do the good things that I want to do. I do the bad things that I don't want to do. 20So if I do things I don't want to do, then it is not really me doing those things. It is sin living in me that does those bad things. 21So I have learned this rule: When I want to do good, evil is there with me. 22In my mind, I am happy with God's law. 23But I see another law working in my body. That law makes war against the law that my mind accepts. That other law working in my body is the law of sin, and that law makes me its prisoner. 24This is terrible! Who will save me from this body that brings me death? 25God [will save me]! I thank him [for his salvation] through Jesus Christ our Lord! So in my mind I am a slave to God's law. But in my sinful self I am a slave to the law of sin.

adultery Breaking a marriage promise by sexual sin. law God's law. It is represented in the law of Moses. Spirit, Holy Spirit Also called the Spirit of God, the Spirit of Christ, and the Comforter. Joined with God and Christ, he does God's work among people in the world. "You ... people" Quote from Ex. 20:17; Deut. 5:21.

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