New International Version

Romans 7:1-25

Released From the Law, Bound to Christ

1Do you not know, brothers and sisters—for I am speaking to those who know the law—that the law has authority over someone only as long as that person lives? 2For example, by law a married woman is bound to her husband as long as he is alive, but if her husband dies, she is released from the law that binds her to him. 3So then, if she has sexual relations with another man while her husband is still alive, she is called an adulteress. But if her husband dies, she is released from that law and is not an adulteress if she marries another man.

4So, my brothers and sisters, you also died to the law through the body of Christ, that you might belong to another, to him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God. 5For when we were in the realm of the flesh,7:5 In contexts like this, the Greek word for flesh (sarx) refers to the sinful state of human beings, often presented as a power in opposition to the Spirit. the sinful passions aroused by the law were at work in us, so that we bore fruit for death. 6But now, by dying to what once bound us, we have been released from the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code.

The Law and Sin

7What shall we say, then? Is the law sinful? Certainly not! Nevertheless, I would not have known what sin was had it not been for the law. For I would not have known what coveting really was if the law had not said, “You shall not covet.”7:7 Exodus 20:17; Deut. 5:21 8But sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, produced in me every kind of coveting. For apart from the law, sin was dead. 9Once I was alive apart from the law; but when the commandment came, sin sprang to life and I died. 10I found that the very commandment that was intended to bring life actually brought death. 11For sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, deceived me, and through the commandment put me to death. 12So then, the law is holy, and the commandment is holy, righteous and good.

13Did that which is good, then, become death to me? By no means! Nevertheless, in order that sin might be recognized as sin, it used what is good to bring about my death, so that through the commandment sin might become utterly sinful.

14We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. 15I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. 16And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. 17As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. 18For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature.7:18 Or my flesh For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 19For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. 20Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.

21So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. 22For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; 23but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. 24What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? 25Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!

So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in my sinful nature7:25 Or in the flesh a slave to the law of sin.

New International Reader’s Version

Romans 7:1-25

An Example From Marriage

1Brothers and sisters, I am speaking to you who know the law. Don’t you know that the law has authority over someone only as long as they live? 2For example, by law a married woman remains married as long as her husband lives. But suppose her husband dies. Then the law that joins her to him no longer applies. 3But suppose that married woman sleeps with another man while her husband is still alive. Then she is called a woman who commits adultery. But suppose her husband dies. Then she is free from that law. She is not guilty of adultery if she marries another man.

4My brothers and sisters, when Christ died you also died as far as the law is concerned. Then it became possible for you to belong to him. He was raised from the dead. Now our lives can be useful to God. 5The power of sin used to control us. The law stirred up sinful desires in us. So the things we did resulted in death. 6But now we have died to what used to control us. We have been set free from the law. Now we serve in the new way of the Holy Spirit. We no longer serve in the old way of the written law.

The Law and Sin

7What should we say then? That the law is sinful? Not at all! Yet I wouldn’t have known what sin was unless the law had told me. The law says, “Do not want what belongs to other people.” (Exodus 20:17; Deuteronomy 5:21) If the law hadn’t said that, I would not have known what it was like to want what belongs to others. 8But the commandment gave sin an opportunity. Sin caused me to want all kinds of things that belong to others. A person can’t sin by breaking a law if that law doesn’t exist. 9Before I knew about the law, I was alive. But then the commandment came. Sin came to life, and I died. 10I found that the commandment that was supposed to bring life actually brought death. 11When the commandment gave sin the opportunity, sin tricked me. It used the commandment to put me to death. 12So the law is holy. The commandment also is holy and right and good.

13Did what is good cause me to die? Not at all! Sin had to be recognized for what it really is. So it used what is good to bring about my death. Because of the commandment, sin became totally sinful.

14We know that the law is holy. But I am not. I have been sold to be a slave of sin. 15I don’t understand what I do. I don’t do what I want to do. Instead, I do what I hate to do. 16I do what I don’t want to do. So I agree that the law is good. 17As it is, I am no longer the one who does these things. It is sin living in me that does them. 18I know there is nothing good in my desires controlled by sin. I want to do what is good, but I can’t. 19I don’t do the good things I want to do. I keep on doing the evil things I don’t want to do. 20I do what I don’t want to do. But I am not really the one who is doing it. It is sin living in me that does it.

21Here is the law I find working in me. When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. 22Deep inside me I find joy in God’s law. 23But I see another law working in me. It fights against the law of my mind. It makes me a prisoner of the law of sin. That law controls me. 24What a terrible failure I am! Who will save me from this sin that brings death to my body? 25I give thanks to God who saves me. He saves me through Jesus Christ our Lord.

So in my mind I am a slave to God’s law. But sin controls my desires. So I am a slave to the law of sin.