A New Way of Life
(1) Do you not know, my brothers and sisters—for I’m speaking to those who know the law—that the law has authority over someone only as long as that person lives?
(2) For 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 in marriage. (3) So 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.
(4) In the same way, my brothers and sisters, you also died to the law of Moses through the death of Christ’s body on the cross, that you would belong to Jesus who was raised from the dead, so that we will produce fruit for God. (5) For when we were living according to the sinful nature (flesh), the evil passions aroused (awoken) by the law of Moses were active in us, so that we produced fruit for death. (6) But now, having died to the law of Moses that once held us captive, we have been set free from the law so that we serve (minister) in the new way of the Holy Spirit, and not in the old way of the written law.
Sin and the Law of Moses
(7) Some will ask me, “What should we say, then? Is the law of Moses sinful?” Absolutely not! For I would not have known what sin was if it had not been for the law. I would not have known what coveting (craving what doesn’t belong to you) really was if it was not written in Exodus 20:17, “You must not covet.” (8) But sin, seizing the opportunity provided by the command of Exodus 20:17, produced in me every kind of coveting. For apart from the law, I was ignorant of sin.
(9) I once felt alive apart from the law of Moses; but when the commandment came, sin sprang to life within me and I died. (10) I discovered that the very commandment that was intended to bring me life actually produced death. (11) For the power of sin, seizing the opportunity provided by the commandment, deceived me, and through the commandment put me to death (killed me). (12) So then, the law of Moses is holy, and the commandment is holy (pure), righteous (just), and good (moral).
(13) Some will ask me, “Did the good law of Moses, then, become death in me?” Absolutely not! But in order that sin might be recognized as sin, it used the good law of Moses to bring about my death, so that through the commandment sin would become fully sinful.
(14) We know that the law of Moses is spiritual, but I am unspiritual (having a sinful nature, the flesh) and sold as a slave to sin. (15) I do not understand why I do the things I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but I do what I hate to do. (16) And so, if I do the things I do not want to do, I agree that the law of Moses is good. (17) So now it is no longer I who do it, but it is the power of sin active within me. (18) For I know that nothing good dwells within me, that is, in my sinful nature (flesh). For I have the desire to do what is good, but I do not have the ability (power) to do it. (19) For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. (20) Now if I keep on doing what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is the power of sin active within me that does it.
(21) So I find it is the power (law) of sin active within me, because although I want to do good (what is right), evil is always right there with me. (22) For in my inner being (my heart) I delight in God’s law; (23) but I recognize that another power (law) is active within me—waging war against the power (law) of my mind and making me a prisoner of the power (law) of sin active within me. (24) I am a miserable (wretched) and helpless (powerless) person! Who will rescue (save) me from this body that is subject to death? (25) Praise be to God! He delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!
So then, in my mind I serve (am a slave to) God’s law, but in my sinful nature (flesh), I serve (am a slave to) the power (law) of sin.