Romans 7 (Mirror Word Bible)
1 I write to you in the context of your acquaintance with the law; you would agree with me that laws are only relevant in this life.
2. A wife is only bound by law to her husband while he lives; any further legal claim he has on her ends with his death.
3 The law would call her an adulteress should she give herself to another man while the first husband is still alive. Yet, once he’s dead, she is free to be another’s wife.
4 The very same finality in principle is applicable to you, my brothers, in the (crucified) body of Christ you died to the system of the law; your inclusion in his resurrection brought about a new union. Out of this marriage, (faith) now bears children unto God. (The first marriage produced sin; righteousness is the child of the new union. In the previous chapter Paul deals with the fact that our inclusion in Christ in his death broke the association with sin; now he reveals that it also broke the association with the system of the law of works as a reference to righteousness.)
5 At the time when the flesh ruled our lives, the subtle influences of sins which were ignited by the law, conceived actions within us that were consistent in character with their parent and produced spiritual death.
6 But now we are fully released from any further association with a life directed by the rule of the law, we are dead to that which once held us captive, free to be slaves to the newness of spirit-spontaneity rather than age old religious rituals, imitating the mere face value of the written code. (The moment you exchange spontaneity with rules, you’ve lost the edge of romance.)
7 The law in itself is not sinful; I am not suggesting that at all. Yet in pointing sin out, the law was in a sense the catalyst for sinful actions to manifest. Had the law not said, “Thou shalt not covet,” I would not have had a problem with lust.
8 But the commandment triggered sin into action, suddenly an array of sinful appetites were awakened in me. The law broke sin’s dormancy.
9 Without the law I was alive, the law was introduced, sin revived and I died.
10 Instead of being my guide to life, the commandment proved to be a death sentence.
11 Sin took advantage of the law, and employed the commandment to seduce and murder me.
12 I stress again that the law as principle is holy and so is every individual commandment it contains; it consistently promotes that which is just and good.
13 How then could I accuse something that is that good to have killed me? I say again, it was not the law, but sin that caused my spiritual death. The purpose of the law was to expose sin as the culprit. The individual commandment ultimately serves to show the exceeding extent of sin’s effect on humanity.
14 We agree that the law is spiritual, but because I am sold like a slave to sin, I am reduced to a mere carnal life. (Spiritual death. The word, piprasko comes from perao, meaning to transport into a distant land in order to sell as a slave. Sin is a foreign land.)
15 This is how the sell-out to sin affects my life: I find myself doing things my conscience does not allow. My dilemma is that even though I sincerely desire to do that which is good, I don’t, and the things I despise, I do.
16 It is obvious that my conscience sides with the law;
17 which confirms then that it is not really I who do these things but sin manifesting its symptoms in me. (Sin is similar to a dormant virus that suddenly broke out in very visible symptoms.) It has taken my body hostage.
18 The total extent and ugliness of sin that inhabits me, reduced my life to good intentions that cannot be followed through.
19 Willpower has failed me; this is how embarrassing it is, the most diligent decision that I make to do good, disappoints; the very evil I try to avoid, is what I do. (If mere quality decisions could rescue man, the law would have been enough. Good intentions cannot save man. The revelation of what happened to us in Christ’s death is what brings faith into motion to liberate from within. Faith is not a decision we make to give God a chance, faith is realizing our inclusion in what happened on the Cross and in the resurrection of Christ!)
20 If I do the things I do not want to do, then it is clear that I am not evil, but that I host sin in my body against my will.
21 It has become a predictable principle; I desire to do well, but my mere desire cannot escape the evil presence that dictates my actions.
22 The real person that I am on the inside delights in the law of God. (The law proves to be consistent with my inner make-up.)
23 There is another law though, (foreign to my design) the law of sin, activating and enrolling the members of my body as weapons of war against the law of my mind. I am held captive like a prisoner of war in my own body.
24 The situation is absolutely desperate for humankind; is there anyone who can deliver me from this death trap?
25 Thank God, this is exactly what he has done through Jesus Christ our Leader; he has come to our rescue! I am finally freed from this conflict between the law of my mind and the law of sin in my body. (If I was left to myself, the best I could do was to try and serve the law of God with my mind, but at the same time continue to be enslaved to the law of sin in my body. Compromise could never suffice.)