Joined to God’s Anointed One
1I write to you, dear brothers and sisters, who are familiar with the law. Don’t you know that when a person dies, it ends his obligation to the law? 2For example, a married couple is bound by the law to remain together until separated by death. But when one spouse dies, the other is released from the law of the marriage. 3So then if a wife is joined to another man while still married, she commits adultery. But if her husband dies, she is obviously free from the marriage contract and may marry another man without being charged with adultery.
4So, my dear brothers and sisters, the same principle applies to your relationship with God. For you died to your first husband, the law, by being co-crucified with the body of the Messiah. So you are now free to “marry” another—the one who was raised from the dead so that you may now bear spiritual fruit for God.
5When we were merely living natural lives, the law, through defining sin, actually awakened sinful desires within us, which resulted in bearing the fruit of death. 6But now that we have been fully released from the power of the law, we are dead to what once controlled us. And our lives are no longer motivated by the obsolete way of following the written code, so that now we may serve God by living in the freshness of a new life in the power of the Holy Spirit.
The Purpose of the Law
7So, what shall we say about all this? Am I suggesting that the law is sinful? Of course not! In fact, it was the law that gave us the clear definition of sin. For example, when the law said, “Do not covet,” it became the catalyst to see how wrong it was for me to crave what belongs to someone else. 8It was through God’s commandment that sin was awakened in me and built its base of operation within me to stir up every kind of wrong desire. For in the absence of the law, sin hides dormant.
9-10I once lived without a clear understanding of the law, but when I heard God’s commandments, sin sprang to life and brought with it a death sentence. The commandment that was intended to bring life brought me death instead. 11Sin, by means of the commandment, built a base of operation within me, to overpower me and put me to death. 12So then, we have to conclude that the problem is not with the law itself, for the law is holy and its commandments are correct and for our good.
Life under the Law
13So, did something meant to be good become death to me? Certainly not! It was not the law but sin unmasked that produced my spiritual death. The sacred commandment merely uncovered the evil of sin so it could be seen for what it is. 14For we know that the law is divinely inspired and comes from the spiritual realm, but I am a human being made of flesh and trafficked as a slave under sin’s authority.
15I’m a mystery to myself, for I want to do what is right, but end up doing what my moral instincts condemn. 16And if my behavior is not in line with my desire, my conscience still confirms the excellence of the law. 17And now I realize that it is no longer my true self doing it, but the unwelcome intruder of sin in my humanity. 18For I know that nothing good lives within the flesh of my fallen humanity. The longings to do what is right are within me, but willpower is not enough to accomplish it. 19My lofty desires to do what is good are dashed when I do the things I want to avoid. 20So if my behavior contradicts my desires to do good, I must conclude that it’s not my true identity doing it, but the unwelcome intruder of sin hindering me from being who I really am.
21Through my experience of this principle, I discover that even when I want to do good, evil is ready to sabotage me. 22Truly, deep within my true identity, I love to do what pleases God. 23But I discern another power operating in my humanity, waging a war against the moral principles of my conscience and bringing me into captivity as a prisoner to the “law” of sin—this unwelcome intruder in my humanity. 24What an agonizing situation I am in! So who has the power to rescue this miserable man from the unwelcome intruder of sin and death? 25I give all my thanks to God, for his mighty power has finally provided a way out through our Lord Jesus, the Anointed One! So if left to myself, the flesh is aligned with the law of sin, but now my renewed mind is fixed on and submitted to God’s righteous principles.