1 Don’t you realize, brothers and sisters, that laws have power over people only as long as they are alive? (I’m speaking to people who are familiar with Moses’ Teachings.) 2 For example, a married woman is bound by law to her husband as long as he is alive. But if her husband dies, that marriage law is no longer in effect for her. 3 So if she marries another man while her husband is still alive, she will be called an adulterer. But if her husband dies, she is free from this law, so she is not committing adultery if she marries another man.
4 In the same way, brothers and sisters, you have died to the laws in Moses’ Teachings through Christ’s body. You belong to someone else, the one who was brought back to life.
As a result, we can do what God wants. 5 While we were living under the influence of our corrupt nature, sinful passions were at work throughout our bodies. Stirred up by the laws in Moses’ Teachings, our sinful passions did things that result in death. 6 But now we have died to those laws that bound us. God has broken their effect on us so that we are serving in a new spiritual way, not in an old way dictated by written words.
Moses’ Laws Show What Sin Is
7 What should we say, then? Are the laws in Moses’ Teachings sinful? That’s unthinkable! In fact, I wouldn’t have recognized sin if those laws hadn’t shown it to me. For example, I wouldn’t have known that some desires are sinful if Moses’ Teachings hadn’t said, “Never have wrong desires.” 8 But sin took the opportunity provided by this commandment and made me have all kinds of wrong desires. Clearly, without laws sin is dead. 9 At one time I was alive without any laws. But when this commandment came, sin became alive 10 and I died. I found that the commandment which was intended to bring me life actually brought me death. 11 Sin, taking the opportunity provided by this commandment, deceived me and then killed me.
12 So the laws in Moses’ Teachings are holy, and the commandment is holy, right, and good. 13 Now, did something good cause my death? That’s unthinkable! Rather, my death was caused by sin so that sin would be recognized for what it is. Through a commandment sin became more sinful than ever.
God’s Standards Are at War with Sin’s Standards
14 I know that God’s standards in Moses’ Teachings are spiritual, but I have a corrupt nature, sold as a slave to sin. 15 I don’t realize what I’m doing. I don’t do what I want to do. Instead, I do what I hate. 16 I don’t do what I want to do, but I agree that God’s standards are good. 17 So I am no longer the one who is doing the things I hate, but sin that lives in me is doing them.
18 I know that nothing good lives in me; that is, nothing good lives in my corrupt nature. Although I have the desire to do what is right, I don’t do it. 19 I don’t do the good I want to do. Instead, I do the evil that I don’t want to do. 20 Now, when I do what I don’t want to do, I am no longer the one who is doing it. Sin that lives in me is doing it.
21 So I’ve discovered this truth: Evil is present with me even when I want to do what God’s standards say is good. 22 I take pleasure in God’s standards in my inner being. 23 However, I see a different standard ⌊at work⌋ throughout my body. It is at war with the standards my mind sets and tries to take me captive to sin’s standards which still exist throughout my body. 24 What a miserable person I am! Who will rescue me from my dying body? 25 I thank God that our Lord Jesus Christ rescues me! So I am obedient to God’s standards with my mind, but I am obedient to sin’s standards with my corrupt nature.