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Romans Chapter 7:1-25  

Memory verses for this week: 1 Pet 3:4  But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.  

Introduction:     Last week, in  the chapter 6, Paul explained how we have a changed nature once we are saved, and that we should turn from sin and walk in the newness of life that Christ gives us. 


I.  The Law of Marriage Limited by Death 

Rom 7:1  Know ye not, brethren, (for I speak to them that know the law,) how that the law hath dominion over a man as long as he liveth?

Rom 7:2  For the woman which hath an husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he liveth; but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband. 

Paul was speaking to the Jews who knew the law.  The law that Paul refers to in verse 1 is of course the 10 commandments.   We are to follow the 10 commandments even today even though we live in what is called the dispensation of grace.  Christ came to fulfill the law which He did to every jot and tittle, and while the law does not bring us to righteousness, it does teach us how to live.   Many worldly teachers who do not know Christ as Savior will tell you that to follow the 10 commandments would do people good.  God gave them to give us directions on how to live.  The bible truly is a road map to the child of God in so many ways.   In verse 2, we see that a woman is bound by law to her husband as long as he lives.  Once he dies, she is no longer bound to him. 

Rom 7:3  So then if, while her husband liveth, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress: but if her husband be dead, she is free from that law; so that she is no adulteress, though she be married to another man.

 We find the ten commandments in the book of Exodus, and the seventh commandment is found in verse 14.

 Exo 20:14  Thou shalt not commit adultery.

The world is not very fond of the teachings the bible has about the institution of marriage.  Our worldly marriages should be a picture of the great love that Christ has for the church.   We know that one day the church will be the bride of Christ.  The great love that He has for us should be an example of what men and women should show between husband and wife.  The choice of a mate should not be a quick and hasty decision, because once it is made, we should stand by that person for all of our life.  Verse 17 of Exodus 20 tells us that we are not to covet.  Once a man and wife have married, this is a holy institution of God that should be honored.  God set up the family long before he established the church. 

Gen 2:24  Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.

Gen 2:25  And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed. 

Mat 19:3  The Pharisees also came unto him, tempting him, and saying unto him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause?

Mat 19:4  And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female,

Mat 19:5  And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh?

Mat 19:6  Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.


As long as our mate is alive, we are to be bound to the one to whom we married.  Once one member dies, the other is freed from the bounds of marriage and is free to marry another or to live as a single person for the rest of their lives.   When we marry, it is important that we do it “only in the Lord.”  God’s will for every person who marries is to seek out another Christian.  He warns us to not be unequally yoked.  I know God has used situations and turned bad things to good where the saved has married a lost person, but for every success story you hear you find many that ended in failure. 

1 Cor 7:39  The wife is bound by the law as long as her husband liveth; but if her husband be dead, she is at liberty to be married to whom she will; only in the Lord. 

2 Cor 6:14  Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?

2 Cor 6:15  And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? 

It says that if a woman leaves her husband and remarries, she shall be called an adulteress.  It sounds like there are no exceptions, but it is permissible for a person to put away his wife or husband if they have committed fornication or adultery. 

Mat 19:9  And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery.

 I think it is important to realize that we are not commanded to divorce the unfaithful member, only given the option to do so if we choose to do this.  I believe that every effort should be made to keep marriages together, no matter what the situation.   If God is in the very center of our lives, I believe we can overcome whatever obstacles are placed between us. 


II.   Christ Frees Us from the Law

 Rom 7:4  Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God. 

Paul uses the example of husband and wife to make us understand how that we should be married to Christ.  Because of what Christ has done for us in paying for our sins, we are no longer under the condemnation of sin.   Because of Jesus Christ, we are free from the law and the penalty of sin.  In verse 2, it showed that the wife is freed from the law of her husband when he dies.  The believer becomes dead to the law through the body of Christ.   Because we are dead to the law, we have the freedom to be “married or joined” to Christ in order that we might bring forth fruits unto God.   We seek to please our worldly mate, and we certainly should be involved in God’s work that we might bring honor and glory to Him with our lives.  

Rom 7:5  For when we were in the flesh, the motions of sins, which were by the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death.

Rom 7:6  But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.


When we lived only our physical lives (before being born again), we served the sinful passions of our members.  And sin brings forth death.  But now, because Christ has delivered us from the law, we serve God in newness of spirit.   We are not hindered and burdened down with the old letter of the law, but given freedom to serve God with determination and sincerity. 

John 8:31  Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed;

John 8:32  And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.

John 8:33  They answered him, We be Abraham's seed, and were never in bondage to any man: how sayest thou, Ye shall be made free?

John 8:34  Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin.

John 8:35  And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: but the Son abideth ever.

John 8:36  If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.


III.  The Law is Good and Holy  

Rom 7:7  What shall we say then? is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet.

Rom 7:8  But sin, taking occasion by the commandment, wrought in me all manner of concupiscence. For without the law sin was dead. 

Paul starts verse 7 with a question like he did in Chapter 6.  Is the law sin?  Absolutely not… God forbid as is stated in the verse.   J. Vernon McGee had this comment on these verses: 

“Let me try to bring out the meaning a little more clearly:  What shall we say then?  Is the Law sin?  Away with the thought!  On the contrary, I should not have been conscious of sin, except through law; for I had not know illicit desire (coveting).  But sin, getting a start through the commandment, produced in me all manner of illicit desire.  For apart from the Law sin is dead.  Paul, you recall, began his argument way back in the sixth chapter of Romans with this expression. “What shall we say then?  Shall we continue in sin?”  Now again he says, “What shall we say then?  Is the Law sin?  In the first part of this chapter Paul seems to be saying that law and sin are on a par.  If release from sin means release from law, than are they not the same?  Paul clarifies this.  He says, “Perish the thought”.  Paul will now show that the law is good; it reveals God’s will. The difficulty is not with the Law; the difficulty is with us.  The flesh is at fault.” 

The law had a special ministry but it was not to give life nor to deliver us from sin.  It was given to condemn us and bring us guilty before God. 

Rom 3:19  Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.

Rom 3:20  Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin. 

Rom 7:9  For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died.

Rom 7:10  And the commandment, which was ordained to life, I found to be unto death.

Rom 7:11  For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it slew me.

Rom 7:12  Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good.

Rom 7:13  Was then that which is good made death unto me? God forbid. But sin, that it might appear sin, working death in me by that which is good; that sin by the commandment might become exceeding sinful. 

Paul gets very personal in his teachings through the rest of the chapter.  He talks about how he would not have understood not to covet had it not been for the law.   At one time, Paul thought he was truly alive to God, but then the commandment came and he saw himself for what he was.  A guilty sinner standing helpless before a Righteous God.  When he realized there was no law that could give life, he know that he was dead in his sins.   Every man and woman needs to realize the seriousness of sin, and let this schoolmaster bring us to Christ for salvation.  We all inherited the sin nature of Adam, and only through the second Adam, Jesus Christ, can we ever come into the presence of God.   We will not stand there in our own righteousness, but we will stand in the imputed righteousness of Christ. 

Rom 4:20  He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God;

Rom 4:21  And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform.

Rom 4:22  And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness.

Rom 4:23  Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him;

Rom 4:24  But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead;

Rom 4:25  Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification. 


IV.  The Struggle Between our Two Natures 

Rom 7:14  For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin.

Rom 7:15  For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I.

Rom 7:16  If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good.

Rom 7:17  Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.

Rom 7:18  For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.

Rom 7:19  For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.

Rom 7:20  Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. 

I don’t know of any verses in the bible that comfort me when I fail like these verses.  The apostle Paul talked about how he had a great desire to do the will of God and do good, but yet he found himself doing exactly the opposite.  Have you ever experienced this?  You may be on a trip to do something for the Lord, and Satan sets up a roadblock and instead of doing good and blessing someone, we tend to fall for the trickery of Satan.  God help us all to overcome this flesh that drags us down.   These verses are not talking about the lost man, but the saved man.  (Verse 22 talks of the inward man that is alive to God.)  If we are not careful, we will become carnal and not living for God, but serving the flesh.  The soul that is born of God always desires to do the will of God.  But the old fleshly man wants to serve Satan, so there is a battle deluxe that goes on inside of the Christian every day.  God wants us to sanctify (effectively setting apart) our fleshly body for His use.  But this can only be done by the grace of God. 

2 Cor 12:9  And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

2 Cor 12:10  Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong. 

Gal 4:28  Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise.

Gal 4:29  But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now.

Gal 4:30  Nevertheless what saith the scripture? Cast out the bondwoman and her son: for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman.

Gal 4:31  So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman, but of the free. 

In the verses in Galatians, Paul used Isaac as a type of the inward man who was born again.    Ishmael is the other type, typifying the flesh and this shows the great battle that goes on between the flesh and soul of the saved person.  

Rom 7:21  I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me.

Rom 7:22  For I delight in the law of God after the inward man:

Rom 7:23  But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.

Rom 7:24  O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?

Rom 7:25  I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.


Paul talks of how when he desired to do good, evil was present with him.  His question of “Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” is answered in one name… Jesus Christ. 

In the his book on Romans, J. I. Packer had this to say about the deliverance we have in Jesus Christ.

 “Since the burden of sin is the great evil under which the apostle and all other believers labor, form which no efficacy of the law and no efforts of their own can deliver them, their case would be entirely hopeless but for help from on high.  “Sin shall not have dominion over you” is the language of the grace of God in the Gospel.  The conflict which the believer engages in does not result in the victory of sin but in the triumph of grace.  In view of this certain and glorious result, Paul proclaims:  Thanks be to God – through Jesus Christ our Lord!  This is evidently the expression of a strong and sudden feeling of gratitude.”

 When we are saved, Christ delivers our soul from sin.  The flesh will battle us every day we live, but when we die or Christ comes back, then the flesh will be delivered.   The flesh is against the soul, and is never redeemed while we are in our natural bodies.  The only way we can walk the separated, victorious life God would have us is to look to Him for grace.  We need to start every day in prayer and ask God to give us victory over the flesh this day.   Things may look hopeless at times, but we need to remember as Paul did, that Jesus is the answer.

  Phil 4:13  I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. 


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Prov 4:18  But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.


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