Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on email

Read Romans 7

Do you not know, brothers and sisters—for I am 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 to him. 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 So, my brothers and sisters, you also died to the law through the body of Christ, that you might belong to another, to him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God. 5 For when we were in the realm of the flesh, the sinful passions aroused by the law were at work in us, so that we bore fruit for death. 6 But now, by dying to what once bound us, we have been released from the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code.

The Law and Sin
7 What shall we say, then? Is the law sinful? Certainly not! Nevertheless, I would not have known what sin was had it not been for the law. For I would not have known what coveting really was if the law had not said, “You shall not covet.” 8 But sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, produced in me every kind of coveting. For apart from the law, sin was dead. 9 Once I was alive apart from the law; but when the commandment came, sin sprang to life and I died. 10 I found that the very commandment that was intended to bring life actually brought death. 11 For sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, deceived me, and through the commandment put me to death. 12 So then, the law is holy, and the commandment is holy, righteous and good.

13 Did that which is good, then, become death to me? By no means! Nevertheless, in order that sin might be recognized as sin, it used what is good to bring about my death, so that through the commandment sin might become utterly sinful.

14 We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. 15 I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. 16 And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. 17 As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. 18 For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 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 do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.

21 So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. 22 For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; 23 but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. 24 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? 25 Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!

So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in my sinful nature a slave to the law of sin.

Go Deeper

In this chapter we see Paul wrestling with the all-too-familiar struggle: “What I want to do, I do not do. What I don’t want to do, I do.” It’s like adopting a New Year’s resolution to give up sweets. By day three, all we can think about is our favorite dessert. Our brains are wired that way, and so is sin. Sin intrinsically creates a desire to go against what we know is right and true. For the recipients of Paul’s letter, the struggle was likely even more difficult – because the boundaries of what they knew sin to be (the law) had suddenly changed. They and their families had lived according to the law for generations, so naturally Paul’s teaching in verse 6 that they were “released from the law” was confusing and disheartening for them.

 Paul takes the opportunity in this chapter to encourage them that the law was not a bad thing and they had not wasted their time. For only by it could they have known what sin was (v. 7). But the problem was, it was like the New Year’s resolution. The resolution makes the dessert the forbidden fruit, just as sin took the law and twisted it into a source of seduction. The law itself was good and true – but sin “did what sin is so famous for doing: using the good as a cover” to tempt and destroy. “By hiding within God’s good commandment, sin did far more mischief that it could ever have accomplished on its own.” (v. 13, The Message). We do what we don’t want to do because sin is enticing. 

 And that is why we need Jesus. The power of sin keeps us from our own best intentions, and we need help. No matter how much willpower or desire we have to do good and be good enough, and even if we delight in God’s commands, we need Jesus and His deliverance from the slavery of sin. 

 The great news for us is that when we believe in Jesus’s death and resurrection, we are delivered. And not only that, we are given the Holy Spirit, the living Word of God, to guide and direct us away from those things that tempt us. The forbidden dessert, if you will. The Holy Spirit within us has “no tendency to sin, but all its appetites are heavenward and Christ-ward.” We are given a new life which despises sin and will not let us live in peace should we somehow end up knee-deep in the middle of it.


  1. What is something that you struggle with doing, even though you know you should do it?
  2. If you are not living in peace, consider whether there is some appetite within you that the Holy Spirit is trying to turn towards Jesus.
  3. Spend time thanking God for the gift of the Holy Spirit that despises sin and keeps our souls from ever being at rest in it.

Watch This

For more on the meaning of Romans 7, check out this video from The Bible Project

Leave a Comment below

Did you learn something today? Share it with our Bible Reading Plan community by commenting below.

Join the Team

Interested in writing for the Bible Reading Plan? Email

3 thoughts on “Romans 7”

  1. Sin deceives, enslaves, condemns and ultimately brings death. The law is no help as only Jesus can set us free. No more performing to keep a set of rules, but the believer enters into a covenant relationship driven by love, gratitude, sacrifice, serving and obedience. This is a life-long process one Paul compares to a strenuous race or fight. The struggle is real! However, we are never left alone as Christ fights by our side as we acknowledge him and invite him into our struggle. “Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord” (v25).

  2. Seems we are at war with ourselves. Our nature is carnal(fleshly) but the law’s nature is spiritual. When you accept Jesus as your Savior, you get Holy Spirit. God’s spirit dwells within you to guide you. All the times you did what your flesh wanted to do and never felt guilty about it was because Holy Spirit was not working within. Now you do something or think about doing something that you know is wrong you get a nudging. This is where the hard work comes in. Most of us know how we should live and what we shouldn’t do, but what about the inner man? You can live a “godly” life but truly not be thinking or doing said things with God in mind. The rich young ruler is such a story Mark 10:17-27 he did good except he was not willing to give up his money for Christ. Who knows what would have been on the other side for him, kinda like Jonah, maybe a book in the Bible? We have freedom of choice. Human nature, flesh, sinful nature. This is where Regen helped me see the inner man struggles. Pride, people pleasing, money control ect… Still I struggle and daily, minutely I have to ask for forgiveness. I believe it will be a work in progress until I die. Never will I achieve IT. God is working in and through me with the Holy Spirits help but without Him I am lost.

    God thank You for delivering me through Jesus Christ my Lord. Thank You for Holy Spirit to guide me and that I LISTEN to HEAR. God I give You this day. I am so thankful that I am blessed in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as He chose me in Him before the foundation of the world, that I should be holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined me for adoption to Himself as a daughter through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of His will, to the praise of His glorious grace, with which He has blessed me in the Beloved. In Him I have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of my trespasses, according to the riches of His grace, which He lavished upon me, in all wisdom and insight making known to me the mystery of His will, according to His purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in Him, things in heaven and things on earth. (Eph 1:3-10) God thank You for Your word that I can pray over myself and my family in Jesus name amen.

  3. Boy, if this chapter doesn’t sum up my recovery struggle! Of the hundreds of verses stored on my Bible Memory App (note: that’s stored, not memorized!), I turn to this one more than any other:

    “But I need something more! For if I know the law but still can’t keep it, and if the power of sin within me keeps sabotaging my best intentions, I obviously need help! I realize that I don’t have what it takes. I can will it, but I can’t do it. I decide to do good, but I don’t really do it; I decide not to do bad, but then I do it anyway. My decisions, such as they are, don’t result in actions. Something has gone wrong deep within me and gets the better of me every time.”
    -‭‭Romans‬ ‭7‬:‭17‬-‭20‬ ‭MSG‬‬

    I’m continually encouraged that even Paul – especially Paul – knew this very same struggle.

    In my younger, single days, all I wanted was to be married. So I kept trying (and failing) to find “the one.” Sadly my search was marked by sin – I made appallingly bad choices over and over again and my efforts were not just fruitless … but deadly.

    Praise be to God a wise, loving brother in the faith directed me to Christian counsel that exposed my destructive habits and opened my eyes to the man who would eventually become my husband.

    But thirty years later, here I am, still circling the same mountain in a fruitless search for sacred romance. The answer to the constant question of my longing heart is not found in human love (even when that lover is as generous and faithful and exceptional as the one I’ve been blessed to live life with!)

    And as I keep finding through this tiresome, wretched battle I keep fighting – it is not through my own weak and faltering efforts..

    Not only will human questions fail me – so will human ANSWERS.

    Because even my best attempts find me STILL stumbling over the same bad habits and the same deadly sin, none more so than the sin of idolatry – giving a false god a place reserved for God alone, depending on that which is not God to do what God alone can do.

    I need something more!

    “I’ve tried everything and nothing helps. I’m at the end of my rope. Is there no one who can do anything for me? Isn’t that the real question?

    The answer, thank God, is that JESUS CHRIST CAN – and DOES!

    He acted to set things right in this life of contradictions where I want to serve God with all my heart and mind, but am pulled by the influence of sin to do something totally different.”
    -‭‭Romans‬ ‭7‬:‭24‬-‭25‬ ‭MSG‬‬, emphasis added mine

    Praise be to God. Or as Amy says, “WOO HOO!”

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.