Romans 7—what is law?

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The Bible : ROMANS 7 –— WHAT IS LAW ? 

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A fresher look cast over the Bible… my comments follow each section of passage.

1. Or do you know, brethren (for I speak to those who know the law), that the law has dominion over a man as long as he lives?

Don’t think you can be exempt from the law i.e. you can run, but you cannot hide from the law.  There were those who seemed to believe it was OK to be above, outside or non-applicable to the law, for it was written by fellow men and who are they to say what is and what is not?  Often it was those who benefited from skiving off others and what the law intended to stamp out and ban.

 

2. For the woman who has a husband is bound by the law to her husband as long as he lives. But if the husband dies, she is released from the law of her husband.

There were issues with women at the time i.e. either the woman needed grounding or she needed constructed space to manoeuvre and develop herself, either way a husband who was able to provide for her needs was essential. However, since the there was an overriding intention to encourage people to think for themselves and to discover people’s individual spirits for quality and type of substance it was necessary to be economical with truths and explanations.

3. So then if, while her husband lives, she marries another man, she will be called an adulteress; but if her husband dies, she is free from that law, so that she is no adulteress, though she has married another man.

To marry another man while yours is still alive, under the circumstances, was an intolerable indecency of humanity. For it was to be understood, from verse 2, that it was the husband who was investing a commitment outside of himself far above and beyond that of the woman of the time. The woman’s focus could now be re-directed on herself. The man didn’t have to provide for her, yet he responsibly chose to do so. Thus, he over the long-term he would be in a more fragile and vulnerable position. Often, the danger was that as soon as the woman grew her wings and gained strength she would fly the nest—but to what end is not noted here.

In fairness though, investment into and commitment to women were needed to create life.

 

4. Therefore, my brethren, you also have become dead to the law through the body of Christ, that you may be married to another – to Him who was raised from the dead, that we should bear fruit to God.

Twofold: firstly, the men he addresses should know the law so that they may lay the law of their own household – thus, do not let the law rule you entirely. Secondly, it was through and within marriage, which was considered a sacrifice, that children were conceived, born and raised (“bear fruit to God”) .

5. For when we were in the flesh, the sinful passions which were aroused by the law were at work in our members to bear fruit to death.

6. But now we have been delivered from the law, having died to what we were held by, so that we should serve in the newness of the Spirit and not in the oldness of the letter.

That is, don’t stick rigidly to tradition, instead understand the essence and substance of the law—its intention, its Spirit—rather than the language, lettering and written characters in isolation and out of context.  Make it relevant to life. 

7. What shall we say then?  Is the law sin?  Certainly not!  On the contrary, I would not have known sin except through the law.  For I would not have known the covetousness unless the law had said, “You shall not covet.”

Real life experience and learning is all very well and good, but often we still need to learn formally via labels, categories, language, written texts… as dry as it seems, we cannot experience, learn and know everything in one lifetime, we must accept the fact of further and deeper learning that we cannot provide for ourselves.  E.g. covetousness – a type of envy and jealousy was unknown as a topic to the speaker.

 

8. But sin, taking opportunity by the commandment, produced in me all manner of evil desire. For apart from the law sin was dead.

The speaker did not know that sin still existed, if ever… temptations seem unknown to the speaker, except when highlighted by the law.

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

The speaker believed he knew everything there was to know (about life and living), but died (probably through humiliation) that there was plenty he had yet to discover and learn.

10. And the commandment, which was to bring life, I found to bring death.

After falling from grace, he has yet to pick himself back up again, dust himself off and continue with new insight, knowledge and learning of how to live as a person within society.

11. For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it killed me.

After discovering of the continued existence of sin his former self died and left him… he is still in transition.

12. Therefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy and just and good.

The law is an entire state of being, that is, it is not just one-directionally good nor one-directionally bad. It is not entirely good nor entirely bad, but instead it is entirety in itself i.e. it has parts and aspects of both sides of many spectrums to make it whole (holy). 

 

(12… )    Thus, the law is also able to revisit and deal through the range of the spectrum too. So many spectrums create an altogether mighty weave, a net to encompass and encase society. Law could be a land unto itself it is so whole.

Today we say: “The law is black and white; it is very cut and dry.” That means it can do harm as well as heal, and it is so fresh that you would need to cut it and dry it (like in fresh herbs or fresh print) before using.

 Cutting and drying something often condenses it, concentrates it and focuses its essence, its spirit, its life energy… the cut means there is more, but of a different kind and nature but of the same origin. The cut allows greater fit when used in combination or isolation and it is very rare that the law will ever need to be used in whole.

However, the law is whole, not in part. A true lawyer would need to specialize in order to obtain the deeper and greater, all-encompassing understanding and actioning of the law.  Thus, lawyers work in combination.  For personal gain, It is up to the user to gather the entire essence of the law, personally, and individually.

13. Has then what is good become death to me? Certainly not! But sin, that it might appear sin, was producing death in me through what is good, so that sin through the commandment might become exceedingly sinful.

Basically, the speaker has gone from being one-directionally straight and innocent to a sprouting of the mind. Knowing the existence of sin killed off some of his innocence and since he, it seems, was entirely innocent then he was killed in wholeness. Sin by command, dictate and order is emphasized as being more forcefully sinful than by accident. Deliberate sin is more sinful. Knowing sin is a greater force.

 

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

The law has spirit beyond words and meaning.  It is “will” i.e. what will be, laid down in structure, processes and action.  The law is pure thought (struggled through, comprehended, systemized, filtered and selected for integrity and purity of essence), but it cannot action itself.  It is the people who need to action the spirit of the law.  They must embody it to action it and take it further.  That is how it appears to be: futuristic, or of pertaining to the future.  It must cover the path and the many ways forwards.  The law does not look back on people but forwards to the paths they will walk.

To be purely carnal is to be able to conduct the spirit of something, regardless of agreement.

15. For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do.

Basically, he has already embodied the essence of something because he “for what I am doing, I do not understand”, which means he is not doing his own thinking and believing yet… hence he will have to die because in one life ideally we are whole individuals and also conductable to embody the essence of something else other than ourselves.  Today, when we are employees we embody and conduct the essence of something else; yet at other times, maybe when we are at home or during our personal lives we are wholly ourselves. 

 

(15… )  We must choose when we are wholly and entirely ourselves and when we are employed by the spirit of another.

“For what I will to do, that I do not practice”… because he is not yet ready, prepared nor matured enough to conduct his true self.

“…but what I hate, that I do” he is conducting his weaknesses, his down-falls at the moment.  This will cause him to understand his weaknesses more and then to overcome them as challenges.  That is the struggle.

16. If, then, I do what I will not to do, I agree with the law that it is good.

The law spots sins and then prevents, stops and admonishes the action and consequences of them, because they are deemed to be harmful and damaging to society (over the long term). Thus, the law is deemed to be good. But the law can only be seen to be good if sin is being prevented, stopped and admonished – that is when the law is seen to be agreeably good.

17. But now, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me.

As we can embody the good and positive spirit we can also embody the bad and negative spirit i.e. sin.  It is our strength of mind and character that helps to overcome long term damage.

18. For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find.

 

19. For the good that I will to do, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me.

20. Now if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me.

21. I find then a law, that evil is present with me, the one who wills to do good.

22. For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man.

The inward man is the insightful man.  Not all insight is the same nor equal.  Some are greater and deeper than others.

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.

The law in his members is the the calling of his sexuality, the war with his mind is the struggle with what is right and wrong for the future of people, so he is now stuck since his sexuality is the easier of the two to fulfil and may even enhance his ability to conduct the future.  If his sexuality is stunted or hindered he may not grow and mature properly thus also stunting and hindering his ability to conduct the law and the future of people.

24. O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?

It is the growing pains of transition where one is neither here nor there, neither man nor boy, neither good nor bad. The wilderness of nothingness, of no labels of in-between states and the matter is what he knows to be death.

 

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 of the law of sin.

He has decided that he will embody the spirit of the law within his mind (some choose to embody it within their hearts)  and he will sin with his body to return the call of his sexuality which is necessary to mature properly.

To fulfil your sexuality was known as a sin because it was a privilege that could lead to children, which was an even greater privilege… thus it had to be law and ordered.

God Bless, Amen.

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