7:1 Know 1 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?
(1) By expounding the similitude of marriage, he
compares together the state of man both before and after regeneration. The law
of matrimony, he says, is this, that as long as the husband lives, the
marriage remains binding, but if he is dead, the woman may marry again.
7:3 So then if, while [her]
husband liveth, she be married to another man, she shall be a
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.
(a) That is, she will be an adulteress, by the
consent and judgment of all men.
Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the b
body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, [even] to him who is
raised from the dead, that we should bring forth c
fruit unto d God.
(2) An application of the similitude of marriage.
"So", he says, "it is the same with us: for now we are joined
to the Spirit, as it were to the second husband, by whom we must bring forth
new children: we are dead with regard to the first husband, but with regard to
the latter, we are as it were raised from the dead."
(b) That is, in the body of Christ, to show us
how intimate and near the fellowship is between Christ and his members.
(c) He calls the children, which the wife has by
her husband, fruit.
(d) Which are acceptable to God.
7:5 3 For
when we e were in the flesh, the f
motions of sins, which were by the g
law, did h work in our members to bring
forth fruit unto death.
(3) A declaration of the former saying: for he
says that the fleshly desires which the law stirred up in us were in us as if
they were a husband, from whom we brought forth very deadly and cursed
children: but now that husband is dead, and so consequently, being delivered
from the force of that killing law, we have passed into the control of the
Spirit, so that we bring forth now, not those rotten and dead children, but
rather living children.
(e) When we were in the state of the first
marriage, which he calls in the following verse the oldness of the letter.
(f) The motions that urged us to sin, which show
their force even in our minds.
(g) He does not say "of the law" but
"by the law", because they spring from sin which dwells within us,
and take occasion to work in us in this way, by reason of the restraint that
the law makes, not that the fault is in the law, but in ourselves. h
Worked by their strength.
7:6 But now we are delivered from the law, that i
being dead k wherein we were l
held; that we should serve in m newness
of spirit, and not [in] the oldness of the n
(i) As if he said, "The bond which bound us
is dead, and has disappeared, in as much that the sin which held us does not
have anything to hold us with now."
(k) For this husband is within us.
(l) Satan is an unjust possessor, for he
deceitfully brought us into bondage to sin and himself: and yet nonetheless,
as long as we are sinners, we sin willingly.
(m) As is appropriate for those who, after the
death of their old husband, are joined to the Spirit, the ones whom the Spirit
of God has made new men.
(n) By the letter he means the law, with respect
to that old condition: for before our will is shaped by the Holy Spirit, the
law speaks but to deaf men, and therefore it is dumb and dead to us, with
regard to the fulfilling of it.
7:7 4 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 o lust,
except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet.
(4) An objection: What then? Are the law and sin
the same thing, and do they agree together? No, he says: sin is reproved and
condemned by the law. But because sin cannot abide to be reproved, and was not
in a manner felt until it was provoked and stirred up by the law, it takes
occasion by this to be more outrageous, and yet by no fault of the law.
(o) By the word "lust" in this place he
does not mean evil lusts themselves, but the fountain from which they come,
for the heathen philosophers themselves condemned wicked lusts, though
somewhat poorly. But as for the fountain of lust, they could not so much as
determine it, and yet it is the very seat of the natural and unclean spot and
7:8 But sin, taking occasion by the commandment,
wrought in me all manner of concupiscence. For without the law sin [was] p
(p) Though sin is in us, yet it is not known as
sin, neither does it rage in the same way that it rages after the law is
7:9 5 For I
was alive without the q law once: but
when the commandment r came, sin
revived, and I s died.
(5) He sets himself before us as an example, in
whom all men may behold, first what they are by nature before they earnestly
think upon the law of God: that is, stupid, and prone to sin and wickedness,
without any true sense and feeling of sin, and second what manner of persons
they become, when their conscience is reproved by the testimony of the Law,
that is, stubborn and more inflamed with the desire for sin than they ever
(q) When I did not know the law, then I thought
that I indeed lived: for my conscience never troubled me, because it was not
aware of my disease.
(r) When I began to understand the commandment.
(s) In sin, or by sin.
Wherefore the law [is] holy, and the t
commandment holy, and just, and good.
(6) The conclusion: that the law is holy in
itself, and that all the fault is in us, the ones who abuse the law.
(t) Concerning the commandment, not to covet.
7:13 7 Was
then that which is good u made death
unto me? God forbid. But sin, that it might x
appear sin, working death in me by that which is good; that sin by the
commandment might y become exceeding
(7) The proposition: that the law is not the
cause of death, but our corrupt nature being with the law not only
discouraged, but also stirred up: and it took occasion by this to rebel, and
the more that things are forbidden it, the more it desires them, and the
result of this is guiltiness, and occasion of death.
(u) Does it bear the blame for my death?
(x) That sin might show itself to be sin, and
betray itself to be that which it is indeed.
(y) As evil as it could be, showing all the venom
7:14 8 For
we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin.
(8) The law is the cause of this matter because
the it requires a heavenly purity, but when men are born, they are bondslaves
of corruption, which they willingly serve.
7:15 9 For
that which I do I 10 allow not: for what
I 11 would, that do I not; but what I
hate, that do I.
(9) He sets himself before us as an example,
since he has been regenerated, and in whom may easily appear the strife of the
Spirit and the flesh, and therefore of the law of God, and our wickedness. For
since the law in a man who has not been regenerated brings forth only death,
therefore in him it may easily be accused: but seeing that in a man who is
regenerated it brings forth good fruit, it better appears that evil actions
proceed not from the law but from sin, that is, from our corrupt nature: and
therefore the apostle teaches also what the true use of the law is by
reproving sin in the regenerated, unto the end of the chapter: as a little
before (that is, from the seventh verse until now) (Romans
7:7-15), he declared the use of it in those who are not regenerated.
(10) The deeds of my life, he says, are not in
accordance to my will, rather they are contrary to it. Therefore by the
consent of my will with the law, and repugnancy with the deeds of my life, it
plainly appears that the law and a properly controlled will induce us to do
one thing, but corruption, which also has its seat in the regenerated, another
(11) It is to be noted that the very same man is
said to will and not to will, in different respects: that is, he is said to
will in that he is regenerated by grace: and not to will in that he is not
regenerated, or in that he is in the same state into which he was born. But
because the part which is regenerated at length becomes conqueror, therefore
Paul, speaking on behalf of the regenerated, speaks in such a way as if the
corruption which willingly sins were something outside of a man: although
afterward he grants that this evil is in his flesh, or in his members.
7:17 Now then it is no more I
that do it, but z sin that dwelleth in
(z) That natural corruption, which adheres
strongly even to those that are regenerated, and is not completely gone.
7:18 12 For
I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is
present with me; but a [how] to perform
that which is good I find not.
(12) This vice, or sin, or law of sin, wholly
possesses those men who are not regenerated, and hinders them or holds those
back who are regenerated.
(a) This indeed is appropriate to the man whom
the grace of God has made a new man: for where the Spirit is not, how can
there be any strife there?
I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me.
(13) The conclusion: as the law of God exhorts to
goodness, so does the law of sin (that is, the corruption in which we are
born) force us to wickedness: but the spirit, that is, our mind, in that it is
regenerated, coexists with the law of God: but the flesh, that is, the whole
natural man, is bondslave to the law of sin. Therefore, in short, wickedness
and death are not of the law, but of sin, which reigns in those that are not
regenerated: for they neither wish to do good, neither do they do good, but
they wish and do evil: but in those that are regenerated, it strives against
the spirit or law of the mind, so that they cannot live at all as well as they
want to, or be as free of sin as they want to.
7:22 For I delight in the law of God after the b
(b) The inner man and the new man are the same,
and are compared and contrasted with the old man; and neither do these words
"inward man" signify man's mind and reason, and the "old
man" the physical body that is subject to them, as the philosophers
imagine: but by the outward man is meant whatever is either without or within
a man from top to bottom, as long as that man is not born again by the grace
7:23 But I see another law in my members, warring
against the law of my c mind, and
bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.
(c) The law of the mind in this place is not to
be understood as referring to the mind as it is naturally, and as our mind is
from our birth, but of the mind which is renewed by the Spirit of God.
7:24 14 O d
wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?
(14) It is a miserable thing to be yet in part
subject to sin, which of its own nature makes us guilty of death: but we must
cry to the Lord, who will by death itself at length make us conquerors, as we
are already conquerors in Christ.
(d) Wearied with miserable and continual
7:25 I e
thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I f
myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.
(e) He recovers himself, and shows us that he
rests only in Christ.
(f) This is the true perfection of those that are
born again, to confess that they are imperfect.