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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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
7:8 But sin, taking occasion by the commandment, wrought in me all manner of concupiscence. For without the law sin was dead.
7:9 For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died.
7:10 And the commandment, which was ordained to life, I found to be unto death.
7:11 For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it slew me.
7:12 Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good.
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.
7:14 For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin.
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.
7:16 If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good.
7:17 Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.
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.
7:19 For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.
7:20 Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.
7:21 I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me.
7:22 For I delight in the law of God after the inward man:
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.
7:24 O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?
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.

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Everything King James Bible:Romans

Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Whole Bible
back to: Romans
Book: Romans
Chapter: 7

Overview:
Believers are united to Christ, that they may bring forth
Fruit unto God. (1-6) The use and excellence of the Law. (7-13)
The spiritual conflicts between corruption and Grace in a
believer. (14-25)

1-6 So long as a Man continues under the Law as a Covenant, and
seeks Justification By his own obedience, he continues the Slave
of Sin in some form. Nothing but the Spirit of Life in Christ
Jesus, can make any sinner free from the Law of Sin and Death.
Believers are delivered from that power of the Law, which
condemns for the sins committed By them. And they are delivered
from that power of the Law which stirs up and provokes the Sin
that dwells in them. Understand this not of the Law as a rule,
but as a Covenant of Works. In profession and privilege, we are
under a Covenant of Grace, and not under a Covenant of Works;
under the Gospel of Christ, not under the Law of Moses. The
difference is spoken of under the similitude or figure of being
married to a new Husband. The second Marriage is to Christ. By
Death we are freed from obligation to the Law as a Covenant, as
the Wife is from her Vows to her Husband. In our believing
powerfully and effectually, we are dead to the Law, and have No
more to do with it than the dead servant, who is freed from his
master, has to do with his master's Yoke. The Day of our
believing, is the Day of being united to the Lord Jesus. We
enter upon a Life of dependence On him, and duty to him. Good
Works are from union with Christ; as the fruitfulness of the
Vine is the product of its being united to its roots; there is
No Fruit to God, till we are united to Christ. The Law, and the
greatest efforts of one under the Law, still in the Flesh, under
the power of corrupt principles, cannot set the Heart right with
regard to the Love of God, overcome worldly lusts, or give Truth
and sincerity in the inward parts, or any thing that comes By
the special sanctifying influences of the Holy Spirit. Nothing
more than a formal obedience to the outward Letter of any
precept, can be performed By us, without the renewing,
new-creating Grace of the new Covenant.

7-13 There is No way of coming to that knowledge of Sin, which
is necessary to Repentance, and therefore to peace and Pardon,
but By trying our hearts and lives By the Law. In his own case
the Apostle would not have known the sinfulness of his thoughts,
motives, and actions, but By the Law. That perfect standard
showed how wrong his Heart and Life were, proving his sins to be
more numerous than he had before thought, but it did not contain
any provision of Mercy or Grace for his relief. He is ignorant
of human nature and the perverseness of his own Heart, who does
not perceive in himself a readiness to fancy there is something
desirable in what is out of reach. We may perceive this in our
children, though self-Love makes us Blind to it in ourselves.
The more humble and spiritual any Christian is, the more clearly
will he perceive that the Apostle describes the true believer,
from his first convictions of Sin to his greatest progress in
Grace, during this present imperfect state. St. Paul was once a
Pharisee, ignorant of the spirituality of the Law, having some
correctness of character, without knowing his inward depravity.
When the commandment came to his Conscience By the convictions
of the Holy Spirit, and he saw what it demanded, he found his
sinful mind rise against it. He felt at the same time the evil
of Sin, his own sinful state, that he was unable to fulfil the
Law, and was like a criminal when condemned. But though the evil
principle in the human Heart produces sinful motions, and the
more By taking occasion of the commandment; yet the Law is holy,
and the commandment holy, just, and good. It is not favourable
to Sin, which it pursues into the Heart, and discovers and
reproves in the inward motions thereof. Nothing is So good but a
corrupt and vicious nature will pervert it. The same heat that
softens Wax, hardens Clay. Food or medicine when taken wrong,
may cause Death, though its nature is to nourish or to heal. The
Law may cause Death through Man's depravity, but Sin is the
Poison that brings Death. Not the Law, but Sin discovered By the
Law, was made Death to the Apostle. The ruinous nature of Sin,
and the sinfulness of the human Heart, are here clearly shown.

14-17 Compared with the holy rule of conduct in the Law of God,
the Apostle found himself So very far short of Perfection, that
he seemed to be Carnal; like a Man who is sold against his will
to a hated master, from whom he cannot set himself at liberty. A
real Christian unwillingly serves this hated master, yet cannot
shake off the galling Chain, till his powerful and gracious
Friend above, rescues him. The remaining evil of his Heart is a
real and humbling hinderance to his serving God as angels do and
the spirits of just made perfect. This strong language was the
result of St. Paul's great advance in Holiness, and the depth of
his self-abasement and Hatred of Sin. If we do not understand
this language, it is because we are So far beneath him in
Holiness, knowledge of the spirituality of God's Law, and the
evil of our own hearts, and Hatred of moral evil. And many
believers have adopted the Apostle's language, showing that it
is suitable to their Deep feelings of abhorrence of Sin, and
self-abasement. The Apostle enlarges On the conflict he daily
maintained with the remainder of his original depravity. He was
frequently led into tempers, words, or actions, which he did not
approve or allow in his renewed judgement and affections. By
distinguishing his real self, his spiritual part, from the self,
or Flesh, in which Sin dwelt, and By observing that the evil
actions were done, not By him, but By Sin dwelling in him, the
Apostle did not mean that men are not accountable for their
sins, but he teaches the evil of their sins, By showing that
they are all done against reason and Conscience. Sin dwelling in
a Man, does not prove its ruling, or having dominion over him.
If a Man dwells in a City, or in a country, still he may not
rule there.

18-22 The more pure and holy the Heart is, it will have the
more quick feeling as to the Sin that remains in it. The
believer sees more of the beauty of Holiness and the excellence
of the Law. His Earnest desires to obey, increase as he grows in
Grace. But the whole good On which his will is fully bent, he
does not do; Sin ever springing up in him, through remaining
corruption, he often does evil, though against the fixed
determination of his will. The motions of Sin within grieved the
Apostle. If By the striving of the Flesh against the Spirit, was
meant that he could not do or perform as the Spirit suggested,
So also, By the effectual opposition of the Spirit, he could not
do what the Flesh prompted him to do. How different this case
from that of those who make themselves easy with regard to the
inward motions of the Flesh prompting them to evil; who, against
the Light and warning of Conscience, go On, even in outward
practice, to do evil, and thus, with forethought, go On in the
Road to perdition! For as the believer is under Grace, and his
will is for the way of Holiness, he sincerely delights in the
Law of God, and in the Holiness which it demands, according to
his inward Man; that new Man in him, which after God is created
in true Holiness.

23-25 This Passage does not represent the Apostle as one that
walked after the Flesh, but as one that had it greatly at Heart,
not to walk So. And if there are those who abuse this Passage,
as they also do the other Scriptures, to their own Destruction,
yet serious Christians find cause to Bless God for having thus
provided for their support and comfort. We are not, because of
the abuse of such as are blinded By their own lusts, to find
fault with the Scripture, or any just and Well warranted
interpretation of it. And No Man who is not engaged in this
conflict, can clearly understand the meaning of these words, or
rightly Judge concerning this painful conflict, which led the
Apostle to bemoan himself as a wretched Man, constrained to what
he abhorred. He could not deliver himself; and this made him the
more fervently thank God for the way of Salvation revealed
through Jesus Christ, which promised him, in the End,
deliverance from this enemy. So then, says he, I myself, with my
mind, my prevailing judgement, affections, and purposes, as a
regenerate Man, By Divine Grace, serve and obey the Law of God;
but with the Flesh, the Carnal nature, the remains of depravity,
I serve the Law of Sin, which wars against the Law of my mind.
Not serving it So as to live in it, or to allow it, but as
unable to free himself from it, even in his very best state, and
needing to look for help and deliverance out of himself. It is
evident that he thanks God for Christ, as our deliverer, as our
Atonement and Righteousness in himself, and not because of any
Holiness wrought in us. He knew of No such Salvation, and
disowned any such title to it. He was willing to act in all
points agreeable to the Law, in his mind and Conscience, but was
hindered By indwelling Sin, and never attained the Perfection
the Law requires. What can be deliverance for a Man always
sinful, but the free Grace of God, as offered in Christ Jesus?
The power of Divine Grace, and of the Holy Spirit, could root
out Sin from our hearts even in this Life, if Divine Wisdom had
not otherwise thought fit. But it is suffered, that Christians
might constantly feel, and understand thoroughly, the wretched
state from which Divine Grace saves them; might be kept from
trusting in themselves; and might ever Hold all their
consolation and Hope, from the rich and free Grace of God in
Christ.

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