The Bible lays out a certain way that Christians are supposed to live, but they rarely do so. The book of Romans mentions it many times. In chapters 7 and 8 it is described in detail.
Most Christians (even Bible scholars) do not understand what is said in these two chapters because they do not understand the Bible terms here. They miss the message. It all goes back to the Bible versions that they use. The dirty little secret that has been kept from them is that their Bible versions are not-so-accurate and use outdated, misunderstood words as special Bible words.
In this article I use a more accurate Bible version that is in words everyone correctly understands, the Breakthrough Version (breakthroughversion.com). It clears up the message of these two chapters.
The main text of this article is from the Bible. I have interjected some comments and subtitles to help you understand. Please read both the Bible text and my comments.
1 Or are you unaware, brothers, (you see, I am speaking to people who know the law) that the law is a master of the person over as much time as he lives?
2 You see, the woman under a husband has been tied to the living husband by the law. But if the husband dies, she has been rendered exempt from the law of the husband.
3 So clearly, as the husband is living, she will be noticed as a cheating spouse if she becomes with a different man. But if the husband died, she is free out of the law, of the "for her not to be a cheating spouse when she becomes with a different man" kind
Comment - Adultery is one of the many outdated words in other Bible versions. Most people do not understand it. It is more than a married person having sex with someone other than his or her spouse. It is cheating on a spouse, not being faithful.
Other Bible versions have "live with," "be married to," "be joined to," and "unites to" in this verse but the Greek word is a simple common word, become: "if she becomes with a different man."
4 In such a way, my brothers, you also were made dead to the law through the body of the Anointed King for the "for you to become with a different one" thing, the One who got up from the dead, so that we might carry fruit for God.
Comment - The law has always shown people's sinfulness and thus killed them, but it was the only thing from God to follow (or attempt to follow) until the body of the Anointed King showed up. Now the people killed by the law are free to follow the Anointed King. The previous verses show the death of a spouse as an example of this concept. Jesus replaces the law.
Many Christians refuse to give up the law. They insist that they must still obey it. But that is not what is taught in this passage (and many others). Trying to follow the law prevents a person from living the correct way.
5 You see, when we were in the physical body, the hardships of the sins (the hardships through the law) were active in our body parts for the "to carry fruit for the death" thing.
Comment - Flesh (physical body in the Breakthrough Version) is another outdated Bible term that few correctly understand. It appears often in these two chapters. A flesh is not a sinful nature. It is a physical body. A physical body has problems with sin (problems that are intensified by the law) that produce death, death to God, death to life, death to others, and death to self.
6 But right now, we were rendered exempt from the law after dying in what we were being held down by in such a way for us to be slaves in newness of spirit and not the outdated nature of a document.
Comment - The first half of this verse reflects back to the marriage example in verses 2 and 3. The law holds a person down to a certain set of rules (rules that are outdated because they are in a document that was previously written and so is not able to be current) which kills the people following them. This death exempts them from the law and frees them to be slaves to a spirit that can always be new and current.
7 So what will we state? Is the law sin? It could not happen. No, I didn't know the sin except through the law. You see, I hadn't even seen desire, except the law was saying in Exodus 20:17, "You will not desire..."
Comment - The phrase "you will not desire" is not the entire quote. It is not even the entire sentence. It is quoting Exodus 20:17 which lists many things that a person should not desire. Paul is giving an example of how sin uses the law. The example continues in verses 8-11. This is how the example goes. Paul was minding his own business with not one bit of desire for other people's thing in him. Then he read Exodus 20:17 that says not to desire his neighbor's house. He thought of his neighbor and his house. He has a nice house. Soon he was desiring his neighbor's house. Without the law, he would not have desired his neighbor's house. Sin used the law to get him to sin.
8 But when the sin took an opportunity through the demand, it worked on and completed all kinds of desire in me. You see, separate from the law sin is dead.
9 I was living separate from the law in the past, but when the demand came, the sin came to life again. I died.
10 And this demand for life was found by me to be for death.
11 You see, when the sin took an opportunity through the demand, it completely fooled me, and through this killed me.
Comment - Sin used the law to kill Paul. It does the same to all of us.
12 In such a way, the law certainly is sacred, and the demand is sacred, right, and good.
Comment - Make no mistake about it, in this chapter Paul is not saying that the law is bad, God wrote the law. The law is a good thing.
13 So did the good thing for me become death? It could not happen. But it is the sin, so that sin might be shown through the good thing for me working on and completing death, so that the sin might become even more sinful through the demand.
Comment - "The good thing for me" is the law. The law is not only good, it is good for you, but sin misuses the law and disables people.
14 You see, we have seen that the law is spiritual, but I am physical, having been put up for sale by the sin.
Comment - The law is spiritual. It was written in heaven (a spiritual place) and is recorded there. But it is also physical (it is written on physical pages) and this is the part of it that is appealing to Christians and why they insist on being a slave to it. It is something that they can see and touch. The Spirit is not.
People are not spiritual. Sin controls them. It has put them up for sale. They become the property of whomever sin sells them to: lust, greed, pride, and etc. Imagine a slave whose owner has put him up for sale. The slave has no say. He becomes the property of whoever purchases him. Sin does this to everyone.
15 You see, I don't know what I work on and complete; for what I want, this I don't constantly do, but what I hate, this I do.
16 If I do this, what I don't want, I agree with the law that it is nice.
17 Right now, I no longer work on and complete it, but the sin that has a house in me does.
Comment - Greek has a few words that express the idea of living in something. "Has a house" in this verse is a less common way of expressing that idea. It is the verb of the common Greek word for house. It implies a permanence, the presence of a house. This Greek verb is only used 9 times in the New Testament and 5 of them are in this chapter and the next.
18 You see, I have seen that good doesn't have a house in me, that is in my physical body; for the "to be wanting" part lies beside me, but not the "to be working on and completing the nice thing" part.
Comment - Sin has a house in everyone. Good does not, not in the physical body. The next chapter tells of something else that has a house in Christians.
19 You see, I don't do the good that I want, but the bad that I don't want, this I repeatedly do.
20 If I do this, what I don't want, I no longer work on and complete it, but the sin that has a house in me does.
21 I clearly find the law for me (the person wanting to be doing the nice thing) is that the bad lies beside me.
22 You see, I admire the law of God according to the inner person,
23 but I see a different law in my body parts, opposing the law of my way of thinking and forcibly incarcerating me in the law of the sin, that is in my body parts.
Comment - Here is a summary of this section.
I want to do good, but I don't. I hate bad, but I do bad.
This shows that I agree with the law and even though I do bad, it is sin in me, not me, that does it.
Sin has a house in me. Good doesn't.
Even though I want to do nice things, bad is always with me.
My inner person admires the law of God. My body incarcerates me to the law of sin.
This is why something must replace the law.
24 I am a troubled person. What will save me from the body of this death?
Comment - The words "body" (soma in Greek) here and "body parts" (melos in Greek) in the previous verse are used in the same place that "flesh" or "physical body" (sarx in Greek) has been used. This proves what I said about flesh, that it is a physical body and not a sinful nature.
25 I am grateful to God through Jesus, the Anointed King, our Master. So clearly I myself am not only a slave to the law of God with my way of thinking, but to the law of sin with my physical body.
Comment - Just to make the point again, a Christian's way of thinking follows God but his body follows sin. No matter how good of a person he is, this is true. Bad is in the body. The next chapter gives the solution.
1 Clearly there is no guilty verdict now for the people in the Anointed King Jesus.
Comment - The law finds everyone guilty, but Jesus replaced the law. For those who have made the switch from the law to Jesus there is no guilty verdict. No matter what is done - not guilty.
2 You see, the law of the Spirit of the life in the Anointed King Jesus set you free out of the law of the sin and the death;
Comment - Christians should follow a different law, "the law of the Spirit of the life in the Anointed King Jesus." It is a Spirit thing, a God thing, not a physical thing. The Mosaic law is a law of sin and death. The law of the Spirit is different. It sets people free from the Mosaic law.
3 for the inability of the law, in which it was weak through the physical body, God, when He sent His own Son in the likeness of a physical body of sin and concerning sin, found the sin in the physical body to be guilty
Comment - Jesus came in a physical body, a physical body that did not have sin in it. He did not sin. He kept the law. So the law was not the problem and the physical body was not the problem. This only leaves sin in the physical body (selfishness) as the guilty party.
4 so that the right path of the law might be accomplished in us, the people not traipsing around in line with the physical body, but in line with the Spirit.
Comment - The previous chapter showed how the people trying to keep the law are not able to. Take the law out. Bring in the Spirit and the people traipsing around in line with that Spirit end up doing the right things that the law demands.
5 You see, the people who are in line with the physical body focus on the things of the physical body, but the people who are in line with the Spirit focus on the things of the Spirit;
6 for the focus of the physical body is death, but the focus of the Spirit is life and peace
7 because the focus of the physical body is an enemy position to God. It doesn't place itself under God's law, you see, neither is it able to.
Comment - Christians should focus on the things of the Spirit (the Father, the Son, God's way, Jesus' teachings, the spiritual world, what is right and what is wrong, the Bible, etc.), not the things of the physical body (money, food, possessions, sports, social media, music, drugs, etc.). The physical body focuses on death (things that kill and harm). The Spirit focuses on life and peace. How much time do you spend focusing on the things of the Spirit?
8 The people who are in a physical body aren't able to satisfy God.
9 You aren't in a physical body, but in the Spirit, if it is true that God's Spirit has a house in you. If anyone doesn't have the Spirit of the Anointed King, this person is not His.
Comment - Christians are in a physical body, aren't they? Paul said that he had a physical body and was influenced by it (7:18, 25). The key is the word "in." This verse explains and leaves no doubt as to who is "in a physical body" and who is "in the Spirit." Christians are not considered to be "in a physical body" even though they have a physical body and are influenced by it. Christians are considered to be "in the Spirit." Sin in them is in their physical body, not they themselves. Because of this, they should follow the Spirit (they often don't, but they should). Unsaved people do not trust Jesus and so they do not recognize His Spirit. This leaves only the physical body for them to be in (a house they occupy with sin).
The previous chapter said that sin has a house in us. This chapter says that God's Spirit has a house in us. Christians house two things, sin and the Spirit.
God wants us to trust Him. This means that there are many things that God will do. The Spirit is God's. So focusing on and following the Spirit means that the Spirit and God will do much. The rest of this chapter tells what God does.
10 If the Anointed King is in you, the body certainly is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is alive because of the right way.
Comment - The word "body" (soma in Greek) is used again here (and in verses 11, 13, and 23) in the same place where "flesh" or "physical body" (sarx in Greek) has been used. The flesh is the physical body and not the sinful nature.
If the Anointed King is in you (as He is in all Christians), the body is dead because sin is housed in it and the Spirit is alive so that you will follow the right way.
11 If the Spirit of the One who got Jesus up from the dead has a house in you, the One who got the Anointed King up from the dead will also give your dying bodies life through His Spirit that has a house in you.
12 So, brothers, we are clearly not in debt to the physical body, of the "to be living in line with the physical body" kind.
13 You see, if you live in line with the physical body, you are about to be dying, but if you make dead to the Spirit the things the body repeatedly does, you will live;
Comment - If the Spirit has a house in you, God will give you life through the Spirit. This is not something that you do. God does it. Living in line with the physical body hurts and kills you. How do you make the things that the body repeatedly does dead to the Spirit? Leave those things behind in the physical body and go to the Spirit. As you spend time in the Spirit, treat those sins as if they are dead. If you do, you will live.
14 for as many people as are led by God's Spirit, these are God's sons.
15 You see, you didn't receive a spirit of slavery again for fear, but you received a spirit of adoption in which we yell, "Papa, the Father!"
16 The Spirit itself concurs with our spirit that we are children of God,
17 but if children, also inheritors, not only inheritors of God, but inheritors together with the Anointed King if it so happens that we suffer together, so that we also might be made magnificent together.
18 You see, I consider that the hardships of the present time aren't deserving of the future magnificence to be uncovered in us.
19 You see, the eager expectation of the creation patiently waits for the uncovering of God's sons;
20 for the creation was placed under the futileness, not voluntarily, but because of the One who placed it under it based on anticipation
21 because even the creation itself will be set free out of the slavery of the deterioration into the freedom of the magnificence of God's children.
22 You see, we realize that the entire creation groans together and has labor pains together until the present.
23 Not only the creation, but we ourselves also, having the first part of the Spirit that was given, even we ourselves groan within ourselves patiently waiting for an adoption, the paid release of our body.
24 You see, we were rescued with the anticipation of good, but anticipation that is seen is not anticipation; for what someone sees, does he anticipate it?
25 But if we anticipate what we don't see, we patiently wait through persistence.
Comment - Christians are God's children. Think about what this means - children of God. It does not mean as much now, because the creation has been chained to deterioration and God is unseen. Adam's sin brought about a curse on creation that drags it down with constant decay. Sin also caused God to hide Himself from mankind. But someday the creation will be released and once again have its full potential. Christians will be rescued out of sin and the constraints of this physical world. They will be made magnificent right beside Jesus. Then all that God has done and all of who He is will be uncovered. We anticipate that day and patiently wait through persistence for it.
26 Similarly, the Spirit also assists our weakness. You see, we don't realize what we should pray as to what is necessary, but the Spirit itself intervenes on behalf of us with unspeakable groanings.
27 The One checking the hearts realizes what the focus of the Spirit is because He intervenes in line with God on behalf of sacred people.
Comment - "The One" is not the Holy Spirit because in Greek it is masculine. If it were the Holy Spirit, it would be neuter. So "the One" can be God the Father, God the Son, or a person. Most scholars favor it being God the Father. "He" in the middle of this verse probably refers to the Holy Spirit.
What is the focus of the Spirit, the Spirit that has a house in us? to intervene on behalf of sacred people (Christians who do not act like unsaved people) in line with God.
28 We realize that all things work together for good to the people who love God, to the people invited in line with a purpose
29 because whom He knew beforehand, He also planned beforehand to be people formed together, of the image of His Son, for the "for Him to be the firstborn among many brothers" part.
30 Whom He planned for beforehand, these He also invited, and whom He invited, these He also made right. Whom He made right, these He also made magnificent.
Comment - Each time "whom" appears in verses 29 and 30 it is plural. These verses are not referring to what God does for a person individually, but what He has done for Christians as a whole. Look at the Old Testament and all the things that God planned out to prepare for the coming of Jesus. Look at the New Testament and all the things that God planned out and set up for rescuing people. God first knew that people would sin and need a way back to Him before He created them. Then He planned everything out for them to be conformed to the image of Jesus, invited them, made them right, and made them magnificent.
31 So what will we state toward these things? If God does it on behalf of us, who is against us?
Comment - The word "for" in this verse has the meaning of "on behalf of." It does not carry the idea of God being in favor of us (the opposite of against). It refers to all the previously mentioned things that God has done on our behalf.
32 He, who definitely didn't go easy on His own Son, but gave Him up on behalf of us all, how will He not also together with Him give us everything as an act of generosity?
Comment - God gives everything.
33 Who will bring a charge against God's select people? God is the One making them right.
34 Who is the one finding anyone guilty? The Anointed King Jesus is the One who died, but more than that, who got up, who also is in the right side of God, who also intervenes on our behalf.
35 Who will separate us away from the love of the Anointed King? Will hard times, or difficulty, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or a knife?
36 It is just as it has been written in Psalm 44:23, "On account of You, we are being put to death the whole day. We are considered as sheep of a slaughter."
37 But in all these things, we are more than conquerors through the One who loved us.
Comment - It is not that Christians do not have enemies. Their enemies are plenty, but through the Father's love, through Jesus' love, they are more than conquerors.
38 You see, I have been confident that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor top ranks, nor things that have stood here, nor things that are going to be, nor abilities,
39 nor height, nor depth, nor any other created being will be able to separate us away from the love of God in the Anointed King Jesus, our Master.
Comment - Nothing can separate us from God's love. Nothing.
How should Christians live? It all hinges on the realization that Jesus has replaced the law. If you are holding on to the law, throw the law out and replace it with Jesus. Sin has a house in your physical body. That is normal. Your physical body cannot win against sin but you can still serve God with your way of thinking. Your relationship with Jesus is different. Jesus loves you. Jesus is a spirit. In Jesus you are not found guilty. Focusing on the physical body is harmful to you. The Spirit has a house in you. Focus on the things of the Spirit. Follow the Spirit. The Spirit is invisible. He does not tell you what He is doing or even where He is at. Picture Him. Talk with Jesus through Him. Trust Him. Trust God. Let them change your life. They will bring you around to the right paths of the law, make you like Jesus, and someday make you magnificent.
The old relationship with the law no longer exists. In that relationship, the law said what to do and what not to do. If you did not keep those rules, you were a violator. You were condemned. No one kept all of the law and so everyone was condemned.
That type of relationship no longer exists.
Unfortunately, many want to keep the old relationship and just add Jesus into it. They see Christian living, religious living, Biblical living as a life of keeping a bunch of rules. It isn't.
Jesus replaced the law and with that came a new relationship.
Sin is relegated to the physical body. It does what it does there (yes, even in the most spiritual Christian). Let it be. It definitely is bad to you and will harm you and others. Recognize that, ask Jesus for help, and trust Him. You have already been forgiven. Jesus does not condemn you for your sin. He loves you. God's Spirit is in you to help you. Move to the Spirit. It is invisible. It is a spirit, not a physical thing. It often cannot be felt or heard, but it is there. You must trust that it is there and helping you. Focus on the things of the Spirit. Get to know God. Follow Him. This is a new relationship of love, trust, and help.