1 Do you not know, brothers -- for I speak to those who are acquainted with the law -- that the law can press its claim over a man only so long as he lives? 2 For a married woman is bound by law to her husband while he lives, but if her husband dies, she is freed from the marriage bond. 3 So if she marries another man while her husband is living, she is called an adulteress, but if he dies, she is free from that marriage bond, so that she will not be an adulteress though later married to another man.
4 So, my brothers, you too in the body of Christ have ended your relation to the law, so that you may be married to another husband, to Him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God. 5 For when we were living in accordance with our lower nature, the sinful passions that were aroused by the law were operating in the parts of our bodies to make us bear fruit that leads to death. 6 But now we have been freed from our relation to the law; we have ended our relation to that by which we once were held in bonds, so that we may serve in a new spiritual way and not in the old literalistic way.
7 What are we then to conclude? Is the law sin? Of course not! Yet, if it had not been for the law, I should not have learned what sin was, for I should not have known what an evil desire was, if the law had not said, "You must not have an evil desire." 8 Sin found its rallying point in that command and stirred within me every sort of evil desire, for without law, sin is lifeless. 9 I was once alive when I had no connection with the law, but when the command came, sin revived, and then I died; 10 and so, in my case, the command which should have meant life turned out to mean death. 11 For sin found its rallying point in that command and through it deceived me and killed me. 12 So the law itself is holy, and its specific commands are holy, right, and good.
13 Did that which is good, then, result in death to me? Of course not! It was sin that did it, so that it might show itself as sin, for by means of that good thing it brought about my death, so that through the command sin might appear surpassingly sinful. 14 For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am made of flesh that is frail, sold into slavery to sin. 15 Indeed, I do not understand what I do, for I do not practice what I want to do, but I am always doing what I hate. 16 But if I am always doing what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is right. 17 Now really it is not I that am doing these things, but it is sin which has its home within me. 18 For I know that nothing good has its home in me; that is, in my lower self; I have the will but not the power to do what is right. 19 Indeed, I do not do the good things that I want to do, but I do practice the evil things that I do not want to do. 20 But if I do the things that I do not want to do, it is really not I that am doing these things, but it is sin which has its home within me. 21 So I find this law: When I want to do right, the wrong is always in my way. 22 For in accordance with my better inner nature I approve God's law, 23 but I see another power operating in my lower nature in conflict with the power operated by my reason, which makes me a prisoner to the power of sin which is operating in my lower nature. 24 Wretched man that I am! Who can save me from this deadly lower nature? 25 Thank God! It has been done through Jesus Christ our Lord! So in my higher nature I am a slave to the law of God, but in my lower nature, to the law of sin.