Paraphrase of the Book of Romans
by E.H. Jack Sequeira
Chapter 7Liberated From Under the Law’s Jurisdiction
1 In the last chapter, I indicated that we Christians
are no longer legally under the law [Rom. 6:14]. I would like to amplify on
this, as I am sure some of you will object to that statement. Dont you realize,
brethren, that when Christ liberated us from the dominion of sin He also delivered us
from the jurisdiction of the law? May I remind you who are familiar with the law,
[Jews implied] that the law has authority over a person only as long as that
person is alive.
2 Take, for example, the situation of a married woman:
according to the law of marriage, a woman is bound to her husband by the marriage vow
as long as they both live. But should her husband die, she is immediately released from
her marriage vow and is permitted to marry another man. 3
If, however, the woman leaves her husband, without Biblical grounds, while he is still
alive and marries another man, she certainly will be considered as an adultercss. But
this is not true if her husband dies and she later marries another man, since the
marriage vow is valid only as long as both shall live.
4 This is precisely how Christ liberated us from under
the laws jurisdiction. All of us were bound to the law from birth, just as a wife
is to her husband by marriage. This means the law had authority over us as long as we
lived. But when we died in the corporate humanity of Christ, which, incidentally, we
Christians have identified with by faith and baptism, we were released from the
jurisdiction of the law; and this God did in order that we might be married or united
to the risen Christ. The result is that now we can actually bear spiritual fruit unto
God, because this is what Christ is able to do in us, something the law was incapable
5 But prior to this glorious event, while our sinful
self was still ruled by the law there was absolutely no compatibility between the law
and our sinful natures so that all that we did was in complete contradiction to the
laws requirements, which in turn meant we stood constantly under the condemnation
of the law to eternal death. 6 But now that our sinful self
is crucified with Christ and we have been released legally from under the law and are
married to the risen Christ, we can serve God in a truly spiritual way, out of hearts
full of love, gratitude, and joy instead of the old motivation of fear, which we did
under the law.
Gods Law is Holy but We Are Sinful
7 Now does the fact that Christ has liberated us from
sin as well as from the jurisdiction of the law mean that the law and sin are synonymous?
No, never! In fact, the very opposite is true. It is through the law that we know the
true and deeper meaning of sin; for sin is the violation of the law (IJohn 3:4). For
example, I would never have known that it was a sin to covet or desire somehody
elses goods or wife if the law had not declared thou shall not covet.
8 But sin, being what it is, anti-law [Rom. 8:7],
produced in me all kinds of covetous desires, thereby bringing to the open the fact that
I am a miserable slave to sin and incapable of meeting the laws demands, something
I may have not fully discovered had God not given us His law. 9
In fact, there was a time when I had not fully understood the full implications of the
law and consequently considered myself a righteous person worthy of eternal life
[Phil. 3:6]. But when God opened my eyes and I realized the full and deeper
meaning of the laws demands, I discovered to my horror that I was a wretched
sinner deserving nothing but eternal death. 10 I found
that the commandments, which according to my upbringing were taught to me as the way
of salvation, turned out to be the very opposite, the way of death.
11 It was really my sinful heart that utterly deceived
me [Jer. 17:9] and gave me the idea that I could save mysclf through keeping
the law. On the contrary, I have discovered that all that the law can do is convince
me I am a sinner and condemn me to eternal death. 12 This
is because the law is holy and its demands to qualify for life are absolute holiness,
goodness, and righteousness.
13 But how can a holy law that is absolutely good be
the means of my death? No! I did not say that; it is not the law that is the cause of
death but sin that is the sting of death. But because the law condemns sin it gives
sin the legal right to execute the sinner [1 Cor. 15:56]. However, the reason
why God gave us His law was not to destroy us but to open our eyes to our utterly
sinful state, something essential if we are to accept His gift of salvation in Christ.
Mans Sinful Nature Is Incompatible With Gods Holy Law
14 So then, we may conclude that the law itself is holy
and spiritual, but it is I that am sinful, sold as a slave to sin.
15 My own experience and that of every person that lives
under the old covenant proves this beyond a shadow of a doubt. For even when I would
like to live a good and righteous life, I discover that in practice I am doing
evilthat which I hate to do. 16 And since I am doing
what I really do not want to do, then I am admitting that the laws demands, which
I want to do, are good.
17 The real problem, then, is not my desire to do good
but my sinful nature which controls me and will not submit to my good intentions prompted
by the law. 18 By this l know that in me, that is in my sinful
nature, nothing good resides; for while the inner most desires of my mind want to do
good, I am incapable of carrying out those desires. 19
Instead, the evil which I detest, but what my sinful nature wants, is what I find myself
20 Consequently, since my evil acts are really not my
true intents, this is proof that I am a slave to my sinful nature which I was born with
and which is the real culprit. 21 So then, this is what I
have discovered to be my predicament: when I want to do good, my sinful nature dominates
me and drives me to do the very opposite. 22 For deep down
in my heart I really delight in the righteous requirements of the law of God;
23 but in reality and practice there seems to be another
principle dwelling in my lower nature, the law of self, that continually contradicts
my good intentions, making me a prisoner to sins power which has permeated my
whole physical being.
24 Oh, what a miserable and wretched man I am! Who will
rescue me from the plight of my sinful body by which I am doomed to death?
25 I thank God for the way of escape He has made for us
in Christ. So then, in and of myself, apart from the power of Gods Holy
Spirit, I am totally incapable of producing genuine righteousncss, for while my mind
may wish to obey Gods holy law, my sinful nature simply will not comply and
therefore enslaves me to sin. This is the predicament of fallen humanity and our only
hope, therefore, is Christs righteousness, both imputed and imparted.