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.
7:42 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
(c) He calls the children, which the wife has by her
(d) Which are acceptable to God.
7:53 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
(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
7:74 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
(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 filth.
7:8 But sin, taking occasion by the commandment, wrought in me
all manner of concupiscence. For without the law sin [was]
(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
7:95 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 were before.
(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.
7:126 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.
7:137 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 sinful.
(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 it could.
7:148 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.
7:159 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)
(Ro 7:7-15), he declared the use of it in those who are
(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,
(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 me.
(z) That natural corruption, which adheres strongly even to
those that are regenerated, and is not completely gone.
7:1812 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?
7:2113 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 inward man:
(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 of God.
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.
7:2414 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 conflicts.
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
(f) This is the true perfection of those that are born
again, to confess that they are imperfect.