Romans: ch. vii.

January 4, 2011


Paul proves that we are under grace, not the law, by the example of a wife who is released from the law of her husband if he dies.  In the same way, he teaches, we are dead to the law and it is dead to us.  V. 7, he teachesthat although the law is holy in itself, it nevertheless increases sin in man by the occasion of indicating and forbidding it.  V. 14, he moves to concupiscence, the remainder from sin and the law, and teaches that even just men suffer it, albeit unwillingly, and fight against it constantly.

1. The dominion of the law is in ordering, terrifying, making guilty, accusing, condemning.

2. The metaphor or allegory in this chapter is as follows: Sin, death and the law are the husband; our soul is the wife; the offspring are evil works; when the husband dies, our soul passes to the second husband, God, and bears the offspring of good works.

4. by the body of Christ – by his corporal passion and death, which freed us from the law.

7. New objection: If the law is the occasion of sin, is it not sin itself?  God forbid – the law in itself is not sin.  Concupiscence – here refers to the consent of the will to forbidden things (i.e. the consent to involuntary concupiscence).

8. Sin was dead – i.e. sin was asleep, and then awoken by the law, which by occasion increases the sin of man in the state of sin.

9. Paul speaks of himself before he had the use of reason.

10. when the commandment came, supply “into my knowledge.”

13. New objection: if the law is good in itself, has it therefore changed and been made death unto meGod forbid – the evil is not the fault of the law, but of the man transgressing the law.  That it may appear sin – i.e. to demonstrate the enormous power and malice of sin, which increases its malice through that which is good, the law.

14. The law is holy: it commands spiritual things, not carnal things; but I (Paul) am carnal, that is, I follow what is pleasing to the flesh and concupiscence, as one sold under sin.  Therefore I myself, living under the dominion of sin, am the cause to myself of my carnal life, sin and death, and not the law.  Sold under sin refers to original sin, which continues to affect even the justified man.

15. that which I work, I understand not – i.e. I do not approve by my reason and will the works and motions of my concupiscence.  The good which I will etc. – I wish not to suffer concupiscence, I do not wish to suffer concupiscence, and yet I suffer concupiscence.

17. no more I that do it, supply “deliberately.”

18. i.e. I have the faculty and good will to will what is good in me, since I am justified; but I can scarcely do it, and only with difficulty.

22. inward man – man has only one soul, but here the Apostle refers to the inner and outer man because of their diverse states of affections and works.  The inward man is the mind of the justified man, or rather the justified man himself, living by the grace, charity and Spirit of God: the outer man is concupiscence inciting the mind and will to sin against God’s law.

23. captivating me – not by the consent of my will, but by the commotion it causes in trying to capture me and submit me to the law of sin (concupiscence).

24. body of death – this body afflicted by sin, subject to death and corruption.

25. The grace of God by Jesus Christ … “will deliver me from this body of death in the resurrection, by giving me an immortal and glorious body.”



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