In captivity to the law of sin

In captivity to the law of sin

What does it mean to be captive to the law of sin in my members? Is this the same as the law of sin and death?

“But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.” Romans 7:23.

Imagine being taken captive by the law of sin in our members! That must be awful, after having been set free from the law and having died to what we were held by. (Romans 7:6.)

If I am taken captive by the law of sin in my members, so that I do what I hate, then it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. It is in those areas where I am not conscious that I am taken captive. Where I am still carnal, I will be taken captive because the flesh cannot submit to the law of God. When God’s light shines on what caused me to be taken captive, I am judged. In order to be made free again, I need to agree with the judgment and put this deed of the body to death by the Spirit; then I will live. (Romans 8:13.)

The law of sin and death

In Romans 8:2 it is written that the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. If I have been made free, how can I still be taken captive? It’s because even though I have been made free from the law of sin and death, I have not been made free from the law of sin in my members. There is no condemnation for having sin, but there is condemnation for committing sin. The law of sin and death is at work in the person who is tempted and gives in to the temptation. Even though sin has been born, he does not judge himself but allows the sin to become mature, bringing forth death. It is obvious that since we have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires, we have been set free from this law.

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The law of sin in my members

The law of sin in our members is a different matter. This law takes us captive whether we like it or not, because we are still in this body of death and must therefore serve the law of sin with our flesh, even though we serve the law of God with our mind. For this very reason, there is no condemnation. That which is born of flesh is flesh, regardless of whether it is in a disciple of Jesus Christ or not. If we are honest, we will also see that we often do things we didn’t mean to do in our daily lives, things that we genuinely hate from our heart. These things have been done because we have been taken captive by the law of sin that is in our members. It is another matter when a soul is tempted and then falls in the temptation. He isn’t doing what he hates, but what he loves. And he is not taken captive, but he voluntarily gives in to the temptation.

In order to be truly liberated and by faith to understand our liberty, we need a clear understanding of how these various laws work in our lives, so we don’t believe we have sinned when we commit a deed of the body, a deed that we hate and judge in spirit and in truth.

This article has been translated from Norwegian and was first published with the title “Å bli tatt til fange”(“To be taken captive”) in the periodical Skjulte Skatter (Hidden Treasures) in June 1932.
© Copyright Stiftelsen Skjulte Skatters Forlag | ActiveChristianity

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Scripture taken from the New King James Version®, unless otherwise specified. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.