How many times do these words appear in Romans chapter 7? I, me, sin, law, death? Before counting them, it must be said that from an argumentative point of view, the context of Romans 7 is LAW. And so it is, but the main point of it is about SIN and the conditions under which it is given free reign.
Paul says that SIN REIGNED but not to let it, because we are not under law but under grace. When we were under law sin indeed did freely reign, it had the power, it had the control. But Christ has wrested that control and authority away from it and by dealing with the law, by completing and fulfilling the law in His own body, the effect was that of its abolishment.
If you have a set of laws and then remove all the penalties for breaking them, you have effectively disempowered those laws and removed all authority from them, because it is that power and that authority that removed that penalty, that now becomes the superior power and authority, becomes the ultimate “law”.
So the previous condition of law has been superceded by the superior position and power of grace. The new covenant supercedes the old covenant. The covenant of law is replaced with a covenant of Spirit led grace, empowered by mercy forgiveness and love, against which there is no law.
Where law holds sway though, sin is empowered by its penalties. That is why those penalties were removed, so that people could be told and made aware of their removal, so they could then be emboldened to move forward past law and penalty and into freedom from law so there might be freedom from penalty so that the freedom and the vision it produces on a new horizon could be appreciated and entered into.
Because Christ took the penalties for sin against law, he took away the condemnation of being guilty. He became the guilty one FOR us. No sin can stand against us to accuse us because He paid for it. He took the accusation and bore the penalty for us. Death has been dealt with so we can avoid it by believing the truth of the removal of death and so move into life instead. But the penalty for refusing to leave death behind, will always remain as death. The reward for accepting life, is life.
We are free to leave death and enter life, but there is no middle position. We are either in death or in life. Although we are all “of” flesh, we are EITHER ‘in the flesh’ or ‘in the Spirit’.