Who are We in the Story We're in?
We want to be heroes in our own story. We like victory. But sometimes it's not so simple. Oliver Hazard Perry's naval victory over the British on Lake Erie, 1813: "We have met the enemy and he is ours!" Echoed in a Pogo cartoon of 1971 (2nd Earth day, Vietnam war): "We have met the enemy and he is us." Paul's analysis of the human situation is closer to Pogo than Perry. But also more complex than either. God steps into that complexity.
This text poses challenging questions. It starts from us "released from the law" to live "in the new way of the Spirit." That raises serious questions about the whole story of scripture and the Law of Moses. What are you saying? Is God's Law sin!? If it's good, did it bring about evil, even death? Paul writes to a community of Jewish and Gentile believers, but only the Jews in their identity share as he does in Israel's story and in the Law/Torah.