But now... Thrilling words for a believer. Simple, aren't they? Just two words, yet how pregnant with comforting and exhilarating exhortation.
Romans 7:5 tells us, "...when we were in the flesh [that is when we were an unregenerate man in Adam], the sinful passions [that is our appetites and/or desires] which were aroused [that is inflamed, stimulated] by the law [that is the moral law of God] were at work in our members [that is our various body parts including the mind, emotions, imaginations] to bear fruit to death.
Born a man in Adam we were under the control, dominion and authority of sin which dominated us. Being born a man in Adam placed us in the position whereby sin produced a harvest. The harvest or as Paul put it "fruit" was death. Physical and spiritual death.
But now! Now what? "But now we have been delivered [aorist tense - a past act already accomplished] from the law [that is from the penalty, power, condemnation, and necessity of the law to redeem or sanctify us] having died [aorist tense - past act, never to be repeated] to what we were held by [the dominion of the moral law and its condemnation] so that [there is a purpose and reason we died and freed from the law] we should serve in the newness of the Spirit and not in the oldness of the letter [bad choice of word - actually in the oldness of the writing - the law].
The law of God was never designed to redeem nor sanctify a sinner. The law condemns us and incites our passions or appetites to sin. The law was designed to drive us to the awareness of our desperate need and to cause us to flee to Christ for salvation.
I am glad I died as a man in Adam and was resurrected to newness of life as a man in Christ. Thank God for the but now!