Romans 7:1-6

Or do you not know, brothers—for I am speaking to those who know the law—that the law is binding on a person only as long as he lives? For a married woman is bound by law to her husband while he lives, but if her husband dies she is released from the law of marriage. Accordingly, she will be called an adulteress if she lives with another man while her husband is alive. But if her husband dies, she is free from that law, and if she marries another man she is not an adulteress.

Likewise, my brothers, you also have died to the law through the body of Christ, so that you may belong to another, to him who has been raised from the dead, in order that we may bear fruit for God. For while we were living in the flesh, our sinful passions, aroused by the law, were at work in our members to bear fruit for death. But now we are released from the law, having died to that which held us captive, so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit and not in the old way of the written code.

Observation

  • Paul calls those who know the law brothers.
  • Paul used an example that those who knew the law would understand.
  • The law binds a person only while they live.
  • A woman is bound to her husband only as long as he lives
  • Once a woman’s husband dies she is no longer bound to him.
  • If a woman lives with a man while her husband lives she is an adulteress
  • Once a woman’s husband dies she is released from the law of marriage.
  • If a woman marries another man after her husband dies she is not an adulteress.
  • We have died to the law.
  • We have died to the law through the body of Christ.
  • We are no longer bound to the law because Christ died.
  • We are bound to Christ.
  • Christ has been raised from the dead.
  • We have been bound to Christ so we may bear fruit for God.
  • When we were bound to the flesh, the law aroused our sinful passions.
  • Our sinful passions were bearing the fruit of death.
  • We are released from the law.
  • The law held us captive.
  • We now serve in the new way of the Spirit.
  • We do not server in the old way of the written code.

Interpretation

The law was given to regulate our lives. Therefore, it does not apply to us when we are dead. As Paul said earlier we have died with Christ in baptism. (Romans 6:3) So the law has no authority over us. Notice it is we who have died, not the law. The law is still in force for those who have not died with Christ.

In claiming liberty from the law let’s not forget what Paul labored in chapter 5. We are indeed free from the law. But we are not freed from our responsibility to be righteous. Righteousness is what the law taught. We are free from the curse and rigid requirements of the law. The law as a rule for living is not abrogated. But the law requires absolute perfection. We cannot give perfection. Therefore, the law binds us to a sentence of death.

Through Christ’s death and resurrection i.e. through Christ’s body, the law has been canceled. It was not canceled so that we may be free to so as we will. It was canceled so we may be bound to another husband, Jesus Christ. Our freedom is freedom in Christ.

Paul describes our condition while we were subject to the law as living in the flesh. While we were under the law, the gospel of God was only sound waves that hit our ears but there was not any fruit. We were totally sinful. The law caused us to sin even more. It awoke passions within us. Why, because sin polluted everything we touched, did or thought. But now we have died to the law because we have died with Christ in baptism and are freed for the law. We were held captive by the law. But now we are no longer captives of the law. We have been freed from the law so we can serve Christ with the aid of the Holy Spirit rather than trying to obey a written code.

Application

The purpose of this text is not to give a treatise on how and when a woman is released from marriage. Marriage is intended only to illustrate how we are freed for the bondage of the law. Therefore, to use this otherwise would be an incorrect application of this passage.

We are freed for the law. As Paul has labored now for 3 chapters we are saved by the mercy and grace of God. The law was given to call us to righteousness but could not provide a way to righteousness. The call to righteousness remains, only now the Holy Spirit provides a way for us to be righteousness. Learn the words of God. And lean on the Holy Spirit to guide your life.

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