Rom 7:1-6 The Believer and Law

Aug 2, 2020 // By:Dave // No Comment

in the Princess Bride

“As you wish” is said seven times (four by Westley, three by the grandfather). 

“Inconceivable” is said five times.

My name is Inigo Montoya…” is said six times.

as you wish, an expression of true love, is the most common line in the movie

(yet this expression of devotion is meant to provide whatever the recipient wants)

Wesley shows his love for Buttercup by doing whatever she wants

(God shows his love by killing us)

We are free from the power of sin, but we are not sin free because we are free to sin

Paul is continuing his theme from what we call chapter 6 into chapter 7

He’s talking about the relationship the believer has with the law.

God, through Paul, is explaining to us, that Christ’s death broke sin’s power over us in a two fold way.

  1. saved from the eternal condemnation as a result of sin (death)
  2. freed from the power of sin in our daily lives

the problem with the “freed from the power of sin” part is that the only way this works is to die

(and once you’re dead, your not alive to enjoy the freedom)

That is why Christ says
“join me in my death to be free from sin, then join me in my life and enjoy the freedom”

as long as you are bound by the law, you will be subject to sin (since the law only shows us our sin)


1:8-17 encouragement, I want to visit you in Rome

1:18-32 accusation against the godless (creation itself testifies)

2:1-16 accusation against the moralist (their own conscience)

2:17 – 3:8 accusation against the religious moralist (then called the jew)

creation, their own conscience and law, God’s special revelation of His law

3:9-20 all are guilty before God

3:21-31 justification by faith (starting with “but now”) (righteousness of God revealed apart from the law)

4 Abrahams faith as an witness (faith credited to him as righteousness, not satisfying the law)

5: 1-5 benefits package

5: 6-11 love demonstrated

5: 12-21 one man (basis for justification) Christ died for the unrighteous (first adam vs second adam)

6: 1-14 freedom through death

6: 15-23 freedom to choose

7:1-6 freedom from sin (dead to one husband, free to marry another)

so Paul is continuing the explanation of our freedom from sin through death.

in chapter 6

22 But now having been freed from sin and enslaved to God, you derive your benefit, resulting in sanctification, and the outcome, eternal life.

23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

1 Or do you not know, brethren (for I am speaking to those who know the law), that the law has jurisdiction over a person as long as he lives?

1 ¶ You shouldn’t have any trouble understanding this, friends, for you know all the ins and outs of the law—how it works and how its power touches only the living.

The law has authority over a person only for his lifetime. Once that person is dead, the law has no effect or power over that person.

2 For the married woman is bound by law to her husband while he is living; but if her husband dies, she is released from the law concerning the husband.

2 For instance, a wife is legally tied to her husband while he lives, but if he dies, she’s free.

3 So then, if while her husband is living she is joined to another man, she shall be called an adulteress; but if her husband dies, she is free from the law, so that she is not an adulteress though she is joined to another man.

 3 If she lives with another man while her husband is living, she’s obviously an adulteress. But if he dies, she is quite free to marry another man in good conscience, with no one’s disapproval.

To illustrate the binding character of the law, Paul presents the case of a woman who is married to a husband and remains bound by law in this relationship as long as the husband is living. During this time she is not free to seek another attachment. This may be done only in the event that the husband dies. 

By design, the status of the wife as subject to the husband is presented by the term hupandros, a rather rare word meaning literally under the man or “under a husband’s authority .” 

This pictures more readily than “married woman” what Paul is seeking to bring out. Particularly in Jewish life this was the actual legal status of the wife, for she could not divorce her husband; divorce was a privilege granted only to the man. If the husband died, she was then released from “the law of marriage”.  The point here … The woman cannot leave the husband, she is under his authority by being married to him.

Eph 2:15 

Col 2:14

Heb 8:7

4 Therefore, my brethren, you also were made to die to the Law through the body of Christ, so that you might be joined to another, to Him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God.

4 ¶ So, my friends, this is something like what has taken place with you. When Christ died he took that entire rule-dominated way of life down with him and left it in the tomb, leaving you free to “marry” a resurrection life and bear “offspring” of faith for God.

5 For while we were in the flesh, the sinful passions, which were aroused by the Law, were at work in the members of our body to bear fruit for death.

5 For as long as we lived that old way of life, doing whatever we felt we could get away with, sin was calling most of the shots as the old law code hemmed us in. And this made us all the more rebellious. In the end, all we had to show for it was miscarriages and stillbirths.

6 But now we have been released from the Law, having died to that by which we were bound, so that we serve in newness of the Spirit and not in oldness of the letter.

6 But now that we’re no longer shackled to that domineering mate of sin, and out from under all those oppressive regulations and fine print, we’re free to live a new life in the freedom of God.

The opening word “so” indicates that illustration is now giving way to application. But the reader is apt to be somewhat disturbed in that there is a measure of inconsistency in the way the illustration is applied. 

Note that in the case under consideration three essential statements are made: 

  1. a woman is married to a man; 
  2. the man dies; 
  3. then the woman is free to be married to another. 

(in this example, the source of authority dies, freeing the other to marry another)

In the application three statements likewise appear or can be readily inferred:

  1. the readers have had a binding relation to the law; 
  2. they have died to the law; 
  3. and they are now free to be joined to another, even the risen Lord. 

(in this example, the one under authority dies, and is given new life to use their freedom to marry another)

A glance at these two triadic propositions shows that the parallel breaks down at the second item, for the law, which is the assumed master or husband in the application, is not represented as dying, since the readers are said to have died to the law. 

Paul avoids saying that the law died, something that is never affirmed in Scripture, though the law had a certain course to run (Gal 3:19). 

All he is concerned with is continuing the emphasis already made in chapter 6, that 

death ends obligation. 

It was not feasible in the illustration to have the woman die, because then she would not have been available for marriage to another, which is vital to the application in which a new relationship is set up between the believer and Christ. 

Paul was was seeking merely to underscore the truth that 

  1. death with Christ brought to an end the sway of the law over those who are in him 
  2. and ushered in a new relationship as superior to the old as Christ is superior to the law.

Death to the law is said to have occurred “through the body of Christ” (v.4). This is a reference to the personal body of the Savior in his crucifixion. Through the same means believers became dead both to the law and to sin. “The body of Christ” should not be interpreted as a reference to the church, since the word has not been used in the corporate sense so far in the Epistle, and when it is so used (12:4, 5) Paul brings in the human body as an analogy in order to make his meaning clear, as he had done in an earlier letter (1Cor 12:12, 13).

Death to the law occurred so that believers “might belong to another.” To belong to Christ involves participation not only in his death but also in his resurrection. Severance from obligation to serve the law is only part of the truth. We are married, as it were, to the risen Lord, with a view to bearing fruit to God. Perhaps an analogy is intended here—as a marriage produces progeny, so the believer’s union with Christ results in spiritual fruit. It should be recalled that in our Lord’s teaching the secret of fruit bearing is union with himself (John 15:1ff.), the very truth emphasized in the passage before us. A somewhat different background for fruit bearing is predicated in Galatians 5:22, 23, where the fruit is attributed to the Spirit, in contrast to the output of the flesh and of the law. Since Paul speaks of the Spirit in Romans 7:6, the parallel with Galatians 5 is close. The attribution of fruit to Christ in one instance and to the Spirit in another is not disturbing, because there is much common ground in their relationship to believers (cf. Eph 3:16, 17).

In the pre-Christian state there was fruit of a sort, but it was corrupt and perishable, emanating from the sinful nature and produced by the sinful passions as these were aroused by the law (v.5). The contrast between the two types of fruit is striking . The phrase “controlled by our sinful nature” is an attempt to render “in the flesh.” 

Paul has used “flesh” in four senses thus far: 

(1) the humanity of Jesus Christ (1:3); 

(2) the physical body (2:28), 

(3) mankind—“all flesh” (3:20); and 

(4) moral, or possibly intellectual, weakness (6:19). 

Now he adds a fifth: the so-called “ethical” meaning of flesh, which is the most common use of the word in his writings and denotes the old sinful nature. It is this sense of the word that pervades chapters 7 and 8, together with a final use in 13:14. Paul did not employ the word “flesh” in this sense when exposing in his earlier chapters the universality of sin. In noting that the passions are aroused by the law, Paul is anticipating his fuller statement in vv.7-13 about the manner in which the law promotes sin.

Release from the law has as its objective a bond service to God “in the new way of the Spirit” in contrast to the old way of the written code (literally “letter”). This contrast is not between a literal mode of interpreting Scripture and one that is free and unfettered. The written code, which has special reference to the law rather than to Scripture in general, has no power to give life and to produce a service acceptable to God. Only a person can beget human life, and only a divine person can impart spiritual life, which is then fostered and nurtured by the Spirit. The word “new” has in it not so much the idea of newness in time as freshness and superiority. This is the only mention of the Spirit in the chapter. It anticipates chapter 8 with its unfolding of the wealth of blessing to be experienced in this relationship.

the written word has no power to give life and produce a service acceptable to God.
Only Spirit can beget spirit (and spirit, in new life, is what is needed to relate to God, and be nurtured by God

What did Jesus say to Nicodemus in John 3 ?  (you must be born again from above)

We cannot relate to the law by obedience. (that is putting ourselves back under the law and submitting to sin again)

The covenant of the law is the marriage we died to.
(since we died with Christ, we are no longer under the authority of the law or sin)

We are meant to be living in our new life, in a new marriage,

If the first husband died, the wife is now free to remarry another

now lets work out that analogy with a more literal application:

  1. the wife dies while married to the first mean husband
  2. the first husband has to release all authority over the wife (now dead)
  3. wife comes back to life and is now unbound
  4. wife marries a kind man who takes care of her under his authority

does the wife go back to the first husband (even for one day) ?

why is it wrong for her to go back to the first husband ?

in Luke 4:18 Jesus announces His ministry 

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, Because He anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim release to the captives, And recovery of sight to the blind, To set free those who are oppressed,

by reading from 

Isaiah 61: 1-2 The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, Because the Lord has anointed me To bring good news (gospel) to the afflicted; He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to captives And freedom to prisoners;

liberty to the captives, freedom to the prisoners

freedom to choose your master.

liberty to live in purity or in adultery.

You have to want the Holiness more than the sin

also means loving Christ more than yourself

(adultery requires loving yourself more than your spouse)

See when someone says they “can’t be Holy” or something similar

I ask “how’s your relationship with God?”

It all comes back to being saved or not 

If your saved , then you can 

(You won’t do it perfectly but you can)

Why ?

Christ gave you the freedom to choose so

3 things in place to have power over sin

you have to be free from bondage (old husband) 1-3

A =admit temptation (Gal 5:19-21)

You have to die to be free from bondage) 4-5

C =crucify the flesh (Gal 5:24; Rom 6:11)

Need newness of spirit to serve (the new husband) 6

T =turn to Holy Spirit for strength (Gal 5:16, 22, 23, 25)

What is this “newness”?

Born again 

It’s not can’t 

It’s won’t 

Every time 

There are times some external supplement is appreciated to say no to sin (addictions to chemical, etc)

We can say no (often don’t because we want the pleasure of sin)

There is one situation where someone truly is unable to say no…

(They were never saved)


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