19
May
2016

ROMANS 7.1-6 SET FREE SO THAT WE SHOULD SERVE IN THE NEWNESS OF THE SPIRIT AND NOT IN THE OLDNESS OF THE LETTER

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Romans 7:1 Or do you not know, brethren (for I speak to those who know the law), that the law has dominion over a man as long as he lives? 2 For the woman who has a husband is bound by the law to her husband as long as he lives. But if the husband dies, she is released from the law of her husband. 3 So then if, while her husband lives, she marries another man, she will be called an adulteress; but if her husband dies, she is free from that law, so that she is no adulteress, though she has married another man. 4 Therefore, my brethren, you also have become dead to the law through the body of Christ, that you may be married to another--to Him who was raised from the dead, that we should bear fruit to God. 5 For when we were in the flesh, the sinful passions which were aroused by the law were at work in our members to bear fruit to death. 6 But now we have been delivered from the law, having died to what we were held by, so that we should serve in the newness of the Spirit and not in the oldness of the letter.

 

Romans 7 is an explanation or exposition of Romans 6:14

"Does the Law help us, as believers, to handle the problem of sin in our lives?" Again, the answer is both, "Yes," and "No." Yes, the Law does help us -- but only up to a point. It will help us to define the problem. But no, the Law is no help at all when it comes to delivering us. It can't help us -- in fact, it will only make things worse. Paul deals with the last part of this question first.

The more you think about something, even when trying not to do it, then it becomes tougher to forget.  That is the way it is with the law.  When you try not to do something then you are thinking about it.  It is not about trying to do right.  You can no more be saved by the law, than you can be sanctified or made holy by it.  So the trick is not to try to do right, but what?  Be filled with the Spirit

2 Corinthians 10:5  casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ,

Galatians 5:16  I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.

 

 V1 Or do you not know, brethren (for I speak to those who know the law), that the law has dominion over a man as long as he lives?

The Law Paul mentions here is a reference to a standard of conduct, or behavior, which is expected of men. The Ten Commandments

They are a standard of conduct, isn't it? That, of course, is the Law that Paul talks about here -- the Law that was given to Israel. But Paul already has made clear in Chapter 2 that, in a wider sense, the Law is present among men everywhere. Have you ever listened to people talking about their experiences and relationships with other people? Listen for a while, and you will hear a phrase like this: "I don't think that is fair." What do these people mean? What is it that determines whether a thing is fair or not? It is obviously some unspoken standard of conduct or behavior that both the speaker and the listener have in mind which is universally understood without speaking.

Some might put it this way: "I think this is the right thing to do." There, again, is an unspoken standard of behavior. Somebody says, "I'm going to get even!" How do you know when you are even? There is an unspoken standard in mind. So, as Paul points out in Chapter 2, the Law really is everywhere; it is embedded in the hearts of men. There is an undescribed, unspoken standard of conduct to which we all refer. Every man everywhere thinks in these terms, no matter what his background may be.

 

Imagine a hearse speeding on its way to the cemetery and racing through a radar trap. In hot pursuit, a motorcycle policeman speeds after the hearse. When the hearse pulls over, the policeman does not go to the driver, but he goes to the back door of the hearse where he opens the casket and slips the traffic ticket inside. Pretty ridiculous, is it not? No one can expect the law to have authority over a dead man.

 

V2-3

1 Corinthians 7:39 A wife is bound by law as long as her husband lives; but if her husband dies, she is at liberty to be married to whom she wishes, only in the Lord.

 

Jeremiah 3:1 "They say, ‘If a man divorces his wife, And she goes from him And becomes another man’s, May he return to her again?’ Would not that land be greatly polluted? But you have played the harlot with many lovers; Yet return to Me," says the LORD.

 

V3-4

1.           The Law is making them discouraged and they don't like it. In certain areas of their lives they see defeat, and so they attempt to get people's attention off this area of failure and onto areas where they feel they have succeeded. That is why they are always pointing out the areas of their success and boasting about how well they are doing. They want to keep us from looking at that other area where they are failing. The Law produces failure. Therefore, one of the first marks of a person who is living under the Law is that he is always pointing out how well he is doing. Isn't that strange?

2.           Another mark of people who are living under the Law is that they are always critical of others. This is another diversionary tactic. Why are people critical of others? Well, if you succeed in getting your friends' eyes fastened on other people, they won't look at you. And you feel justified because the faults you point out in other people aren't the same faults you feel guilty of. You know, God plays some amazing tricks with us. He so blinds our eyes, or allows Satan to do so, that invariably the things we criticize others for are the very things that we ourselves are guilty of. And we don't know it! You see, the Law is producing this sense of failure and defeat, and we are constantly adjusting to it and compensating for it by criticizing others.

3.           Another mark of those under the Law is that they are always reluctant to admit any error or fault in their own lives. It is hard to get them to admit it. They feel very heavily the standard of conduct they are expected to have, so they pretend they are living up to it, even though they don't. They hate to admit defeat because that means they must change.

4.           Another symptom of those under the Law is that they invariably are subject to times of inner boredom and depression, and oftentimes experience outward symptoms of depression and discouragement and defeat. They go through times of utter, sheer boredom. That is the sign of someone under the Law. The Law is doing its work condemning, and that sense of condemnation produces depression of spirit. Did you know this? You see, you can't understand this passage unless you know what the Law does. That is why I keep asking "Do you know it?" If you know this, you can see that this is a major problem in the church today. This is what has gone wrong with so much of the church in America today. Now, therefore, we must understand Paul's application of this illustration. Let's get it now in Verses 4-6:

 

Deuteronomy 24:1-4

 

Romans 7:6

But, according to this, we died to the Law through the death of our first husband. When Jesus was crucified, that first husband died. And now we are free from the condemnation of the Law. We are married to another, Christ risen from the dead. So now, when we seek to be righteous and to do righteous things and to be loving and kind, we are no longer hypocrites. This is the point Paul wants to make. We are doing what we really are. We are tied to Jesus. His life is ours and we are acting according to our true nature.

 

We are married to a new husband. And because we share his life and power, we are not only able to be what he is, but we are also free from any condemnation or failure in our struggle along the way. We don't always act right, but the Law doesn't condemn us. The Law's purpose was to condemn, and we can't be condemned anymore because we are not hypocrites. We are doing what we were designed to do. We have a new identity. No longer bound to our failures, we can admit them and forget them. We don't have to have them clinging to us; we no longer have to believe that God is unhappy with us because we don't always live exactly right. He has made provision for this. It is not a fraud when we go back to God again and again and accept from his hand his forgiveness.

Therefore, it is not law that straightens us out, it is love. We no longer need the Law to straighten us out, but we have love to do so. We are free to fail and still be loved. And we are also free to win in the new power given to us.