Romans 7:1-6

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, May 25, 2015 0 comments
by Katie Erickson 

“Do you not know, brothers and sisters —for I am speaking to those who know the law—that the law has authority over someone only as long as that person lives? For example, by law a married woman is bound to her husband as long as he is alive, but if her husband dies, she is released from the law that binds her to him. So then, if she has sexual relations with another man while her husband is still alive, she is called an adulteress. But if her husband dies, she is released from that law and is not an adulteress if she marries another man.

So, my brothers and sisters, you also died to the law through the body of Christ, that you might belong to another, to him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God. For when we were in the realm of the flesh, the sinful passions aroused by the law were at work in us, so that we bore fruit for death. But now, by dying to what once bound us, we have been released from the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code.” (Romans 7:1-6)

Paul has spent a fair amount of time in this letter to the Romans talking about the law, and here he brings it up again. Why is the law important? Check out the three uses for it, which I wrote about previously in this blog post.

Previously, in Romans 6:15-18, we saw how those who believe in Christ are set free from the power of the law. Instead of beings slaves to the law, we are now slaves to Jesus Christ - and that type of “slavery” is more like freedom than any other, because we are no longer held captive by the sinful power of this world. Here in today’s passage, Paul summarizes some of the main ideas he had talked about in all of chapter 6: we are dead to the law, we are set free in Christ, and we are slaves to Him instead.

So why does all that stuff matter? We’re freed from the bondage of the law and being required to live perfect lives, so that we can serve in the new way of the Spirit instead.

When you were a child growing up in your parents’ home, I would guess that you had rules you had to follow. Maybe it was a certain bedtime, or chores you had to do, or that you had to eat all of your vegetables at every meal. Did you feel like you were being told to be perfect, and that that was an impossible task that you didn’t even want to try to do? Well that’s what it’s like to be under the law. We’re commanded to do all of these things, seemingly just for the sake of doing them. There is no way we can live up to that, and we only begrudgingly do what we’re supposed to, “because I said so.”

But, being in Jesus Christ means that we get to live and serve in the new way - the way of His Holy Spirit! This is quite a contrast. Maybe now that you’ve grown up and are no longer in your parents’ house, you experienced the freedom of setting your own rules and doing what you want to. If you make a bad choice, however, you have to live with the consequences. Living in the Spirit is almost like that, but not quite - we will still have consequences for all of our choices, but we also have forgiveness and grace! While we do need to strive to follow God’s ways, there is always a second chance and we are always forgiven. That’s what it means to live in the Spirit.

Before we have faith in Jesus and desire to live in His Spirit, we were bearing fruit for death. Think of that like a tree producing fruit that’s immediately rotten - it’s really no good and rather worthless. But when we live and serve in the Spirit, we are producing the wonderful fruit that the Spirit gives us to produce when we abide with Him and follow His ways.

Do you live in the ways of the law, being legalistic and just trying to follow the rules, all the while failing at it? Or have you accepted Jesus Christ and are living in His Spirit, enjoying the freedom and grace that you receive through Him? Take a look at your life and see how you’re living.

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