Summary: Message designed to encourage Christians to shed the bondage to religous "law" and live in freedom for Christ.
In the movie, Braveheart, William Wallace wages a war for the freedom of Scotland from English tyranny.
His passion was to see Scotland as a free nation, no longer bowing in servitude to the King of England.
Freedom was the by-word of his life, and the driving force behind everything he did.
In fact, according to the movie, his very last word was this – if you know it, scream it along with me:
Don’t worry if you haven’t seen the movie – I haven’t blown the ending for you.
Our passage today deals with a different type of tyranny. It’s a tyranny of bondage not to an earthly king, but to the law of Moses, which became for man a shackle of religious performance that no one could adequately sustain for righteousness.
Paul addresses this shackle, this bondage, in our passage today, Romans 7:4-6. Please follow along as I read:
4 So, my brothers, 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 to God. 5 For when we were controlled by the sinful nature, the sinful passions aroused by the law were at work in our bodies, so that we bore fruit for death. 6 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.
Paul is talking to people who have lived their lives following the Law, just as Paul did before coming to Christ. And now he is explaining that the law has been replaced by Christ.
So what is that to us? What can we find in this passage that we can use as 21st century followers of Christ who have the benefit of these teachings?
Well, I think there are three benefits of dying to the law as Paul talks about here. And if we’ll look at these seriously, and meditate on how these can really affect our day-to-day living, we will become people whose by-word of life in Christ is freedom, and not bondage.
My hope is that you will leave here today determined to live in the freedom that Christ gives us, and that you will be free to live for Christ and serve Him as never before.
Let’s look at these three benefits of dying to the law. First…
Dying to the law…
1. Frees us from the bondage of the law.
What do I mean by this? I mean, the law is from God, right? So why is bondage to it bad? Was the law itself bad?
No – but as the Bible makes abundantly clear, there is no salvation in following the law.
The purpose of the law is to show us our need for grace – our need for a Savior. But not recognizing this could lead to slavery. When we put our hope in law, we actually become a slave to it – always hoping that we follow it well enough to please God and not incur His wrath.
But we don’t live under the law of Moses, so what’s the big deal?
You may not live under the word-for-word restrictions of the law of Moses, but you might still be living under the principle of trying to earn God’s favor.
You might go to church because you’re afraid that God will reward you if you do, and punish you if you don’t.
Maybe you read your Bible using a certain method. Or memorize Scripture. Or teach a Sunday School class. Or dress a certain way for church. Or you have your devotions in a certain way or using a certain devotional guide because someone convinced you that it was the only right one.
Or maybe you have your quiet time during a certain time of the day because you think that God only listens in the morning, or because you’re convinced that you should give God the best part of your day, which of course is only in the morning, before even the roosters have sense to get up!
Dr. Howard Hendricks of Dallas Theological Seminary relates a story about how in one class he taught, he was telling his students that he gave God the best part of his day, at 5:00 am. Soon, he started noticing some students being sleepy in his class, and yawning. When he asked why, he found out that all these students were getting up to have devotions at 5:00 so God could have the best part of their day.
Dr. Hendricks had to point out that he was talking about how 5:00 was the best part of his day, and that obviously, it was not the best part of their day! They needed to individually find that out for themselves.