Summary: God sent Christ to fulfill the law, and he now allows us to satisfy it through our identification with him.
A. Do you ever wish they had consulted you before making a particular law?
B. For example, the area you are driving through is posted 45 mph because it is a residential zone, but there are only three houses throughout the entire area?
C. Michelle and I sometimes discuss what appears to be illogical laws but then conclude; “Oh well, they didn’t consult us when making that law.”
I. The Christian’s Death To The Law (vv. 1-6)
A. Paul makes this point by appealing to the example of a sinner, a proposed law keeper and a believer. (chapter 7)
1. In this and the next chapter, Paul will use “law” in four different ways: as a reference to the Mosaic law, as referring to civil laws, as a reference to the Ten Commandments and as a reference to laws governing principles, such as gravity.
2. In these and the following verses, Paul will demonstrate how the law cannot save the sinner, the one who keeps the law or even the believer who has received a new nature in Christ.
3. The sinner is condemned by the law just as a criminal is.
4. It is a particular law that is responsible for the criminal going to jail, being fined or having to perform community service (or a combination of all three).
5. If there was no law against what he had done, he would not be arrested, fined or jailed.
6. He finds himself in this predicament only because the law said he was not supposed to do what he did.
7. If stealing was not against the law, we could take what we want whether or not it belonged to us. I could walk in Dollar General, load my buggy, put the items in bags and take them to my car without threat of reprisal.
8. Additionally, the one who strives to keep the law is not saved by it. The reason he is not is because he cannot consistently or perfectly keep it. As hard as we try, we will periodically break a law established by our town, state or nation. How many of you have sped in the last week or month? Or failed to slow down to the required speed when going through a school crossing? Then there is the matter of the spirit of the law in addition to the letter of the law. Jesus addresses this most pointedly in his Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7)
9. The religious leader who came to Jesus proposing that he had kept the commandments was only fooling himself. (Luke 18:21)
10. Nor can the believer with a new nature obey the law perfectly or continually be saved by it for the new nature is in a continual battle with our flesh.
11. The conclusion is that salvation is not found in the Law. Had it been, there would have been no need for Christ. Calvary would have been an unnecessary event.
B. Paul also appeals to the example of life, marriage, death of a spouse and unfaithfulness in the marriage in his law discussion (vv. 1-3).
1. Laws only apply to those who are alive. When we die, the law will not matter any longer. Nor will we have any influence over what laws are enacted.
2. While death breaks our relationship to the law, it does not exempt us from the judgment that follows death for breaking that law while alive.
3. Laws governing marriage only apply while both spouses are alive. When one dies, the law governing faithfulness and adultery no longer apply.
4. The widow or widower is free to remarry without penalty of breaking the law concerning faithfulness to their spouse. Death releases them from previous agreements and arrangements.
5. While many choose not to remarry, they could if they wanted without breaking previously established marriage bonds.
6. Similarly, the believer has died with Christ on the cross. The law can no longer condemn us for in Christ we are no longer under condemnation. (Romans 8:1) Christ has paid our sin debt, and we are free.
7. Just as a person whose spouse dies is no longer bound under the laws of marriage, so we are no longer bound to the law in the sense that we must perfectly obey it to find salvation. Christ has accomplished that for us.
8. A married person could only be convicted of adultery if their spouse was alive.
9. Just as death breaks our relationship to the law, so our death with Christ breaks our marriage to sin. It no longer fits who we are. We have the freedom to obey, a freedom we did not possess before.
10. Remember there was nothing wrong with the law. The law of God was good and the commands designed for our benefit. The problem was within us. We had no power to obey it.