Summary: The law of God is perfect, but we are not. Trying to live up to God’s standards with our own steam is an impossible task. Before power comes freedom! ...Free from sin, free from death, even free from the law!
If I were to take a long piece of super-duper duct tape and stick it firmly to your hairy arm, how would you prefer to have it removed if you only had these two choices: Slowly, pulling out one hair at a time, or suddenly, ripping it off instantly?
Most of us would prefer a quick rip. Well, when we look at how Paul describes our condition under the law, he pulls it off very, very slowly. He describes in detail the pain of living under law and seeking to satisfy the righteous requirements of it with merely the power of the sinful flesh. Ouch! Who will deliver me! Let’s look at it together.
We have learned in Romans 6 that all of us who have been baptized
into Christ have been baptized into his death and are thereby
freed from sin. In chapter 7 we see that we are also freed from
the law. But, are we completely out of touch with sin and the
law now that we are in Christ? The answer to this question is
not as clear cut as we would like it to be. Let’s study this
chapter in its three sections and see what it says about our
dealings with the Law and sin. We see in the text that there are three questions that nicely divided this chapter into three sections. Those questions occur in verses 1, 7, and 13.
1. The marriage analogy (1-6)
Death abrogates legal bonds. Just as in a marriage when one of
the mates die the other is free to marry because the legal bond
is broken. Now notice what Paul does with this. What has
happened to the law in this text? It is alive and well, but who
dies? We who have been baptized into the death of Christ!
The law did not die. Jesus died. And we who enter the death of
Christ are dead to the law. It was an unhappy marriage anyway.
The law was much too perfect for us. We were always cheating on
it. We were unfaithful in our relationship. Can you see that in this text? The law was not unfaithful. We were. But when we died with Christ we were no
longer married to the law. Our relationship to the law was not
based on faith and love anyway. It was based on a written code
that held us captive and aroused our sinful passions.
But we died to the law, (when we entered the death of Jesus Christ – see 6:3-4) and are united to a risen Savior, a savior who freed us through his own death and who claims us in his resurrection.
Therefore, our relationship to the law is this: we are freed
from the law by the death of Christ. Jesus didn’t destroy the
law, he fulfilled it. Only those who are in Christ are actually
freed from the law. Just as we are freed from sin, we are freed
from the law. But sin and the law still affect us. As we study
further we will see more on this. But just remember that the law
is not the one who died, we who entered the death of Christ by
baptism have become dead to the law. If not, how?
Next we get a personal look at the Apostle Paul and his
autobiographical sketch. Again, he begins these next two sections with
a question. He fears that there may be some who equate the law
2. Is the Law the problem? (7-12)
Look with me at some of the earlier statements of Paul about the
law. 3:20; 4:15; 5:13, 20; 6:14; 7:5.
With those verses in mind someone might think that the real
problem here is the law!
“Free from law? That’s the ticket!” The flesh cries out in us, “What we really need is to be set free from law and be allowed to have uninhibited
self-expression and unrestricted freedom.” That’s what some of the
modernists tell us today. Some think that man is basically a good moral being
who is evolving upward and needs simply to be set free to discover his own way. They say we need to be left alone and freed from all the things that inhibit him, such as belief in God and religious, moral standards. They tell us that then, man will soar to virtuous heights. Are you kidding?
When left alone, man plummets into moral and relational chaos! Just look at Romans 1!
It is not God’s Law that ruins us! Never! But while the law is not the
problem, neither is it the answer. In order to explain this he
tells us his own story. In it we hear echoes from the garden of
Look at verses 7-13
Remember the garden of Eden? God had created a perfect place