Summary: A study of the Book of Romans

Why Doesn’t My Life Have Power?

Romans 7

Romans 7:1-6

The Apostle Paul tells about a lovely woman who found herself married to a demanding perfectionist. He laid the law down to her day after day. He made insistent demands on her behavior. There was no escaping his tyrannical guilt trips. No matter how hard she tired nothing she ever did was good enough to please him. It was impossible to live up to his standards of behavior and conduct. No matter how hard she tried, she was a failure.

Because of his insistent attitudes her feelings altered between fear of his exacting demands and judgment to a sense of complete failure, guilt, resentment and hostility. Her situation was hopeless. He was perfect and she was just the opposite. Living with him was impossible.

How long could she go on in this situation? Secretly she wised he were dead. Nevertheless, he was in perfect health and strict moralist. He wasn’t going to go away. He wasn’t going to die and divorce was out of the picture.

Then would you know it, she met another man. This man was everything she ever wanted. Yes, he was perfect, but it was balanced with love. There was grace about him. Her new suitor was everything she ever wanted. She found it impossible to resist his intense love for her. Moreover, she desired an intimate love relationship with him!

In time, he asked her to be his. Oh, yes, he was aware of her present state. She belonged to another man. She was married. Moreover, the law was very clear about adultery. “The law has jurisdiction over a person as long as he lives.” When a person dies that is the end of the authority of the law. However, after he dies she is free to marry anyone she pleases. Since her husband was not going to die and he would never consent to divorce there was only one alternative. She would have to die! Then the law could have no effect on her. She could marry whom ever she pleased and be innocent.

I know. You are asking the question, “But if she were dead, how could she possibly marry her suitor?”

There is only one way. She would have to die and rise from the dead! The Apostle Paul tells us that is exactly what happened to us. “Therefore, my brethren, you also were made to die to the Law through the body of Christ, that you might be joined to another, to Him who was raised from the dead, that we might bear fruit for God” (Romans 7:4). Remember, “we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall be also in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing that our old self was crucified with Him, that our body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin; for he who has died is freed from sin. Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him” (6:5–8).

This truth is so crucial to the believer’s daily walk with Christ that Paul reminds us to “consider (reckon, count upon the fact) yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus” (Romans 6:11). God’s solution to our sin problem was to crucify us with Christ.


The principle (v. 1)

Death settles all scores. You can not prosecute a dead man. All laws lose their power when a person dies.

The illustration (vv. 2–3)

Paul uses an illustration on marriage to declare a general principle about our spiritual marriage to Christ. The law only has authority over a man for as long as he lives. Death of either spouse ends a marriage and the hold of the law over that relationship. A second marriage is legitimate only if death has terminated the first.

What is the purpose of the law? It is to hold the person guilty who breaks it. It condemns the lawbreaker. The law never says, “Hey, you are doing a great job. Keep it up!” All it can do is point its finger and say, “You are guilty!”

The married woman who lives in a marriage relationship with two men is guilty of adultery. However, if the husband dies she is free from the law. It no longer has power over the relationship because he is dead. The purpose of the law is to set a standard and bring condemnation and guilt to those who do not live up to it. Moreover, it proves to us that we can not please God by fulfilling the law. No one is capable.

Now that is just where the good news comes in. What we could not do, God does in His marvelous grace.

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