- Law arouses sinful passion in those who live in the flesh.
- Those released from the Law have died to the Law.
- Those who serve in the new way of the Spirit are no longer captive to sin.
- Those who serve in the new way of the Spirit do NOT serve the old way of the written code.
A reader of the english language can read our passage below and parse the assembled words and derive some meaning of what is said. But, to truly grasp its deeper and greater meaning one must actually experience what is written.
Romans 7:4–6 ESV
Likewise, my brothers, you also have died to the law through the body of Christ, so that you may belong to another, to him who has been raised from the dead, in order that we may bear fruit for God. 5 For while we were living in the flesh, our sinful passions, aroused by the law, were at work in our members to bear fruit for death. 6 But now we are released from the law, having died to that which held us captive, so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit and not in the old way of the written code.
Consider Verse Four
“…my brothers, you also have died to the law through the body of Christ, so that you may belong to another, to him who has been raised from the dead, in order that we may bear fruit for God.”
A Spiritual Fact of Life
The Word of God is speaking to those whom God has made alive spiritually. They know within their very being of the grand work of Jesus, their Liberating King.
- They have experienced a second birth that is from above.
- This new birth is the work of the Spirit of God and it is entirely spiritual in nature.
- A new realm has opened to all who have received God’s Spirit, the Spirit of Christ.
In addition, the person made alive spiritually, is transferred out of a life lived entirely under the dominion and influence of their flesh. Prior to their new birth they were foreigners and strangers to God’s grace and slaves of sin.
There are some who would argue for the placarding of Israel’s Law (the ten commandments) before the world. Would this be wise given that the natural man’s sinful passion is aroused by that same law? Verse 5 reads; “while we were living in the flesh, our sinful passions, aroused by the law”. Tell a child not to touch something and no sooner have you turned away the child seeks to do the very thing prohibited.
Were you the life of the party?
Is that who you are presently? Some folks think that they need to put their lives at risk so that they can feel as though they are alive. They are willing to risk their very lives for a momentary pleasure. The intent is not to die a tragic and foolish death. Rather, risk takers want to beat death and are willing to come up real close to it through a game of high risk. Take the young man who pushes his souped up vehicle down the country road thinking he is racing the Indy 500. Death is something no one seems to want and a funeral is not intended to be a party for the living.
Everyone fears death or the possible means of their death.
Because death is always near we will do things like the following:
- Look both ways before you cross the street.
- Check our parachute before we jump.
- Put on a life jacket.
- Wear warm clothing and boots and gloves in frigid weather.
- Eat the right food.
- Boil jungle water before we drink it.
- Take your meds.
Everyone made alive by the Spirit of God has experienced a death.
But what sort of death is the apostle Paul speaking of? In verses 1–3 he illustrates the sort of death he had in mind and it is a death “to” something. Specifically it is a death to the law.
Or do you not know, brothers —for I am speaking to those who know the law—that the law is binding on a person only as long as he lives? 2 For a married woman is bound by law to her husband while he lives, but if her husband dies she is released from the law of marriage. 3 Accordingly, she will be called an adulteress if she lives with another man while her husband is alive. But if her husband dies, she is free from that law, and if she marries another man she is not an adulteress.
One of the reasons, and a good one at that, as to why the Christian need not risk death to feel alive is because he or she has experienced death already. Paul writes;
you also have died to the law through the body of Christ
The one born of God is told that his or her death was wrought through the body of Christ. This is a continuation of a foundational truth which the apostle Paul addressed in the previous chapter of Romans. Those who are born of God are miraculously transferred by the power of God from one realm to another, from death to life. Our Lord Jesus tells us;
Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life. John 5:24 ESV
In verse four of our passage (Rom 7:4) the word of God tells God’s child he or she has died to the law so that they may belong to another. They are removed from the rule of law through their new union to Messiah’s death and His resurrected life. Having been joined together with Christ by His Spirit they live in newness of life bearing fruit pleasing to God.
In essence God has transferred the objects of His affections out from under the rule of Law to the gracious rule of God’s Spirit. Their fruitfulness was foretold by Jesus while He was speaking and instructing His disciples in the “Upper Room” discourse.
Apart from life in Christ a person can not bear fruit acceptable to God. Law cannot produce union with God through Christ. Law cannot produce holiness. It is only when the saint is joined to Christ that he dies to the law.
so that you may belong to another
Jesus Christ is not just another. He is another of a different kind. He is God’s Son. The saint’s deliverance and new life in Christ came to be when Christ united the object of His affections to Himself. They have become one with Him.
But he who is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with him. 1 Corinthians 6:17–20
If you enjoy union with God, you abide (have you life bound up) in Him, you will bear fruit. Apart from Him you can do nothing. Joined to Him, He lives through.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self- control; against such things there is no law. 24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another. Galatians 5:22-26 ESV
The Christian life is a fruitful life and it is worth living.
- 1 Corinthians 2:14 The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. ↩
- John 3:5–8 Jesus answered, Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Do not marvel that I said to you, You must be born again. 8 The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit. ESV ↩
- Luke 10:23–24 Then turning to the disciples he said privately, Blessed are the eyes that see what you see! 24 For I tell you that many prophets and kings desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it. ESV ↩
- 1 Corinthians 2:12–13 Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. 13 And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual. ESV ↩
- Acts 26:17b–18 I am sending you 18 to open their eyes, so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me. – Romans 6:15–19 What then? Are we to sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means! 16 Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness? 17 But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, 18 and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness. 19 I am speaking in human terms, because of your natural limitations. For just as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness leading to sanctification ↩
- Romans 6:8–11 Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9 We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. 10 For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. 11 So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. ↩
- John 15:4–5 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. 5 I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. ↩