The Authority of the Law—Romans 7:1

"Do you not know, brothers-for I am speaking to men who know the law-that the law has authority over a man only as long as he lives?" (Romans 7:1)

This seems like an obvious statement, it makes sense that the law or legal claims only have authority over us while we are living. After all, it would be hard to collect taxes from a deceased person. When a person dies all claims of that life are nullified. Our possession get redistributed, our money gets pass down to our family members and we take nothing with us from this world .

This is a concept that everyone understands, both young and old. That is why Paul uses this example so that we can understand our new state of existence. In the previous chapter, Paul wrote to us that we had died to sin and we were made alive in Christ. He explained why we have no obligations to that previous nature. Now Paul is switching gears slightly and he is going to clarify how this transformation happened legally. This is important to understand that our redemption happened lawfully, which means it will hold up in God's court of Law. God does not operate outside of his established precepts, so he used legal methods to redeem us from the control of the kingdom of Satan.

When we are born into this world, we were born with a sin nature because of what happened in the garden with Adam and Eve. "Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned" ( Romans 5:12 ). Adam plunged mankind into the kingdom of darkness.

Now it is important to understand that when Satan stole Adam's authority, which God had given him in the beginning ( Genesis 1:28-30 ), he took it legally. Which meant that God could not take it back unless he took it back lawfully, otherwise our redemption would not have worked. That is why he sent Jesus in human form. Because humans were under the control of Satan's Kingdom. So when Jesus came, he came under the control of that kingdom. Because the only way to break free of it was to fulfill the Law which held us in bondage to it. We know that Jesus fulfilled the entire law because he lived a perfect sinless life. So when he died upon the cross he broke the power of darkness and the sin nature that held us hostage to Satan. Then he rose again and since he died once to sin he can never died again. ( Romans 6:9-10 ) Now he lives forever in heaven before God making intercession for us. ( Hebrews 7:24-28, Hebrews 9:15, Hebrews 10:12-14 ). So Jesus came in human form, fulfilled the law, broke the power of Satan's kingdom over us, rose again, lives forever as our high priest. All legal claims of Satan over him were broken forever.

Jesus offers us the righteousness that the law ascribed to by giving a new spirit when we put our faith in Him. This is called being born again. No longer do we have the spirit or sin nature that we were born with. We have Jesus' nature, what we received when we believed in Jesus as our Savior. Jesus died to die to sin so that we could also be free of it by association with him. Our old nature is gone and we have been freed from it forever ( Romans 6:6-7 ).

Therefore, since we have died to sin, the Law no longer has authority over us either. This happened completely legal in ever sense of the word. All claims that the Law had on us previously where annulled when we died with Christ. Since we were also raised with him we now belong to another. ( Romans 6:11 ). Today may you marvel at how complete and legal your redemption was, then stick around in the next couple of weeks to find out how this association with Jesus and your new nature affects your entire existence.

For further reading please visit these articles:
Romans 5:12 - The Law of Substitution
Romans 5:13 - Absent of the Law, Sin is Not Imputed
Romans 5:15 - The Gift of Righteousness Far Surpasses the Trespass
Romans 5:16-19 - The Sin Nature, The Source of All Grief, is Defeated in the Born Again Believer
Romans 5:20-21 - Trespasses Brought the Law, the Law Brought Death

An Illustration From Marriage—Romans 7:2-3

"For example, by law a married woman is bound to her husband as long as he is alive, but if her husband dies, she is released from the law of marriage. So then, if she marries another man while her husband is still alive, she is called an adulteress. But if her husband dies, she is released from that law and is not an adulteress, even though she marries another man" (Romans 7:2-3)

Throughout the New Testament Paul uses the illustration of marriage to show us awesome truths. The intuition of marriage existed before the fall in the perfect state of the garden and continues in every tribe, nation and society no matter how remote. This dates back to early recorded history. Marriage is something that is universal in our understanding.

There are so many parallels between marriage and Christ and the Church in the Bible, so to understand these, gives us insight into Christ. Today, Paul is contrasting our marriage relationship to the Law and how death frees us from that so that we may belong to another without being unfaithful. In Genesis, when Eve was given to Adam, he said, "This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called 'woman, ' for she was taken out of man." For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh." ( Genesis 2:23-24 ). Do you see that the result of marriage is a uniting together, no longer two but one flesh. Marriage is holy, even among unbelievers. The same union happens when two become one flesh, God blesses that union.

By law we are bound to our spouse until death because the two has become one flesh. In the same way, by law, we are bound our sin nature because that union came when we were born into this world. It is our default nature and we operate as one with it. The only way to be separated from that nature is to die to it. Paul said in Romans 6 "For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin" ( Romans 6:6 ). Meaning that when we believed in Jesus as our savior our sin nature was crucified with Christ. He goes on to say in verse seven, that "anyone who has died has been freed from sin" ( Romans 6:7 ) If we died to it, then by law we are no longer bound to it. We are free to be joined to another without being unfaithful.

This is so important, not only did God redeems us legally ( Romans 7:1 ) he did it in a way that allowed us to remain faithful to what we were bound by. Now, by Christ's gift of grace, through association in His death, we are freed from that old nature of sin ( Romans 6:3 ). We were set free in order to be bound to another ( Romans 6:4 ). The law has no legal claim on us because we died to be freed of it ( Romans 7:1 ). Today I pray that you know you are free in Christ, I pray that you understand you are his bride and have become one with him through faith in his blood. May this revelation change your life, amen!

Bearing Fruit for God—Romans 7:4

"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" (Romans 7:4)

The law of marriage applies to a person as long as both people are alive. But when one spouse dies the law is no longer in effect because the law of marriage is only binding in life. That is why it was necessary for us to die to sin with Christ Jesus, so we could be freed from the union with our old nature. In today's passage Paul tells us that the reason we died to our old nature was not only to belong to another but also to bear fruit for Him.

Bearing fruit is a byproduct of marriage. Even as children we sings songs to that effect... 'first comes love, then comes marriage, then comes the baby in the baby carriage'. Interesting thing about marriage is that intimacy between a husband and a wife will produce children from that union. The same is true for our marriage to Christ. Paul uses this example of marriage to illustrate the type of union we are to have with Christ. That union will produce fruit from intimacy with Him.

The church is the bride of Christ. You are the church, so as a born again believer you are the bride of Christ. He has chosen you as a wife to bear fruit for his kingdom. The seed is from him, you are the one to bear it and bring it forth. There is no greater honor than to birth what God has sown into your heart and watch it come forth. This might look like a ministry or simply of change of heart. But you were called according into a purpose when you were called into Christ Jesus. He freed you from the bondage that held you in order that you could fulfill the destiny in which he created you for. Today, may you seek the Lord's will for your life and start bearing fruit for His kingdom.

No Longer Bearing Fruit for Death—Romans 7:5

"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" (Romans 7:5)

Do you ever notice how you want to do exactly what you have been instructed not to do? Take a diet for example, you want to eat everything that is on the list of what not to eat. Before you saw the list you probably did not have a craving for those items. However, as soon as you read what foods to stay away from you starting desiring those foods constantly and set yourselves up for failure. We see the same behavior in children. As soon as you tell them not to do something, they start scheming on how to do those very things. When we become aware, that is the moment in which the struggle starts. The same thing happened to us when the Law was given. When we knew those things that we were instructed not to do, that is when the desire for sin came alive on the inside of us and we wanted to do those things.

In today's passage Paul is contrasting the effects of the sinful nature and what fruit we bore under that nature so that we can fully understand what how we have been freed from it. "When we were living in the flesh (mere physical lives), the sinful passions that were awakened and aroused up by [what] the Law [makes sin] were constantly operating in our natural powers (in our bodily organs, in the sensitive appetites and wills of the flesh), so that we bore fruit for death." ( Romans 7:5 Amp ). The fruit came about by the desires and sinful passions that were stirred by knowing the Law. If the seeds were sinful passions then the fruit we bore from it was according to that nature and brought about death.

The more we knew of the Law and the righteousness that God ascribes to, the more we desired to break the Law. The Law told us what was holy and like a child, we wanted to do what we had been instructed not to. We became aware of what was sin. Since we were controlled by the sinful nature that aroused a desire to sin. The fruit of that desire brought about death.

In the previous passage Paul is stating again and again that we no longer belong to the sinful nature. We have been freed from it. In yesterday's passage Paul told us, "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." ( Romans 7:4 ). No longer do we need to bear fruit for death, instead we are to bear fruit for God. We have been set free from the Law and freed from the controlled of that old nature. Now we are controlled by the Spirit. We are operating in an entirely new way. Today I praise God that we are free in Jesus' name to live according to the Spirit of God and bear fruit for righteousness sakes. May you know and understand that you are free! Amen.

The New Way of the Spirit—Romans 7:6

"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" (Romans 7:6)

The difference between the living under the Law and living according to the Spirit is huge. There is hardly a comparison. That is why Paul says in today's passage that we serve in a new way. The Amplified Bible puts it this way, "But now we are discharged from the Law and have terminated all intercourse with it, having died to what once restrained and held us captive. So now we serve not under [obedience to] the old code of written regulations, but [under obedience to the promptings] of the Spirit in newness [of life]." ( Romans 7:6 Amp ). It is not out of obedience or obligation but out of a inspiration by the Spirit of God.

We can look at a child to further understand this concept. When you tell a child not to touch the stove because it is hot, they have to obey based on your knowledge. The only knowledge of what is hot comes by your experience. They are choosing to obey according to your understanding of what is hot, not their own. Most of the time, they cannot fathom what hot is, so they will touch it and experience it for themselves. It turns out unpleasant but their understanding then comes from experience and not theory.

The same comparison is true for living under the old nature bound to the Law and living according to the Spirit. When we are bound to the Law, we are bound to the written code. Which is the rules and guidelines and how we should live. However by living this way we are not living out of knowledge and experience but living out of the understanding of another. We are like children without understanding. That is why Paul told us in Galatians 3, "Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster. " ( Galatians 3:24-25 KJV ). We only need a schoolmaster as a child. When we are older we have an understanding of our own based on our knowledge not guidelines.

"When faith has come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster." ( Galatians 3:25 ) When we were freed from the Law through faith in Christ we started living by the Spirit. With the Spirit comes an intuitive knowledge base on experience that we did not have under the Law. It is a completely new way of life for us. This knowledge is based on what Christ knows, not based on rules. I Corinthians talks about this. "... God has revealed it to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man's spirit within him? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us. This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words. The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned. The spiritual man makes judgments about all things, but he himself is not subject to any man's judgment: "For who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct him?" But we have the mind of Christ." ( I Corinthians 2:10-16 ).

Now, by living by the Spirit, we are living out of the newness of life with the Spirit and the mind of Christ as our guide. Our obedience comes from and in-depth understanding of God and not from the mindset like a child trying to live by rules. It is a completely new way of life and in no way compares to the old way. Today I praise God through our Lord Jesus Christ that we are free to live according to the Spirit being guided by Him and living in newness of life.

Juli Camarin

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