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"UNBOUND TO THE LAW"
Wednesday Evening Home Bible Study
February 11, 2004
Paul had explained to his readers how God had brought about a righteous
standing for sinners through faith in the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross;
but human nature being what it is, Paul felt the need to establish that
they no longer had to keep the law as a way of achieving God's favor.
But first, he has to establish that they truly are no longer bound to
the Law in the way that they once were. He needed to establish that it's
true: they are no longer under the Law's jurisdiction as a means of being
accepted by God. His message in this passage is that we are now to see
ourselves as having died in Christ to the condemning force of the Law,
and raised to righteousness through the enabling of the Holy Spirit.
I. We were "bound" to the Law as long as we were alive (vv.
A. A traffic officer would not bother to write a citation
to the victim of a fatal traffic accident. This illustrates the principle
that the law has no bearing on someone who has died to the laws "jurisdiction"
or "dominion" (v. 1). He makes this point because, as he has already
asserted, sin cannot have authority over us because we are not under
law but under grace (6:14).
B. To illustrate this, he points to the example of marriage (vv.
1. So long as a woman has a husband, she would be committing
adultery if she were joined to someone else.
2. But if her husband dies, she is "free from that law"; and can
now be joined to another without being guilty.
C. Dr. John Mitchell of Multnomah Bible College put it this way:
"Death severs relationship". Likewise, God's Law, in the form of written
decrees which were "against us and hostile to us" (Col. 2:14) only
have binding authority over us as long as we live; but death severs
our relationship to that Law too.
II. We've died in Christ and are "unbound" to the Law (v. 4).
A. The only way we can be freed from the Law is to die. That's
why Paul spends so much time stressing the fact that we've died "in
B. As far as God is concerned, when Jesus died, we died with Him.
When Jesus was raised, we were raised with Him into newness of life
1. Ordinarily, we'd say that the woman was free from her
husband when her husband died. But here Paul speaks us as "the bride
2. Having died in Christ, we're free; and we're raised up to be
joined to Christ as "the bride who is resurrected".
C. God did not baptize us into Christ's death, and then rise us up
from the dead in Christ, all so we could live the resurrected "single
life". He released us by death, as it were, from the old "husband"
so we could be joined to a new one - Christ. In Him, we now bear fruit
unto God (see 6:20-23).
III. We've been raised to live in the "newness" of the Holy Spirit
A. Like the person who is driven to touch the chair that says,
"Wet paint, do not touch", we find that the law arises the sinful passions
in us, and cause us to bear fruit unto death (v. 5; see also 7:8-11).
1. We could never live a holy life by keeping God's law
in our own power. And the problem wasn't in the Law. God's Law is
holy, righteous and good (7:12).
2. The real problem is us: we're not able, apart from God's help,
to even keep His Law! To even try to is to experience the frustration
Paul describes in 7:13-25.
B. But when God raises us from the dead in Christ, He causes a new
principle - a new dynamic - to be in operation in us (v. 5).
1. It's impossible to be "holy" before God on the basis
of our works (Matt. 19:26).
2. But now we're in a new situation:
a. We've been "delivered" from the law by dying to what
we were held by.
b. We've been raised to "serve in the newness of the Spirit (8:1-4).
When we walk according to His leading, we find that He fulfills
God's law in the way He leads (8:5; see also Gal. 2:20).