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Romans 7:1-6


Intro: It has been said that there is nothing certain but death and taxes. I have never experienced death, but I know something about taxes and I am convinced that the only way to be free from them is to die. Your family might get a bill, but you will be beyond the reach of the IRS. This is what Paul is trying to get us to understand about our new relationship to the Law and to sin.

Chapter seven finds the Apostle Paul still trying to make this matter of our being dead to the Law and to sin clear. In the last of chapter 6, he used the analogy of slavery to teach us that, in Christ, we were free from the old master of sin and alive to a new Master: the Lord Jesus Christ.

Now, he moves from the analogy of a master and slave to a husband and wife. He uses marriage as a picture of our new relationship to the Law. The fact is, spiritually speaking, we are married to either the Law or the Lord. So, tonight, I would like to look into these verses for a few minutes and consider the question "Married? Yes! But To Which Husband?"


A. V. 1 The Power Of The Law - The idea here is that all laws, whether they are God's Laws or man's laws can only be enforced on a man for as long as he lives. When he dies, he is free from the power of that law. He is beyond its reach.

(Ill. For instance, when Le Harvey Oswald was arrested for the murder of President John F. Kennedy, he was subject to the laws of the state of Texas and of the United States of America. However, when Jack Ruby walked into that Dallas police station and killed Oswald, the law could no longer touch him. It would have been foolish of the authorities to have placed him on trial with him being dead! When he died, he was beyond the reach of the Law.)

(Ill. Spiritually speaking the same is true for the believer. As long as we are alive in our natural state, we are condemned by the Law of God, but when we die, we are free from the demands of the Law.)

B. V. 2-3 The Picture Of The Law - In these verses, Paul uses the image of marriage to demonstrate what he means. He tells us as long as a woman's husband is alive, she is bound to him by the law of marriage. If she leaves him for another, she is guilty under those laws and is still her husbands wife. However, if her husband dies, she is free to marry again, because she has been liberated from the law of her husband.

(Ill. The whole idea of this passage is not to give us a treatise on marriage, but to remind us that the only way to be free from the confines and demands of the Law is for us to be dead. Until we die, the Law hangs over our heads making demands that we can never hope to keep. However, at death, we are set free from these terrible demands.)

I. The Law And Marriage


A. A New Freedom - Paul tells us that we have become dead to the Law though the "body of Christ." This refers us back to Romans 6:6. It reminds us that when Jesus died on the cross, those who receive Him also died on that cross. Therefore, we are free from the Law, because we have died to it! The whole idea is that when Jesus died on that cross we also died and when we died, our marriage to the Law and all of its demands on our lives were done away with. We died to the Law!

(Ill. Just as our death in Christ brought freedom from the power of sin, so too, we have been delivered from the power of the Law. You see, the Law stood over us demanding death for the sins we are guilty of, but when Jesus died, He satisfied the righteous demands of the Law. Since we were in Him when He died, we too have satisfied the Law. The Law demanded death. We have died and since that is true, it has no more claims against us! In other words, we are free in Jesus!)

B. A New Family - Verse 4 goes on to tell us that we are "married to another". At the instant we became dead to the Law, we were married to the Lord Jesus Christ. We have become a part of His family.

(Ill. Just as a remarriage after the death of a spouse brings about a change in the marital relationship, it also brings with it other changes as well. When we were under the dominion of the Law, we were constantly being held to a standard we could never meet. The Law was harsh and it was never satisfied. Regardless of how well we may have lived our lives, the Law always told us that we were never good enough. The Law constantly reminded us of our lost condition and that we were totally helpless and that there was no hope for us. Our relationship to the Law was one of cruelty and pain.

However, in Jesus, we have a new husband and a new relationship. He tells us that when we came to Him for salvation, He cleansed us from our sins and made us righteous. He holds no impossible demands over our heads, because He has already paid the entire price for us. In Him, we are loved, we are free and we are complete. This is pictured in Ephesians 5:24-27.)

(Ill. We are no longer bound to a hateful, cruel, demanding husband. In Jesus, we have been joined to One Who places our needs first. One Who loved us so much He willingly died in our place on the cross. One Who never remembers our past, nor reminds us what we were before we married Him. Instead of holding our past over our heads and pouring salt into our wounds, the Lord Jesus lovingly binds us up, draws us to His bosom and loves our past away! What a blessing to be His this evening!)

C. A New Fruitfulness - This verse continues with Paul reminding us that God did not do all of this fr us just to bless us. He saved us and brought us into a relationship with Himself so that we might glorify Him by bringing forth fruit for the glory of God. This is made clear by what Paul tells us in Ephesians 2:10. There we are reminded that we are "His workmanship". That is, we are His masterpieces and we were recreated so that we might bring honor to the Master. This is the idea behind Gal. 2.19-20. We have been given new lives so tha twe might glorify the Lord our God.)

(Ill. This fruit that we are to bear is two-fold. It makes its appearance in our Attitudes. As the fruit of the Spirit is displayed within and through us to a dying world, Gal. 5:22-23. By the way, these are things that the natural man cannot consistently produce in his life! It also makes its appearance in our Actions. Not only will we be different internally, but externally through the things we do for the Lord, John 15:1-8. God's desire for His children is that we be fruitful for His glory!)

I. The Law And Marriage

II. Our Liberty And Marriage


(Ill. In the last two verses of this passage, Paul contrasts the old life of sin with the new life in the Spirit. He shows us what changes have taken place as a result of our marriage to Jesus.)

A. V. 5 The Old Life In Sin - This verse tells us that four things were happening in our old, sinful lives. Notice what they were:

1. We were in the flesh - That is, we could only operate within the realm of what this wicked flesh could produce. We were unable to walk in righteousness and to walk pleasing to the Lord.

2. We were controlled by the motions of sins - That is, we were held captive by the natural appetites and desires of our flesh. We lived our lives according to the impulses of our lost flesh, Eph. 2:1-3. (Ill. But God! - Eph. 2:4)

3. We were challenged to sin by the Law - That may sound odd, but when the Law said "thou shalt not", this wicked, rebellious flesh determined that it would. So, in the hands of rebels, the Law, which was given to show us a right way to live, became a thing that lead us into evil. Please do not misunderstand. The Law was not evil, but it was used by our fallen natures as a reason to go after what the Law said was off limits.

4. We were actively engaged in working out our own death - With every sin, with every rebellion, the sinner was hastening and worsening his own doom. When we thought we were free, we were actually the prisoners of our vices and we were digging our own pits deeper with every single sin we committed.

B. V. 6 The New Life In The Spirit - This great verse sums up this short passage very well. Here, Paul is able to make the comparison between what we were and what we are in Jesus! Notice those two blessed words, "But Now." Since we are in Jesus, some things are forever changed! Notice the changes that have taken place in Jesus.

1. We have been released from the Law - Because we have died with Jesus, we are no longer under the demands of the Law. We are not bound by it any longer! Why, because the Law has no power after death and we are dead with Christ to the Law!

(Ill. Do you understand all this implies? What this means is that we are free from all the moral and spiritual liabilities and penalties that go along with the Law. In Jesus, we are free from judgment! We are free from lists of do's and don't's that can never save the soul. We are free from the worry of Hell. We are free in Jesus. Freed forever from the terrible bondage of the Law!)

2. We have been released to serve - This idea of service does not refer to an employee who is free to work if he wishes, but can change employers if things don't go his way. No! The idea here is that of a slave. It is the picture of a person who lives for nothing else, but to do the will of his master. This is what should describe your life and mine! We are free from the Law, but we are not the servants of Jesus. While we are not bound by lists of right and wrong, we are bound by the fact that we are His slaves. Nothing else should ever be in our minds but serving Him!

3. We have been given a new life with which to better serve Him - Notice that in chapter 5, we are told that we are secure in our salvation. We like that! We like to think about salvation as being eternal and unconditional. I rejoice in that truth! However, chapter 6 tells us that we are to be holy and this chapter brings to mind images of our freedom, our fruitfulness and of our standing as servants. May I remind you that just like salvation, these other things are also unconditional and they are not an option! If you are genuinely saved, all of these will be active in your life constantly, though never perfectly!

Conc: So, has the Law been done away with? No! It is just that we have a different relationship to it than we could ever have had before. Now, because of the imputed righteousness of Jesus and the indwelling ministry of the Holy Spirit, we are able to meet the righteous demands of the Law for the first time. Now, even though we are not under the Law's bondage or its penalties, we want to do what it teaches and we no longer want to live in rebellion against it. In other words, the Law is not seen as an obstacle to living, it is seen as a standard that is neither too high or too hard. Now, in Jesus, the Law fits our lives very well! Now, we know that to love His Law and to joyfully do it is to glorify Him and that is the burden of every saved heart!

Friend, where do you stand in relationship to the Law this evening? Are you married to it and still abiding under its impossible demands? Or, have you died to the demands of the Law and married Christ? Do you know bondage or freedom this evening? Nothing is any more miserable than trying to keep the Law to please God! It is far better that we should come to Jesus and receive Him by faith, because He has already pleased the Father, and when we are in Him, God is pleased with us as well.

Is God's Law some burdensome obstacle that hinders you every day, or is keeping it your way of glorifying God? It all depends on which one you are married to this evening!

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