‘You died to the law’

 

 

 

 

[Romans 7:1-4]

 

 

 

                Look at Romans 7:1-4: “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?  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.  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 is the “The book of the law”.  In Romans 7:1-3, the word “law” appears five times, and in verse 4, the word “the law” appears once.  Here, “the law” (vv. 1-3) refers to “the Law” (Park).  When the Apostle Paul wrote a letter to the Roman church, he said, “brothers,” (v. 1).  In the Roman Church, “brothers” and “sisters” knew the law, including the Ten Commandments, as saints.  So the Apostle Paul wrote to them in Romans, saying, “Do you know know, brothers--for I am speaking to men who know the law-- …” (v. 1).  Then, in verses 2-3, he spoke of the law as a parable of the law concerning married couples.  The Apostle Paul said in verse 2 that the law only applies when his husband is alive, and that the law is of no use when he dies.  When a couple gets married, they make a vow.  The vow is a promise that the couple will not part, except in death.  He says in verse 3 that if her husband is alive and her husband's woman marries another man, she is called an adulteress (she commits adultery) (v. 3).  Then Paul said to the Roman church members in verse 4, “you also died to the law through the body of Christ,  … ” and this verse is very important.  Based on this word, the title was ‘You died to the law.’


                Look at Romans 7:4 again: “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.”  Who died to the law?  They are “brothers” (vv. 1, 4).  That is, the Roman church members or us who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ.  Before (before we believed in Jesus) we were all under the law (sin).  Look at Romans 3:19 – “Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God.”  We were all under the law (sin) and also under the judgment of God.  It's because we've all broken the law.  Look at Romans 3:23 – “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”  Before (before we believed in Jesus) we were all under the law (sin), so we could not be justified before God by our own efforts (good works).  Look at Romans 3:20 – “Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin.”

 

                How, then, did we die to the law?  It was made possible through the body of Christ (7:4).  Look at Galatians 4:4-5: “But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law, to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons.”  When the appointed time was fulfilled, God sent his only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, to this earth, born of the virgin Mary by the Holy Spirit, born under the law.  Its purpose is to save us who were under the law.  Look at Galatians 2:19 – “For through the law I died to the law so that I might live for God.”  This is the Apostle Paul's confession that he wanted to be justified by keeping the law.  But no matter how hard he tried, he met Jesus Christ on the road to Damascus and was saved because he died to the law and lived to God.  The reason God sent Jesus Christ was to save Saul (Paul) and us who were under the law.  Look at Ephesians 2:4-5: “But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions--it is by grace you have been saved.”  God raised us, who were dead in transgressions and sins (v. 1).  God has regenerated us (regeneration).  We who were by nature children of wrath (v. 3), because of the great love that God, who is rich in mercy, loved us (v. 4), made us, who were dead in our transgressions, made us alive with Christ (v. 5) and raised us up with Christ (v. 6) (we have been resurrected with Christ) and seated us with Him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus (v. 6).  Look at Revelation 3:21 – “To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I overcame and sat down with my Father on his throne.”  He promised that He would allow us to sit with Christ on the throne of the Son in heaven.

 

                God made the righteous Jesus Christ (1 Jn. 2:1) the atoning sacrifice for out sins (v. 2) in order to redeem us who were under the law (Gal.4:5) and make us children of God (v. 5).  Jesus Christ, who was born under the law (Gal. 4:4), kept all the law and took all the curses of the law, and gave His life on the cross for us (1 Jn. 3:16) to reconcile us to God.  Therefore, we became children of God through the great love our Heavenly Father showed us (v. 1, 2).  Therefore, we can cry out to God, “Abba, Father” (Rom. 8:15; Gal. 4:6; cf. Mk. 14:36).  We became new creations.  Look at 2 Corinthians 5:17 – “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!”  We who were once under the law are now new creations in Jesus Christ.

 

                What is the purpose of our being died to the law through the body of Christ?  The purpose is that we may bear fruit for God.  Look at Romans 7:4b - “…  in order that we might bear fruit to God.”  Here, the word “fruit” refers to eternal life.  Look at Romans 6:22 – “But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life.”  This eternal life is not the fruit of sitting on the throne of the Son with Christ.  The reason is because the fruit of eternal life is obtained entirely by the grace of God.  Look at Romans 6:23b – “…  but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  In a word, the fruit spoken of in Romans 7:4 is that we become more and more sanctified and become more like Jesus.  The fruit we must bear is that we become more holy, more like Jesus, and become little Jesus.  Look at Philippians 2:12b – “…  continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling.”  It is speaking of our sanctification in the sense of working out our eternal life.  Since we have become one with Christ through Christ, we must become Christlike.

 

                Then, since we died to the law, are we irrelevant to the law?  The answer is “No.”  Look at Matthew 5:17 – “"Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.”  Jesus did not come to abolish the law.  Rather, Jesus came to fulfill the law.  Therefore, like Jesus, we must fulfill the law.  What does that mean?  Look at Romans 13:8-10: “Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law.  The commandments, ‘Do not commit adultery,’ ‘Do not murder,’ ‘Do not steal,’ ‘Do not covet,’ and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this one rule: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’  Love does no harm to its neighbor.  Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.”  It means that love is the fulfillment of the law, so we should love one another.  In other words, we must love one another for the fulfillment of the law.


                I want to conclude with the hymn “Take My Life, and Let It Be”: (v. 1) Take my life, and let it be Consecrated, Lord, to Thee.  Take my moments and my days; Let them flow in ceaseless praise.  (v. 2) Take my hands, and let them move At the impulse of Thy love.  Take my feet, and let them be Swift and beautiful for Thee.  (v. 3) Take my voice, and let me sing, Always, only, for my King.  Take my lips, and let them be Filled with messages from Thee.  (v. 4) Take my silver and my gold Not a mite would I withhold.  Take my intellect, and use Every pow'r as Thou shalt choose.  (v. 5) Take my moments and my days.  Let them flow in endless praise.  Take myself, and I will be Ever, only, all for Thee.  Amen.