We who have been released from the law

 

 

 

 

[Romans 7:5-6]

 

 

 

                Look at Romans 7:5-6: “For while we were in the flesh, the sinful passions, which were aroused by the Law, were at work in the members of our body to bear fruit for death.  But now we have been released from the Law, having died to that by which we were bound, so that we serve in newness of the Spirit and not in oldness of the letter.”  The word “we” appears 5 times in Romans 7:5-6.  But “we” in verse 5 and “we” in verse 6 are completely different.  “We” in verse 5 is “we” before regeneration, and “we” in verse 6 is “we” after regeneration.  Here, the “we” before the regeneration is the unbelievers “we” before believing in Jesus, and the “we” after the regeneration is the believer “we” after believing in Jesus.

 

            Let’s think first of “we” before the regeneration.

 

                Look at Romans 7:5 again: “For while we were in the flesh, the sinful passions, which were aroused by the Law, were at work in the members of our body to bear fruit for death.”  Here, in the phrase “while we were in the flesh”, “the flesh” refers to three main things: (1) a pure body, (2) a morally evil body influenced by evil, and (3) a good body influenced by good things.  In Romans 7:5, “the flesh” spoken of by the Apostle Paul refers to a morally evil body that is influenced by the evil.  The phrase “while we were in the flesh” refers to when we lived in sin (while we dwelt in sin) before being regenerated.  Then the sinful passions, which were aroused by the Law, were at work in the members of our body (v. 5).  Here, the word “passions” in “the sinful passions” means pure passion, zeal, or earnest longing.  But the Apostle Paul speaks of “the sinful passions” in Romans 7:5.  That sinful passions were at work not only in one member we have, but in all the members (eg, eyes, nose, mouth, hands, feet, etc.).  When we were in the flesh, the sinful passions made us bear fruit for death (v. 5).  The fruit that believers bear after being regenerated is the fruit for God (verse 4), and the fruit is eternal life (6:23).  But the fruit that unbelievers bear before being regenerated is the fruit they bear for Satan, and that fruit is death (v. 5).  The tyrant Satan made us bear the fruit of death before we were regenerated, which means that not only did we bear the fruit of the death of our bodies as a price for sin, but also the second death, death in the eternal pit of fire.  When we bore the fruit of this death before regeneration, our souls were dead, we were enemies with God, and we had lost our fellowship with God.  Those who have not received Jesus Christ as their Savior, that is, unbelievers who do not believe in Jesus Christ, will suffer physical death as the penalty for their sins, followed by eternal punishment [“the second death” (Rev. 2:11; 20:, 14; 21:8)].  Before we believed in Jesus, we had no choice but to die in the flesh as the price for our sins before being born again, and finally, the second death.  But God loved us first, so He sent His only begotten Son, Jesus, to die as a propitiation on the cross to save us and regenerate us.  Therefore, now we will not be put to death in the flesh as the penalty for sin, but we will sleep (1 Thess.4:13-18) and will not perish but have eternal life (Jn. 3:16).

 

            Let’s think about “we” after the regeneration.

 

                Look at Romans 7:6 again: “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.”  Here, “now” is a triple accent.  Before we were born again, we had to bear the fruit of death for Satan (not only did we suffer physical death as a price for sin, but we had to be perished forever).  But “now” we are bearing the fruit of eternal life for God (v. 4, 6:23).  We have been released from the law because we have died to what once bound us (7:6).  Before regeneration, we were bound by the law.  We had to keep the law.  But now we have been released from the law.  The reason is that we, who have been regenerated by believing in Jesus, died to the law that bounded us.  It is because we are freed from the restraints and barriers of the law and enjoy freedom.  So how have we been released from the law?  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.”  We are freed from the law because God sent His Son Jesus Christ to this earth, born to the Virgin Mary by the Holy Spirit, and under the law to redeem us who were under the law.  Here, when we say that God redeemed us through His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, He paid the full price to set us free (saved) from under Satan and from under the law.  This is not saying that He paid a reasonable price to Satan, but that God offered his only begotten Son, Jesus, as a propitiation sacrifice.  Why did God do that?  What is its purpose?  It is to make us children of God (v. 5).  God the Father has not only sent His Son (v. 4), but also the Holy Spirit, who is the Spirit of the Son (v. 6).  That is why God has made us a temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 6:19) and has also made the Holy Spirit to be with us always.  That is why God made us to call Him “Abba, Father” (Gal.4:6).  Look at Romans 8:15-17: “For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, ‘Abba, Father.’  The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children.  Now if we are children, then we are heirs--heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.”  In this way, we who were the slaves of Satan, God sent His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, and sent His Spirit, the Holy Spirit, to make us children and heirs of God.  Thus, we serve in the new way of the Spirit (7:6).  In other words, before we were born again, we were led by the devil to serve Satan.  But after we are born again, we are to serve God in the new way of the Spirit.  Here, “in the new way of the Spirit” means that the Holy Spirit, sent from God, dwells in us and renews us, so that we are now new creatures (2 Cor.5:17), serving God through the Holy Spirit.  In the past, Satan used our members to produce fruits that lead to death, but now the Holy Spirit is using our members to bring forth the fruit of eternal life.  Now we praise, pray, and worship God in the new way of the Holy Spirit.  We are to give our lives, our members, our hands, our feet, our voices, our treasures, and our time to God, and serve the Lord according to the guidance of the Holy Spirit.  Now we are no longer bound by the old way of the written code (Rom.7:6).  Here, “the written code” means that God called Moses to the mountain to give the Law to the Israelites who arrived at Mount Sinai and wrote to him on two stone tablets.  But now that we have been regenerated, we no longer serve in the old way of the law, but in the new way of the Holy Spirit.  In this way, we are now saved and regenerated by the grace of God through the death of Jesus Christ on the cross to serve the Lord through the Holy Spirit.  Now that we have been regenerated, we bear fruit for God's sake.  That fruit is eternal life.

 

                God has given us tremendous love.  Jesus paid a great price for our salvation.  The Holy Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express (8:26).  The Holy Spirit intercedes for us according to the will of God (v. 27).  And the Holy Spirit sanctifies us and makes us like Jesus.  Therefore, we must not offend the Holy Spirit but live according to the guidance of the Holy Spirit.  Therefore, as we become holy day by day and become more like Jesus every day, we must become little Jesus.  We must love our neighbor as it says, “he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law” (13:8).  This is to bear fruit for God, and to live as one who has eternal life (1 Jn. 3:14).  And this is to live like a citizen of the kingdom of heaven (Phil. 3:20).  Our joy will be full when we live according to the Lord's twofold commandment under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, loving our neighbors as ourselves (Jn. 15:11).