2f - Dead to the Law [7:1-6]

  • First there is a legal principle stated:
    1. Or do you not know, brethren (for I speak to those who know the law), that the law has dominion over a man as long as he lives?
  • Then Paul gives a simple illustration of how this works
    1. For the woman who has a husband is bound by the law to her husband as long as he lives.
          But if the husband dies, she is released from the law of her husband.
    2. So then if, while her husband lives, she marries another man, she will be called an adulteress;
          but if her husband dies, she is free from that law, so that she is no adulteress, though she has married another man.
  • Not an allegory or a parable, but a simple illustration of verse 1.
  • The message here is simply to give an example of how the death of one party causes the covenant to cease.
    • (Wrong to get bogged down in husband=law, new husband=Christ, because in reality it is us—the woman—who has “died with Christ”. The law has not died!)
    1. Therefore, my brethren, you also have become dead to the law through the body of Christ,
          that you may be married to another, even to him who was raised from the dead,
              that we should bear fruit to God.
  • Note here that we are raised from the dead
    • so the new creation is not subject to the old law.
    • Also the refence to “fruit” which is the underlying direction the whole argument is taking, since 6:1
    1. For when we were in the flesh,
          the passions of sins which were aroused by the law were at work in our members
              to bear fruit to death.
    2. But now
          we have been delivered from the law, having died to what we were held by,
              so that we should serve in the newness of the Spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.
  • Here is the main statement that the illustration, and indeed most of chapter 6, has been building up to.
    • The rest of chapter 7 and part of 8 are there to explain it:
in the Spirit


               law  \

in the flesh            our members —-> fruit to death  (serving in the oldness of the letter)


               law X

in the Spirit —————>our members —-> fruit to God, serving in the newness of the Spirit



in the flesh

  • This seems rather strange, that the law is the power of sin,
    • but see: 5:20, 7:8-11,13 1 Cor 15:56 2 Cor 3:6 Gal 3:21,22 (Scrip = law)
    • How is this?
    • sin = pride & unbelief, Adam & Eve in the garden, see below by Cranfield and Ridderbos.
    • If God had said to Adam “You can chose whether to eat the fruit or not, but it would please me if you didn’t” —defeat Satan’s arguments.
    • The tremendous joy when we are living to please a God who delights in us, and will not hold a single sin against us.
  • It is important to recognise that our connection with the law has been severed. We now have a new kind of connection.
    • It is no longer a taskmaster, threatening condemnation, but a guide to pleasing God in the freedom and newness of the Spirit.(v6)
    • It is not the content of the law that is the problem, it is the condemnation of the law.
  • Paul is not opposing law and Spirit directly here (7:14 says that the law is spiritual)
    • but “letter” is the law as our accuser, a list of accusations written againt us and nailed to the cross by Christ (Col 2:14).
    • Spirit is the newness of life which belongs to the new age, letter belongs to this age which is passing away.