Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Romans 7

Released From the Law

The law is binding for a person only as long as they live. For example, a woman who lives with a man other than her husband when he lives will be an adulterer, but if her husband is dead she is free from him.

This sounds pretty reasonable.

Now that we have died through Christ, we are released from the law.

This is interesting, it seems to be saying that we don't need to follow the laws of the old testament anymore. Am I reading this correctly? What about when Jesus said not to even bend the least commandment? That was when Jesus was alive, after he died does it make sense to reverse the message? Jesus said "I have not come to abolish them [the laws] but to fulfill them". I am not sure what it means to "fulfill" the law, but he did specifically say he did not come to abolish the laws. It seems like a stretch then, to say his death abolishes the laws. This certainly looks like a contradiction to me. Thoughts?

The Law and Sin

"If it had not been for the law, I would not have known sin. For I would not have known what it is to covet if the law had not said, "You shall not covet."

This is an interesting idea, but I would argue that we all covet, it's just that with their being a rule against it we have a name for it. 

I want to do good, but there is evil within me which wants to do evil. God is now within me helping me do good instead of evil.

Seems like the author of this is just a really conflicted guy. 


  1. Romans 7 is one of, if not the, most debated chapters of the Bible, so if you think you are confused on some of it then you are only one of many that feel that way. It's really not difficult to correctly interpret Romans 7, but it has been by many.
    Romans 7:1-6 is Paul's analogy of what has been said and what he is about to say. He just gives us a picture to illustrate all of it.
    Romans 7:2 and 3 is about chapter 5, but you really have to be studied up on Romans to understand that, so lets just move on to the more easier parts.
    Romans 7:4 is about chapter 6. Read Romans 6 and you will easily see this verse is a summation of chapter 6.
    Romans 7:5 is about chapter 7. again you will see this verse describes the man in Romans 7.
    Romans 7:6 is about chapter 8.
    As you will notice in Romans 7:4-6 goes from present tense, to past tense, back to present tense. Even though chapter 7 has some present tense verses after 7:13 you need to understand it is in the historical present tense or you could say, a flash back. In other words Paul is contrasting a lost man struggling with sin and not able to overcome to a saved man (chapters 6 and 8) that does overcome.

    Your comment about the law. The law did not pass away, the believer did. The first husband was Adam of chapter 5 and the old man crucified in chapter 6. Once a person is born again they have been put to death, their flesh is in the past, crucified, buried and out of the picture.

    1. That is a really good summary, thank you very much.

      I'm still a little bit confused about the law. You say that the law did not pass away but the believer did. So the believer dies and is born again, and in the process is released from the old law? But the old law is still there. So, the Jews still should follow the old law, but converts to Christianity should get rid of it and follow the new law instead? Gentiles were never under the law if I understand correctly, so the OT doesn't apply to them in either setting. Does that make sense?

      I've been thinking of how to square this with Jesus saying he didn't want to bend the least commandment. I guess he doesn't change the commandment, it just doesn't apply anymore once he is dead? Does that sound about right?

      Assuming all of this is correct, how do you know what rules to follow and which ones no longer apply to you?

    2. Law only rules and reigns over the living. That would apply to Jew or Gentile. The Jew is under the Mosaic Law and the Gentile is under the same principles that is contained in the law. In other words the gentiles are under the law of knowing right from wrong, good and evil. When they know to do right and fail to do it then they have broken a law unto themselves. For some that degree of understanding would be more than for others that have a lesser understanding, but still we will be held to whatever understanding we have of right and wrong or of the law.
      The law is in no way done away with, pushed to the side, or even shortened in some way. The law is still fully intact and still fully reigns over those that have not been born again. It will still condemn in it's full force if one does not come to Christ before they die.
      When someone is saved Christ becomes like an umbrella of sorts to the believer. He is our atonement and covering. We are in Christ and members of His body.
      Before we are saved we are in Adam. We are in a body of flesh. But once we are born again we are no longer in the flesh, as Paul tells us in Romans 8. This is not something we see, but something we accept by faith.

      You asked the question, How do we know which rules to follow and which ones no longer apply? That is a good question and probably has been asked by many. I think the best way to answer that would be to read God's word in the New Testament and see.
      We know Jesus is the sacrifice made for our sins, so we know we don't have to sacrifice animals any longer. We know we are to Love God with all our heart, soul, and mind and our neighbor as ourselves. If we love God then I don't think we would have any other gods before Him or steal from anyone or murder anyone or bear false witness or etc... You see we do what is right because it is the fruit of our walking in the Spirit of God.

      I am but a poor instrument of explaining things, so it may take a few good chats to work through this. Fell free to ask.

      In Christ,
      Dell Russell

    3. Thanks Dell,

      Conversations like this are the main reason I started this blog, so I really appreciate you stopping by.

      I think I am still a little bit confused about what the law is. My understanding is that the law is the rules laid down by the old testament. Let's keep your example in mind of animal sacrifices.

      If I am understanding you correctly, whose who are born again no longer are under the law and therefore don't have to do animal sacrifices. However, Jews and Gentiles are still under the law and therefore should do animal sacrifices.

      I have never seen a Christian advocate that I should be doing animal sacrifices, however it seems to be consistent with what you have said. I assume this means I am missing part of the story. Any thoughts on that?

  2. I enjoy the topic and good conversation. I may have you confused because of the fact that I am not very good at putting in writing my thoughts. Law is the Mosaic Law or it can also be what we know to be right and are condemned when we don't do it.

    I think animal sacrifice was fulfilled when Christ was crucified. I'm not saying Christ was an animal, but all the sacrifices made before Him was only pointing toward this One last sacrifice. So in that sense that part of the Law was fulfilled and completed.

    As far as unsaved people are concerned, they are still fully under the law and all it's ramifications. But those of us that have been saved are not under the law, because we have already died. The analogy of Romans 7:1-6 is a man and woman are married until death do them part, but the first husband died and the wife is no longer held by the law that bound her to her first husband. It's no different today. The IRS can only come after you as long as you are alive, but once you're dead they have no authority whatsoever over you.

    The Jews that reject Christ know they should have their sinned atoned for, but because the Temple is no longer there they can't make a sacrifice. But if it were there, they would still be doing them every day. It wouldn't do them any good, but nevertheless they would still go through the motions.


    1. So if Jesus dying fulfilled the law in regards to the animal sacrifices and they are no longer necessary for anyone, perhaps that makes them a poor example for clearing up my confusion. Perhaps we need to move onto another one.

      I think the analogy makes sense, the idea that being saved means you are dead in the flesh and born in spirit and therefore you are not under the law. However, someone who is not born again is still alive in the flesh and therefore is still under the law. I think I understand the idea, but the ramifications of it seem strange to me. It sounds like it is saying that Christians no longer need to follow the law. It sounds like the claim is that non-Christians have to follow the rules but Christians don't.

      Is this perhaps related to the idea that we all sin and therefore can't get into heaven, but by believing in Jesus we get in even though we have sinned? If this is correct, would it be saying that if a non-Christian did manage to follow the law 100% perfectly then they would get into heaven?

    2. Those that are not born again are still under the law and the ramifications of that is that the law will condemn them, because they did not keep it.

      We are saved because we believed by faith the gospel message.

      As far as someone following the law 100% perfectly all their life, yes they would go to heaven. In fact I would say if anyone ever did do the law perfectly they would not need to be saved, because they would never have been lost.

      It is because we have sinned that we need to be saved. When we are saved we are placed into the body of Christ, just as the analogy Paul gives in 7:1-6.


  3. I'm a bit confused as well. In verse 6, it sounds as though they no longer have to follow the old laws. "But now we have been released from the Law, having died so that by which we were bound, so that we serve in the newness of the spirit and not in the oldness of the letter. In the last chapter, I cited these verses which make the law sound eternal. I think I am missing something.

  4. JKerber,
    The law is still in effect, for those that have not been put to death in Christ. For those that are not born again, their eternal life depends on them keeping the law perfectly. In other words, keeping the law is the root of their salvation, whereas for the born again believer the works of the law is the fruit of walking in the Spirit. We do not set out to "do the law" in order to please God, but by our walking in the Spirit. Because we walk in the Spirit the Spirit leads in all truth and for that we do the things contained in the law and when we do these things in and by the power of the Holy Spirit God is pleased.

    You might say, But no one has ever kept the law perfectly. True! But that doesn't make void the offer that "if" one did keep the law perfectly eternal life would be their reward. The reason no one is justified in keeping the law is not because of the lack in the law, but rather, it is the lack in man's ability to keep the law, because of the weakness of the flesh. So, in the end, no one is justified by the law.

    It's not that the law has been done away with or that it has passed away. We the believer has passed away and then we are raised anew in Christ!



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...