Romans 7:2-6 — Dead to the Law (Bible study notes)

For the teaching video to these notes click the link Romans 7:2-6 – Week 21 — Dead to the law (video)

Romans 7:2-6 — Dead to the Law

I.  Non-Jews skip ahead to chapter 8!

  • In my opinion Romans 7 should come with the introductory statement “if you are Jewish please read this chapter. If you aren’t please proceed to chapter 8”
    • I can’t stress enough —THE LAW WAS ONLY FOR THE JEWS
      • The law was never given to us (Lev 26:46 – between Himself and Israel!)
      • Psalm 147:19-20 — statutes ONLY to Israel
    • AND ONLY for a period of time (from Mt Sinai to Christ)
    • Gal 3:24: So the law was our (Jews) guardian until Christ came that we might be justified by faith.

II.  Transitional Generation – Married To the Law

Romans 7:2-3: For the married woman is bound by law to her husband while he is living; but if her husband dies, she is released from the law concerning the husband. (3) So then, if while her husband is living she is joined to another man, she shall be called an adulteress; but if her husband dies, she is free from the law, so that she is not an adulteress though she is joined to another man.
  • Paul is speaking here to a transitional generation
    • a generation of people who were born before the cross and alive after the cross
    • these Jews were married to the Law and bound to it until the cross
  • Paul is explaining to them in this chapter their relationship to the law after the cross — they are now dead to it
  • the Law was the center of their life — and it was, in their way of thinking, what made them not sinners
  • Paul draws from their own law to teach this truth
    • He’s teaching about law using their own law
  • The Jews were married to the Law.
    • that is, they were bound to the Law
      • bound to the obligation it demanded from them
      • bound to maintain it and to obey it
      • and they would be judged on their faithfulness to it — blessed when they obeyed and cursed when they disobeyed
  • But when they died in Christ
    • the Law no longer had any hold on them
    • it could no longer condemn them
    • they now had a whole New Covenant relationship — based on Jesus’ faithfulness
  • Paul is helping them to transition from Moses to Christ — they had a difficult time understanding how to live without it
III. New Nature — Dead To the Law
v. 4-6 (NKJV): Therefore, my brethren, you also have become dead to the law through the body of Christ, that you may be married to another—to Him who was raised from the dead, that we should bear fruit to God.
Mirror: (4) The very same finality in principle is applicable to you, my brothers and sisters. In the body of Christ, you died to the system of the law; your inclusion in his resurrection brought about a new union. Out of this marriage, (faith) now bears children unto God.
  • again “you” is not you… it’s the transitional generation of Jews that Paul is talking to
  • have become dead to the law — aorist indicative passive = past tense fact that happened to them (at the Cross); they had no part to play in it
  • v. 4 — married (joined) to Christ… co-resurrected that we may bear fruit to God
    • the word “that” is a purpose clause showing that union with Christ always results in fruitfulness for God
    • also it changed from 2nd person (you – Jewish brothers) to 3rd person we demonstrating the all-inclusive effects of union with Christ in bearing fruit for God — not just for the Jewish believers but for ALL.
v. 5-6 (NKJV): For when we were in the flesh, the sinful passions which were aroused by the law were at work in our members to bear fruit to death. 6 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.
Mirror: (5) At the time when the flesh ruled our lives, the subtle influences of sins which were ignited by the law, conceived actions within us that were consistent in character with their parent and produced spiritual death. (6) But now we are fully released from any further association with a life directed by the rule of the law, we are dead to that which once held us captive, free to be slaves to the newness of spirit-spontaneity rather than age-old religious rituals, imitating the mere face value of the written code.
  • v. 5 — in the flesh
    • For Paul to be “in the flesh” is to be in Adam, it is walking according to the written code — the opposite of being in the Spirit
    • “while we were in the flesh” and “at work in our members” is imperfect indicative verb tense meaning a continual, repeated action that happened in the past (before the Cross)
  • in verse 6 “released” is passive tense meaning it was done to them, they had no part in it.
    • Their covenant with the body of Moses, with the Law, was broken by their death in Christ so that they could enter into a New Covenant — it was all God’s doing!
  • Remember he’s talking here in Romans 7 to a transitional generation — telling them:
    • “You used to be in a covenant relationship with the Law, you used to have this obligation to which you were mandated to bring about fulfillment. But, that’s changed. You were made to die to the Law. Literally, you were put to death, you were killed in regard to the Law, being co-crucified with Christ”
    • Paul tells us the same thing over in Galatians
Gal 2:19-21 (NKJV): For I through the law died to the law that I might live to God. (20) I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. (21) I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain.”
  • Paul said he died to the law
    • how?
      • he was crucified with Christ
      • and not just Paul…..we were ALL crucified with Christ at the cross
        • Romans 6:6: knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin;
  • Just like the generation Paul was talking to, we in the church have the same problem
    • not understanding that they are not of the first man Adam
    • many still think they are fighting what is commonly called “their old man.”
  • But the old man refers to all that mankind WAS and all that he HAD in Adam; the new man refers to all that mankind IS and all that he HAS in Christ.
    • It is not referring to you as “pre-saved” and you as “post-saved”…. it is referring to ALL of mankind “pre-cross” and “post-cross”
    • both Gal 2:20 and Romans 6:6 are past tense facts that happened TO us (we played no part in it)
    • Was crucified“–It is done! It is finished! There is no “old man” to crucify — he was crucified 2000 years ago.
  • Your nature changed at the cross — not when you believed.
    • You got to experience the freedom of that nature change when you believed it — but it was a reality at the Cross
    • Mankind’s new nature, their identification is solely in Christ — even if they aren’t aware of it yet.
  • For these Jews, Paul is talking to (the transitional generation), the good news is —
    • your association/identity is no longer connected to Moses and the Law
    • you are no longer in Adam — at the cross, you died to the Adamic sin nature and to the authority/dominion of death
    • Jesus’ finished work was 100% complete and successful
    • you died with Him and were co-buried with Him, and now your new nature is Christ! 100% Christ!
  • For ALL (born after the cross) the good news is —
    • You’ve always been IN CHRIST
    • you never had an Adamic sin nature
    • you have never been under the dominion of death!
  • But we’re still struggling with sin – forgetting what manner of man we are – with an incorruptible DNA
  • Col 2:11 — in whom you have been circumcised with a circumcision made without hands
    • Here is Paul talking about the celestial fullness you have… not just that you’ve been separated FROM but sin — but that you’ve been separated TO the Divine Nature
      • Paul talking about our union with God… our fullness of Him in us then he says v. 11
    • In a circumcision something has been cut away, removed
      • what was cut away and removed?
      • your sinful nature!! buried with Him in baptism
    • in circumcision when foreskin has been removed, cut off it isn’t a part of you anymore
      • He didn’t add a new nature to an old nature
      • He completely replaced the old with the new
      • He didn’t just cover your sinfulness
      • He completely eradicated sinfulness
      • He didn’t just pull us out of sin… He pulled sinfulness out of us
      • He took the heart of stone and gave you a heart of flesh
  • Making us completely holy and righteous!!
  • this is the message of the Gospel!

III.  The Gospel

  • Romans is Paul’s teaching about the beautiful, simple Gospel of Grace
  • Rom 1:16-17: For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.(17) For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”
  • Rom 1:17 (Mirror): Herein lies the secret of the power of the Gospel; there is no good news in it until the righteousness of God is revealed! The dynamic of the gospel is the revelation of God’s faith as the only valid basis for our belief. The prophets wrote in advance about the fact that God believes that righteousness unveils the life that He always had in mind for us. “Righteousness by His (God’s) faith defines life.”
  • The gospel is the revelation of the righteousness of God; it unveils how the Father, Son, and Spirit succeeded to put mankind right with themselves.
    • It is about what God did right, not what Adam did wrong.
  • The language of the Old Covenant Law was, “Do in order to become!
  • The language of the New Covenant of Grace is, “Be, because of what Jesus did!”
  • Instead of do, do, do, it’s done, done, done!
  • We make it all about our faith — righteousness being about what we do; “putting” our faith in Jesus; “giving” our lives to Him (in faith);
  • Truth is it was His faith, not ours that made us righteous — and when I say us I mean ALL mankind
    • Romans 3:22 This righteousness is given through faith OF Jesus Christ
  • We think we bring people to faith in Jesus by pointing out their “sin” and having them renounce an old life by repenting and confessing “sin” and asking Jesus to come live in their heart.
    • the Gospel doesn’t bring people to Jesus by pointing out “sin” in their lives, getting them to repent, and leading them in a “sinner’s prayer.”
    • the Gospel is the nearly too good to be true message awakening us to the mystery of Christ in us!
  • Paul tells us in Galatians that the revelation of the Gospel he preaches began with God unveiling the Son in him.. not TO him but IN him
    • freeing him to announce the same sonship in the Gentiles (nations)
    • “It pleased the Father to reveal his son in me in order that I may proclaim him in the nations!”
      • Not TO them — but IN them
  • Paul’s belief.. his faith.. was not awakened because his sin was pointed out
    • His faith was awakened when God revealed to him that His Son lived in him
  • I love that at the beginning of Romans Paul quoted Habakkuk 2:4 — Righteousness by God’s faith defines our life.
    • It’s not about our faith — not in the beginning when we awake to righteousness and not in our day to day living out this new life IN CHRIST
    • It’s His faith that awakened us and it’s His faith that we live in… abide in.
    • Gal 2:20: I have been crucified with Christ, and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. And that which I now live in the flesh, I live through faith OF the Son of God, the One having loved me and having given up Himself for me.
IV. Habakkuk
  • Habakkuk was a prophet who was deeply troubled about the injustice in his land and God’s silence on the matter.
  • He Habakkuk asks God why He seems to delay judgment.
    • he wondered where God was, and why God did not set things right.
    • focusing on sin (sin-consciousness) causes us to do the same thing — desiring God’s punishment for sin
  • But Habakkuk’s passion for righteousness is met by God’s passion for mankind.. for the Gospel
    • “The Lord replied, ‘Look around at the nations; look and be amazed! For I am doing something in your own day, something you wouldn’t believe even if I told you about it.’” (vs 5)
    • I love that… God doesn’t respond to the complaint about evil/sin
    • I also love that God tells Habakkuk what His plans are allowing Habakkuk to co-know with Him to see beyond his own perception of things and see what God sees
    • to know beyond his carnal knowledge and know what God knows
  • God answers that He has a plan for punishment, but it is far from what Habakkuk expected or wanted to hear.
    • God speaks of raising up a nation that Habakkuk felt should be destroyed,
      • raise up is qum – made to stand; carries in it a sense of accomplishment; to come up from a lower to a higher position
      • it means arise – come up to a higher level
      • when the preposition “al” is added it means to raise up against… but there is not an “al” added to this word qum.
  • There is, however, an aleph tav added to this verse that He will raise up the Chaldeans
    • now an aleph tav is simply a direct object marker in Hebrew grammar
    • it is also the first and last letter of the Hebrew alphabet or alephbet
      • Jesus said He is the Aleph and the Tav.. the alpha and omega, the beginning and the end.
    • aleph tav in word pictures is strength and cross…. strength of the Cross
  • I don’t believe this verse is saying God is raising up the Chaldeans against the Jewish people
    • I think it’s a prophetic word of the inclusion of the Gentiles in the Gospel through the finished work of Christ… He will raise them up IN CHRIST (aleph tav)
  • God goes on to say how “bad” these Chaldeans are… He’s not oblivious to their wrong behavior.
    • His passionate, love plan for them reaches past their behavior
  • Habakkuk I believe misunderstands and thinks the Chaldeans are going to be sent against them to execute God’s judgment on Israel because of her disobedience to the Law
    • one of the curses of disobedience to the Law was captivity by their enemies.
    • And while it’s true Babylon (Chaldeans) did take Israel captive not long after this, I believe God was showing Habakkuk His ultimate plan for the Gentiles.
    • Habakkuk’s misunderstanding was due to his limited understanding of the nature of God — Jesus said only the Son knows the Father… everyone else saw in part.
  • God is GOOD and God is LOVE
    • and we have to interpret Old Testament Scripture in light of that nature — the Father nature that Jesus revealed to us (Heb 1:3)
    • and in light of the finished work of Christ.
  • and I like v. 11 guilty men who’s strength is their god
    • God had just described just how bad these Chaldeans were… how wicked their behavior was
    • and then he adds at the end the insight of what makes a man guilty
      • guilt is “ashem” which means trespass, offense, sin, etc.
    • God tells Habakkuk man’s guilt or offense is not in the wrong behavior but in trusting in his own strength…. making it a god.
  • Habakkuk complains again to God wondering why God would allow the Chaldeans to attack and possibly destroy Israel.
    • then finally, in chapter 2 Habakkuk gets quiet and decides to wait on God and see what He will say
      • God has only so far said 2 things that He will raise up the Chaldeans and men trusting in their own strength is what makes them guilty before Him
      • everything else in chapter 1 has been Habakkuk talking
  • The Lord tells him to write the vision and make it plain for the revelation is for an appointed time and it will not tarry — a prophetic declaration concerning the coming of Jesus
    • the Septuagint reads “For the vision is for a time, and it shall shoot forth at the end, and not in vain: though He should tarry, wait for Him; for He will surely come and will not delay.”
      • In Heb 10:37 Paul talks about Jesus and quotes Habakkuk 2:3-4
  • and then God tells him that the just shall live by His (God’s) faith
    • Habukkuk finally understands that it is righteousness apart from the law…apart from works. That it is righteousness that comes from God’s faith.
  • And he breaks out in song in chapter 3 with a revelation of God’s deliverance through the Messiah
    • and he ends with “Yet I will rejoice in the LORD (Yahweh), I will joy in the God of my salvation”
      • Yaweh is yod hey vav hey in Hebrew meaning behold the hands, behold the nails and is a revelation of Jesus.
    • He said “yet” — although I don’t see it in the natural Lord… though all around me is chaos and evil… You’ve shown me Your end plan of salvation and I rejoice…I will jump for joy and triumph… I will joy (spin and dance wildly) in Jesus!
    • and verse 19 says Yaweh Adonai is my strength!
      • Yaweh Adonai – Lord Lord!
  • Can’t you just hear the excitement of Habakkuk
    • can’t you just see him dancing wildly about jumping for joy… what a changed man from verse 1
    • what a difference a revelation of the finished work of Christ can do in our lives
    • it moves us from sin consciousness to Son consciousness
  • Habakkuk means”to embrace,” but it has the double meaning “to embrace” and “being embraced.”
    • He not only embraced God’s vision of salvation but found comfort in the fact that God has embraced ALL mankind in Christ.
V. Conclusion
  • I didn’t mean to spend so much time in Habakkuk
    • but we in the church also become sin focused like Habakkuk… seeing sin all around us and wondering why God’s not doing something about it.
  • So we try to control sin through fear and law
    • losing sight of His nature which is goodness and love — seeing instead wrath and judgment
    • forgetting that God has already taken care of sin in the finished work of Christ
    • and He has already judged ALL mankind righteous because of Jesus’ faith not ours.
  • Habakkuk got excited seeing God’s future plan of deliverance and trusted in what he saw
    • shouldn’t we be more excited than Habakkuk knowing that it’s not a future deliverance but a deliverance that happened 2000 years ago at the Cross?
    • shouldn’t we be trusting in grace, not more law, to govern our lives?
  • you can’t have both… it’s either law or grace
We need to learn to rightly divide the word of truth — we can do that here in chapter 7 by realizing that Paul is not talking to us in the church — he is talking to Jews who were under the law before the Cross.
Next week we’ll finish up chapter 7

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