Romans 7:1-6

Sunday, October 13th, 2013

Text: Romans 7:1-6

MARRIED TO ANOTHER

INTRODUCTION:

Chapter 7 continues the third major division of Romans in which Paul discusses sanctification, the transforming power of God's righteousness.

In chapter 6 he discussed the union with Christ. In chapter 7 he deals with the conflict of the natures, and in chapter 8 he deals with victory through the Holy Spirit.

Paul uses the marriage relationship which lasts only as long as both husband and wife are alive to illustrate the relationship of the believer and the Law which stirred up the sinful passions. Now that he has been saved, the believer is free from his relationship to the Law and has a new relationship with Christ.

The problem, however, is not the Law. All it did was show us our sin and our need of salvation. Instead, the problem is the sin nature which all possess. As a matter of fact, all believers still possess it and are charged with the responsibility of managing it (vv. 1-13).

That believers still have the old sin nature as well as a new spiritual nature is demonstrated by the fact that the righteous things we wish to do are not the sinful things we often find ourselves doing. It is further demonstrated by the fact that the sinful things we hate are the very things we frequently end up doing (vv. 14-23). The problem is that the old sin nature is resident in us.

Rather than giving up in despair, however, the believer must realize that deliverance comes through Christ (vv. 24-25) and that we can have victory over sin even in this life through the Holy Spirit (ch. 8).

In Romans 7:1-6 we see that the believer is dead to the law and married to Christ and should, therefore, seek to please Him in all things.

I. THE PRINCIPLE - 7:1

Romans 7:1 Know ye not, brethren, (for I speak to them that know the law,) how that the law hath dominion over a man as long as he liveth?

Know ye not is literally do you know? or are you ignorant?

For I speak to them that know the law is literally, For I speak to ones who know law.

The absence of the before law in the Greek text indicates that it is not the Mosaic Law that is intended. It is law as a principle. It includes, but is not limited to, the Mosaic Law in this phrase.

Those addressed are referred to as brethren, i.e. fellow believers, fellow Christians. It indicates that they are members of the family of God.

What is known is how that the law hath dominion over a man as long as he liveth.

How that is simply that.

The law hath dominion over is the same word that was used in Romans 6:9 and 14. It means that the law is lord (or master), the law rules, the law lords it (over), or the law controls.

A man is the generic term for human being and includes females as well as males.

As long as he liveth suggests that law is in force over an individual for his entire lifetime.

II. THE ILLUSTRATION - 7:2-3

Verses 2 and 3 illustrate the thought expressed in verse 1 that law has dominion over a man as long as he lives.

Romans 7:2-3 - (2) For the woman which hath an husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he liveth; but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband. (3) So then if, while her husband liveth, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress: but if her husband be dead, she is free from that law; so that she is no adulteress, though she be married to another man.

Verse 2 states a principle.

For the woman which hath an husband means the married woman.

The tense of is bound indicates that its action took place in the past and that its result has continued on.

She was bound to her husband at the time she was married and remains bound until the time of his death.

What binds her is the law.

The duration of her bondage is said to be so long as he liveth. The Greek text reads literally to her living husband.

A contrast is introduced by but and a condition by if. But if the husband is dead suggests a very definite possibility.

Should her husband die, she is loosed from the law of her husband.

Is loosed means has been released from an association with the law of (her) husband or has nothing more to do with the law of (her) husband. The tense of is loosed indicates that its action was completed in the past with its result continuing on. A widow is not only released from the law of her husband upon his death, but she remains released as well.

The law of her husband is the specific law regarding her husband and refers to marriage.

Romans 7:3 So then if, while her husband liveth, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress: but if her husband be dead, she is free from that law; so that she is no adulteress, though she be married to another man.

Verse 3 draws a conclusion from the principle stated in verse 2.

So then is an emphatic way of introducing an inference.

If introduces a condition which is qualified by the phrase while her husband liveth.

While her husband liveth is while her husband is living or while her husband is alive.

The condition is if . . . she be married to another man. If she is married to another man while her original husband is still alive, then she shall be called an adulteress.

But introduces a construction which is also in the form of a condition.

The condition is if her husband be dead.

The result is she is free from (i.e. not bound by) that law.

That law is a reference is to the law regarding her husband from verse 2.

The result of her husband being dead is so that she is no adulteress, though she be married to another man. The death of her husband frees her from the law and permits her to marry another should she so desire. While she will be called an adulteress if she remarries as long as her husband is still living, she will not be called an adulteress if she remarries after his death.

II. THE APPLICATION - 7:4-6

Romans 7:4-6 - (4) Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God. (5) For when we were in the flesh, the motions of sins, which were by the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death. (6) But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.

Verse 4 draws a conclusion based upon what Paul has written in chapter 6 and in verses 1-3 of chapter 7.

Wherefore is for this reason, therefore, or so.

Romans 7:4 a - Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ. . . .

We see that -

1. We are dead to the Law by the body of Christ - v. 4a

By my brethren (i.e. my brothers) Paul refers to his fellow Christians.

Ye also is you (plural) also and is used for emphasis.

Are become dead is passive and means were put to death. However, as was true in the previous chapter Paul is not speaking of physical death but of death with reference to the Law. The is used with law which indicates that Paul's reference is to the Mosaic Law.

By the body of Christ means through the body of Christ and refers to the crucifixion of the body of Christ during which Christ was actually put to death.

Not only are we dead to the Law by the body of Christ, but we also see that -

2. We are married to Christ - v. 4

Romans 7:4 b - . . . that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead. . . .

That ye should be married is a construction in Greek which indicates purpose.

That, therefore, is used in the sense of in order that or for the purpose that.

Be married is literally belong to.

To another means to another husband. The passage is not written in order to encourage the remarriage of widows. That it is permissible for widows to remarry is clearly taught elsewhere, e.g. I Timothy 5:9-16 . Here, however, the widows refers to all believers whether male or female.

The first husband is the Law. The second husband is Christ. Paul is using this analogy to show that, whereas believers formerly were under the authority of the Law, now they belong to Christ and are under His authority. Paul has applied the illustration somewhat differently, however. Whereas, the widow in verse 3, i.e. the one who is still living, was freed from the law which pertained to her husband, in verse 4 it is the one who died who is freed from the Mosaic Law.

Even to him who is raised from the dead is a clear reference to Christ.

Not only are we dead to the Law by the body of Christ and married to Christ, but in addition we see that -

3. We should bring forth fruit unto God - v.4c

Romans 7:4 c - . . . that we should bring forth fruit unto God.

That we should bring forth fruit unto God is a purpose clause and expresses the reason why we died with reference to the Law but are alive with reference to God.

That is understood in the sense of in order that or for the purpose that. It is in order that we might live for God and thereby, bring forth fruit unto Him. It refers the reader back to Romans 6:21-23 which says,

Romans 6:21-23 - (21) What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death. (22) But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life. (23) For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Galatians 5:22-23 - (22) But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, (23) Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

James 3:17-18 - (17) But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. (18) And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.

Romans 7:5 (5) For when we were in the flesh, the motions of sins, which were by the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death.

As indicated by for, verse 5 begins an explanation of verse 4. This explanation continues through verse 6.

When is used in the sense of while or as long as, and we has reference to believers.

The tense of were indicates continuous action in past time. It has reference to time prior to salvation.

In the flesh indicates our position. It does not mean in the physical flesh because we are still in that; instead, it means in the old sin nature. However, although we still have an old sin nature, it no longer rules over us.

The motions of sins is the sinful passions or sinful impulses.

Which were by law is literally which were through the Law. The Law served to stir up the sinful passions. It is as if someone drew a line and said to all present that no one dare step across that line. Until the line was drawn and the statement made, no one even thought about it. However, when someone said that no one dare cross it, all decided to defy the statement and try. When the Law entered, sin was thus shown to be what it truly is.

Did work is were at work.

In our members is in our parts or in our limbs, and members refers to parts of the body.

To bring forth fruit unto death is a purpose clause, and to should be understood in the sense of in order to. It is a reference to Romans 6:23 where Paul wrote that the wages of sin is death. Sin results in eternal death.

Romans 6:23 - For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Galatians 5:19-21 - (19) Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, (20) Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, (21) Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

James 3:13-16 - (13) Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom. (14) But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth. (15) This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish. (16) For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.

Romans 7:6 (6) But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.

Verse 6 continues the explanation of verse 4 begun in verse 5. Whereas in verse 5 the Law stirred up the sinful passions which ended in death, in verse 6 we are taught that we have been set free from the Law. This has enabled us to serve God in newness of spirit.

Not only are we dead to the Law by the body of Christ, that we are now married to Christ, and that we should bring forth fruit unto God, but we also see that -

4. We were delivered from the law

Romans 7:6 a - But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held. . . .

But indicates that a contrast is being made with the preceding.

Now is a strengthened form used for emphasis. It is our former condition as unsaved people which is being contrasted with our present condition as saved people.

We are delivered = we were delivered - it has been translated in a way which emphasizes the result of its action. It means we have been released from an association with the law or we have no more to do with the law.

From the law indicates what we have been delivered or released from.

That being dead wherein we were held is a participial phrase which is used in a causal sense, i.e. because (or since) we died to what we were held by.

Not only are we dead to the Law by the body of Christ, that we are now married to Christ, that we should bring forth fruit unto God, and that we were delivered from the Law, but we also see that -

5. We should serve in newness of spirit rather than in the oldness of the letter - v. 6b

Romans 7:6 b - . . . that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.

That should be understood in the sense of so that.

We should serve means we might serve as slaves.

In newness of spirit can be in newness produced by the Holy Spirit; or it can be in a new spirit. Believers are able to serve God as slaves in newness of spirit because they have been set free from the Law.

And not indicates that a change has been made from the way things were before we were saved.

In the oldness of the letter has reference to our former state under the Law.

CONCLUSION:

We should seek to please the Lord in all things

I Corinthians 7:32-34 - (32) But I would have you without carefulness. He that is unmarried careth for the things that belong to the Lord, how he may please the Lord: (33) But he that is married careth for the things that are of the world, how he may please his wife. (34) There is difference also between a wife and a virgin. The unmarried woman careth for the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit: but she that is married careth for the things of the world, how she may please her husband.

II Corinthians 5:9 - Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him.

Romans 12:1-2 - (1) I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. (2) And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.