The Letter to the Romans



22. Death and The Law


Romans 7:1-6


1.Do you not know, brothers-for I am speaking to men who know the law-that the law has authority over a man only as long as he lives?

2.For example, by law a married woman is bound to her husband as long as he is alive, but if her husband dies, she is released from the law of marriage.

3.So then, if she marries another man while her husband is still alive, she is called an adulteress. But if her husband dies, she is released from that law and is not an adulteress, even though she marries another man.

4.So, my brothers, you also died to the law through the body of Christ, that you might belong to another, to him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit to God.

5.For when we were controlled by the sinful nature, the sinful passions aroused by the law were at work in our bodies, so that we bore fruit for death.

6.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. (NIV)


Key Words and Phrases

Authority of the law

Controlled by the sinful nature

Released from the law

Serve in the new way of the Spirit


Paul spent chapter six explaining the reality that transpires when we are born again. In Christ we die to sin; God moves us from the power of evil and the place of separation from God that are our natural birthrights. Through Jesus we lose our enslavement to sin and death and inherit eternal life. In Christ we inherit righteousness and become slaves to obedience to Jesus. We live in the power and presence of God. Now, in chapter 7, Paul examines what our new position in Christ means for our relationship to the law.

1. The noun of direct address in v. 1 is important because it identifies for whom this message is intended. Who are the "brothers" Paul addresses? (see Acts 1:15-16; 22:4-5; Romans 1:12-13; 1 Corinthians 5:11; 6:1-6; 14:26)


2. Paul is illustrating the authority of law over relationships and also law's permanence. Explain what Paul is saying about law and its role in human relationships. See also 1 Corinthians 7:39 and Luke 16:18.


3. In verse 4, Paul personifies the law and discusses how our relationship to it changes because of Christ. How do we die through the body of Christ? (see Romans 6:1-10)


4. Since accepting Jesus means accepting his death as ours, how does this death affect our relationship to the law? (see v. 1; Romans 8:2; Galatians 2:19, 20; 3:22-25; 4:31; 5:1)


5. Paul compares our natural relationship to the law and our new relationship to Jesus to marriage: we "died to the law" that we "might belong to another." In chapter six, Paul says, "We died to sin." How are the law and sin related that we belonged to both of them at the same time? (Romans 3:10-20; 4:14-15; Galatians 3:10-12; 19; 23-24)


6. Before our death to the law through Christ, the law aroused our sinful passions, and we "bore fruit for death." How did the law arouse our sinful passions, and what is the "fruit for death"? (see Romans 7:7-11; Romans 6:23; Galatians 5:18-21; Matthew 25:41-46; Colossians 1:21-23; 2:18-23)


7. What is significant about the fact that we died to the law "through the body of Christ"? (see Isaiah 50:6; 53:2-6; Matthew 26:26-28; Colossians 1:22; Hebrews 10:19-22)


8. We died to the law so we "might belong to another, to him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit to God." What does it mean to belong to Jesus, and what is the fruit we bear to God? (see Romans 6:22; 8:9-11; 13:9-10; Galatians 2:19-20; John 17:20-21, 25-26; Galatians 5:22-23; Hebrews 12:10-11; 1 John 3:18-20)


9. Now that we have died in Christ and have been released from the law, how do we "serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code"? (see Romans 8:3-4; 9; Galatians 4:8-11; 5:16-18, 24-26; 2 Corinthians 5:17; Colossians 2:13-14, 16, 20-23)



10. In what ways are you still holding onto law even though you have died in Christ and now belong to him?


11. In what ways do you enforce law on those in your life, and what is the appropriate role of law in a Christ-follower's life?


12. Ask God to show you the places in your life where you need to surrender to him and to allow his Spirit to give you strength and power to yield to the Holy Spirit instead of trying to manage your life by your own instincts. Praise God for making you and knowing your weaknesses. Praise Jesus for releasing you from the bondage of your own laziness and compulsiveness, and praise the Holy Spirit for giving you new power and capabilities to live your life successfully instead of as a victim of your own inadequacies.

Copyright (c) 2004 Graphics Studio, Redlands, CA USA. All rights reserved. Posted April 17, 2004.
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