What does the Law have to do with us?
Romans Chapter VII: Overview: Most Christians ignorantly will state that the law has nothing to do with then since they are under grace. But, according to the Bible, this is not the case! The Christian's relationship to the law is still in an active state, "the law has dominion over a man as long as he lives". This means we are united to Christ so that we may serve and glorify God "in newness of Spirit." The law as Paul continues to express has not gone away! The law has purpose to show us His Holiness and our depravity, our standard and why we need our Savior. Paul then uses the illustration of marriage, to show that the contact of a marriage is like the contract of the law; we will not be free from it until we die (1-6). Through the depravity of our sin, the moral law, though "spiritual, holy, just, and good," The law is good. It gives us the ultimate benchmark to holiness and virtue. It tells us who we are and why we are, and why we do as we do. So we know what sin is and how we can please the Father to which is our main purpose in life (7-13). The agonizing conflict of our sinful nature and what we are saved to do we can learn in the law. So when we "delight in the law of God," we need to know we cannot keep it, but Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit will give us the means to persevere and overcome through our deliverance by Christ, (14-25).
The Believer's Relationship to the Law
General idea: Paul continues in his discourse of our relationship to the law. We cannot say because I am a New Testament Christian the law has no effect or bearing on me. Yes, we are saved from its punishment; we do not even need to follow it. But, we need to realize that the law is active, real and necessary. It is necessary because it uncovers who we are in sin, our motivations and depravity. It is why society needs law and order, why churches need discipline and how much we have been saved by our Lord. It will show us where love is not at work, where we are failing our church and community. This time Paul goes from a negative stance into a positive and compares the law with marriage. His point is that death is the transition that ends the relationship of marriage, when a spouse dies the other is free from that contact, and when the Christian dies they are finally free from the law. We were married to sin, now we are married to Christ! In this way we can produce His spiritual fruit and not just more sin. We are married in and to love, not to compulsion and dread. Then our resurrection will give us a new relationship, and only then will the law be void.
1. Most of the Jews believed they were chosen for salvation on the basis of being Abraham's children and not because of the law. Although they made converts memorize and hold the law as if they had it all their lives. Other Jewish teachers taught they were saved only by strict adherence of the law (Jer. 31:33-34).
a. Law here refers to the "Mosaic Law" the overarching character and concept of it, not a particular one.
b. Most Jewish family and communities kept as much as the law as they humanly could as a way to be separate from the gentile community. This had become more cultural than spiritual.
c. The law was not a means for salvation, but a preparatory means to educate us on our need for Christ and point to the cross.
d. The law was to inform right from wrong. Until we acknowledge our helpless state, we will have no desire for the Lord's work.
e. Death means freedom from the law (Rom. 6:5).
f. We must be praising God for His grace, which we are under Him, and not left to ourselves.
2. The Jewish converts thought they still had to keep the law. Paul explains to them, no, the law died, and they were freed from it.
a. Death refers to the complete change of things, such as a relationship. That relationship is severed at death, it does not go on.
b. The law's power to condemn us is longer a problem, and has no hold on us!
c. Jewish law stated only death and divorce could separate family relationships (1 Cor. 7:12-16).
d. Paul also uses classic philosophical arguments of good verses evil as reason being good and passion (sexual, self centered) as being bad.
e. We are to serve God from the motivation of love, not law.
f. Being a Christian is not a license to sin, because we are not under the law.
g. The law caused human motivation to rebel, grace causes human nature to obey. The purpose of law is not to motivate or change us, but rather to reveal sin and our need for Christ.
3. We have a new life with a new Master and a new purpose and love.
a. Christ is our husband and we, the church, are the bride.
b. She marries another man, Paul gives his blessing to remarriage after the death of a spouse (1 Tim 5:14).
c. His grace is the foundational principle and covenant in our marriage.
d. Righteousness is the children and fruit of the marriage.
e. Body of Christ refers to His death and resurrection.
f. If we base our life in Christ as a marriage by law and not by love, we will be unfulfilled and unhappy.
g. Fruit, is a result of an action! Fruits of the Spirit are the result of the Spirit working in us (Gal 5:19-22)!
h. Held by refers to what holds us back in life and that is sin!
i. Newness of the Spirit, Paul was also addressing that most Jews did not think the Spirit was around anymore, only at the time of the Prophets (Ezek. 36: 24-32). Some argued that it will return with the Messiah. Paul makes the point that as Christians that the Spirit is here to stay and we have the Spirit and are responsible to allow Him to infuse us and use us!
j. In the flesh, means to be controlled by our desires of sin and rebellion, a careless disregard of truth or consequences! It is our natural sinful nature to desire what is wrong and to destroy.
The fruit this passage calls us to produce the fruit of holiness. This means to be separated unto God for His purpose and glory as Israel was (Jos. 24:19; Hab. 1:13; 1 Pet. 1:15). It comes from the result of our relationship with Christ that produces faith, commitment, trust and obedience. The further result is the endeavor for moral purity and virtue. This is the seeds that produce a loving Church and an affluent society, affluence in character and care, the real true wealth. We have to ask as Paul did, what holds us back in this? Yes, it is sin, but what sins, what influences, what means keep you from your spiritual growth? Why does your church not do as it is called in holiness and care? What about you personally? Unless we find this out, how can we continue our development into maturity and faith! The book of 1 Peter is all about pursuing holiness, with encouragements and instructions on this much needed Christian endeavor. Make a commitment to read it fully and carefully! The make the commitment to apply it to your life and church!
Learning Outcomes: a. Know what it means to be released from the law. b. Be committed to a life that bears fruit (Gal 5).
1. Do you remember your first big relationship, such as a best friend or a boy friend or girl friend, what was special about it?
2. Have you viewed something real negative, until you realized it was positive? Such as discipline when we were children we hated it, then we became adults and now see how necessary it was. What is an example from your life?
3. Have you ever saw the 'Law' as a relationship?
4. How can the 'Law' be a relationship?
5. Why would Paul use the illustration of marriage, when at that time livestock had more value than a wife, and you could divorce for any reason (not unlike today)?
6. What has been your view of marriage? Such as it positive or negative?
7. If you are married did your view change after marriage?
8. If you are not married, do you think your view will change?
9. The Jews believed they were chosen for salvation on the basis of being Abraham's children. What are some false beliefs that modern church goers can have regarding their salvation?
10. What did the law produce for the Romans and those who tried to live it?
11. How did Jesus change the Law?
12. Because of the law your life is_____________________?
13. How can you know what it means to be released from the law?
14. How will the Law be voided in the future?
15. The Law was not a means for salvation in the OT, so what was?
16. Have you known people who memorize Scripture?
17. If so, what impact did it have on their life and those around them?
18. Can our need for Christ and the cross be pointed too without the law?
19. What can the Law do for you today in your life?
20. We must be praising God for His grace, so how can you do this?
21. What do you need to do so your will is under Him, and not left to yourself?
22. The Jewish converts thought they still had to keep the law. So if the Law is still in effect, what do we need to do about it?
23. What aspects of the Law are we freed from?
24. We are to serve God from the motivation of love, so how does the Law come in to play?
25. Being a Christian is not a license to sin, because we are not under the law, so why do some Christians live their life without regards to it? Such as the Christian divorce rate is 50%, just 1% less then the secular rate.
26. We have a new life with a new Master, what is your new life?
27. What and where is you primary purpose and love directed too? To find this answer check your checkbook register and date book!
28. Have you ever considered that as a church, Christ is our husband and we, the church, are the bride?
29. If so what difference would it make in the daily operations of your church from the committees to the pulpit to the neighbors if we had the view of being His bride?
30. If you are married what is the foundational principle and covenant in your marriage? If you are not married what will it be?
31. His grace plays what (or what will it) role in you marriage? Conceder all possibilities.
32. In you 'marriage' to Christ (union) would you feel closer to Him by a 'code' or by a 'relationship'?
33. Have you experienced a difference between the law and the relationship?
34. How can righteousness be the fruit in your marriage? (Fruit = result)
35. If we base our life in Christ as a marriage by law and not by love, we will be unfulfilled and unhappy, why?
36. Why did the Law cause human motivation to rebel?
37. How can grace cause you and the people in your church to be people who obey?
38. How can the Law reveal sin and our need for Christ in your daily life?
39. How can you be a person who is committed to a life that bears fruit (Gal 5)?
40. What would this fruit be like? What would it mean to your church? To your community? How will you make this so?
(Condensed from "Walking by Faith: Impressions from the book of Romans," by Richard J. Krejcir ã 1998, 2001, 2004) http://www.intothyword.com/