Chapter 7: 1-6
The Freedom of Death
“1 Or do you not know, brethren (for I speak to those who know the law), that the law has dominion over a man as long as he lives? 2 For the woman who has a husband is bound by the law to her husband as long as he lives. But if the husband dies, she is released from the law of her husband. 3 So then if, while her husband lives, she marries another man, she will be called an adulteress; but if her husband dies, she is free from that law, so that she is no adulteress, though she has married another man.
“4 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. 5 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.“
Once again, thanks for all of your wonderful responses. I was made aware that I had a typo that showed up as a swear word in the text last week. Please forgive me.
[Editor’s note: The word was removed before posting on Rapture Ready.]
This week we will speak about death. This is not a popular subject with many people and with the COVID mess going on; death has been front and center in the news daily. But this time, our conversation about death will be a joyful one.
- Till Death do us Part, verse 1-3
I have had the privilege many times to perform weddings. The joy of uniting a man and a woman in the Holy bonds of matrimony. I can report that, for the most part, the weddings I have performed continue to be loving marriages. Sadly, some have ended in divorce, and others have ended in death. The apostle Paul here uses marriage as an example to us of how the Law works. Now, to most Jews reading this and even to us here today, we Gentile Christians, we understand this as the Law of Moses. But he is referring to all law anywhere in the world.
Paul uses the idea of the marriage vows as an understanding of how death and the Law works. When a man and woman make the vows, they promise to submit to those vows until death. No one expects a dead man to keep the vows he made; and secondly, if the living partner marries again, they are no longer under the vows they made to the previous spouse. Death ends all requirements under the Law. We understand that if a prisoner is serving a life sentence, once he dies there is no more expectation of punishment. We don’t keep his corpse in the prison so that he can serve out more time. This makes no sense. We bury the body, and another prisoner gets his cell.
Death ends all obligations that were made during a lifetime. Death also ends, as far as man is concerned, any punishments meted out during life. A dead man is no longer subject to any law, not just the Law of Moses. Please let this sink in. We still have a lot of people who think they are serving Jesus by keeping the Law of Moses. Worse, they think that their salvation is based on them keeping the Law. But what we learn here is that the Law only has power on living people. Those of us in Jesus are dead in His death. The Law has no power over us any longer.
- Dead People Walking, verses 4-6
If you are born-again in Jesus, you are a dead man or woman walking. If you are dead in Jesus, you are not under the Law. Remember the Law only has power over living people. I want you to understand that this is not a coincidence that Paul is being used by God to write this passage. Paul was the poster boy for the Law in his day. He was the chief enforcer for the Law under the Pharisees, and he took his job very seriously, so serious that he would preside over the death of a man named Stephen in Acts 7. Paul was sold out to and for the Law.
Paul tells us here that we are dead to the law in Jesus. Jesus died our death for us, and in Him we have new life. We are no longer under the requirements of the Law. In verse 6, we are told that we are delivered from the law. The law has no power over dead people. The problem is that we are still alive in our human bodies, and we forget that we are dead in Christ. We are going to deal with the struggle of the dead flesh and the new man in the next section; but for today, the real issue that we have to come to grips with is that we are no longer under the Law if we are in Jesus.
We are no longer under the requirements of the Law, and this even includes death for our sins. Let us take a look at the Ten Commandments and the penalties for breaking them.
Idolatry was punishable by death, Deuteronomy 13:1-10. The penalty for blasphemy, Leviticus 24:10-16. Breaking the Sabbath, Exodus 31: 14-15, and on we can go. Death is the penalty for breaking the law. But Jesus took our death for us. You see in Romans 6:23, the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ. Jesus took our penalty for us, and in Him we are dead. He has fulfilled the law for us, and He has become our perfection; and as such, we have obeyed the Law in Him. We are no longer under the penalty of death if we are born-again, John 3:3. We have eternal life if we believe in Jesus, John 3:16. Sadly, some folks are still living under the Law, so they are denying that Jesus has fulfilled the law.
They are implying by their beliefs that they need to add to Jesus’ work to be saved. No, never. Jesus said in His last breath, ‘It is finished!’ The payment for our salvation has been paid. You and I cannot add to the salvation that He has purchased for us. So, either you are alive to the Law and dead in Christ, or you are alive in Christ and dead to the law, but you cannot be both. Paul tells us (remember Paul, the super- zealous Pharisee) told us in Romans 3:20 that no flesh will be justified, or declared righteous, by the law.
If you are keeping the Law to get to Heaven, you are on your way to Hell. But, if you have placed your trust in the fact that Jesus kept the Law for you and in Him you have your perfection, I will see you in Heaven one day. Just so we are reminded, Paul writes it for us again in Galatians 2:16,
“Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.”
God bless you,
Pastor Sean Gooding
Mississauga Missionary Baptist Church