Part 1 – Widowed From The Law
Remembering that chapters six and seven are a parenthesis between Romans 5 and 8 is helpful in understanding the meaning of both the sixth and seventh chapters. Chapters 3, 4, and 5 speak of the sinner being justified by faith alone, and the fifth chapter specifically deals with our justification by speaking about our mystical union with Christ through our identification in His death (of our old life) and resurrection (to His new life). This has all been accomplished through the superabundance of God’s grace, which raises two important issues that Paul addresses in the “parenthesis” of chapters six and seven.
Chapter six covered the question about antinomianism – continuing to sin so that the Lord would provide more grace to us. Paul answered this in chapter six by clearly pointing out that in Christ we died to the old life/old nature so sin is no longer our master. The seventh chapter deals with the issue of the Law. If we are saved/justified by grace alone, then does that mean there is no purpose for the Law, hence there would be no need to follow the Law? Paul will make it clear in this seventh chapter that the Law still plays a vital role in our sanctification – our spiritual growth as Christians – but it does NOT save us.
The means by which Paul explains our freedom from the Law (as a means to justification) is strongly illustrated in the example of marriage and the death of a spouse. When one spouse dies, the surviving spouse is set free from the bonds of marriage. Obviously, the dead spouse is set free as well, but in a different way! In our case, the Law didn’t die – the Law is still alive and well, and unbelievers are still ‘married’ to the Law and must abide by its regulations, restrictions and demands – but we are the ones that died to the Law.
We have been born again into a new family – Christ’s family – and we are no longer connected to the Law – other than through Christ who perfectly followed the Law for us. Now the Law – instead of saving us – can be loved, honored, and obeyed by the believer through God’s grace and Spirit, and it (the Law) can be viewed as our teacher or coach to encourage our spiritual maturity.
Christ is our husband and He was, is, and always will be a perfect husband, who we will joyously and faithfully obey, because in Him is endless joy, peace, blessings, and contentment.