In Chapter 7 of Romans, Paul uses the word law in different ways. I don’t mean to say that he is trying to use the same word for different things, but rather that he is using the same word for the same thing but showing us different angles or perspectives of that thing while being consisted in what he calls it. Like many things with the bible and particularly some of the writings of the scholar Paul, things are very deep and multi-layered.
In the first 6 verses which we study today, Paul is using the word as a measure or, better put, as a dividing line.
His example of marriage and adultery was one example that made this perspective very clear. The application of the measure of the law was different in two different situations. If both spouses were alive, the couple were considered still married and, if one party to the marriage strayed into infidelity, the law recognized that as adultery. However, take that same person committing the same act but only after the passing of his or her spouse. The act hasn’t changed, the law hasn’t changed, but the person is no longer measured innocent or guilty under the law. It no longer applies. He is not advocating for lustful behavior; he is simply stating that the measure of the law of adultery dies with the death of the spouse.
This is how Paul is explaining the freedom we have. The law of Moses did not vanish. Nor is he advocating that we should begin performing acts that were against the law. He is simply saying it is no longer the measure of our righteousness.
That is wonderfully huge!
No one ever was found righteous because of their adherence to the law. That is not to say that God did not deem individuals righteous in the old testament, but it is not because they perfectly fulfilled every nuance of the law. No one did that. As Paul said in Chapter 3, all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. No one is righteous, no, not one.
What it means is that there is now a door 2 available that is different than the door 1 which was you are measured against the law and found guilty. Door 2 is the “I’m with Him” alternative. Instead of us being judged by the measure of the law, Jesus takes our place and we stand behind Him as He is measured and found not-guilty and fully righteous. Jesus did not abolish the law, He fulfilled it on our behalf. It didn’t go away, it just does not apply as the measure of our innocence and guilt because we are no longer married to our old life. We died to our old life and have been united with the Holy Spirit.
In contrast to the law, to which we are only bound while living, When we are born again to the family of Christ it is an eternal bond resulting in everlasting life
We are freed from the law (or, at least, from the law being the measurement of our righteousness). Belong to Jesus Christ in order that we might bear fruit to God
Caring for others, living in a way that matches my words and my faith, teaching, spending time with God in prayer for others.
Fruit for God is works and results that come through the power of the Spirit alive in us, love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness… Fruit of death is works that result in leading ourselves and others farther from the truth and deeper into darkness: idolatry, vain language, lust, fear hate, envy, sexual immorality. The fruit of death flirts with me and I only result by walking with the spirit and praying and seeing things through God’s eyes not my own.