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Released from the Law (Romans 7:1-12)

Romans 7:1–12 - 1 Or do you not know, brethren (for I am speaking to those who know the law), that the law has jurisdiction over a person as long as he lives? 2 For the married woman is bound by law to her husband while he is living; but if her husband dies, she is released from the law concerning the husband. 3 So then, if while her husband is living she is joined to another man, she shall be called an adulteress; but if her husband dies, she is free from the law, so that she is not an adulteress though she is joined to another man. 4 Therefore, my brethren, you also were made to die to the Law through the body of Christ, so that you might be joined to another, to Him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God. 5 For while we were in the flesh, the sinful passions, which were aroused by the Law, were at work in the members of our body to bear fruit for death. 6 But now we have been released from the Law, having died to that by which we were bound, so that we serve in newness of the Spirit and not in oldness of the letter. 7 What shall we say then? Is the Law sin? May it never be! On the contrary, I would not have come to know sin except through the Law; for I would not have known about coveting if the Law had not said, “You shall not covet.” 8 But sin, taking opportunity through the commandment, produced in me coveting of every kind; for apart from the Law sin is dead. 9 I was once alive apart from the Law; but when the commandment came, sin became alive and I died; 10 and this commandment, which was to result in life, proved to result in death for me; 11 for sin, taking an opportunity through the commandment, deceived me and through it killed me. 12 So then, the Law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good. What does today’s passage say? In today’s passage, Paul first explains that through their death and resurrection in Christ, believers have become dead to the law’s mastery and condemnation over them (vv. 1-3). They are now free from its grasp, just as a widow is freed from the marriage covenant to marry another. Furthermore, Paul conveys that believers can now joyfully bear righteous fruit unto God by serving in the new empowering way of the Spirit, rather than the old written code (vv. 4-6). However, Paul then clarifies that the law itself is holy and good, yet when confronted by its perfect commands, our indwelling sin is provoked to express its true nature (vv. 7-12). But God uses this tension to teach us that in Christ alone we have redemption and rescue from sin’s power over us. So the law draws us to God’s amazing grace in Christ. How can I apply Romans 7:1-12 to my life? Today, Paul illustrates that through our union with Jesus in His death and resurrection, we have become dead to the law and its condemnation. This means we are free from sin’s control and the daily guilt and failure the law exposes within us. Instead, we now have new life through the Spirit to obey and glorify God with joy. This is incredibly liberating news! However, the ongoing tension between our flesh and the Spirit reminds us of the war still waging inside. But even this drives us to depend more fully on Christ’s grace. There is no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus! Here are some basic principles from this passage that we should apply to our lives:

  1. Gain Freedom from the Law's Condemnation by Embracing Your Death to Sin in Christ (vv. 1-3): Paul clearly explains in these verses that through our union with Christ in his death and resurrection, we have become dead to the law. Just as death breaks a marriage, freeing the spouse from that covenant, now the law that once condemned us no longer has power over us. This means our sin debt is paid in full by Christ. We are free from condemnation! This is incredibly liberating news. Specifically, when facing temptation, we can firmly say no to sin's demands upon remembering our death to its control. When we stumble, we stand back up in the grace of God, not wallowing in guilt. When struggling to love others, we can receive fresh strength knowing nothing can separate us from Christ’s love. Everywhere we fall short, we find mercy and help in Jesus. He freed us to walk in new life, leaving the old life of sin and law behind us. Let us live each day in light of this glorious truth (Romans 6:11, Romans 8:1, 1 Corinthians 15:56-57).

Food for Thought: In what areas do you still struggle to rest in confidence of Christ's finished work? What specific actions can you take this week to apply this truth more fully?

  1. Bear Fruit for God Through Your New Life Found in Christ (vv. 4–6): Paul vividly conveys the radical transformation that happens through our union with Christ. Not only have we died with Him, but we also resurrect and walk in new life, just as a widow is free to marry another. This new life in the Spirit enables us to bear good fruit unto God, rather than sin and death as we did previously under the law’s condemnation. What an incredible blessing that we can now serve God out of joy and bear righteous fruit that glorifies Him, rather than continuing under sin’s fruitless dominion. Specifically, we can actively love others, pursue holiness, generously give, and boldly share the gospel as expressions of our new life in Christ. Even when our efforts fall short, our new life is secure in His finished work. We can continually draw near to Jesus to receive the grace, wisdom, and power to live this resurrection life with hope and confidence. As we abide in Christ, praying, reading Scripture, and participating in community with fellow believers, we open ourselves to greater spiritual fruitfulness that overflows to bless others also (John 15:1-5, Galatians 5:22-23, Philippians 1:11).

Food for Thought: What fruit is the Holy Spirit currently producing in your life? What tangible actions can you take to abide more fully in Christ this week and bear fruit to the glory of God?

  1. Recognize Your Sin Nature Revealed by The Law and Your Need for Christ (vv. 7-12): In these verses, Paul establishes that the law itself is not sinful, but rather it exposes the true sinful nature that resides within us. Apart from Christ, even good and holy commandments end up provoking our fallen nature to disobedience and condemnation. We see this reality in ourselves when we are confronted with God’s perfect commands yet struggle to fully obey them. This is by divine design, so that we recognize our helplessness and need for a Savior. Specifically, as believers we can use the ongoing tension between flesh and Spirit to drive us closer to Christ. When we stumble and fail to love others perfectly for example, rather than berating ourselves, we can acknowledge that sin still wars within us. This humbling admission leads us to seek empowerment from Christ to gain victory in that area. The law prepares the way for amazing grace (Psalm 119:71-72, Romans 3:20-26, Galatians 3:10-14).

Food for Thought: How does your ongoing with struggle with sin reveal your dependence on Christ? In what areas do you need to humble yourself and receive God’s strength and grace through prayer this week? This passage makes clear that believers in Jesus are set free from the condemnation of the law. His death paid the full penalty for our sins once for all. Therefore, through our union with Christ, sin and the law no longer reign over us - we have died to them and now walk in newness of life by the power of the Holy Spirit. Yes, we still battle our sinful flesh. But this drives us to depend on God's grace, not our own goodness. By grace we serve Him out of joy, bearing righteous fruit as evidence of our new life in Christ. As we embrace these powerful truths, we can overcome temptation, get back up when we fall, forgive others as God forgives us, and reject guilt to live confidently. May we rejoice in this freedom from condemnation we have in Jesus Christ our Lord! Prayer Dear Heavenly Father, I pray that You would empower me to live free from condemnation, overcoming temptations and doubts through the confidence that I have died and been resurrected with Christ. I pray that You would strengthen me by Your Spirit to bear righteous fruit that overflows with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Use my struggles against sin to keep me dependent on Your grace. Give me compassion and power to love others well so that many will see Your glory shining through me.  I pray that You would give me boldness in sharing the Gospel so that others my come to faith and experience this freedom from condemnation and guilt themselves. I pray these things in the most precious name of Jesus, Amen.

Romans 7:6 – “But now we have been released from the Law, having died to that by which we were bound, so that we serve in newness of the Spirit and not in oldness of the letter.”With His Blessings, Pastor Corby

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