Using the Law (Romans #12)

Text: Romans 7

The law ceases to be in effect at death (vss 1-6)

  • The illustration is the law of marriage otherwise the law against adultery. When the husband dies the marriage agreement is done – Til death do us part. That marriage is over at that point. And there is no more law against adultery because death effectively ends the law. The wife is free from that law and able to marry someone else without accusation against her.
  • Paul used this illustration because it’s part of a much bigger relationship than just a man and a woman. He’s explaining what it means to be the bride of Christ and for Jesus Christ to be the husband. 
    • The LORD Jesus Christ isn’t just the husband of a group of people called Christians, but he was the dead husband, made under the law, to the nation of Israel.
    • Christ is the husband in the Old and New Covenants.
    • Old covenant in Jeremiah 3:20 and 31:32. New covenant in Isaiah 54:5 (all of chapter 54 coming off the heels of 53 is a description of the new covenant.)
    • The old covenant was a carnal covenant that had to end with death. The old covenant was a schoolmaster that would lead the nation of Israel to Christ on the cross and that’s as far as it would go. And that’s the only place it could end.
    • The death of the LORD Jesus Christ both ended and began the two most important agreements the Father ever made with mankind. The death of Jesus Christ put an end to the old covenant and marked the beginning of a new covenant. (Romans 7:4)
    • Verse 6 is that theme of old and new. (2 Corinthians 3, Jeremiah 31, Hebrews 8-10)
  • Matthew 9:15-17 And Jesus said unto them, Can the children of the bridechamber mourn, as long as the bridegroom is with them? but the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken from them, and then shall they fast. 16  No man putteth a piece of new cloth unto an old garment, for that which is put in to fill it up taketh from the garment, and the rent is made worse. 17 Neither do men put new wine into old bottles: else the bottles break, and the wine runneth out, and the bottles perish: but they put new wine into new bottles, and both are preserved.

Now is the personal application to this

  • The law points to the sin that’s killing me (vss 7-13)
  • The law reveals sin.
  • The law awakens and challenges the flesh and the sin in the flesh.

The present dilemma of God’s true children (vss 14-25)

  • Now, Paul deals with the present dilemma of knowing good, but having a desire to do evil. 
  • And sometimes having a desire to do evil without knowing it. That’s very dangerous when you believe you’re working for God when you’re actually doing the devil’s work. The wicked know not at what they stumble. Hence the law was to be taken personally to highlight the sin you and I couldn’t see working.
  • Paul describes the unchanging state of the flesh. When Paul uses the first person pronoun like “I”, he’s referring to his flesh now (vs 18).
  • Sin is tied to your body because you’re related to Adam.
  • The constant dilemma is that sin is at work in me right alongside a desire to live for God.
    • Victory for the Christian is exactly what Habakkuk said it was; the just shall LIVE by faith. Not say a prayer. Why is this true? Because sin is always at work so long as the body lives on. There is no such thing as Lord, take this temptation away from me so long as your body is alive. The victory has to be found in daily faithful decisions to crucify the flesh and yield your body to God.
    • 1 John 5:4 For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.
    • Faith is the victory over and over again because the temptations exist as long as the body is alive.
  • Paul finally laments the whole dilemma, but rejoices in Jesus Christ in verses 24-25!