The Apple Of God's Eye

December 21, 2009

Do Christians Become Dead To The Law By The Body Of Christ?

What did Paul mean in Romans 7:4, when he said, “Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God”?

Notice carefully what Paul said. He did not say, “The law is dead.” He clearly said, “Ye … are become dead.” The law of God did not perish. But the people became dead to the law by the body of Christ.

Verse 5 helps explain it. “For when we were in the flesh” — that is, before we were converted, and while we were living according to the pulls of the flesh — “the motions of sins, which were [manifest, revealed for what they were] by the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death.” Thus, when we were yet sinners, we were worthy of death in God’s sight, having transgressed His holy law.

“But now,” Paul explains in verse 6, “we are delivered from the law” — that is, from the inexorable death penalty of the law. Christ paid it for us — in our stead. The law of God no longer claims our lives, “that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.”

While sinners, we were worthy of execution. But, now, Paul says, we are dead to the law — that is, the penalty of death has been paid by another, Jesus Christ, who gave His life for us. So far as the law is concerned, the penalty is paid — we are dead, in Christ — and there is no further date with death for us, if we continue to live in Christ.

This verse in no way says the law is done away. It merely shows that Christ paid the penalty of the law for us. He died for us. We are dead with him (Rom. 6:3-4). No longer does condemnation await us (Rom. 8:1), because we are also made spiritually alive with Him through His resurrection (Rom. 6:4-5, 11).

No longer, then, are we in a sense married to sin, the way of the flesh, but we are to be “married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead [in newness of life], that we should bring forth fruit unto God” (Rom. 7:4).

So rather than doing away with the law of God, Rom. 7:4 actually magnifies the effect of the law on the life of the Christian.

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