Do you not know, brothers and sisters — for I am speaking to those who know the law — that the law has authority over someone only as long as that person lives? For example, by law a married woman is bound to her husband as long as he is alive, but if her husband dies, she is released from the law that binds her to him. So then, if she has sexual relations with another man while her husband is still alive, she is called an adulteress. But if her husband dies, she is released from that law and is not an adulteress if she marries another man.Romans 7:1-3
Paul uses an illustration to teach us the way to be free from the Law. The woman is us. She has two husbands, one following the other. Notice what the death of the first husband does to the woman's relationship to the Law. When the first husband dies, the woman is released from the Law. Not only is she released from her husband, but she also is released from the Law. If her husband dies, the Law can say nothing to her as to where she can go, and what she can do, and who she can be with. She is released from the Law. The death of the husband makes the woman dead to Law.
The first husband is Adam, this old life into which we were born. We were linked to it, married to it, and couldn't get away from it. Like a woman married to an old, cruel, mean husband, there is not much she can do about it. While she is married she is tied to that husband. She cannot have a second husband while she is married to the first. She is stuck with #1, and she has to share his lifestyle of bondage, corruption, shame and death. That is why we who were born into Adam have to share the lifestyle of fallen Adam.
If this woman, while she is married to her first husband, tries to live with another — for this lifestyle is sickening to her — she will be called an adulteress. Who calls her that? The Law does. The Law condemns her. It is only when the first husband dies that she is free from that condemnation of the Law and can marry again. When she does, the Law is absolutely silent; it has nothing to say to her at all. Verse 4 says,
So...you also died to the law through the body of Christ, that you might belong to another, to him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God.
What a fantastic verse! Here is the great, marvelous declaration of the gospel of our Lord Jesus. Notice how Paul draws the parallel:
So ... you also. We fit right into this. The key words here are
you also died to the law through the body of Christ.
The body of Christ refers to the death of the Lord Jesus on the cross.
Paul is referring to what the Scriptures say in many places — that on the cross the Lord Jesus was made sin for us. He took our place, as sinful humanity, on the cross. In other words: He became that first husband, that Adamic nature to which we were married. When he became that, he died. When he died, we were freed from the Law.
The Law has nothing to say to us anymore. We are free to be married to another, no longer to our Adam-like flesh, but instead to the risen Christ. Our first husband was crucified with Christ; our second husband is Christ, now risen from the dead. We now share his name. We share his power. We share his experiences. We share his position, his glory, his hope, his dreams — all that he is, we now share! We are married to Christ, risen from the dead. The Law, therefore, has nothing to say to us.
Thank you for this Father. I pray that I may understand more fully that I am not under condemnation. Even though I struggle and don't always act on the principles revealed to me, nevertheless, you don't reject me, you don't cast me aside.
How did Christ's death change our relationship to the Law? How did Christ's resurrection change our identity? How does this profoundly affect the way we deal with both sin and guilt?