ROMANS, CHAPTER 7
Romans 6: 22-23) [NIV] But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life.
QUESTION: What benefit does our being “set free from sin” give us?
ANSWER: We now have the promise of eternal life.
QUESTION: What does holiness mean?
ANSWER: The Greek work “hagiasmos” is used 10 times in the N.T. It’s translated “holiness” 5 times, and it’s translated “sanctification” 5 times. Holiness is sanctification! Sanctification is holiness! WE ARE IN GOD’S PILE OF STUFF!
NOTE: I’m talking about positional “sanctification” above. Progressive sanctification is the process of spiritual growth taking place in our lives. It’s the work of the Holy Spirit empowering us to overcome the sin that dwells in the members of our bodies.
23) [NIV] For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
QUESTION: What’s the difference between a wage and a gift?
ANSWER: A wage is something we earn as an agreed amount of money for an agreed amount of work. A gift is something we receive as a token of good will from the giver.
QUESTION: What is this verse telling us?
ANSWER: If we go to Hell it’s because we earned it. If we go to Heaven it’s because we received it. It is a gift freely given to us by a benevolent God.
On To This Week’s Lesson:
Romans 7:1-13) [NIV] Do you not know, brothers-for I am speaking to men who know the law-that the law has authority over a man only as long as he lives?
2) [NIV] 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 of marriage.
3) [NIV] So then, if she marries 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, even though she marries another man.
QUESTION: Why is Paul suddenly talking about the Law as it applies to marriage?
ANSWER: Paul told us in the last chapter that we have died to the Law in Christ. He is now building on the principle.
QUESTION: What does the Law of marriage tell us regarding a woman?
ANSWER: If she leaves her husband and marries another man while her former husband is still alive she is called an adulteress; if she marries another man after her former husband dies she is not called an adulteress.
QUESTION: Is this all the Law teaches regarding marriage?
Deuteronomy 24:1-4) [NIV] If a man marries a woman who becomes displeasing to him because he finds something indecent about her, and he writes her a certificate of divorce, gives it to her and sends her from his house,
2) [NIV] and if after she leaves his house she becomes the wife of another man,
3) [NIV] and her second husband dislikes her and writes her a certificate of divorce, gives it to her and sends her from his house, or if he dies,
4) [NIV] then her first husband, who divorced her, is not allowed to marry her again after she has been defiled. That would be detestable in the eyes of the LORD. Do not bring sin upon the land the LORD your God is giving you as an inheritance.
QUESTION: What do preachers of our day, who teach that Paul is telling the Romans about a strict Law that prohibits divorce and remarriage, say regarding divorced couples who are now married to others?
ANSWER: They teach they must divorce their current mates and remarry each other, or live single the remainder of their lives, or wait for one of them to die so the other can remarry.
NOTE: Moses says it’s “detestable in the eyes of the LORD” to remarry your first mate after he/she has been married to someone else.
QUESTION: Then why does Paul say here that being married to someone else while your former mate is still alive is adultery?
ANSWER: He’s not teaching on divorce is this passage; he’s teaching on our having died to the Law. He is simply using the general Law of marriage as an illustration.
NOTE: Paul teaches more in depth on marriage and divorce in I Corinthians, Chapter 7. That’s a topic for another day. Suffice it to say, for now, that Paul is using this example of marriage and divorce in our current chapter of discussion to illustrate how we have died to the Law.
4) [NIV] So, my brothers, 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 to God.
(KJV) 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.
QUESTION: What is the conclusion of Paul’s example?
ANSWER: Since we have died to the Law death has broken the bond of marriage, and we are free from our former vows, and can now be married to Christ.
QUESTION: What’s different about the conclusion Paul draws from his example and the actual end result of the Law concerning marriage and death?
ANSWER: In the teaching of the Law that gives the woman a right to remarry it’s the survivor who has that right; in Paul’s conclusion here it’s the one who died who has that right. The idea is that just as we died to the Law in Christ we have also risen with Christ. Our death freed us from the Law, but now that we’re alive in Christ we are free to “marry” Him; i.e., we are free to be united to Him.
5) [NIV] For when we were controlled by the sinful nature, the sinful passions aroused by the law were at work in our bodies, so that we bore fruit for death.
6) [NIV] But now, by dying to what once bound us, we have been released from the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code.
QUESTION: Who is the “we” in these two verses?
ANSWER: Paul is saying, “We Jews who have put our faith in Christ,” were controlled by the sinful nature prior to our conversions.
QUESTION: Because of our fallen nature, sin dwells in the members of our flesh, but what arouses those sinful passions?
ANSWER: The Law arouses those sinful passions. The Law did it to faithful Jews prior to the cross, and the Law does it to all of us who follow Christ this side of the cross.
QUESTION: What’s the Good News of the Gospel found in these verses?
ANSWER: The fact is that we believers have been “released from the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit.” This is a spiritual fact! The problem we have is we don’t always believe it; consequently, we often walk outside of that truth.
7) [NIV] What shall we say, then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! Indeed I would not have known what sin was except through the law. For I would not have known what coveting really was if the law had not said, “Do not covet.”
8) [NIV] But sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, produced in me every kind of covetous desire. For apart from law, sin is dead.
QUESTION: How does the Law still benefit us?
ANSWER: It exposes sin! We know what sin is because of the Law.
QUESTION: How did sin take advantage of the Law?
ANSWER: Sin made the forbidden look good! We were told by the Law, “Thou shall not!” Sin said, “Yeah! But doesn’t it look good? Doesn’t it sound fun!”
NOTE: When there’s something that’s forbidden it becomes all the more enticing.
QUESTION: Did sin only take advantage of the Law on the other side of the cross, before Grace appeared?
ANSWER: No! It still takes advantage of the Law because even though God has freed us from the Law, we do not fully walk in that freedom.
NOTE: When we attempt to find favor with God by doing what is right, we naturally then conclude that when we fail to do what’s right we fall out of God’s favor. That’s Law! Consequently, that kind of thinking opens the door for Sin to take advantage of the Law.
9) [NIV] Once I was alive apart from law; but when the commandment came, sin sprang to life and I died.
10) [NIV] I found that the very commandment that was intended to bring life actually brought death.
11) [NIV] For sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, deceived me, and through the commandment put me to death.
QUESTION: When was Paul, a Jew, ever “alive apart from law”?
ANSWER: I believe that Paul is referring to that time in his life when he had not reached the age of accountability. He wasn’t old enough to understand right from wrong. When he reached that age where clarity came, he then understood right from wrong, the commandment forbidding the wrong became clear to him, and he spiritually died.
NOTE: Once God holds us accountable we are dead in our sins!
QUESTION: What happened at that time in Paul’s life when understanding came?
ANSWER: He discovered that the very Law that was intended to bring life actually brought death to him. He found himself hopelessly lost.
ANSWER: Sin took advantage of the commandment, made the forbidden look desirable, Paul succumbed to the temptation, and then the commandment that he had broken pronounced him death.
12) [NIV] So then, the law is holy, and the commandment is holy, righteous and good.
QUESTION: Do we then conclude that there is something wrong with the Law?
ANSWER: Of course not! God wrote this Law! The Law is absolutely, in every way, holy! Every last commandment of the Law is “holy, righteous and good.” THERE IS NO FAULT IN THE LAW!
QUESTION: Then why is it that “the very commandment that was intended to bring life actually brought death”?
ANSWER: Paul will answer that question in Chapter 8.
13) [NIV] Did that which is good, then, become death to me? By no means! But in order that sin might be recognized as sin, it produced death in me through what was good, so that through the commandment sin might become utterly sinful.
QUESTION: Did the Law kill us?
ANSWER: No! Sin killed us by utilizing the Law to tempt us to do the forbidden.
QUESTION: What is the purpose of the Law?
ANSWER: The purpose of the Law is to define sin (vs. 7), and to show how horrible sin is by showing us how sin worked death in us through our breaking the Law. Sin worked death in us through utilizing the “holy” Law, with its “holy, righteous and good” commandments.
Walk of Grace Chapel, Council Bluffs Church