Dead to the Law (Part 3)
Romans 7:4-5
"The underlying emphasis of the book of Romans is that salvation produces total transformation." ~ John MacArthur
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Published November 30th, 2018; Updated November 30th, 2018
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The Application (7:4-5)
Romans 7:4-5
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What did the passage mean to the biblical audience?
What's the difference between us and the biblical audience?
What's the theological principle(s)
How does the theological principle(s) fit with the rest of Scripture?
How should individual Christians today live out the theological principle(s)?
Dead to the Law (7:1-6)
Questions for Clarification
notes
The Application (7:4-5)
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Romans 7:4-5 NASB
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Romans 7:4-5
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4 Therefore, my brethren, you also were a made to die b to the Law c 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 a in the flesh, the sinful passions, which were b aroused by the Law, were at work c in 1 the members of our body to bear fruit for death.
What did the passage mean to the biblical audience?
Paul is telling his Roman audience that, because a person who has died is no longer bound by the law, they have also been made to die to the law, so that they can be joined to Christ. He goes on to say that this has happened with the purpose of them bearing fruit for God.
What's the difference between us and the biblical audience?
There is no difference in terms of the context of this passage.
What's the theological principle(s)
1. Christians have been made (by God) to die to the law, so that they can be joined to Christ. 2. The purpose of this is that they would bear fruit for God.
How does the theological principle(s) fit with the rest of Scripture?
2 Cor 11:2 - Paul refers to Christ as our Husband to whom we are to be presented as a pure virgin. Eph 5:24-27 - A picture is given of the relationship between husbands and wives, using Christ and the church as the prime example. Eph 2:10 - We are created in Christ for good works, so that we would walk in them, and God has prepared these good works beforehand. Gal 2:19-20 - Paul explains that he has died to the Law through the Law, so that he could live to God. He was crucified together with Christ. 2 Cor 6:14-18 - In the same way that we are to be bound together (joined) with Christ, we are to be separate from the world, unbelievers, and sin. 1 Cor 6:15-17 - Because we have become one with Christ, our bodies are members of Christ. How could we then make out members one with sin, like becoming one with a prostitute, thereby joining Christ with that sin?
How should individual Christians today live out the theological principle(s)?
1. We should remember that God says that we have died to the Law and have been joined to Christ. 2. If that is true of us, it has happened so that we would bear fruit for God. We are to be holy as God is holy. If we are joined to Christ, how could we live any other way than obedient to the Son of God to whom we have been joined?
Dead to the Law (7:1-6)
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Romans 7:1-6
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Or do you not know, a brethren ( for I am speaking to those who know the law), that the law has jurisdiction over a person [as long as he lives] as long as he lives?
The Axiom (7:1)
For a the married woman is bound by law to her 1 husband while he is living ; but if her husband dies , [ then ] she is released from the law 2 concerning the husband. So then , if while her husband is living she is joined to another man, [ then ] she shall be called an adulteress; but if her husband dies , [ then ] she is free from the law [if her husband has died] , so that she is not an adulteress though she is joined to another man.
The Analogy (7:2-3)
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Therefore , my brethren, you also were a made to die b to the Law
The Application (7:4-5)
through the body of Christ,
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so that you might be joined to another (Christ),
to Him who was raised from the dead,
generalspecific
actionpurpose
in order that we might bear fruit for God.
For while we were a in the flesh,
the sinful passions,
which were b aroused by the Law,
were at work c in 1 the members of our body
[ in order ] to bear fruit for death.
temporal
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But now we have been a released from the Law,
The Affirmation (7:6)
having b died to that by which we were bound,
so that we serve in c newness of d the 1 Spirit
and not in oldness of the letter.
The Axiom (7:1) and the Analogy (7:2-3) Paul directs another rhetorical question to his Roman audience, one which they should know the obvious answer to, in making his point - that the law is only binding on the living. Since Paul has already made clear that the believer has died to sin and the law, this has the implication of saying that the law no longer is binding on the believer. He illustrates this by using an analogy from marriage law.
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Questions for Clarification
Q. What does the "therefore" connect to in 7:4a? A. The "therefore" connects back to Paul's axiom and its descriptive analogy given in 7:1-3. The application is what God has done - making them die to the law so they can be joined to Christ - because the law only has jurisdiction over a person as long as he lives. Q. How were they "made to die" to the law? A. "'Were made to die' translates the aorist tense of θανατοω, which emphasizes the completeness and finality of death. The verb is also passive, indicating that believers do not die naturally or put themselves to death, but have been made to die by the divine act of God in response to faith in His Son." ~ MacArthur's New Testament Commentary on Romans In Rom 6:6 Paul has already stated that "old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin;" We were "made to die" through the crucifixion of Christ, having died together with Him. Q. What is the purpose of us dying to the law and being joined to Christ, according to 7:4e? A. "The underlying emphasis of the book of Romans is that Salvation produces total transformation. Through Jesus' death and resurrection, God 'made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him' (2 Cor 5:21). The purpose of our being joined to Christ is that we might bear fruit for God. 'For we are His workmanship,' Paul tells the Ephesians, 'created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them' (Eph 2:10). He gives additional insight in his letter to Galatia: 'For through the Law I died to the Law, that I might live to God. I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me, and delivered Himself up for me" (Gal 2:19-20). The transformed life will bear fruit for God." ~ MacArthur's New Testament Commentary on Romans Q. Why, or in what way, was the sinful passions aroused by the law (7:5)? A. "The Law, in declaring what is wrong, also arouses evil in the unregenerate person because his naturally rebellious nature makes him want to do the very things he learns are forbidden." ~ MacArthur's New Testament Commentary on Romans The manifestation of this truth is most clearly seen in children who feel more temptation to do something once they are told not to do it. Q. How were the sinful passions at work in the members of our body? A. "The believer's old life was characterized by the unceasing work of his sinful passions in the members of his body to bear fruit for death. 'Work' is from a Greek verb meaning 'to operate with power.' We get our word 'energy' from it. The phrase 'members of our body' sums up the whole person in all his components as being the victim of sinful passions energized to produce the fruit of ultimate and eternal divine judgment in death." ~ MacArthur's New Testament Commentary on Romans Q. Is the sinful passion no longer at work in the members of our body, now that we have been made to die to the law and joined to Christ (7:5)? A. Since, as Christians, we still do sin, I think it's safe to say that these sinful passions are still working in the members of our body. John says that "if we say we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us" (1 John 1:8). We are commanded to resist the devil, to battle against our sinful desires, to not present our members as slaves to impurity and sin, the clear implication that we can do the opposite of that command. If Romans 7:14-25 is written out of the perspective of a believer and speaks to the indwelling sin in Christians, this would further indicate that these passions still is at work in us. Q. How does our purpose differ now, after being made to die and raised from the dead to be joined to Christ, from before, while we were in the flesh? A. Previously, when we were in the flesh, our sinful passions was at work in order to bear fruit for death. Now, we have died to the law and been joined to Christ, in order to bear fruit for God. Q. What is the fruit that we should bear for God? A. "Godly fruit exists basically in two dimensions: attitude and action. The fruit of the Holy Spirit in a believer's life is manifested internally in his attitudes of 'love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control' (Gal 5:22-23). As far as godly actions are concerned, Jesus said, 'I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it, that it may bear more fruit" (John 15:1-2). The writer of Hebrews speaks of 'the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name (Heb 13:15), and Paul prayed that Philippian believers would be prepared for the day of Christ by being 'filled with the fruit of righteousness which comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God' (Phi 1:11)." ~ MacArthur's New Testament Commentary on Romans
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