The Law Gives Us No Power
Prepared by Dr. John E. Marshall
Romans 74a Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by
the body of Christ
Being dead to Law means we do not look to it for salvation or condemnation. The Law never was meant to save us, and believers cannot suffer the everlasting punishment Law would normally require of us. We have escaped what we deserved.
The original intent of Law was to define sin, to point out its true nature, and to convince people they need a Savior. The Law still exists for these purposes. It has not ceased to exist. Its justice has been satisfied, but Law is not dead.
Believers are still expected to live according to Gods Law. We are dead to it as a means of salvation, but not as evidence of salvation. We obey out of gratitude for salvation received, not as a requirement to receive salvation.
Romans 74b . . .that ye should be married to another, even to him who is
raised from the dead,
Unbelievers are married to the Law, but believers are counted as dead to this first husband, and married to a second husband, Jesus. The purpose of Law is to serve as a schoolmaster, a childhood tutor and guardian leading us to Jesus. The Law should present us in marriage to Christ, but a lost person prefers the schoolmaster to the God-intended Groom.
Believers have accepted the God-given Groom. Since we have a new husband, we ought to change our ways. Our first marriage was a slavery to sin, but we should view our service to God as that of a wife to her beloved husband. The service of the most faithful servant cannot compare to the loving devotion of a wife to her husband.
When we offend the Lord, we should sense the shame of an embarrassed wife rather than the terrors of a slave. We should not feel condemned, but be conscious of having offended love. Our reaction to sin should be absolute heartbreak.
Believers should never consider for even a moment that condemnation might be a possibility in their life. Whenever the Law, our first husband, seems to threaten us with condemnation, refer our feelings at once to our new husband.
Do not let the former husband harass us and condemn us. To fear him is tantamount to doubting the security provided by our new husband. Being fearful and doubtful regarding our security is evidence of distrust toward God.
We have a new husband. He is loyal and true and strong. Trust him. Quit worrying about our first husband so much. Dwell on our new mate.
Our marriage to Christ cannot be destroyed. He can never die we can never die. Hence, the marriage bond will never be broken. We are married to Jesus forever. Neither sin, hell, the Law, nor all Satans demons can break our union with Jesus.
Romans 74c . . .that we should bring forth fruit unto God.
Marriage is to result in offspring our union with Christ is no exception. Our new marriage produces fruit unto God. Good works are children of this new union. A believer seeks to live totally to the Lord. Our focus should be trying to please Him.
What a contrast to our first marriage. It produced only fruitlessness, shame, and death (621). The lost person lives for self. No matter how good they appear to be, their activities and thoughts swirl about their own needs and desires.
They want to be moral to be at peace with conscience or to impress others. Much of what they do is due to a desire for social acceptability. They desire to please themselves, and worse, they think they can be good enough to save themselves.
The two spiritual marriages are worlds apart in their results. The first is self-centered, the second God-centered. The first is a life that tries to pry salvation from God the second is a life of gratitude and thankfulness. The first brings death, the second eternal life. This last thought leads us to the next verse.
Romans 75 For when we were in the flesh, the motions of sin, which were by
the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death.
For tells us this verse will explain why we are married to Christ. Our bond to Law must be dissolved for it cannot help us produce fruit pleasing to God.
A life pleasing to God is impossible apart from union with Christ. Until the Son is accepted and loved, the Father cannot be pleased. No matter how good a lost person is, he or she still is flagrantly rejecting the Crucified Christ. No good can ever counterbalance a deed as dastardly as this.
A lost persons whole life is lived in the flesh apart from life in the Spirit. Unbelievers are at the mercy of their motions of sin. Motions refers to passions, affections, desires, lusts, excitements, and impulses that flow from within a person.
In a lost person these impulses are sinful. An unbridled inward commotion is always brewing. One result of the Fall is that it takes natural God-given desires and perverts them into motions of sin.
Fruit unto God cannot come out of such sinful chaos as this. Only through Jesus can there be found the kind of life principle that produces the right kind of fruit.
The worst result of the lost life is that it leads to death. Everything about it points to destruction. Its end result is unspeakably horrible.
Lost friend, please leave that life. It is foolish to clutch it as near and dear. In one of his hymns, Philip Doddridge asks With ashes who would grudge to part Ashes No word better describes the futility of lostness. That life will eventually burn out, leaving as its only result ashes. Please forsake your first husband and flee to the God-intended Groom, Jesus.
Romans 76a But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein
we were held
Literally, We are discharged from the Law. We have died to what (the Law) once held us. The Law binds every person before conversion. They are under its bondage, clinging to it for salvation, yet dreading it for its possible condemnation.
Believers are discharged from its bondage. At conversion, we were reckoned as having part in Jesus crucifixion. God accounts us as dead to sin and the Law. The result is a discharge from what we deserve from Law, a discharge from trying to earn salvation by Law, and a discharge from fearing condemnation due to the Law.
The Law is like an enchanter that casts a spell over people. We become enthralled with it, thinking it alone can give us life. The only way to escape its spell is to be willing to die to it, but this is painfully dangerous. One has to renounce what is well known and comfortable for that which is unknown. But it must be done.
The Law holds sinners as a master does his slaves, as justice does condemned criminals in jail, as an army does a soldier, and as Death does a corpse.
However, the moment God reckons one as dead to sin and the Law, that person is immediately discharged from the Law, and counted as released from slavery, justice, enlistment, and death, because he or she is reckoned as dead to these things. A Master has no control over a dead slave justice cannot control a dead criminal an army cannot control a dead soldier death cannot control one who is dead to sin, and has received eternal life.
Conversion means discharge from all these things. Everything is replaced by a world of grace, and the old world cannot condemn us. A discharged soldier has absolutely no fear of even the most tyrannizing drill-sergeant. A discharged criminal passes by prison guards with absolutely no fear of being subject to them. Even so, a Christian is discharged from the Law. We can walk by it without fearing we must obey it to be saved, and without fearing that it may someday condemn us.
But, lest we misunderstand, Paul will press on in the rest of this verse to remind us being discharged from Law does not mean we have no standard for living. We are still under subjection. There is service to be rendered, but it is quite different from that which we rendered in our first marriage.
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