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Romans 7:1-13

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Romans 7:1
Romans 7:1–2 ESV
1 Or do you not know, brothers—for I am speaking to those who know the law—that the law is binding on a person only as long as he lives? 2 For a married woman is bound by law to her husband while he lives, but if her husband dies she is released from the law of marriage.
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SLIDE 3
Romans 7:3–4 ESV
3 Accordingly, she will be called an adulteress if she lives with another man while her husband is alive. But if her husband dies, she is free from that law, and if she marries another man she is not an adulteress. 4 Likewise, my brothers, you also have died to the law through the body of Christ, so that you may belong to another, to him who has been raised from the dead, in order that we may bear fruit for God.
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SLIDE 4
Romans 7:5–7 ESV
5 For while we were living in the flesh, our sinful passions, aroused by the law, were at work in our members to bear fruit for death. 6 But now we are released from the law, having died to that which held us captive, so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit and not in the old way of the written code. 7 What then shall we say? That the law is sin? By no means! Yet if it had not been for the law, I would not have known sin. For I would not have known what it is to covet if the law had not said, “You shall not covet.”
Romans 7:
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INTRO:
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We are currently embroiled in the middle of a challenging message, explaining to us, the rule of the law, the rule of grace, the valuable and negative experiences of death… and the tyranny of sin. .
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Once again, the book of Romans has us wading deep into some challenging doctrine. This is the stuff, that we preachers are encouraged to brush over. This doesn’t make for an engaging sermon. This is not heavy on practical personal application. The witty illustrations are few and far between.
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And yet.... -here we are. We have 3 solid chapters of heavy doctrine… and I think you can handle it. In fact, I think many of you here relish in this kind of stuff… so… without apology, we are moving forward…
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Here’s what we’ve tackled so far…
For the believer who acknowledges Jesus as Messiah… the law has taken on a new life.
*On our behalf… The Law if fulfilled. -Before the cross, it was unfulfilled… in that, it could not save or make anyone righteous… and as it revealed our inability to be holy… it caused us to look forward to a Messiah who would save us from our sins.
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*Now that Jesus has completed His mission, we are able to go back to the law and the prophets, and see how they so frequently point to, and speak of Jesus.
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The law demands that we meet its righteous requirements. Humanity, broken by sin will always discover... that this is impossible. But Jesus has met those righteous requirements on our behalf… therefore, the law is no longer our means to gain righteousness before God. Our righteousness before God is not gained or earned. It is simply given freely because of Jesus.
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Because of all this… we are no longer governed before God as those who are under the law. We are those who are led by the Spirit… and those who are led by the Spirit are not under the law. Instead, we are governed by grace.
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The lesson continues in chapter 7. In chapter six, this law discussion focused much on the tyranny of sin..
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But chapter seven shifts that focus, speaking at length of the powerlessness of the law.
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As we move into the first six verses, we learn that the Christian has died to the law… so that they can be set free to experience a new and fruitful relationship with Christ.
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SLIDE 5
Romans 7:1 ESV
1 Or do you not know, brothers—for I am speaking to those who know the law—that the law is binding on a person only as long as he lives?
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Paul sets his lesson up by stating something absurdly obvious.
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If you’re dead… the law is no longer binding.
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Dead people don’t have to worry about the speed limit. Dead people aren’t breaking any embezzlement laws. Dead people are not required to pay taxes.
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If a living person commits a crime… law enforcement will pursue them… but, if they die before they are caught… well, they stop pursuing you. -You are no longer at risk of prosecution.
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So… this is the principle. - The law rules a person only while they live..
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As we move into verses 2-3… we are not getting a lesson on divorce and remarriage. There are other places in the Bible where that message is given directly..
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IN this case… we are simply being given an illustration that serves the lesson that Paul is teaching.. .
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SLIDE 6
Romans 7:2–3 ESV
2 For a married woman is bound by law to her husband while he lives, but if her husband dies she is released from the law of marriage. 3 Accordingly, she will be called an adulteress if she lives with another man while her husband is alive. But if her husband dies, she is free from that law, and if she marries another man she is not an adulteress.
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Paul uses the seventh commandment… “thou shalt not commit adultery.” to illustrate this point.
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Biblically speaking, there is a law that governs the marriage relationship, and God is very serious about it. - But here, the point is being made… that death ends the obligation to that law.
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Simply stated, one relationship is terminated, because of death… so that another relationship may begin.
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Now.. moving into verse 4, we are given the application.
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SLIDE 7
Romans 7:4 ESV
4 Likewise, my brothers, you also have died to the law through the body of Christ, so that you may belong to another, to him who has been raised from the dead, in order that we may bear fruit for God.
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Paul intentionally uses the same language… literally… the same word to speak of the relationship that the woman has with her new husband… and the relationship that we now have with grace.
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The repeated verb is “JOINED TO”..
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The end of verse 3… THE WORD IS TRANSLATED: marries.... and in vs. 4, it’s translated, ‘belong to’.
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A few things to take note of here… -When it says, “you also have died to the law”… that word died: IS LITERALLY TRANSLATED: “have been put to death”… which means, this wasn’t your action… it was thrust upon you by an outside force. In terms of the law, someone else, has put you to death.
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IF you dig into the grammar, you find out, that God is the one who has done this work of “putting us to death” in terms of the law. Now… that might be a difficult thing to grasp. Why would God put us to death? - Well, even though it sounds like a bad thing… the unique application of this death… is actually, an amazing work of grace.
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Just like anything else that falls under the umbrella of grace… we can’t do it on our own… and we can’t attain it in our own strength. -
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Because of the conquering work of Jesus on cross… God has intervened on behalf of every soul who receives His forgiveness… AND… according the wording here… HE HAS “PUT US TO DEATH” to the law. He has brought us to a place, where the demands of the law are no longer binding.
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How have we been put to death? -it says here… through the body of Christ. - Paul explains this to us with familiar passage in
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SLIDE 8
Galatians 2:20 ESV
20 I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
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Verse 4 goes on to tell us why God did this. “so that you may belong to another, to him who has been raised from the dead....”
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Now… maybe you’ve noticed an inconsistency with Paul’s illustration compared to Paul’s application. -
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IN HIS ILLUSTRATION: He’s speaking of the wife whose husband dies. The one who goes on living, is set free to marry another..
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In his application: IT’S NOT THE LIVING ONE THAT IS SET FREE TO BE JOINED TO A NEW RELATIONSHIP… Nope. It’s the dead one.
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The law is not dead. It is alive and well. IN FACT… The law is God’s standard by which He will judge all humanity. Nothing has changed.
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When we are judged… our advocate, Jesus, will be pronounced innocent because He fulfilled the requirements of the law… And because we are those.... who, according to no longer live… . - But are living because He lives in us.. - We are righteous, because HE is righteous..
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But the rest of the world… will be judged according to this standard… And they will realize before that terrible throne of judgment… that they have fallen short in their own efforts to fulfill His requirements.
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The law is still alive… - Therefore, if we are to be set free from it. it is us… WHO NEEDS TO DIE… We are present, on that cross in the sense that we bear responsibility for what happened there. Never the less… we live. And as those who live, we try to live by faith, the life of Jesus.
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The example differs… but the message is the same. -The key point: is that death ends the first relationship and makes possible the second.
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Now… moving to the end of verse 4… WE FIND OUT WHY. - What are we… who have been set free from the requirements.... from the curse… from the powerlessness of the law … now called to do?
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Vs. 4 tells us… that we belong to Christ… “In order that we may bear fruit for God.”
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So… vs. 1 - we are given the principle. The Law rules a person only while they live.
IN vs. 2-3 - WE are given an illustration. In death, we are set free from one relationship, so that we may begin a new relationship.
IN v.s 4… WE are given the application of this principle in the life of the believer..
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Now, as we move into verse 5… our incredible need for this new relationship is explained.
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SLIDE 9
Romans 7:5 ESV
5 For while we were living in the flesh, our sinful passions, aroused by the law, were at work in our members to bear fruit for death.
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Here, we begin to see how vitally important the death, resurrection and new marriage of verse 4 is.
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In contrast to being alive in Christ, Paul shows us what being alive in the flesh leads to.
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This is what people apart from Jesus are living for… they are living to fulfill the sinful passions which are continually aroused within them. These overwhelming appetites, with self at the center… do not produce fruit unto God.. , but in contrast to vs. four… these folks are producing fruit for death.
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Now… here is where Paul tries really hard to confuse us… and succeeds at it too.
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What wakes up our sinful passions? - Look what it says in vs. 5… - It’s the law.
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Considering this in light of the illustration of verse 2 and 3… our old husband told us what to do, and we responded to him with disregard and rebellion.
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We were thinking about taking the trash out… it was starting to get stinky. But, when the old husband told us we had to… suddenly, we wanted it to stay in the house.
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We never had a problem with the idea of cleaning up the kitchen. We intended to work on it shortly… but, the moment the old husband demanded that we clean it… In that moment… we decided that it can just stay dirty.
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We had never thought about whether we drove slow or fast… we just went with the flow… but when the old husband told us to slow down… suddenly, more than anything… we wanted to put the pedal to the metal.
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So… what we see in Verse 5 is a picture of a life in desperate need of Jesus… But… there’s a change inVerse 6 … here we get a picture of a life which enjoys the grace and the blessings of knowing Jesus.
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SLIDE 10
Romans 7:6 ESV
6 But now we are released from the law, having died to that which held us captive, so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit and not in the old way of the written code.
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What a relief. We have been set free from that old husband in verse 4 that continually sparks a rebellious response in us.
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To make this possible, God had to kill us with Christ, raise us from the dead, and released us from our bondage to the law.
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This verse would have been more applicable to the Jews, but I believe it resounds truth to any of us who have walked in religion apart from a personal relationship with Jesus…
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We used to serve in the old way of the written code. … or as your translation might say… in the ‘oldness of letter’. We read the rules, and we strived in our flesh to follow those rules, because thought that by doing, God would be pleased.
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It was hopeless. It did not work. It only revealed our inadequacies. It only revealed how much we fall short. It only revealed that we were incapable of perfection. It continually revealed a rebellious compulsion from within us, every time we were told to do something.
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Paul expounds all the more on this in the following verses.
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SLIDE 11
Romans 7:7–8 ESV
7 What then shall we say? That the law is sin? By no means! Yet if it had not been for the law, I would not have known sin. For I would not have known what it is to covet if the law had not said, “You shall not covet.” 8 But sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment, produced in me all kinds of covetousness. For apart from the law, sin lies dead.
Romans 7:7
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SLIDE 12
Romans 7:9–10 ESV
9 I was once alive apart from the law, but when the commandment came, sin came alive and I died. 10 The very commandment that promised life proved to be death to me.
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SLIDE 13
Romans 7:11–13 ESV
11 For sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment, deceived me and through it killed me. 12 So the law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good. 13 Did that which is good, then, bring death to me? By no means! It was sin, producing death in me through what is good, in order that sin might be shown to be sin, and through the commandment might become sinful beyond measure.
ROMANS
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Paul is speaking to human nature here… -And in doing so, is saying some very troubling things about the Law.
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In 3:20, we learned that the law can not justify us.
In 5:20 , we learned that… before the law… there were many sinners, but only one trespasser… that is, Adam. However, when the law came, a whole lot of sinners became trespassers as well.
IN 6:14, we learn, that the best thing that can happen to us… is to be released from the law, in order that we can be under grace.
And now.. in chapter 7:5.. we learn that our sinful passions are generally quiet… until they become aware of the law.. after which, more sin is stirred up within us.
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Imagine what a reader in Rome might be thinking…
==Does Paul think the law of Moses is a bad thing?
== I thought it was given by God?
==when did God change His mind and decided that something good, is now bad?
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Paul is aware that some might think this… so in vs. 7, he says, by no means is it bad. and later in vs. 12 and 13, he says.. the law is holy, righteous and good. The law did not bring death… it was sin that did that..
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There’s a reciprocal logic being laid out in this passage..
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When the Law on the outside… meeds the sin on the inside… sin will find an opportunity to exploit the good law… and the good law will exposes sin beyond measure.
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IN vs. 7… the second half… Paul connects to a few things he has already written.
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The law wasn’t given until Moses… but, before that… there was still sin in the world. - He says this directly in 5:13 (for sin indeed was in the world before the law… )
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In … it says, before the law was given… God’s invisible attributes were clearly seen… and men were w/o excuse..
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But.... when the law became a reality… sin was exposed in a more pronounced way.
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- For example.. When I do something selfish, it is selfish even if no one has told me not to be selfish. But… when God tells me it’s wrong to be selfish and I go ahead and am selfish, my selfishness is clearly seen to be wrong.
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In vss 8-11… we learn that sin exploits the law.. - The law is intended to show people what is right… and how to live the right way… and how to please God… and how to love and honor God.. =+
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But sin reacts differently to this. It might be quiet, sleeping, out of sight… but it will use the revelation of the law, as an excuse to come roaring awake.
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I read one commentator explain it this way:
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“A man sits in a room tied to a sleeping monster called ‘sin’. He is, in a precarious sense, ‘alive’ while the monster dozes. But, when the law enters the room and says in a loud voice to the man that he must kill the monster… what happens?
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well, the monster wakes up. It doesn’t want to be killed. - If it’s your life or mine, says the monster, - that’s an easy choice. And so the man dies, killed by his own monster, awakened by the law.
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This illustration parallels what happened in the garden back in . Adam and Eve were fully alive, apart from the law. They walked with God in the garden… But then: the commandment came: () “but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”
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After this command: something that was quiet, dormant, and out of the picture.... SPRUNG TO LIFE. The serpent aroused in them the opportunity for sin.. , deceived them… and they died, spiritually, and they were expelled from the garden.
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In case anyone was drawing a wrong conclusion… Paul tells them in vs. 12 - the law is holy.. the commandment is righteous and good. - But, vs. 13… when it exposes sin… Something bad wakes up… and sin, under provocation of the law… IS SEEN AS BEING ‘SINFUL BEYOND MEASURE’.
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CONCLUSION:
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This is the struggle, of the law… apart from Jesus. It calls us to live a righteous life to please God… but it inevitably shows us that we can’t please God through the law… because our imperfections are continually revealed.
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Verse 10 reveals the mystery… ‘the very commandment that promised life proved to be death.”
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Folks… the commandments promise life… but they do so, in revealing our desperate need for Jesus. They do so, in pointing us towards a Savior. They do so, in revealing our inability to fulfill the law to gain righteousness.
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Life isn’t found in the law alone… only in the pointing…
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There is so much more to say… to bring understanding to this lesson… and until we can see chapters 6-8 in their entirety… we will have a lot of questions that remain unanswered.
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But, this is where we must end.
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