Tuesday 11 February 2014

Bible Book:

“But now we are discharged from the law, dead to that which held us captive, so that we are slaves not under the old written code by in the new life of the spirit.” (v. 6)

Romans 7:1-6 Tuesday 11 February 2014


Following on from yesterday's passage the apostle Paul now turnsto another illustration from life; that of marriage. However inthis instance his concern is not primarily to talk about freedomfrom sin, but freedom from the law. For Paul there is a close linkbetween the law and sin in which he believes that for those wholive in the realm of law, sin and death; the law itself provokessin within us, which ultimately leads to death. For him therelationship between sin and the law is very close - a verycontroversial thing to say as he is talking about the Law ofMoses.

Returning to the illustration from marriage, just as we need tounderstand slavery in Paul's time, we also need to understandmarriage from his perspective. And in essence the illustration froma woman's point of view is not terribly different from that ofslavery. The woman is according to verse 2 "bound by the law to herhusband as long as he lives". In other words, the woman in marriagecomes under the authority, realm or sphere of her husband.

It is at this point that we realise that this is a ratherlimited analogy by Paul even within his own context because theparallel breaks down. In the analogy it is the husband who dies,thus freeing the woman from his authority over her. However, thepoint he is illustrating is the idea of an individual dying andrising with Christ to a new life so that they are free from theauthority of the law. This is the meaning of the phrase "you havedied to the law through the body of Christ so that you may belongto another, to him who has been raised from the dead...' (v. 4).This is a key concept for Paul; that of dying and rising withChrist as distinct from Christ dying and rising for us. In order tomove from one sphere to the other it is not simply that Christ diedand rose for us, but that we are invited to die and rise again withhim.

To Ponder

  • The illustrations of slavery and marriage used by Paul are bothabout relationships but are very bound to his context. Whatillustrations from today's world would you use to illustrate hisideas?
  • Baptism reminds us about dying and rising with Christ. If youare baptized, what does your Baptism mean to you today?
  • What does "the new life of the spirit" mean to you?
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