Chapter # 7 Paragraph # 1 Study # 1
Thesis: "Law", as a basic aspect of the revelation of the character of God, has been removed from its "place of focus" in the minds of men so that they might relate to The God on the basis of grace.
Introduction: In our studies of Romans six we saw that the large issue of the chapter is the answer to the question "How Are We To Function Under Grace in Light of Our Pronounced Tendency to Sin?". We also saw that the answer was given in two large portions of the chapter. First was the answer that addresses our unity with The Christ so that we are to consider ourselves "dead indeed to The Sin and alive to The God" (6:11). And the second was the answer that addresses our position within a cause/effect relational universe as those who are "slaves" to a most basic principle of behavior: hear, yield, present, do, and reap; and, as those whose "bondage" will either be to The Sin or to The God.
This evening we are going to begin an extended look into the most problematical issue within this larger scenario to address this issue: How do we understand "Law" and its impact upon us?
October 2, 2016
- I. The Larger Issue of the Context.
- A. The fact that Paul turns immediately to "Law" after having laid out the reality of "Grace" in respect to "The Sin" has a significant implication ["Or..."].
- B. That implication is what Paul addresses in his opening words: it is possible to "know" "Law" and yet be "ignorant" of a very basic aspect of its place in this relational universe in which we live.
- C. That such ignorance can exist even after 1500 years of rigorous subjection to "Law" means something very critical: the truths that govern our relationships are not easily understood.
- 1. This issue of "ignorance" was raised by Paul at the beginning of this subject in 6:3.
- 2. This issue is also now raised even though Paul quickly acknowledges that his readers have a pretty significant "knowledge" of "law".
- II. The Issue of This Paragraph.
- A. On the one hand, Paul appeals to a very basic reality within the relational world regarding "The Law".
- 1. The Law says that any married woman is branded as an adulteress if she is joined to any man who is not her husband.
- 2. However, The Law also says that if the husband dies, the woman is free to remarry and, thus, be joined to another man.
- a. In this case, she is not branded as an adulteress even though her action is exactly the same as an adulteress.
- b. This case is a matter of a change in the "relational unity" that exists between married people: it has been destroyed by death.
- B. On the other hand, Paul introduces a very profound reality of which most are almost totally unaware.
- 1. Paul chose the marriage illustration deliberately because of its ability to illustrate the issues that make "ignorance" go away.
- 2. In the illustration, there is a union of "two" into "one" by marriage that can be broken into the former "two" reality by death.
- 3. The illustration fits Paul's thought precisely because he has already addressed the fact of the existence of a plurality within man's makeup in 6:6 (there is an "us" and an "old man").
- 4. In Paul's grasp of man's makeup, there is a "wife" reality within us and a "husband" reality within us that is a "unity reality" as long as we are alive.
- C. The point of this paragraph is that the previous concept of our identification with Christ is a concept of "the death of the old man" with Him so that "we" might be joined to Him in a new type of reality and existence.
- 1. In this paragraph, it is Paul's intention to show ...
- a. That "Law" governed the original unity of man; ...
- b. That "Law" was not only hopeless of producing fruit unto God, it was actually the critical element that made such fruitfulness impossible; ...
- c. And that a new reality has entered the picture in a way that makes his illustration regarding adultery directly applicable.
- 2. This new reality focuses upon the "believer" as the original "wife" who has been freed from her marriage under "law" so that she has been joined to a new "husband".