Chapter # 7 Paragraph # 1 Study # 2
January 2, 2007
1 Know ye not, brethren (for I speak to them that know the law), how that the law hath dominion over a man as long as he liveth?
2 For the woman which hath an husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he liveth; but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband.
3 So then if, while her husband liveth, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress: but if her husband be dead, she is free from that law; so that she is no adulteress, though she be married to another man.
4 Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God.
5 For when we were in the flesh, the motions of sins, which were by the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death.
6 But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.
1901 ASV Translation:
1 Or are ye ignorant, brethren (for I speak to men who know the law), that the law hath dominion over a man for so long time as he liveth?
2 For the woman that hath a husband is bound by law to the husband while he liveth; but if the husband die, she is discharged from the law of the husband.
3 So then if, while the husband liveth, she be joined to another man, she shall be called an adulteress: but if the husband die, she is free from the law, so that she is no adulteress, though she be joined to another man.
4 Wherefore, my brethren, ye also were made dead to the law through the body of Christ; that ye should be joined to another, even to him who was raised from the dead, that we might bring forth fruit unto God.
5 For when we were in the flesh, the sinful passions, which were through the law, wrought in our members to bring forth fruit unto death.
6 But now we have been discharged from the law, having died to that wherein we were held; so that we serve in newness of the spirit, and not in oldness of the letter.
- I. Paul's Analogy: the Married Woman and the "Other" Man.
- A. His first premise: the Law only exercises lordship over "the living".
- B. His second premise: death removes one from the lordship of the Law.
- C. His third premise: as a faith-based reality, we have died so that we might live to God through resurrection.
- II. Paul's Theology.
- A. The Law was imposed because Sin was permitted to establish itself in this present creation. [It's purpose was never 'regulation' because Sin cannot be 'regulated'. It was imposed so as to expose Sin's dominion.]
- B. The only escape from the power of Sin is death as the way out of this creation. No one lives sin-free as long as he/she is still physically in this creation. The reason Jesus lived sin-free was that the mechanism for Sin's generational progression through this creation exists in the male chromosomes and He was born of a virgin sans that male element.
- C. The provision of God for life within this creation is the Holy Spirit Who, apart from death, does not, Himself, even have the capacity to produce across-the-board-sinlessness in sinful creatures. He can produce individual units of righteousness in the sinful context so that a person under His dominion is capable of proper motivation and action in isolation from the totality of that person's existence in this world, but nowhere do we find any expectation that we can be completely successful across-the-board in the production of righteousness as long as we continue in this creation.
- D. Thus we live in a serious tension: we dare not sin but cannot help but sin. We dare not sin because it sets up a chain reaction of sinning, but we cannot help but sin because we have already set up several chains of reaction. Thus, our "calling" is to maximize the Spirit's freedom to produce "chains of righteousness" and minimize Sin's production of "chains of iniquity".
- E. The dominating factor in this tension is the attitude that we take in respect to a couple of key truths.
- 1. Primary in these key areas is the "generic" attitude we take toward God. By "generic" I mean the pervasive conviction we have in respect to whether He is for us or against us. If we generally think in terms of His opposition so that we only "believe" He is "for us" occasionally, our lives will be "generally" corrupt with "occasional" manifestations of the Spirit. But if we generally think in terms of His advocacy so that we "believe" He is "for us", our lives will be "generally" Spiritual. Thus, "faith" becomes the most crucial "non-static" element of our living. By "non-static" I mean something that can vacillate. The Spirit is a "static" given; He does not "come and go". Our union to Christ is a "static" given; we are not "united" sometimes and not others. But, our attitudes of faith/unbelief are not "static": they vacillate. It is for this reason that we are told of our death to the Law. By that death God becomes immutably "for us" so that He will never condemn us.
- 2. But, in addition, another key area is the attitude we take toward God's willingness to produce righteousness through us. He will not condemn us, but will He empower us? This is a key element in that a certain amount of "defeatism" is involved in the reality of our earlier claim that not even the Spirit of God produces an across-the-board godliness in us as long as we are in this creation. This is a question of the degree to which we "believe" God will empower us. It is for this reason that we are told of our resurrection to new life. By resurrection we are empowered by God to live powerfully.
- III. The Analogy in the Theology.
- A. Paul deliberately chooses his analogy from one of the most critical "relational" areas of our experience: marriage.
- B. Paul deliberately chooses his analogy from one of the more critical "legal" areas of Jewish life: adultery was a capital crime (the guilty were to be put to death).
- C. Paul deliberately chooses his analogy from one of the more critical "attitude" areas of life: the attitudes married couples take toward one another is fundamental to the quality of their relationship and the quality of that relationship is critical to their basic experience of life in general.