Chapter # 7 Paragraph # 1 Study # 3
January 9, 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. The Analogy Continued.
- A. Paul deliberately chose a real-life illustration that introduces a significant question.
- 1. His point is that "Law" is lord only of the "living".
- 2. But in his illustration the one set free from "Law" was not the one who died.
- 3. This raises a significant question: why does he use an illustration that does not show what his words declare?
- a. If a person has to "die" to be set free from the Law, why write of a person who is set free from that Law by the death of another?
- b. Even in Paul's doctrine that we are free from the Law because Jesus died, there is the declaration that our freedom is only genuine because we "died together with Him" (6:3-14). In other words, not even the vicarious atonement is effective until we are "united together with Him".
- c. So, in what sense are we a "not-dead" woman who is free from the Law because our "husbands" have died?
- B. Paul is moving into the realm of "internal" reality.
- 1. By using a husband/wife illustration and applying that to our union with Christ Paul is declaring that there is an inner reality that is analogous to the external reality of two persons joined as "one".
- 2. In the Scriptures, Jesus is presented as a "virgin born" Son. The "rationale" seems to be that Jesus "had" to be the Son of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Judah, and David. Without His descent into true humanity there would have been no redemption for human beings. [Hebrews 2:14-17 says He "had" to be made like unto His brethren. The "kenosis" of Philippians 2 makes the same basic argument.]
- 3. However, in those same Scriptures, Jesus could not be of the seed of Adam because of the condemnation that rested upon all of his seed for their true participation in his sin. Thus, He was born of a virgin. Romanism, misunderstanding, has long taught that Jesus could not have been born "in contact with" Adam's sin, so it dreamed up the concept of an "immaculate conception" -- for Mary. When Mary was conceived, so they say, she was "immaculate" so that her Son could be. Erroneous though this be, it does illustrate the fact that men have long recognized that there is no redemption for them in the death of a sinning sinner. Redemption requires a sinless sacrifice. Thus, the biblical text seems to declare that "sin" is passed from "father" to child so that if a woman could bear a child without an "Adam" man involved in the process, that child would be free of Adam's sin.
- 4. Now, Paul himself seems to agree with this dogma in that he is teaching that there is that within us that is incapable of passing on sin. The "woman" cannot bear the fruit of iniquity (6:19) alone. Nor can she bear the fruit of holiness alone. If she is "joined" to a man, she can bear fruit -- but its quality is "man-dependent", not "woman-dependent". Thus, if the analogy holds, there is that within us that is available to God to produce holiness. It is not an active capacity (we cannot produce the holiness); it is a passive potentiality (we can be used to produce holiness). If there is an Adam/Eve reality in the "outer world" that leaves the fruit of the woman "character-dependent" upon Adam, so there is an Adam/Eve reality in our "inner world" that follows the pattern. Thus, if there is a way for the inner Eve to be separated from the inner Adam so that she can be joined to an inner Christ, there is the potential for true righteousness to be produced through her. But, Paul says this "joining" to an inner Christ would be legally prohibited as long as the inner Adam is "alive". He must die. So, he did. Paul says, "...our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin" (6:6). The real issue of the Law, then, is that it keeps us tied to Adam as the "inner husband" until he dies. When he dies, we are free from the Law that bound us to him. And, he dies at the point of the "faith" that is used by the Spirit to join him to Christ so that he dies with Him.
- 5. So, what about the other half of Paul's "baptism" doctrine -- that we not only died with Him but were raised with Him? Does the "old" inner Adam come back to life with Christ by resurrection?
- a. Question: To what point, and for what reason, is the Spirit of God given to men?
- 1) Clearly, there is something "wrong" with the spirits of men that requires that they be replaced by, or at least supplemented with, the Holy Spirit.
- 2) Just as clearly, that which is "wrong" has to be connected to the incapacity to produce the proper types of actions.
- a) Since the "fruit" of the Holy Spirit is a composite of nine elements (love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness, and temperance), the majority of which have to do with "attitudes", it seems that the Holy Spirit was fundamentally given to provide the proper mental orientation so that men might "act" out of proper motivation.
- b) This would imply that the "problem" with the human spirit is its lack of satisfaction so that it prompts actions that are designed to satisfy itself rather than address someone else's need.
- c) But, if a lack of satisfaction was the only problem, the solution would have not been a new and more potent Spirit, but a real satisfaction of the old spirit.
- b. Question: What, exactly, was "united with Christ"?
- 1) Clearly, our physical bodies were not put to death with Him and resurrected with Him.
- 2) It seems also somewhat clear, therefore, that the "we" who were united together with Him is a non-physical entity that dwells within the physical body.
- 3) According to 6:6, something called "our old man" was at least a part of what was united together with Him in that it was this "old man" that was crucified with Him.
- 4) But, according to 7:1-4, there is a "woman" within, distinct from the "old man". In the illustration, the "woman" does not die. Does this mean that she was not "crucified" with Him -- that she was simply separated from the old man by that one's crucifixion with Him? Is the biblical picture that of a "person" who is, essentially, a "woman", who comes into being at the point of the physical generation of the body and whose "condition" at that point is that she is "tied" both to the physical body and to a "husband", the human spirit, who is corrupted by its "union" with that "spirit that now works in the sons of disobedience"?
- a) If this is the picture, this "woman" is the essential person, but the composite, made up of "her" and the physical body and the energizing spirit, is what is commonly referred to as "I", "You", "We", etc.
- b) This composite, then, is not the "I" who was crucified together with Christ. Clearly, the body was not so crucified...it has been relegated to the processes of chaos until death and resurrection. Just as clearly, there was something that was crucified together with Christ -- but it seems that it was not this "woman", but her "husband" (this is the impact of Paul's illustration in 7:1-3). So, what happened to this "husband" when he was "crucified"? Clearly, according to 7:9, he has the ability to regain "union" with this woman by means of "Law". This text says "sin resurrected" at the arrival of "Law". So, what actually happened to "him" when he was "crucified"? He, like Christ, was removed from the normal domain of his ability to function: this creation. He is kept from the ability to function in this creation by "death", but he can regain that lost ability in this creation if, by deception, "Law" can be reestablished over the "woman".
- i. A critical issue in this whole scenario is that "death" is not a cessation of existence; it is, rather, a removal to a "domain" where certain capacities are blocked. When a human being "dies", he is removed from his body and its normal creation order so that he, though he yet consciously exists, is unable to access that body and its domain of function so that he cannot do as he had been able to do.
- ii. But, the "body" does go out of existence as we know it. It returns to dust. So, what about the "old man"? Does he ever go out of existence as we know it? Ecclesiates 12:7 seems to indicate that he does. This verse addresses the body returning to the dust and the spirit returning to God.