Romans 7-3 Our Relationship to the Law

relationship to the lawConsequences for our Salvation by Faith – Our Relationship to the Law God gave to Israel                         ROMANS 7 – Part 3

Some Jews in the church will continue living under the Law or parts of it voluntarily, but they do so for their own sake, they were not doing it because God wanted them to do it. They weren’t doing it just to please God. God has not placed them under that obligation. In fact, through Christ’s death, God has freed them from that obligation. And that’s why Paul tells the church elsewhere in his letters not submit themselves again to this yoke of slavery (the Law) that they have been freed from. He said in Colossians 2:20 –

Colossians 2:20-22 (NKJV)

20 Therefore, if you died with Christ from the basic principles of the world, why, as though living in the world, do you subject yourselves to regulations— 21 “Do not touch, do not taste, do not handle,” 22 which all concern things which perish with the using—according to the commandments and doctrines of men?

Notice what he is saying? He started in the same way we’ve been talking about throughout Chapter 7. He says you died with Christ. There’s that reference again to putting an end to the covenant’. He says since you’ve died with Christ freeing you from the covenant of the Law, he says why would you resubmit yourself to taking up dietary and cleanliness rules of the Law. Rules he says which are merely commandments of men, they are not from God. God has told you that you are free from those things.

Romans 7:6 (NKJV)

But now we have been delivered from the law, having died to what we were held by so that we should serve in the newness of the Spirit and not in the oldness of the letter.

So in verse 6, Paul says that we are released from the Law so that we might serve God in a new way, by the Spirit. That statement summarizes the first consequence of salvation for our flesh in this chapter. There are two consequences, our relationship to the Law and our relationship to our own body. We are now serving God in a new way
Before faith in Christ, a Jew was instructed to serve God by accomplishing the requirements of the Mosaic Covenant. Doing works of the Law was the spiritual service required by anyone bound by that covenant. But now, you having been freed from that Law, serve God in a different way, following the leading of the Spirit Who lives in you. That old Law written on stone is no longer your guide. In its place, you have a law written on your heart, so to speak the Bible says. You have the mind of Christ. You have the Spirit of God. You have a sinless spirit now from Christ. If the spirit living in you is already sinless then it already knows the right thing to do under every single circumstance you ever encounter, which is a far greater set of knowledge than the Law written on stone had. Where would you need to go outside the spirit of God and the word of God to know what to do in any given situation?

If you got the mind of Christ living in you then you already know it all. At least in the sense, you know what is right in a given situation. The question is, are you listening? Paul says you were freed from that Law written on stone which he says elsewhere in scripture, it was a custodian. A sort of temporary caretaker for you. Watching over you until you had the fulness of Christ in you to take you on from there.  Now that the fullness has come don’t revert back to the old. So you either serve God through one system or you serve Him through the other.  Either you are under the Law and follow all its rules. Or you are freed from the Law and follow the leading of the Holy Spirit. One came through the Old Covenant and one through the New Covenant. That’s why Paul says in verse 4 that we were freed from one to be joined to the other because to mix the two is equivalent to adultery.

Romans 7:4 (NKJV)

Therefore, my brethren, you also have become dead to the law through the body of Christ, that you may be married to another—to Him who was raised from the dead, that we should bear fruit to God.

To try to live under both covenants in some sense, to be saved by grace and call yourself a Christian and yet to also think you have to submit to some part of the Law, that’s like having two husbands.

Therefore, based on what Paul says here and what he says in Galatians Christians have no business mixing observance of the Old Covenant law with following Christ in the New Covenant. You can observe an occasional ritual as a memorial or teaching
opportunity (something like conducting a Seder meal at Passover once in a while, that’s fine). But you cannot submit yourself to a lifestyle of Law. Of keeping it routinely as a matter of serving God. because to do so is to pretend you are still bound by a covenant of law. If you were a gentile you were never bound by it. And if you are a Jew you were freed from it.

So the first consequence for us in the flesh; from our new relationship, our new birth in Christ is in the way we serve God. We move out of a service based on Law if we ever had it, to a service based on a spiritual law written on our heart. That new spiritual life in serving God is boundless in its opportunities. Think about that comparison for a moment. Under the law, in Israel’s life, only certain people could be priests and only certain men of a certain tribe could be priests. and only certain men of that tribe could go into the tabernacle and serve Him. And there were other limitations and restrictions throughout Jewish society of who could do what in service to God.

But now the Bible says all believers are priests, we are part of a royal priesthood. That is, any of us is qualified to represent God before men and women. Before the world. And we are no longer called to serve Him according to set rituals that never change, as was the case under the law. Instead, we are serving Him according to what we find in the truth of God’s word and from the leading of the Spirit. That’s what Jesus meant when He said:

John 4:23-24 (NKJV)

23 But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. 24 God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”

So, that is now the service life of someone who walks according to faith in Christ. They live and serve God unrestricted by rituals or law that no longer apply. But by a broad appreciation that we follow Christ through the word. And through the spirit. That’s the first consequence. And I hope it is a freeing one. For some, who already think and work this way, it is simply a confirmation of what you knew. For others, it may be a freeing opportunity to move outside of a necessarily restrictive life of service or obligation into what is God’s intention for an individual Christian which is to follow Him wherever and however without those restrictions getting in the way.

 

 

“The author’s biblical interpretations and conclusions presented in this document rely on original teaching used by permission of Verse By Verse Ministry International (VBVMI). The author’s views may not represent the views of VBVMI, it’s Directors or staff. Original VBVMI teaching may be found at http://www.vbvmi.org.”

 

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