Posted On July 8, 2021

Freed from the Law

by | Jul 8, 2021 | Featured, Romans

Romans 7:1-3, “Or do you not know, brothers—for I am speaking to those who know the law—that the law is binding on a person only as long as he lives? For a married woman is bound by law to her husband while he lives, but if her husband dies she is released from the law of marriage.Accordingly, she will be called an adulteress if she lives with another man while her husband is alive. But if her husband dies, she is free from that law, and if she marries another man she is not an adulteress.”

Our study of Romans 6 over the past several weeks has focused on the doctrine of sanctification—the process by which the Holy Spirit conforms us to Christ in holiness. In this, we have seen that Paul sometimes speaks of sanctification as if it leads to eternal life (2:6–11; 6:22), and we must not misinterpret him on this point. Since the Apostle emphasizes our sin, our refusal to fear God apart from the Spirit’s work, the opposition of faith and works in justification, and the free gift of eternal life (3:9–18; 4:4–5; 6:23), we know that the holiness that results from our sanctification cannot be the meritorious basis for salvation. Our obedience to the Lord can in no way earn heaven for us. Eternal life is secured by Christ and granted to us in our justification, which is an act of sheer grace on God’s part.

That does not mean there is no sense in which sanctification leads to eternal life. Indeed, our obedience as the Spirit sanctifies us does not merit eternal life; however, sanctification is the path we follow from our justification to our glorification. By virtue of our union with Christ and the imputation of His perfect obedience to our accounts through faith in Him alone, our justification and eternal life cannot be lost. Consequently, all who are justified will walk—imperfectly but truly—the path of sanctification. But our walking—our obedience—does not earn eternal life; rather, sanctification is God’s process of preparing us for the eternal, sinless life of glorification that He has secured for us in Christ in our justification.

Sanctification can occur only when we are no longer under the dominion of sin, and to be free from sin’s reign is to be under grace, not the law (6:14). This is a difficult concept, for Paul asserts that while Christians are not under the law, we fulfill the law by the grace of the Holy Spirit and do not practice lawlessness (8:8–10; Gal. 5:16–26). John Calvin comments that Paul does not teach “a release from the righteousness which is taught in the law.” Still, we are not in the same relationship to the law of God as we were before we knew Jesus. Apart from Christ, the law can only serve as a tool that sin uses to gain a stronger hold on us (Rom. 7:7–13). Only if we are in Christ can we resist sin’s use of the law to increase transgression.

Sin and law are in an intricate relationship that we will explore further over the next few days. At this point, we note that the only solution to sin is for people to be freed from the law. And Paul says that just as people are no longer under the civil law once they have died, the only way we can get out from under the law is to die (vv. 1–3).

Coram Deo

God never intended for sinners to justify themselves by keeping the law, but the law does remind us that God demands perfect obedience for justification. Because we cannot obey God perfectly, unconverted people seize the law and lower God’s standards or overestimate their goodness to convince themselves that they have done enough to earn His favor. That itself is sin, for such actions really accuse God of lying about His standards or our abilities. Only in Christ can we escape this.

Freed from the Law, Copyright (2021), Ligonier Ministries.

Related Posts

Five Attributes of God and Their Meaning in Scripture

Five Attributes of God and Their Meaning in Scripture

The Eternity of God Revelation 1:8 supports God’s sovereignty with three statements, the first of which expresses the eternity of God: “‘I am the Alpha and the Omega,’ says the Lord God.” God reigns over all since He is before and after all things. “The Alpha and the...

8 New Testament Passages That Support a Historical Adam and Eve

8 New Testament Passages That Support a Historical Adam and Eve

Luke 3:38 In one of the two New Testament genealogies of Jesus, Luke identifies Jesus as “the son (as was supposed) of Joseph, the son of Heli” (Luke 3:23). Luke proceeds to trace Jesus’s descent back to “Adam, the son of God”: Jesus, when he began his ministry, was...

Men as the Chief Repenters in the Home

Men as the Chief Repenters in the Home

On today’s Warriors of Grace show, Dave considers six ingredients for biblical repentance, men leading in repentance in the home, union with Christ, and biblical manhood. What You'll Hear On This Episode Six ingredients for biblical repentance. Union with Christ and...

Why You and I Need the Local Church

Why You and I Need the Local Church

“I don’t need to go to a building to meet with God.” “I can read my Bible and pray anywhere.” “I love Jesus, but I’m against organized religion.” I often hear these types of statements as a justification to skip out on the weekly gathering of God’s people (church)....

The Dangers of the Message

The Dangers of the Message

On today’s Equipping You in Grace, Dave and Doreen consider how our belief in and understanding of Scripture impacts what we do with the Bible, the difference between dynamic translations and paraphrases, and comparing Scripture to the message. What you'll hear in...

Practice Makes Progress

Practice Makes Progress

God intends for us to grow. Peter reminds us that, “like newborn infants,” we should “desire the pure milk of the word, so that you may grow up into your salvation” (1 Peter 2:2). Growing from infancy to maturity is how the Bible portrays God’s work in your life (Eph...

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Share
Tweet
Email
Reddit
Share