Rev. Dr. Phil Booe, pastor at Christ Lutheran Church in Hebron, CT, joins host Rev. Timothy Appel to study Romans 7:1-13.
Christians are under grace; they are no longer under the law. How did this happen? St. Paul uses the human example of the law of marriage. All Christians can understand this truth from God’s Word. Marriage, the good gift of God before the fall into sin, unites one man and one woman for life. When the husband dies, however, the law of marriage no longer applies to the wife; she is now free. The example of death setting free from law is applied to Christians. Christians have been put to death through their connection to the death of Christ. They belong to Him, the One raised from the dead. Whereas their life in the flesh took advantage of the law to produce more sin, their life in the Spirit through Christ produces the good fruit God has given. This does not mean that the law is sinful, however. In fact, God’s law is good and holy. Paul uses his own life prior to Christianity as an example. Our sin takes advantage of God’s good law. When the law reveals our sin, sin takes the opportunity to bring even more sin. Sin deceived us into thinking we had life; in reality, we had death in sin. This was not the doing of God’s righteous Law. This was sin’s fault. This was the sinner’s fault, the fault that is forgiven only in Christ.
“The Righteousness of God for You” is a mini-series on Sharper Iron that goes through St. Paul’s Epistle to the Romans. Human righteousness cannot save, because all have sinned and fall short of God’s glory. Only the righteousness of God can bring life and forgiveness to sinners. This is the righteousness that He has fulfilled in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. This is the righteousness that is revealed in the Gospel, the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes. This is the righteousness that is not earned, but is freely given by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone.
Sharper Iron, hosted by Rev. Timothy Appel, looks at the text of Holy Scripture both in its broad context and its narrow detail, all for the sake of proclaiming Christ crucified and risen for sinners. Two pastors engage with God’s Word to sharpen not only their own faith and knowledge, but the faith and knowledge of all who listen.
Sharper Iron is underwritten by Lutheran Church Extension Fund, where your investments help support the work of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod. Visit lcef.org.
Released from the Law
7 Or do you not know, brothers[a]—for I am speaking to those who know the law—that the law is binding on a person only as long as he lives? 2 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.[b] 3 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.
4 Likewise, my brothers, you also have died to the law through the body of Christ, so that you may belong to another, to him who has been raised from the dead, in order that we may bear fruit for God. 5 For while we were living in the flesh, our sinful passions, aroused by the law, were at work in our members to bear fruit for death. 6 But now we are released from the law, having died to that which held us captive, so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit and not in the old way of the written code.[c]
The Law and Sin
7 What then shall we say? That the law is sin? By no means! Yet if it had not been for the law, I would not have known sin. For I would not have known what it is to covet if the law had not said, “You shall not covet.” 8 But sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment, produced in me all kinds of covetousness. For apart from the law, sin lies dead. 9 I was once alive apart from the law, but when the commandment came, sin came alive and I died. 10 The very commandment that promised life proved to be death to me. 11 For sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment, deceived me and through it killed me. 12 So the law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good.
13 Did that which is good, then, bring death to me? By no means! It was sin, producing death in me through what is good, in order that sin might be shown to be sin, and through the commandment might become sinful beyond measure.
- Romans 7:1 Or brothers and sisters; also verse 4
- Romans 7:2 Greek law concerning the husband
- Romans 7:6 Greek of the letter
English Standard Version (ESV)
The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Permanent Text Edition® (2016). Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.