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Ecclesiastes Podcast

Romans 7:4-5

The Apostle Paul writes to the world-renowned believers in Rome, the center of the world at that time, in order to answer a slanderous charge made to them against Paul and his message. Paul’s detractors claim his emphasis on faith overturns the law. Paul says that ” just living by the law” does not achieve personal justice before God, while “just living by faith” does. Paul then demonstrates what a just life looks like: harmonious living with Jesus as the leader. Paul also makes clear the choice a believer has: to walk in faith and the power of the resurrection and experience resurrection life, or walk in sin and unnecessarily experience the negative consequences.


Paul shows that while we are free from the law, there remains a true battle with sin that resides within us. The sin nature battles with the redeemed nature. The sin nature is so strong that only the power of Christ can deliver us from it.

This of course pulls the rug out from under the main point made by Paul’s opponents (the competing Jewish “authorities”). They have argued that the law is what brings us to righteousness. Paul’s counter is that the law actually shows us our sin, and it is the power of the Spirit of Jesus that delivers us from the power of sin in our daily walk.


Through faith in Jesus we can bear fruit for God. But if we remain devoted to follow the law and not our faith in Christ, we will continue to follow our sinful desires which the law brings out in us.

 

In the same way that the woman whose husband is dead is not tied to their promise of marriage anymore, so believers were made to die to the Law through the body of Christ because of being baptized into Jesus’ death. Verse 4 makes this clear by saying that believers, through faith on Jesus, are dead to (or separated from) the law. Paul is using the word “die” as we, currently, might use it. For instance, we could say that a relationship is dead, which would mean that the two people have separated. Paul is using “die” (verse 4) in the same way. Believers have been separated from the law (through faith on Jesus) so that [they] might be joined to another, to Him who was raised from the dead, Jesus.

 

At the end of verse 4, Paul tells us that through faith in Jesus we can now bear fruit for God through the resurrection power of Jesus. As believers are buried in baptism into the death of Jesus, so are we raised to life in Him. Bearing fruit for God means doing God’s will through the resurrection power of faith.

 

In verse 5, Paul shows us while we were in the flesh the members of our bodies that include our human appetites and sinful passions were aroused – or awakened – by the law. As humans, when we are told what not to do, there is a part of our flesh that wants to break that rule. The flesh was at work in the members of our body to bear fruit for death. Paul is talking about this desire we have, which encourages us to disobey the law, consequently separating us from God. Jesus’ sacrifice, however, allows us to be separated from the law and the desires that it brings up, so that we can be joined with Him to do God’s will.

Biblical Text

Therefore, my brethren, you also were made to die to the Law through the body of Christ, so that you might be joined to another, to Him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God. For while we were in the flesh, the sinful passions, which were aroused by the Law, were at work in the members of our body to bear fruit for death.