*Scripture verses covered in this section's commentary are noted in italics

Romans 7:6 meaning

Our faith in Christ separates us from the Law and allows us to live in our new nature that comes from the Spirit.

In verse 6, Paul writes But now we have been released from the Law, having died to that by which we were bound, so that we serve in newness of the Spirit and not in oldness of the letter. Just as the widow is released from being loyal to her husband when he dies, and is free to remarry (vv 2-3), so now believers in Jesus are free from the requirements of the Law, and available to “remarry.”  The question is “Who do we want to remarry?”

If we “remarry” sin, then we are choosing to bear fruit for death. We were freed from slavery to sin, but chose to be re-enslaved. We were rescued from drowning in a sinking ship, but chose to jump out of the lifeboat back into the water: “You can’t make me not drown!”

The reality is that our new person is placed into the Body of Christ, and we are now spiritually remarried to Him. This frees us to choose a new approach. Now we can serve in newness of the Spirit. God created humans to steward the earth, to serve Him in reigning over His creation (Psalm 8). Being released from the law now allows us to serve at a new, higher level. Rather than serving in the oldness of the letter of the law, now we are endowed with resurrection power to serve in the newness of the Spirit of the Law.

In Chapter 10, Paul will contrast the “righteousness which is based on law” with a “righteousness based on faith” (Romans 10:5-6). He will argue that righteousness based on faith is what actually achieves righteousness (which is living according to God’s good design for us).

Paul will make a fairly straightforward argument that a heart that intends to follow the Law’s purpose, to love God and love others, is going to get a lot closer to achieving that purpose than someone who’s heart does not intend to accomplish the Law’s purpose, but wants to be seen as “following the rules.”

The law-following heart will simply justify itself based on applying different standards to others (and a lower standard for ourselves, as in Matthew 7:1-2). God cares about the intent of our heart (Matthew 6:14; Hebrews 4:12).

It is great news that believers in Jesus are now freed from religious rules, the oldness of the letter. It is now up to us to decide how best to apply God’s command to love others, in newness of the Spirit. We have God’s Spirit to guide us to decide how best to love (based on circumstances), needs, and our gifting.

God has freed us from the bondage of rule-following, but in doing so has elevated us to a much higher standard—it is now up to us to determine how best to love others and serve their best interest. When we do this, we live a life that is fruitful, and restore our lives to live in God’s (good) design. We therefore reap the consequence of a life that is fulfilling—which is our deepest human longing.


Biblical Text

6 But now we have been released from the Law, having died to that by which we were bound, so that we serve in newness of the Spirit and not in oldness of the letter.

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