Read This Week’s Passage: Romans 7:1–8:4
Some Preliminary Work
Romans 7 is one of the densest, most challenging chapters in Scripture. It begins with an illustration: A woman is bound by law to her husband till “death do us part.” If she lives with another man while she is married, she is an adulterous. But if her husband dies, she is legally free to remarry (7:1–3). Paul’s point is that Christians died to “the law (of sin)” so they could marry Christ. Being wedded to sin was an extremely enslaving, negative experience; being wedded to Christ is liberating and positive in every way (7:4–6).
There are some who misunderstand Paul’s illustration as follows: The law of God was an abusive husband, enslaving believers during the Sinai/old covenant era. When Christ came in history, that law died, setting believers free from the law to be married to Christ. Believers in the new-covenant era who keep the Sabbath, an old-covenant institution, just because the Ten Commandments say so, are committing spiritual adultery! They cannot be married to Christ and the law.
This week will have us taking a closer look at Romans 7. Read it several times, noting and charting the contrasts in their proper context. Reach a conclusion that provides the greatest “explanatory power” with the “least academic burden.” Buckle up for an intense, hopefully insightful and rewarding study of this week’s lesson!