Read This Week’s Passage: Romans 7

You Need a New Husband

Paul teaches that through baptism, we die to sin (Romans 6:2, 10). Paul also shows that believers have died to and have been delivered from the law (Romans 7:5, 6). What could Paul possibly mean by this shocking statement? Before we explore what he means, it is helpful to notice what he does not mean. Paul is clear: the law does not die; we die to the law. When we believe in Jesus, we die to the law—our relationship with the law undergoes a dramatic change.

To prove his point, Paul uses an illustration about the law that governs marriage (Romans 7:1–3). A married woman is bound by the law to her husband as long as he lives. When he dies, she is free to marry another man. If she marries someone before the death of her husband, she is committing adultery. Paul’s illustration isn’t an allegory in which every nuance of the story corresponds to some other detail of real life. This approach has led to many forced interpretations. Paul’s point is a simple, straightforward point. Death changes our relationship with the law. Just as death releases a wife from the law of marriage, so we die to the law through the body of Christ.

Dying to the law and being released from the law are essential because of our fallen condition. In our fallen flesh, the law, rather than helping regulate bad behavior, actually aroused our sinful passions (Romans 7:5)! By dying to the law, we are enabled to enter a new marriage with Jesus legitimately, which results in bearing fruit to God (Romans 7:4).