To the contrary, it is nothing of the sort. Is it really that difficult to understand what Paul was teaching in Rom.7? Not if you believe the plain language Paul uses there. He says plainly that the woman who has a husband is bound to that husband until he is dead. And he even states plainly that the husband that must be dead so that the woman is free to marry another that he is referring to in this analogy is the law that is the covenant Israelites are under. How much more plain can he make it?
But, it seems that every time I read or hear someone expounding on what this chapter teaches they are using it to explain the battle all men have between some “sinful nature” they falsely believe all men are born with, and the new nature they believe the Christian receives when he trusts in Jesus. How is it that so many people come to such an unbiblical conclusion? Well, we know it has mostly to do with what they are being taught in their religious clubs. But, that’s no excuse. Because the Bible they read, if they will read it, says no such thing. So if they would believe what their Bible says, instead of what they are being told in those clubs, they would never believe these false doctrines.
But, because of this erroneous interpretation we see these confused ones, those Paul said in 2 Tim.2:25,26 oppose themselves and are taken captive by the devil at his will, using Rom.7 as if it is a proof text for the believer’s continued struggle against sin even though they have trusted in Jesus. They believe that every man is born with a sin nature they inherit from Adam that causes them to continue in their struggle with sin, even after Paul says they have been delivered from it. Paul taught that “he who is dead is free from sin” in Rom.6:7. Telling us that when we trust in Jesus we have died with Him and are raised with Him. Knowing and believing this how can anyone believe Paul is actually teaching that the believer struggles with a sin nature in this chapter? Why can’t they see that it is only because of false religion’s preoccupation with works that they are forced to pervert Paul’s gospel in this way making them completely misunderstand what Paul was teaching? In this study we will take a look at the actual language Paul uses here from the very first verse and see why it is that these come away with an understanding of what Paul was teaching that is completely contrary to his intent. And completely contrary to Paul’s gospel of grace. Making them tools of the devil being used to actually keep men from knowing the true God and His Son Jesus Christ and His atonement.
In vs.1 Paul states what is the crux of the whole chapter by letting us know right away who he is speaking to. He says that he is “speaking to them that know the law”. Now, do you think this refers to the whole world? Did the whole world know the law given through Moses? Or just Israel? Who was it that was given the law? Israel right? Did Israel preach the law to the rest of the world? No. They were never given such a mandate by God. Then why would anyone think Paul was referring to anyone except Israelites when he says plainly he is speaking only to them who know the law?
In vs. 2 he begins to show these Israelites who knew the law the problem they are having by expounding on his statement in vs.1 which said that “the law hath dominion over a man as long as he lived”. Does the law have dominion over the whole world? Are all men held accountable by God to keep the law? No. Paul taught this clearly in Eph.2:12. He wrote that the Gentiles, all who are not Israelites, were never a part of the covenants God made with Israel. So it is clear that when he says he is speaking to them who know the law Paul is speaking specifically to these Israelites here saying that as long as they remain joined to the law it has dominion over them. And he does this by comparing their relationship to the law to an Israelite woman that is married. He shows that she is under the law that keeps her joined to her husband and is not free to marry another while he lives. But, says “but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband.” As we read further this becomes a very important issue for these Israelites concerning whether or not they can have a relationship with Jesus.
In vs.3 Paul shows them further that if their husband, the law, is still living she is still joined to her husband so that she can not marry another. And if she were to marry another Paul says “she shall be called an adulteress: but if her husband be dead, she is free from that law; so that she is no adulteress, though she be married to another man.” Paul shows them plainly that only after the first husband is dead can they be free to marry another. That only by her husband being dead is she free from that law.
Now only by keeping this in mind as we read the rest of what Paul taught in this chapter can we learn what Paul was teaching them. That is, that Israel’s the problem Paul is addressing in this whole chapter is whether the Israelite is free to marry another or not. If the first husband is dead they are. But, if the first husband is not dead then they are not free to marry another because as long as the first husband yet lives they are bound to him. And that if he is dead she is free to marry another because she is then “free from the law of her husband”. An analogy Paul is using to say the Israelite is free from the law given through Moses so that they can now be joined to Christ.
In vs.4 Paul expresses this in no uncertain terms. He tells the Israelite who has previously been joined to the law by the covenant God made with them through Moses, that for him to be joined with Christ he must first be dead to the law and the law dead to him. And that only then will he be free to be joined with Christ. Paul shows them what must take place for this to happen saying “Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God.”
Paul is showing these Israelites that Christ died to free them from the law. Something that Heb.9:15-17 says was only made possible by the shedding of Jesus’ blood, which is His death, that is necessary for a covenant to have power. So His death gave power to a New Covenant wherein is the eternal life that Paul writes in Gal.3:21 they could never have by the works of the law. Because eternal life only comes by faith in Jesus apart from works. This is why they had to be dead to the law to be joined with Christ. Because the law is works.
What we see in the very next verse and the rest of the chapter is Paul explaining what happens to them when they attempt to remain joined to the law and be joined to Christ at the same time. In vs.5 Paul says “For when we were in the flesh, the motions of sins which were by the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death.” What? Being married to and keeping the law brought forth fruit unto death? That’s what Paul said here. But, he also gives us the clue as to why this is true in his preface when he says “when we were in the flesh”. By this he shows them that to be under the law is to be in the flesh. How does being under the law make them “in the flesh”? Because the law is based on works. And works are of the flesh.
THIS IS WHY PAUL SAID THE LAW IS NOT OF FAITH (Gal.3:12). And says that the flesh lusts against the spirit(Gal.5:17). And that they that are in the flesh can not please God(Rom.8:8). Because faith, trusting in Jesus, is what pleases God(Heb.11:6). And faith is not of works. This means that only when we believe in Jesus as He believed the Father apart from works are we in the spirit. And that living by the works of the law is to be in the flesh. This is why Paul said it “brings forth fruit unto death”. Not because of some false notion of a sin nature or original sin. But, because by the works of the law, which Paul taught is to be in the flesh, shall no flesh be justified(Gal.2:16). Not Jesus’ flesh or any other man’s. Because justification only comes “by the faith of Christ”. And not by the works of the law, which again is to be “in the flesh” and “at enmity with God”.
As we proceed through the rest of the chapter we see Paul describing for us the problem these Israelites have as they attempt to remain joined to the law and be joined to Christ at the same time. Which Paul called “adultery” in vs.3. He shows how the result is their becoming a “wretched man” that is the result of their attempt at being joined to both covenants at the same time. When they do this he says,
“For that which I do I allow not:(remain joined to the law, works righteousness, in the flesh) for what I would(to be joined with Christ by faith without works for righteousness), that do I not; but what I hate(trust in works for righteousness), that do I. If then I dothat which I would not(trust in works for righteousness), I consent unto the law that it is good(because the law is works). Now then it is no more I that do it(trust in works for righteousness), but sin that dwelleth in me(the idolatry of the law). For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,)(works righteousness) dwelleth no good thing(because works righteousness does not bring life): for to will is present with me(the desire to trust in Jesus); but how to perform that which is good I find not(faith without works for righteousness). For the good that I would I do not(faith without works for righteousness): but the evil which I would not, that I do(trust in works for righteousness). Now if I do that I would not(trust in works for righteousness), it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me(idolatry of the law).
What we have seen thus far is proof that only by reading Paul’s teaching in context will we be able to reach the conclusions Paul intends for us to come to. And only when we reach the conclusions Paul intended are we able to be equipped to know God and His salvation. By trying to force the sin nature and original sin doctrines onto the scriptures it creates for Gentiles the same problems that these Israelites were having. This is why I call these doctrines “Judaism for Gentiles”. Because they force the Gentile into a Covenant they were never meant by God to be a part of. Which then creates in the Gentile the same need for deliverance from the law that Israel needs. But, if we will believe the plain language of the Bible to believe Paul’s gospel we will never place ourselves under the law. And won’t need deliverance from it as the Israelite whose Covenant the Old Covenant was does.
Instead our only requirement will be that we turn from our unbelief and our worship of idols as Paul said in 1Thes.1:9 to trust in Jesus and His resurrection so that we can have the eternal life that He came to provide us with. We won’t think in terms of the naughty/nice paradigm that the sin nature and original sin doctrines create that is salvation by works. And we will be kept from the false notion that going to hell is because we are not good enough for God. Instead we will know the truth that Jesus taught that knowing Him is eternal life. And if we know Him we do have eternal life. Do you know Jesus? Have you changed your mind from worshipping idols to now believe in Him so that you can have eternal life? Are you ready to rid yourself of the false doctrines that are a plague on the cults of Roman Catholicism and her daughters the protestants? So that you will be free to marry another even Him who has raised from the dead as Paul said of the Israelite who once trusted in works for righteousness?
If you are then please pray with me now so that you will have the spirit birthed in you that Jesus said you need to inherit the kingdom of God. A birth that Paul said makes you a child of God and heir to His kingdom. Dear Jesus, thank you for loving me so I much that you joined with me in my death so that I can join with you in your life. Thank you that your resurrection conquered death for us so that when we trust in you death no longer has any power to hold us in eternity. Thank you that I am now a child of the living God and have eternal life. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
God bless you in your new life in Christ. And come back to this channel so you can learn more of what it is to be a child of the true and living God. Please share with us that you prayed with us in the comment section below so we can rejoice with you.
See you there or in the air!
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The number of Orphans aging out of Child Protective Custody has grown at an alarming rate. The 127 Faith Foundation receives many requests each week to house them at our ranch. Our prayer is that the good people of our country will step up to the challenge and offer financial support for "the least among us." We need your help! StevieRay Hansen, Founder, The 127 Faith Foundation
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