Covenant Words
Covenant Words

Episode · 6 years ago

Released From The Law (Romans 7:1-6)

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Rev. Christopher Chelpka

If you're a will please remain standing and let's hear God's word. Now from Romans Chapter Seven. Romans seven, the for just the first few verses, verses one through six. Roman seven one through six. Or do you not know, brothers, for I am speaking to those who know the law, that the law is binding on a person only as long as he lives. For a married woman is bound by law to her husband while she lives, but if her husband dies, she's released from the law of marriage. Accordingly, she will be called an adultress if she lives with another man while her husband is alive, but if her husband dies, she's free from that law, and if she marries another man, she is not an adultress. Likewise, my brothers, you also have died to the law through the body of Christ, so that you may belong to another, to him who has been raised from the dead, in order that we may bear fruit for God, for while we were living in the flesh, our sinful passions, aroused by the law, were at work in our members to bear fruit for death. But now we are released from the law, having died to that which held US captive, so that we may serve in the new way of the spirit and not in the old way of the written code. My God bless his word to us. Please be seated. When Paul begins this section of his letter, he brings up a concept that you may or may not have given much thought to, and that's ignorance. It's something that came up in First Peter. To First Peter as well. Ignorance. Remember what we just read there in First Peter, Verse Fourteen, one hundred and fourteen. He says, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance. Do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance. He says, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile, knowing that you are ransomed from the feudal ways you inherited from your Fath forefathers. And he goes on to describe other things that we are to know. Now some things, whether you know them are not, don't really matter a lot. It's okay to be ignorant about some things. We can't know everything. It's impossible. There may be a small way in which certain things matter for a certain period of time or do a certain group of people, but not everything is always in the equally important to everyone. It's okay to let some things go, but there are other things in life that are very dangerous to let go, very dangerous to not know. We live here in the desert, if we let our little children sort of run free and don't warn them about the dangers of snakes and thorns and these kinds of things, it's a bad thing not to know that, and if you don't know it, you'll find it out quickly. You might think of other kinds of things, similar things, maybe weather related things. This is why early warning detection systems are so needed and so helpful for tsunamis and earthquakes, tornadoes. When you don't know that a tornado is about to hit your house, it's a dangerous thing. If you know it, however, it's a really great thing. You can prepare for it, you can get ready, or you could think of positive examples where ignorance could...

...be a good bad thing. I rather I'm imagine quitting your job moments before your boss is about to give you the promotion that you've been waiting for. If only I'd known. Or imagine receiving a gift card from a from a friend for Christmas or something, and you think it's just five bucks or something like that, it doesn't really matter, not knowing that there's five hundred dollars there for you to spend. Ignorance can be costly, it can hurt or you can miss out on important things. Well, if that's true of these earthly things of weather and money and landscape, how much more true of eternal things, of knowing God? Listen, for example, to Paul's words and second Thessalonians, Chapter One, verses seven through eight. He speaks and he says and to grant relief, yes, I'm right here, and to grant relief to those of you who are afflicted as well as to us. And then he talks about some ignorance. He says, when the Lord Jesus is revealed from Heaven with his mighty angels in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. These people, Paul says, who do not know God, when the Lord Jesus comes again, they will suffer punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and the glory of his M Paul says, an effesions for a team that the gentiles are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance, the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. So, to make the point again or to summarize, there are some things that it's okay to be ignorant about. So Ky to look up how much air pressure goes in your tires every time you need to fill them up. But it's not that big of a deal. But when it comes to knowing God, when it comes to knowing the things of the Lord Jesus Christ, if we do not know them, if you remain ignorant about them, if you don't know them and walk in them, then when the Lord Jesus comes, eternal destruction is promised, flaming fire and as mighty angels. These are things you must know. So when Paul says, going back to Roman seven, when he begins this passage and says, or do you not know, brothers, that the law is binding on a person only as long as he lives, and then reminds them of who they are as people who are not under the law but under a state of grace, there is something very very important for you to know, for you to not be ignorant about. In this passage, God announces that our salvation, or a salvation that is possible for you and Jesus Christ, is something that we can't be ignorant of. But the good news is that he teaches it to us here, so that if you are ignorant of these things, if you don't know what it means to be freed from the law and under grace, to no longer be bound to the law but to belong to Jesus Christ, then be glad you're here. Be Glad that the spirit speaks here. Be Glad because here he teaches us that we might learn. He shines a light into the darkness so that we may know. So let's consider what he has to say. Paul here talks about a state...

...of being that everyone belongs to that does not know Jesus Christ as their savior, everyone who's not been regenerated or reborn by the spirit through faith, everyone who is still in a state of sin and misery. This is who Paul talks about. Any describes a being under the law. If you are not a Christian, this describes you. If you are a Christian, this describes your former state. He talks about it throughout here, but especially in verses four through six. He describes this state of sin, state of being under the law. You notice it particularly in verse five. He says, while we were living in the flesh, are sinful passions aroused by the law were at work in our members to bear fruit for death. So let's take that apart. The first thing he says is that we were those who let it. We're living in the flesh. What does this mean, to live in the flesh? The Bible uses the word flesh in both positive and negative ways, or maybe even neutral ways. For example, Jesus was born and took on flesh. There's nothing negative about that. It means that he became incarnate, he took on the form of a man, as Paul says in Philippians. There's nothing evil about that, nothing nothing sinful about that. But here Paul doesn't use it in that sense. He's not talking about flesh as in physical bodies, but he uses flesh and in a moral sense, and will in many ways throughout the rest of this letter. This is the first instance of it here, I believe. So he talks about it in terms of living in a way that in you are completely given over to evil. He gives his own definition here. He says someone who is ruled by their sinful passions, passions inside, lusts and desires, not just any lusts and desires, but evil ones, sinful ones, bad ones. This is what describes a person who's in a state of sin and misery. This describes a person who isn't a Christian. They live in the flesh, they are given over to sin and to evil. They're ruled by their passions. This happens, he says, because their sinful passions are aroused by the law. Now, the law is a good thing, he says. The Laws of course given to God or given by God to us for obedience. The law is a good thing, and he's going to talk about this more in the next passage. But he says, but sin, because of sinfulness, is aroused by the law. He gives us his own example in the next passages, in the next passage. So take a look at verse seven. He says, for I would not have known what it is to covet if the law had said you shall not cove it. But sin seizing an opportunity through the commandment produced in me all kinds of covetousness. Again, going back to the parents and children example. I'm sorry if I use these too often. There's just so familiar to me, but it was parents. Sometimes you worry about telling your kids not to do something, lest you suggest this thing that you know they're about to do. Now, I don't want you to take these cookies that are right here on this shelf. Okay, don't pay attention to them.

And we what we worry about saying those kinds of things, because immediately, kids, what do you do? you think cookies. Ah, I wasn't thinking about cookies before I had it, I didn't have it in my mind. But now, all of a sudden, even though mom said, even though Dad said, I don't want cookies, I find myself wanting cookies and maybe I could. And we start thinking about those things. And that's exactly what Paul says, the Apostle Paul, this great holy man whom the spirit has been poured out on. What does he say? He says the law says, do not cove it, and immediately I starts coveting all kinds of covetousness. He says, not just one little kind but if this and it's not because of the law, as though the law were bad, he says, but this happens because the law relates to my sinfulness. When I come up against the law, I don't say what a great law I think. I'll do it because of the sinfulness inside of us, because of our perversion, because of our bentness towards sin, we start going the wrong way. Sinfulness is awakened, aroused by the law in our sinful passions start working. So God giving his laws a good thing. And again, will consider this more in depth next time. But the fact that we're bound to the law in combination that we have a sinful nature means that we are in a bad, bad situation. He says. We're bound to the law, not just in the sense of being obedient and requiring obedience, but he means we're under this particular covenant in which God promises good things for our obedience and promises curse for our disobedience. And as people who are naturally disobedient because of the fall and atom, we are servants of death. That's what he says. He says again, going back to verse five, for while we were living in the flesh, are sinful passions aroused by the law, we're at work in our members to bear fruit for death. Death he personifies here is kind of this master which we are now serving. We do things in our sinful nature, aroused by the law, that are fitting for death, in service to death. And perhaps you've read a story about this. This sometimes these characters appear, these kind of arch villains, totally evil, totally corrupt, terrible things, but then right next to them, their right hand man or woman, whatever the case is, is this sort of equally evil servant who does everything they can to serve that master. The Servant is bound to give them everything they can do and they're planning and plotting and helping in all kinds of ways. But the personification of death here, it's this kind of thing. We are servants of death. We're bringing fort fruit in service of this kind of thing, fruit that leads to death, fruit that makes sense in death. And all this is explained because of our Um station, our status of being under the law, as long as we're under this covenant in which God Demands Obedience, and we have already fallen in it in Adam. And yet and we continue to produce evil and Sin Death is the result, and...

...it is fittingly described as being in slavery and in Bondage. And so this is the state that Paul describes when he starts Chapter Seven and says, do you not know, brothers, for I'm speaking to those who know the law, that the law is binding on a person, but he says, only as long as he lives. So he gives this example. Now and he says there is this way out of this situation, this being under the law that every person is born into. There's a way out of it death, and he gives an example. Let's look at it in verse versus two and three. He gives this example of marriage. He says, for a married woman is bound by law to her husband while he lives, but if her husband dies, she was released from the law of marriage. He gives sort of the perhaps somewhat obvious explanation of this in verse three. Accordingly, she'll be called an adulterss if she lives with another man while her husband is alive, but if her husband dies, she set free from the law, and if she marries another man she is not an adultress. So uses this example of marriage to describe our relationship with the law as a whole. He says that a person who's married, if their spouse dies, they're no longer obligated to that spouse. They're free to marry another and they won't be uncalled an adulteress. They're free to to marry and that and that is a fine thing. So what could possibly free us from this bondage? Well, there's only one possibility. Death has to happen. But that creates something of a problem. How are we going to die and yet be free? In other words, in order for us to be out from under the law, the penalty for disobedience to the law needs to be paid. The wrath of God, the curse of God, needs to come against the disobedience. In addition to that, the righteous requirements of the law must be filled. So again, in order to come out from under the law, the penalty for disobedience must be paid and the requirement for obedience must be fulfilled. This, and only that were this releases us from the debt of which we owe. But how is this possible? Because if we die the death that we deserve, well, then we're dead. If you are in hell and suffering eternal destruction, well, I suppose you are released from the law, but all your feeling now is the consequences of it. There's no getting out from that, there's no paying it off. The Bible does not speak of a kind of purgatory, an invented doctrine by men, only eternal destruction. As First Peter says, our death is the eternal end of us. And of course, if that's true, it leaves us no hope of giving exactly what's required. Not only can we not, not only will the penalty be always on us, not freeing US but eternally holding us in that, but we have no hope of actually paying the debt or fulfilling fulfilling the law. So how can we be set free from under the law? Well, the answer Paul gives, the answer which you must not be ignorant of, is that God does it...

...for us. God saves us by His grace. He does this without us deserving it, he does it without US paying the debt off, he does it without US fulfilling the law. By His grace he pays the debts that DIS old, he pays the penalty for disobedience and he fulfills the righteous requirement of the law. You see it in verse four, he says, my brothers, you also have died to the law. What you have died to the law? You are no longer under the law because you have died. How? He says, through the body of Christ, so that you may belong to another. That goes he picks up on his marriage analogy. There he says, you have died to the law so that you may belong to Christ. And we died to the law through Christ. My brothers, you also have died to the law through the body of Christ, so that you may belong to another, to him who has been raised from the dead, in order that we may bear fruit, not for death but for God. God has saved us. God does this by sending his son. The father sends his son into the world. The son promises, and indeed offers obedience to the father as our mediator. He promises to fulfill that law on our behalf, and he does that perfectly. And he goes to the Cross and promises to pay the penalty for our death, and he does that perfectly. And not only does the father send the son, and not only does the son fulfill the obedience that require is required and pay the penalty that is owed, but he defeats death and then the spirit of God unites us to the son in this victorious death, so that he did, when he dies, we die. That's how he can say. It is because the spirit of God, through faith, has united us with Christ, so that when Jesus died on the cross, you died on the cross in him. The curse that was owed was paid. Now, you and I could never pay for this on our own, but Jesus, as the divine son of God, could good and did proof question Mark The resurrection. He rose from the dead, he says, Paul says here through we died to the law, through the body of Christ, so that we may belong to another, to him who has been raised from the dead. And this thing that God did in the world on the cross was not a simply a one time a kind of event. He is the eternal God who continues this Trinitarian Work of salvation even to today. This work continues in the life of the sun, as he continues to mediate on our behalf and serve the father. It continues as the spirit is united to us and brings forth this fruit. Notice what he says in for six now that we have been released from the law, having died to that which held US captive. We serve in the new way of the...

...spirit. You see, it wasn't just a one time event two thousand plus years ago. It's now, it's today. The spirit working in US, living in US, dwelling in us, to bring forth something new, resurrection, New the world to come, a kind of new so we take all this together, and what do we have? We have the apostle paub by, the spirit of God, telling us something which we do not need to be ignorant of any longer, because I've just told it to you, that before we were saved, we were bound in darkness, bound under the law, incapable of fulfilling it and owing eternal owing to God, eternal, I'm deaf, God, owing to us our eternal destruction. But through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, you have been set free. You no longer are under that covenant, you are no longer under that law, but you belong to Jesus Christ, so that you are no longer bearing fruit for death. But when you hear the law now you serve in the new way of the spirit. We must not be ignorant of these things. Christians, you have been released from the law. We are required to understand what this all means, to be in the spirit, to be united to Christ and under grace. If you deny these things, in other words, you deny the work of God, you deny the promise of God, the Word of God, the hope of salvation. Being ignorant of these things is to not know what he has done. It's to not believe his promise, and it leaves you stranded and bound and in danger. It's like being on a desert island and watching that ship just or not watching the ship float by. There it goes, but here God brings the ship and he docks it on the island and he says, come aboard, this salvation is for you. Believe and you will be saved. And as Christians, by definition, these things are things that you do know, you do understand and you do believe. When Paul speaks to these brothers, these Christian brothers and sisters, he speaks to them as people who know these things, and he's reminding of, reminding them of these things, even as I do. I'm to you this morning. And so let us remember and believe and serve accordingly. Let us pray and ask that God would help us in these things,.

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