What believers need to know about the Law

 

What believers need to know about the

law Part 1 “The positional facts”

Romans 7:1-4 (NLT)
1  Now, dear brothers and sisters—you who are familiar with the law—don’t you know that the law applies only while a person is living?
2  For example, when a woman marries, the law binds her to her husband as long as he is alive. But if he dies, the laws of marriage no longer apply to her.
3  So while her husband is alive, she would be committing adultery if she married another man. But if her husband dies, she is free from that law and does not commit adultery when she remarries.
4  So, my dear brothers and sisters, this is the point: You died to the power of the law when you died with Christ. And now you are united with the one who was raised from the dead. As a result, we can produce a harvest of good deeds for God

May the Lord add a blessing to the reading and the HEARING of his holy word.

We turn this morning to the 7th chapter of the epistle or letter written to the church at Rome as we continue our look through this very important and challenging writing of Paul.

We’ve covered some truly breath taking topics already and I want to thank each of you for your prayers on my behalf as I’ve worked through and been guided by the Holy Spirit on simply understanding these concepts and then being able to share them with you.

The last sermon we delivered from this letter was entitled how to live out your position in Christ.

AND we are very much continuing on in that type of teaching and it is important that we do that, for what Christ has given us through his death burial and resurrection is fantastic in terms of salvation, but flowing in the fullness of all he has given for us requires that we study his word and apply those truths and realities to our lives in such a way, as to operationally effect our day to day lives.

There are things that we need to know about our position in Christ which will make a big difference in the quality of our Christian walk.

Now you can’t save yourself or make yourself any more saved than you are; but remember that there is a practical side of salvation in which you’ve got to live this thing out.

You are already saved eternally, now as you are living in time and space you’ve got to embrace the on-going transformative work of the Spirit in your life, working out all of the advantages of the gift that has been bought and secured for you.

Applying and walking in proper doctrine and sound teaching, doing our best to co-operate with the Holy Spirit, earnestly endeavoring, pressing forward, reaching ahead and so forth; this is an active and should be a forward looking forward pressing lifestyle, powered as it were by the Holy Spirit of God and his word.

Here today Paul is teaching us about the law and the blessings of our freedom from it.

Now the teaching seems to be written to the Jewish listener, but there is much for us to learn from, much that a person can learn about the law and the blessings that Christ has secured for us in his death and our freedom from the law.

It’s a four point sermon, so let’s get started..

What believers need to know about the law is…

  1. The law rules over a man or woman as long as a person lives.

Romans 7:1 (NLT)
1  Now, dear brothers and sisters—you who are familiar with the law—don’t you know that the law applies only while a person is living?

Romans 7:2-3 (NKJV)
2  For the woman who has a husband is bound by the law to her husband as long as he lives. But if the husband dies, she is released from the law of her husband.
3  So while her husband is alive, she would be committing adultery if she married another man. But if her husband dies, she is free from that law and does not commit adultery when she remarries.

Romans 7:1 (YLT)
1  Are ye ignorant, brethren–for to those knowing law I speak–that the law hath lordship over the man as long as he liveth?

Here in the first point Paul uses the relationship between the husband and wife as an illustrative mechanism to describe the relationship the law had to us and the power it wielded before we were buried in Christ at the time of HIS death.

Freedom from the law could only be obtained by death.

A woman for example said the scripture is bound to her husband as long as he lives, but if she becomes a widow she is released from that relationship and is free to be married to a new husband.

Now the law there of course is related to the relationship where the husband in that time had complete power.

Don’t think in terms of how relationships are now, where the wife can tell you what she thinks and what she will do or not; in those days the man had all of the power.

He was in the only person who could initiate a divorce; regardless of how she was treated, the husband called the shots.

Paul wants us to know this was the power that the law had over a person’s life and the only thing that could break it was death.

It didn’t matter if you thought it was unfair; it didn’t matter what your feelings were it was top down arrangement and there was no room for negotiation and if you broke just one law jot or spec of the law you were considered a law breaker.

The law was so difficult and so stringent that no one could keep the law and all people were constantly dealing with the reality of their shortcoming and their failure.

No one could keep the law.

Paul now speaks to people who knew about the law and he is communicating the good news that they are free from this relationship, but watch this….he is not telling them that they are now single.

What is being communicated in this first point has to do with the reality of our having been released from a relationship in which we were bound to that which convicted and condemned us and Paul wants the believer to fully embrace the blessing of what Christ has delivered us from.

The good news my friend, is not that you have been released into a life of lawlessness where you have no accountability, but rather the good news is that you have been released into a new relationship, in which the relationship is not about you being in it because your are bound, but because you were purchased with the precious blood of Jesus Christ, as his chosen and beloved possessions.

We are free from that which binds and freed to, him who loves…

What believers need to know about the law is…

  1. Death has given the believer freedom from the power of the law.

Romans 7:4 (NLT)

4  So, my dear brothers and sisters, this is the point: You died to the power of the law when you died with Christ. And now you are united with the one who was raised from the dead. As a result, we can produce a harvest of good deeds for God.

1 Peter 2:24 (KJV)
24  Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.

Colossians 2:14 (YLT)
14  having blotted out the handwriting in the ordinances that is against us, that was contrary to us, and he hath taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross;

Galatians 2:19 (NLT)
19  For when I tried to keep the law, it condemned me. So I died to the law—I stopped trying to meet all its requirements—so that I might live for God.

Now I know that on some level this point seems redundant, but I want you to bear with me as we walk through and squeeze out all the truth here.

Remember in point number one; I talked about the ancient marriage relationship as being one where the relationship was characterized by the power of the husband over the wife.

I’m not saying that the LAW was bad, Paul makes a point of communicating that several times over his various teachings.

The law served a purpose, it was the schoolmaster, it let people know the difference between right and wrong, it pointed out sin, but it was a relationship that was driven by restriction and much less characterized by love…

You obeyed the law and respected it’s power because there was a penalty involved for breaking the law, that is how it was at the end of the day.

If you messed up you get messed up.

Before you came to Christ you were married to the law, but now, you’ve been released and re-united in marriage with Christ

This is important for the child of God because if you don’t get this clear, your understanding of the freedom you have from legality for example, can become a trap and this is what has happened in the lives of Christians today.

Folks are like yes; I’ll take that freedom.

But many have used it as a cloak for vice; and so you see the rise of “ITS OK I’M free from the law and saved by grace so I can sleep with who ever I want, I can chase whatever I want, I can smoke whatever I want, I can hang out and hook up with whoever I want, I can come to church when ever I want, I can be Spiritual in the way that I want, I don’t need a Pastor, I don’t need to be in relationship with other Christians, I don’t need accountability, I don’t need to serve, or to be bound by rules, I’m saved by grace, so I’m free to pursue what makes me feel good, even if it’s sinful..

Paul would say most emphatically in Romans 6:2 God forbid, how shall we who are dead to sin live any longer therein.

We’ve been free from the law, but we are now united with Christ

So you live for him the one who chose you when you were without strength.

You present your body to him, the one who bought you and redeemed you with his precious blood.

You share the good news of the savior to all you encounter, letting others know, not because of a law but because of your love relationship what a good and wonderful God you serve.

Not because of the letter of the law, but because of LOVE and I don’t mean love as a feeling alone, but because of the love that has impacted you to the point of making an all out commitment to him, to act in love and produce fruits worthy of that marriage.

Every believer, every child of God has been ushered into this new reality, the challenge for us as believers is to know and appreciate the freedom of what we’ve been given and to walk in it.

What believers need to know about the law is…

  1. The law is alive to those in “the flesh”

Romans 7:5 (NLT)
5  When we were controlled by our old nature, sinful desires were at work within us, and the law aroused these evil desires that produced a harvest of sinful deeds, resulting in death.

Romans 7:8 (NLT)
8  But sin used this command to arouse all kinds of covetous desires within me! If there were no law, sin would not have that power.

Romans 6:23 (NLT) 

23  For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.

Galatians 3:10b (KJV) 

10b   for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.

Now this third point provides a teaching here that applies to the saved person and the unsaved, so we are going to speak to both of those groups.

In point number one we spoke about the draconian relationship of power and dominance that the law has over a person and that such control and authority is only broken when a person dies. Remember what we learned about the wife and how she is bound to her husband as long as he lives.

Now again we don’t want to get confused because the people in this room are all alive, but Christians through Christ’s death on the cross experienced” a death in him”, as he literally was freed from the law in his death and death was imputed to us in Christ, even though we didn’t physically die at that time.

Let me say it like this “ We obtain the freedom from the power of the law, when Christ died because we are counted has having been IN CHRIST at the time of his death.

Now for the person outside of Christ, none of this applies to you and this is a dangerous realty that you need to know about.

Thought:

If you are unsaved, if you have never invited Christ into your life, if you’ve never confessed Jesus Christ as Lord and placed your faith in him, repenting of your sinful life and giving your heart to him, you are not only unsaved, but you are alive to the law and every consequence associated with the breaking of God’s law.

And because of your status as a law breaker and that applies to every unsaved, unregenerated, unjustified person in this room and in this world; because of your status you stand guilty and condemned before a holy God.

The law is alive to those who are outside of Christ.

When one disobeys the law, they bear the consequences of that. When one breaks the law who is outside of Christ and breaking God’s law is SIN, one earns the wages of sin which is death.

Now I know this tough to hear and it doesn’t make us feel good.

I also know that it doesn’t do you any good for someone to tell you this and then leave you there without any kind of solution.

But I promise to give the answer and the solution if you want to embrace it; but for now just let the truth sink in and think about it.

To the Saved, here is what you need to think about.

Now we know and fully understand that the law is dead to us in terms of its power over the child of God Spiritually we read that in Romans 7:4 and I quote “4  So, my dear brothers and sisters, this is the point: You died to the power of the law when you died with Christ

But here is the warning Child of God and I’m speaking particularly to carnal Christians under the sound of my voice, who are living in the flesh.

Now you can act like you don’t know what I am talking about but you know you get exactly what I am saying.

You see, there are Christians who are saved in the Spiritual sense of the word, but who are never the less are living in the flesh.

You are living in sin, you are living in rebellion and living just like an unsaved person.

You were buried in Christ, you were bought and paid for by the blood of the lamb, but the law is active in your life, because you are living like an unsaved person and walking in the flesh.

And the result of how you are living, that is living in the flesh and you know exactly what you are doing and who you are doing it with; the result my friend is that this in-the-flesh life style that you have embraced, watch this.. Condemns you to the same guilt, to the same sense of condemnation that characterizes the life of the unsaved. 

This is why you are not happy and peaceful in your mess.

That is why you head for the door or change the channel when truth comes forth, that is why you avoid the fellowship and the word of God, because you’ve developed spiritual amnesia and now rather than walking in the freedom Christ secured for you, you are controlled by your passion and driven by your sinful desires.

You know the truth.

You know how your life is now.

It’s full of guilt shame and fear; its become a vicious cycle in which sinful feelings are wrought and passions arise as a result of the rebellion you are living in; sin breeding more sin, the law taking more control and condemning you…binding the child of God when Christ has given you freedom and joy in a new relationship, in which you ought to be producing good fruit for him.

Backsliding sliding Child of God, Jesus died for and has destined you for so much more.

You don’t have to live like this for one minute longer, controlled by the sinful nature, when Christ has called and destined you to freedom, completely in him.

4th and finally, what believers need to know about the law is…

  1. The believer is free from the law so that we night purse the law of the Spirit

Romans 7:6 (NLT)
6  But now we have been released from the law, for we died to it and are no longer captive to its power. Now we can serve God, not in the old way of obeying the letter of the law, but in the new way of living in the Spirit.

2 Corinthians 5:17 (NLT)
17  This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!

Ezekiel 36:26 (NLT)
26  And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart.

Paul here in this 4th point wants the believer to fully embrace the blessing of what Christ has delivered them from.

The law is deactivated in the life of a believer and his life is instead activated to serve and focus upon the Lord.

The true believer bears fruit, he is empowered by the Holy Spirit, and he lives as a new creature and a new creation.

Remember now as we approach this teaching and every point contained therein, keep in mind the point that Paul is trying to convey to believers, that being that you died to the power of the law, when you became Christ’s so that you might live for the one to whom you are united, that being Christ AND produce a harvest of good works for God.

Look at the good news of what is being shared here, believers are delivered, the believer is freed from the oldness of the law, his new focus is now upon his relationship with God, his desire is to be led by the Spirit of God to know the word and the will of God and to flow in the beauty of a relationship of love joy peace and acceptance.

He or she is now a true member of the family an heir not only of the blessings of God, but a child who joys in doing the father’s will, just as Christ lived for and found JOY in pleasing his father.That’s what we’ve been given, that is what we need to know and that should be our heart’s desire.

AMEN.

Close:

We’ve been called and appointed to a beautiful position in-Christ, we have been delivered to pursue a life of joy and freedom and love with him, who choose us, who bought us and loved us FIRST.

In the third point of the sermon today, I raised some very serious and upsetting facts with those who are unsaved and stand in danger of hell fire and condemnation before a Holy God.

A human being is by nature a lawbreaker. I don’t say that as a put down, but as a simple fact that applies to all of us.

The bible says for all have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory. In another place is says that there is none righteous no not one.

You might be a wonderful person, compared to the person down the street, but each of us knows that we are lawbreakers and have broken God’s law.

Maybe it’s something as simple and easy to hide as pride; maybe you never stole a nickel in your life, but I guarantee you that just like every one of us, you are guilty.

And the bible says that the wages of sin is DEATH. It isn’t a second chance, it’s not reincarnation, it’s DEATH eternally in a Devil’s HELL.

The person sitting next to you, the person standing at this podium was in the same position as you were. The people in front and behind were in the same position as you but they came to the point of understanding what God did for them through his SON Jesus.

John 3:16 said that God so loved the world that he gave his only SON Jesus and he gave him to die a substitutionary death for us.

We earned the death penalty, but Christ who never sinned paid the penalty for us.

And we embrace the truth of that, buy placing our faith in him, who died, was buried and rose again from death and then we repent and turn from our sinful selfishness ways to give our lives to him.

God sees that faith and he credits us with a right standing and acceptance and forgiveness that Christ secured for us through his death.

That is how you get born again.

That is how you deal with the situation I mentioned to you earlier, that is how the wages of sin is dealt with, by giving your heart and faith and life to Christ who died for you.

Now the question is, will you believe it and embrace it and accept it.

While all eyes are closed and heads are bowed.

 

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