Tag Archives: God Fruit

Romans 7:1-6 – God Fruit and Law Fruit

Romans 7:1–6 (ESV) — 1 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? 2 For a married woman is bound by law to her husband while he lives, but if her husband dies she is released from the law of marriage. 3 Accordingly, she will be called an adulteress if she lives with another man while her husband is alive. But if her husband dies, she is free from that law, and if she marries another man she is not an adulteress. 4 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. 5 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. 6 But now we are released from the law, having died to that which held us captive, so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit and not in the old way of the written code.

 

 

Romans 7 has as its main topic “the Mosaic law” – Douglas Moo.

  • So before we dig in, we need to take a quick look back into Romans 6 to get our footing.

 

In Romans 6:14, Paul said this:

  • Romans 6:14 (ESV) — 14 For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.
  • Out of nowhere, seemingly, Paul brought up the idea of “under law” to contrast with his “under grace” dominion theology.
  • At the time, we called it Paul’s new wrinkle – how the law fits into his dominion theology scheme?

 

We learned then:

  • Under law” is a power working within dominions – sin or grace.
  • And in the context of “under sin”, the law operates negatively as “the power of sin”.
  • It is “a power of the old age” – Douglas Moo.

 

This meant that the law, in itself, is not negative.

  • “The defect lies in sin, which uses the law for its own ends (7:7–13) and produces more sin under the law” – Tom Schreiner.
  • We will need to remember this later!

 

So this brings us to Romans 7.

  • In Romans 7, Paul elaborates on the law and his dominion theology.
  • Paul brought up “under law” in Romans 6:14, “…almost in passing, and it cries out for elaboration—which he now gives” in Romans 7 – Douglas Moo.

 

 

Do You Not Know:

We begin with the principal Paul teaches in verses 1-3.

  • Romans 7:1–3 (ESV) — 1 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? 2 For a married woman is bound by law to her husband while he lives, but if her husband dies she is released from the law of marriage. 3 Accordingly, she will be called an adulteress if she lives with another man while her husband is alive. But if her husband dies, she is free from that law, and if she marries another man she is not an adulteress.

 

BTW – We have to be careful of drawing a direct parallel with verses 4-6 (Moo and Schreiner).

  • They simply don’t match up in that way (Moo and Schreiner).

 

So what is Paul saying?

  • There is some way in which death frees one from the demands of the law.
  • “The main point, then, is that one’s relationship to the law is changed when death occurs” – Tom Schreiner.

Douglas Moo points out that an old Rabbi maxim captures Paul’s point.

  • “If a person is dead, he is free from the Torah and the fulfilling of the commandments” – Douglas Moo.

 

So with this principal in hand, we can forge ahead into the points Paul is making in the remaining verses.

 

 

Likewise, My Brothers:

Romans 7:4–6 (ESV) — 4 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. 5 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. 6 But now we are released from the law, having died to that which held us captive, so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit and not in the old way of the written code.

 

So having shown that death brings freedom from the demands of the law…

  • The obvious thing one would want to know is how one can die “to the law”.
  • How are we freed from the law like the wife?

 

Paul can’t be anymore straightfoward!

  • Paul directly answers this question – “Likewise, my brothers you also have died to the law…

 

Say what!

  • How did we do that?
  • Paul says, “through the body of Christ” (vs. 4).
  • Or as the NLT says, “when you died with Christ”.

 

This “died with Christ” stuff is more of the awesome “reign making” stuff from Romans 6.

  • Romans 6:7–9 (ESV) — 7 For one who has died has been set free from sin. 8 Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him.

 

So because we are connected to Christ through faith…

  • We have participated – somehow – in His death and resurrection.
  • This is the “when you died with Christ” (NLT) from our verse 4.

 

And, interestingly, whereas in Romans 6…

  • Paul says this is how we were “free from sin”…
  • How Jesus transferred us into grace.

 

In Romans 7…

  • Paul says this is also how we have “died to the law”.

 

And remember, this means…

  • That we have died to the negative power of the law as it operated “under sin”.

 

And why is this such a big deal?

  • Paul says because we are now united with the one, “who has been raised from the dead” (vs. 4).

 

Which, for the purposes of his current discussion has a very important implication.

  • …in order that we may bear fruit for God” (vs. 4).

 

How do we know what to do to bear fruit for God?

  • The imperatives.

 

So we can sum verse 4 up like this…

  • We, like the wife, have been freed from the demands of the law.
  • This happened because we died to the law.
  • We died to the law by virtue of our participation in the death of Christ.
  • And, importantly, to be united to Christ in His death is to be united to the life of His resurrection.
  • And so because we have gone through this death-resurrection-life process, we can now “bear fruit for God”.

 

This is all great news – this is the Gospel – this is Paul’s dominion theology.

  • And this again shows us how the imperatives relate to the indicatives.
  • Our obedience is the fulfillment of our new desires to “bear fruit for God”.

 

But we said Romans 7 was about the law.

  • Isn’t Paul going to shed more light on the law?
  • Hold on to your seats!

 

 

Law Diving Deeper:

Romans 7:5–6 (ESV) — 5 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. 6 But now we are released from the law, having died to that which held us captive, so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit and not in the old way of the written code.

 

Remarkably, Paul goes on to say something startling about the law.

  • He says what the law did “while we were living in the flesh” was to arouse our “sinful passions”.
  • And not only that, but that the “sinful passions” bore the most heinous kind of fruit.
  • They bore fruit not “for God” but “for death”.

 

In other words, Paul is making this remarkable claim.

  • God gave the law and it did not lead to righteousness.
  • In fact, it didn’t even bear fruit “for God”.
  • It lead to the bearing of fruit for the master of the dominion of sin – what Paul calls here “death”.

 

Or to put in the language of Romans 6:13:

  • God’s law produced “work in our members” (7:5) that served as weapons or “instruments” for the master of the dominion of sin.

 

Or to put in the language of Romans 5’s Adam and Christ:

  • “Paul is making the striking and controversial claim that the law, when given to Israel, formed a bond between Israel and … not God, as one might have supposed, but rather Adam” – N.T. Wright.

 

God gave the law and it produced ammunition for His opposition!

  • Wow!

 

Even though the law is from God, “…it has nevertheless become the unwitting tool of sin, being used to confirm and imprison in death…” – Douglas Moo.

  • Master Sin must have loved the giving of the law.
  • More on this in the coming weeks.

 

 

Good News:

Paul then goes on to give some good news – again!

  • And what’s cool is that he introduces the good news just like he does in Romans 3:21…
  • But now…
  • But now we are released from the law, having died to that which held us captive, so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit and not in the old way of the written code” (vs. 6).

 

Here, Paul repeats himself, but adds a new twist.

  • We now “serve in the new way of the Spirit and not in the old way of the written code”.

 

This is the good news that…

  • Because of the indicatives of God…
  • Our efforts at obedience now serve – by the power of the Spirit – the purposes of God.
  • They no longer serve “the old way” which was sin and death.

 

Did you get that?

  • Our obedience and service is now powered by the Spirit!
  • This, once again, sheds an important light on our relationship to the imperatives.
  • What is it?

 

 

Tom Schreiner’s summary of Romans 7:1-6:

“Jewish opponents of Paul’s gospel contended that freedom from the law opened the door for sin. Paul turns the tables on them by insisting that it is those who are under the law who are in bondage to sin. The Jews never found freedom under the law, and the promises of salvation have not been fulfilled. Only those who have died with Christ to the law and possess the Holy Spirit have the ability to bear fruit for God. Those who are under the law cannot yield good fruit and will have the penalty of death pronounced over them” – Tom Schreiner.