Romans 7:4-6: “…….. YOU ALSO HAVE BECOME DEAD TO THE LAW through the body of Christ, that you may be married to another—to Him who was raised from the dead, that we should bear fruit to God. 5 For when we were in the flesh, the sinful passions which were aroused by the law were at work in our members to bear fruit TO DEATH. 6 BUT NOW WE HAVE BEEN DELIVERED FROM THE LAW, having died to what we were held by, so that we should serve in the newness of the Spirit and not in the oldness of the letter.”
To understand these very concise verses, other verses must be acknowledged as equally valid. Some (actually a significant number) of those other verses are also guiding clues in explaining verses 4 through 6. Isaiah 28:12,13 warns us that just knowing small parts of the Bible here and there, without knowing the entire Bible, can ensnare us. Note that in Romans 7 MAJOR emphasis is on DEATH, DEATH, DEATH, DEATH, DEATH and SIN. The very major Old Testament principle of death and its relationship to sin is the main subject in the book of Romans, especially as shown in Romans 7:5,6,9,10,11, and 24. Ezekiel 18:4: “…… The soul who sins shall DIE.” Ezekiel 18:20: “The soul who sins shall DIE ……” Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is DEATH……” James 1:15: “…… sin, when it is full grown, brings forth DEATH.” Romans 5:12: “…… DEATH spread to all men, because all sinned.” Romans 5:14: “…… DEATH reigned …… even over those who had not sinned according to the likeness of the transgressions of Adam ……” In Romans 6 and 7 the word “death” appears 11 times, not including the frequently repeated words “died” and “dead” in the New King James Version. What law have Christians become dead to and delivered from? Near the beginning of the very next chapter ROMANS 8:2 PINPOINTS the EXACT, PRECISE law that they have been delivered from, THE LAW OF SIN AND DEATH. The specific law of sin and death, or the PENALTY part of the law for breaking the law, is distinctly different from the other part of the law, the OBEDIENCE part of the law. A very powerful clue that these Roman 7 verses DO NOT indicate OT law keeping has ended is the following: The word “sin” occurs frequently throughout the NT, 127 times in the New International Version. 1 John 3:4 defines sin as the transgression of the law, referring to the general law in the Bible. The Greek in 1 John 3:4 shows that the law includes many still applicable OT laws such as the tithing, dietary, and festival laws. If Jesus abolished the law, sin then becomes non-existent because laws no longer exist to break. But since the Bible all the way to Revelation repeatedly and solemnly warns Christians to avoid sin, defined Biblically as breaking the law, then the law is shown to still exist and be in full force. Also, if mainstreamers are correct that these Roman 7 verses provide permission to abandon law keeping then the Ten Commandments no longer need to be obeyed. The first Commandment is to worship only the one true God, not other gods. DO A LITTLE REASONABLE THINKING!! To interpret Romans 7:4-6 as proof that obedience to the law, which would include obeying the first Commandment as well as other Commandments forbidding lying, stealing, homosexuality, and other OT laws prohibiting bestiality or putting stumbling blocks in front of the blind, has become obsolete is therefore ABSURD A DOZEN TIMES OVER, OF COURSE!! Look at Romans7:7 and 12: 7 “What shall we say then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! On the contrary, I would not have known sin except through the law……..” The “oldness of the letter” in Romans 7:6 refers to the original, Old Testament legal condemnation for breaking the law, which was the automatic death penalty part of the law for violating the law (Numbers 15:35, Mark 7:10, etc.). Romans 7:12: “Therefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy and just and good.” Verses 7 and 12 emphasize that observing the majority of the Mosaic laws is still a necessary and integral part of Christianity. These verses are addressed to baptized Christians with the Holy Spirit faithfully obeying divine laws, thereby nullifying or suspending for themselves the penalty, and only the penalty, not the obedience part of the law, of violating Biblical laws. Romans 7:4 says that YOU, a Christian, have become dead (or immune) to the law (the penalty part of the law). Verse 4 does not say that the law itself has become dead. Concluding, there is simply too much reasonable doubt to believe that Romans 7:4-6 conclusively and clearly proves OT law keeping has been annulled. A far larger number of verses not only support law keeping, but EMPHATICALLY support law keeping. Remember, the Old Covenant in the Old Testament NEVER DID formally promise immortality (a release from the potentially eternal death penalty for sinning) to the ancient Israelites. So the New Testament deliverance and new freedom from eternal death is a very, very, “big deal.” Romans 7:4-6 is a REMINDER of the fabulous new freedom from eternal death (freedom from the great Law of sin and death that has plagued humanity for many thousands of years) that Christians now have, thanks to the sacrificial death of Jesus, who died for us. The word “aroused” in “the sinful passions which were aroused by the law” in Romans 7:4 is a word that has been ADDED by often anti-Old Testament law, leaning translators. That word is not in the original Greek. The context is “sinful passions which were DEFINED or DESCRIBED by the law (OT and NT laws).” For a better understanding please visit http://www.ucg.org/booklet/new-covenant-does-it-abolish-gods-law/justice-and-judgment-god/ then scroll down to the lower one third of that page. Another good site is http://rcg.org/questions/p155.a.html.
Remember that you can confidently assume that God is not deliberately lying to you in any verse in the original Greek because He told us that He does not lie. Hebrews 6:18: “……it is impossible for God to lie ……” 1 Corinthians 14:33: “For God is not the author of confusion.” Therefore we can confidently assume that the original Greek in the New Testament is not really self contradictory concerning law keeping. Since God will not lie or try to confuse us then we need to really believe LITERALLY the following 13 verses that plainly tell us that Christians still need to obey the law.
1) 1 John 3:4: “…… SIN IS THE VIOLATION OF THE LAW”
2) Romans 2:13: “For not the hearers of the LAW are just in the sight of God, but the DOERS of the LAW will be justified.”
3) Romans 6:1,2: “…… Shall we continue in SIN that grace may abound? 2 CERTAINLY NOT! How shall we …… live any longer in it?”
Romans 6:1,2: “What shall we say then? Shall we keep on doing WRONG THINGS so that God will be more kind to us? 2 NO, SURELY NOT! We died to our WRONG WAYS and no longer live in them.” (Worldwide English [New Testament])
Romans 6:1,2: “So what do we do? Keep on SINNING so God can keep on forgiving? I SHOULD HOPE NOT! 2 If we’ve left the country where SIN is sovereign, how can we still live in our old house there? Or didn’t you realize we packed up and left there for good? (The Message) The word “SIN” appears in this and other verses, so remember, according to 1 John 3:4 above, it means ONLY one thing, BREAKING either the food, festival, tithing, Saturday rest, or some other OT or NT law or a combination of those laws.
4) Romans 6:15: “…… Shall we SIN because we are not under LAW but under grace? CERTAINLY NOT!”
5) Romans 3:31: “Well then, if we are saved by faith, does this mean that we no longer need to OBEY God’s LAW? JUST THE OPPOSITE! In fact, only when we trust Jesus can we truly OBEY Him.” (The Living Bible)
Romans 3:31: “Are we abolishing Moses’ Teachings by this faith? THAT’S UNTHINKABLE! Rather, we are SUPPORTING Moses’ teachings.” (God’s Word Translation)
6) Romans 6:16: “Do you not know that …… you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of SIN leading to death, or of OBEDIENCE leading to RIGHTEOUSNESS?” 7) Romans 6:18: “And having been set free from SIN, YOU BECAME SLAVES OF RIGHTEOUSNESS.” 8) Romans 6:19: “…… For just as you presented your members as slaves of UNCLEANNESS, and of LAWLESSNESS leading to more lawlessness, SO NOW PRESENT YOUR MEMBERS AS SLAVES OF RIGHTEOUSNESS FOR HOLINESS.” The Greek definition of UNCLEANNESS includes the Levitically “unclean” or forbidden foods. The Greek definition of LAWLESSNESS refers primarily to breaking the Old Testament, Mosaic LAWS. The word “righteousness” in these Roman verses usually refers to the Jewish LAW keeping type of righteousness. So according to the green, capitalized phrase above, Paul clearly commands us to start or to continue obeying the LAW.
9) Matthew 19:17: “….. BUT IF you want to enter into life, KEEP the commandments.” 10) Revelation 22:14: “Blessed are those who DO His commandments, that they may HAVE THE RIGHT to the tree of life ……” Remember, the Ten Commandments contain the one requiring rest on Saturday, not Sunday, which was started by the Catholics.
11) JUDE 1:4: “…… (impious, PROFANE) persons …… PERVERT THE GRACE …… of our God into LAWLESSNESS ……” (The Amplified Bible)
12) Matthew 7:23: “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; DEPART from Me, you who practice LAWLESSNESS.” 13) Matthew 13:41,42: “…… His angels …… will gather …… those who practice LAWLESSNESS 42 and will cast them into the FURNACE OF FIRE ……”
Yes, the death of Jesus did wipe away and atone for our sins (violations of the law), BUT IT WAS GENERALLY ONLY FOR OUR PAST, REPEAT, PAST SINS, NOT SINS AFTER REPENTANCE AND BAPTISM!!
ROMANS 3:24,25: “…… GRACE, through …… Jesus: …… 25 in His pity God let the SINS OF EARLIER TIMES GO UNPUNISHED.” (Bible in Basic English) That is why we need to keep on obeying the law after our baptism. New, post baptismal sins, though, when confessed and sincerely repented of, can also be forgiven (1 John 1:9, 2:1,2). Abandoning one’s conversion and baptism, however, or deliberately and consistently sinning may ultimately be judged as unforgiveable according to Hebrews 6:4-6, and 10:26-27.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Unless indicated otherwise, all Biblical quotations on this page are from the New King James Version.