Dead to the Law?

In Romans 7:4a the Apostle Paul makes an extraordinary statement:

Therefore, my brethren, you also have become dead to the law…

What does he mean in saying that? Are we now free to steal, murder and commit adultery?

Context is everything.

In the preceding verses Paul states the obvious truth that the law has no jurisdiction over a dead person (v.1). He then demonstrates that the death of a husband also changes the status of the wife. She is no longer a wife, she is now a widow, and freed from the covenant of marriage (vv. 2-3). In like manner, he is explaining to Jewish believers (‘those who know the law’) that the death of Christ changes their status in regard to the torah covenant. They have died to the Torah Covenant and, like the widow, are free to embrace the New Covenant in Messiah.

So how did they die to the old covenant?

As the next phrase in Romans 7:4 explains:

…through the body of Christ.

Since Christ is our corporate solidarity, his death is our death. The torah covenant has no jurisdiction over him… or us. But that doesn’t free us from God’s definition of right and wrong. Rather, as the apostle explains in verse 7, we are now empowered for obedience by the Spirit of God:

…so that we should serve in the newness of the Spirit and not in the oldness of the letter.

Baruch haShem!

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