So, my brothers, you also died to the law through the body of Christ, that you might belong to another, to him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit to God.
The Law was given to control the old Adamic nature, but failed through the feebleness of the flesh. The Law actually became a millstone around the neck of man—a chain that shackled us. Its demands had to be met, but man could not meet them. It was indeed a ministration of condemnation!
The Good News is that God sent His Son to fulfill the righteous demands of the Law. In life and death, Jesus satisfied every jot and tittle of the Law. Being without sin, He paid its penalty of DEATH in His body. He died to the Law and since we are baptized or identified with Christ in His death, we are now dead to the Law and the Law is dead to us.
Notice that Paul avoids saying that the Law died, something that is never affirmed in Scripture, since the Law continues to condemn the sinner. Literally, the Christian is “made dead to the Law”—in the sense of its condemnation and authority, not its goodness, righteousness and holiness. Sayings about the Law like Psalm 119:104-106 continue to be true for believers—
I gain understanding from your precepts; therefore I hate every wrong path. Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path. I have taken an oath and confirmed it, that I will follow your righteous laws.
Christ is the end of the Law for righteousness to every one that believes. He has not only abolished that Law which condemns every transgressor to death, without any hope of a revival, but He has also made that atonement for sin, by His own death according to the sacrifices prescribed by the :Law. And Jesus is risen again from the dead, thereby given the fullest proof that by His death, He has procured the resurrection of mankind, and made that complete atonement required by the Law.
And since we are joined to the living Christ, we died with Him and we have been raised with Him. He is the second husband, the living Christ, who enables us TO BEAR FRUIT TO GOD. We need to pause, and ask, “What is this fruit we are to bear to God?
When God instituted marriage, He blessed our first parents and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number, fill the earth and subdue it.” A marriage is to be fruitful, whether in the physical or spiritual realm.
At salvation, we became the bride and Christ our bridegroom. The most natural thing for the wife is to bear fruit—to bring forth children. Likewise, we should bear fruit to God by increasing in numbers and filling the earth. How do we do that? By bringing others to Christ so that they may become the children of God. Soul winning should come as natural as child birth for those who are married to Christ.
There are other kinds of FRUIT that we are bear to God.
The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law (Galatians 5:22-23).
The fruit of lips that confess Jesus’ name as a continual offering to God as a sacrifice of praise (Hebrews 13:15).
The fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth (Ephesians 5:9).
The fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God (Philippians 1:11).
Here Paul has in mind the FRUIT OF RIGHTEOUSNESS. Christ is our sanctification and it is through union with Him that we become holy. The whole of the Christian life is to be found in Christ according to 1 Corinthians 1:30—
It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption.
Righteousness can never be produced by human character or good works. The Law only instilled knowledge of sin. The Law was simply a witness to righteousness. While good and perfect, the Law was unattainable and could not prevent men from transgressing its holy and righteous demands. Indeed, the Law worked wrath by exposing sin. Men always lived as sinners, but when God spelled out the Law covering every area of life, it was evident that men transgressed in in all those areas.
Therefore, we must die to the Law and be raised in order to bear fruit unto God. Verse 5 recounts our past condition—
For when we were controlled by the sinful nature, the sinful passions aroused by the law were at work in our bodies, so that we bore fruit for death.
Philosophers often contrasted reason (which was good) with the passions (which were bad). Jewish teachers came to speak of these in terms of the good and evil impulse. Paul identified the source of evil impulse, calling it THE SINFUL NATURE—literally, THE FLESH—that is the sensuous nature of man.
FRUIT FOR DEATH is SIN and its wages is death! We need to face this truth squarely. Are you able in your own strength to keep the Law? The Law is a chain to shackle the flesh to control it. But the flesh rebels and chafes under the irksome restraint of the Law. The flesh has no capacity or desire to follow the injunctions of the Law. The flesh attempts to break out of the restraints imposed by law but cannot escape its authority. So the sinful passions bring down the irrevocable penalty for breaking the Law, which is death.
That’s bad news, but good news follows in verse 6—
But now, by dying to what once bound us, we have been released from the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code.
The wording of THE OLD WAY OF THE WRITTEN CODE is important. Here Paul uses the word GRAMMA, which is translated WRITTEN CODE. He always uses GRAPHE when he speaks of the positive and lasting significance of Scripture. WRITTEN CODE always refers to the LETTER of the LAW—its LEGAL AUTHORITY, which he mentions in 7:1.
The Written Code has no power to give life or to produce a service acceptable to God. Only a person can beget human life, and only a divine person can impart spiritual life, which is then fostered and nurtured by the Spirit.
THE NEW WAY OF THE SPIRIT has in it not so much the idea of newness in time as freshness and superiority. It’s paramount living the victorious life to keep in mind that God has poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us.
We, therefore, have been released from the authority of the Written Code to serve in the new way of the Spirit—which is LOVE. Not law, but love, is the motive of the Christian life, and the inspiration of God’s love can make us able to what the restraints of the Law was incapable of according to Romans 8:3- 4—
For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in sinful man, in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit.
Again, notice that the righteous requirements of the Law have not been abolished but are to be fully met in the Christian. Hence, sanctification or holiness is conformity to God’s Law. Rather than contradict Law, love is its fulfillment. Consequently, the Law of God remains the standard of holiness for every believer.
But now believers endeavor to fulfill the Law, not in order to be justified but because they have already been justified, not in the flesh but in the Spirit, not out of merit-seeking works but out of the response of faith which works by love according to passages like 1 Peter 1:22—
Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for your brothers, love one another deeply, from the heart.
Christians are set free, but out of love freely give themselves to Christ. There’s a little poem that goes this way:
I do not work my soul to save; That work my Lord hath done.
But I will work like any slave For love of God’s dear Son.
We serve Christ because we love Him, not because the Law demands it. Christ drove this point home to Peter on the shore of Galilee. Three times our Lord asked Simon Peter the direct question, “Do you love Me?” To Peter’s positive responses, Jesus replied: “Feed my lambs; Care for my sheep; Feed my sheep”—in other words, “If you love Me, serve Me!”—“Love does what I command!”
God’s question to the lost world is “What will you do with My Son who died for you?” However, Christ’s question to the believer is “Do you love me?” And He said in John 14:15—
“If you love me, you will obey what I command.” He goes on to say in John 14:21—
Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him.
And he adds in John 15:10—
If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love.
LOVE is THE NEW WAY OF THE SPIRIT. There is nothing wrong with the Law; the problem is with man. Outside of Christ, man does not have the Holy Spirit and lacks God’s love, which is necessary to fulfill the righteous demands of the Law.
In the OT, THE WORD OF GOD was the principal means of sanctification or holiness. Psalm 119:11 asserts—
I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.
In Jesus’ prayer for His disciples, He prayed in John 17:17— Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.
Sanctification and revelation go together. And the Bible is God’s revelation of righteousness according to 2 Timothy 3:16-17—
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
Since the Law is part of ALL SCRIPTURE, it has not died or been abolished! Rather we died to its authority. It remains alive; we now experience it in the new way of the Spirit and live victoriously. Before it condemned us; now by the power of the Spirit it teaches, rebukes, correct and trains us in righteousness. It’s Truth sanctifies us.
Initially, the intent of the Law appeared to set apart the nation of Israel in holiness. After the Law had been given, God announced in Leviticus 18:5—
Keep my decrees and laws, for the man who obeys them will live by them. I am the LORD.
MAJOR PROBLEM—no one keeps God’s decrees and laws! The problem is not with the Law but man. As it turned out, the authority of the Law stood as a continual testimony against Israel. The Law exposed their sin and condemned them to death! What was God’s solution. He said to Moses in Exodus 25:8—
Then have them make a sanctuary for me, and I will dwell among them.
How could God dwell in the Tabernacle among lawbreakers? That’s no solution! It just makes things worse. A holy God in the presence of sinners. In fact, how can the Holy Spirit dwell in you—a lawbreaker?
The answer is found in the first piece of furniture God commanded Moses to make for the Tabernacle. What was it? THE ARK. Turn to Exodus 25:21—
Place the cover on top of the ark and put in the ark the Testimony, which I will give you.
Notice that in God’s mind, the Ark precedes the Testimony. But what is this ARK? A ship? A basket? Not this ARK. hbt (tebah) is the Hebrew word for Noah’s Ark and Moses’ basket. Nwra (‘arown) is the Hebrew word for Ark that was placed in the Tabernacle. Best to understand the meaning of any Biblical word, we must find its first usage in Scripture. Nwra (‘arown) first appears in the last verse of Genesis—
So Joseph died at the age of a hundred and ten. And after they embalmed him, he was placed in a coffin [Nwra] in Egypt.
The ARK is a COFFIN! What is the significance of the Ark being a coffin?
What was Moses to put in the COFFIN? THE TESTIMONY! And what is the Testimony? It is the Ten Commandments—the Law. It is called the TESTIMONY because its the witness that testifies to the fact that we are sinners in need of God’s grace. What a Beautiful Type!
The Law had hardly been given when God said, “PUT IN THE COFFIN THE TESTIMONY.” What do we put in COFFINS?—that which is dead to us!
Putting the Law in the COFFIN was an act of love on God’s part! However, God’s love cannot violate His holiness and righteousness! And the Law is holy, righteous and good, therefore it must be obeyed or the penalty of death executed.
Look again at the first part of Exodus 25:21—PLACE THE COVER ON TOP OF THE COFFIN. What cover? THE ATONEMENT COVER were innocent blood would be sprinkled annually to cover the sins of the nation. And what does this picture? GRACE! Romans 3:25—
God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood. He did this to demonstrate his justice, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished.
Looking forward in time to the Cross, God left the sins committed beforehand unpunished. God accepted the innocent blood of spotless animals sprinkled on the Atonement Cover as a down payment awaiting His Son’s blood, which would satisfy the death penalty that the Testimony summoned.
The authority of the Law over man demanded blood so Jesus shed His innocent blood on the Cross to satisfy God’s justice. Not only did Jesus die FOR our sins, TO sin, to save us FROM sin; He died TO the Law. And since we died with Christ, the Law no longer has authority over us.
The plans of the Tabernacle and its Furnishings preceded the Law on Tablets of Stone. So Yahweh planned to impute the sins exposed by the Law to Christ and His righteous to the sinner before He gave it. When God told Moses—
Place the cover on top of the coffin and put in the coffin the Testimony, which I will give you.
He planned that Christ would die to the Law—to its authority! So the Testimony placed in a coffin! And since Christ died to the Law, we died to the Law also. But death is not the end according to Romans 6:4—
We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.
Therefore, Paul writes in Romans 7:6—
But now, by dying to what once bound us, we have been released from the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code.
We will take of the LORD’S SUPPER shortly. THE NEW WAY OF THE SPIRIT is symbolized in the COMMUNION CUP! Turn to Luke 22:20—
In the same way, after the supper [Jesus] took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.
Jesus has just announced to His disciples that the COMMUNION CUP symbolizes the NEW COVENANT that had been predicted in Jeremiah 31:31-33—
“The time is coming,” declares the LORD, “when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah. It will not be like the covenant I made with their forefathers when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they broke my covenant, though I was a husband to them,” declares the LORD. “This is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after that time,” declares the LORD. “I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people.
Since Israel failed to obey the Ten Commandments, the Old Covenant produced death. A New Covenant, where the Law would be imparted to them in a new way, was essential.
Following His death and resurrection, Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to indwell believers and the old way of the Written Code, which they had broken, was superseded by the new way of the Spirit. The LORD puts His Law in our minds and writes it on our hearts by the Holy Spirit. That means that the Law can only be fulfilled in the Gospel.
With the COMMUNION CUP, Jesus was saying the rites, ceremonies, and sacrifices of the OT economy were being fulfilled in Himself. He would suffer and die to the Law’s penalty for us, and we are free from its demands for the purpose of serving in the newness of the Spirit.
Serving the LORD in the new way of the Spirit and in oldness of the Written Code, are incompatible the one with the other. There is a vast difference between those who are married to the Law and those who are married to Christ.
As believers, we serve from God’s love implanted by the Holy Spirit in our hearts. Our attitudes and actions are now constrained and prompted by the Spirit instead of by the Law. The legalistic life has been replaced by a living relationship with the Triune God. Our attitude has been changed; we are no longer slaves to the Law, but slaves to God, which is freedom according to 2 Corinthians 3:17 —
Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom..
Believers are in the new dispensation of the Spirit; and not in the old dispensation of the Written Code. That’s one of the many reasons why Jesus took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.” This Cup symbolizes not only DEATH and RESURRECTION, but also NEWNESS OF LIFE. When partake of it, we testify to the fact that we were buried with Him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.
Jesus selected His symbols, metaphors and analogies carefully! The Communion Cup contained THE FRUIT OF THE VINE. FRUIT and WINE in the Bible are a symbols of joy, abundance, nourishment and enjoyment as well as righteousness and holiness.
After partaking of the Bread and Cup, Jesus and His disciples left the Upper Room and crossed the Kidron Valley to Gethsemane. Possibly in a vineyard, Jesus paused and taught His disciples with analogy the significance of the FRUIT OF THE VINE, which they had drank.
Turn to John 17:1-17. Consider Jesus’ analogy that divinely explains what Paul means by “you belong to another, to him who was raised from the dead in order that we might bear fruit to God.”