Romans 7:1 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 Thus 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 not under the old written code but in the new life of the Spirit.
The Apostle Paul is speaking to the Jewish Christians in the Roman Church who think a person must live according to the Law to be acceptable to God. This is causing conflict with the Gentile Christians who believe it is not necessary to keep the special days of the Jewish Law. The Law is not binding on a dead person. The dead person is not bound to the requirement of the Law any more than a married woman is bound by law to her dead husband. The woman whose husband has died is free to remarry and not commit adultery. Likewise a person who has repented of his sin and believed the gospel has died to the Law. Jesus fulfilled the penalty of the Law for all who vicariously died with Him on the cross (Galatians 3:10-14 is a great explanation). Those who are crucified with Christ by faith are no longer slaves to sin (Romans 6:6-7) and no longer need to obey the passions of the sin nature that are aroused by the Law, an obedience that bears fruit for death (See Galatians 5:19-21 – the fruit of the flesh). We who belong to Christ are chosen to bear fruit for God (see Galatians 5:22-23 – the fruit of the Spirit).
Under the Old Covenant, the Law, we had to be perfect to be acceptable to God and have life. We needed to constantly make blood sacrifices to atone for our sin. To use the marriage illustration again, we, because we couldn’t live perfectly because of our sin nature, were always living under condemnation. We were married to a Law that never could accept us. We were married to a Law that wiped out ten “Atta boys” with one “O rats”. We died to the old covenant in Christ. We are now married to Christ under a new Covenant of faith. We are married to Christ who forgave all our sins once and for all and accepts us forever when we repent of our sin and believe the gospel. If we sin, we are not pleasing Christ, but we are not condemned. We are restored to fellowship with our husband, Christ, by confessing our sin and receiving His forgiveness. We are married to Christ who forgives our one “O rats” and rewards our ten “Atta boys”.
In Christ we serve in the new life of the Spirit. The Spirit, which we received when we believed the gospel (Ephesians 1:13-14), enables us to learn and remember truth (John 14:26) and empowers us to live the truth (Ezekiel 36:27; Ephesians 3:20). We access all the resources of the Spirit by faith in the Son of God (Galatians 2:20) and can live a new life. Who are you married to? One who condemns for one sin or one who forgives and maintains a life giving relationship? Are you married to the Law or to Christ? If you are married to Christ you are accepted forever. If you are married to Christ, He forgives every “O rats” upon confession to restore fellowship and reward all “Atta boys”.