The information of this chapter is related to the information of the previous chapter but with a different emphasis. In Romans 6 the emphasis is placed on positional truth, while in this chapter the emphasis lies with the battle between the sin nature and the new spiritual nature, which has to do with experiential truth. The illustration that Paul used was marriage and death of a husband. As believers we all have a former husband, which is the sin nature. Also as believers, we have a new husband, Who is the Lord Jesus Christ. We will see that the believer is no longer under the authority to the first husband (the sin nature) through positional death (identification with Christ’s death). At salvation, the believer, through the baptism of the Holy Spirit, is no longer under the sovereignty of the sin nature. Identification with Christ in His spiritual death is rejection of the first husband.
Or do you not know, brethren (for I am speaking to those who know the law), that the law has jurisdiction over a person as long as he lives?
Not know in this verse means lack of understanding (it is the Greek word from which we get the English word agnostic). The believers in Rome should have understood that as believers they were no longer obligated to keep the Law of Moses. They should have understood the doctrine of grace, but Paul seemed sceptical as to their knowledge of grace. This is why he used the phrase, “or do you not know.” This is a phrase denoting doubt. Since Paul was writing to Jewish believers, as well as Gentile believers, he expected that at least the Jewish believers would understand the doctrine. To the contrary, the Jewish believers were apparently leading the Gentiles astray by insisting that they observe the Law.
In this verse, Paul is referring to civil law having jurisdiction over a person until he dies. In the same manner, the Mosaic Law prior to Christ’s death, burial and resurrection had jurisdiction over Jews until they “died to the Law” by believing in Jesus Christ for salvation. Once a person (Jew or Gentile) becomes a believer in Christ he has passed from being under the Law to being under grace.
For the married woman is bound by law to her husband while he is living; but if the husband dies, she is released from the law concerning the husband.
Bound is the Greek word “dedetai” meaning a legal connection (marriage). The husband in this verse is analogous to the sin nature in Paul’s illustration. As unbelievers we were “married” to the sin nature and under its authority in the same manner that the wife is under the authority of her husband in marriage. However, upon the death of the husband (the sin nature), the wife is free to marry another (the Lord Jesus Christ). Death breaks the legal bond of marriage and frees the person to marry another legally.
So then if, while her husband is living, she is joined to another man, she shall be called an adulteress.
This analogy refers to the fact that when a person trusts Jesus Christ as Savior, and identifies with His spiritual death, they are no longer legally bound to the sin nature (no adultery). Both the ex-husband is dead to the ex-wife and the ex-wife is dead to the ex-husband. Salvation not only frees the believer from the first husband (the sin nature), but unites the believer to the new husband, the Lord Jesus Christ.
At salvation the believer is positionally delivered from the power and sovereignty of the sin nature through retroactive positional truth. At salvation, the believer becomes subject to the power and sovereignty of the Lord Jesus Christ through current positional truth. Therefore, at least theoretically, we are living to please our new husband. But our new husband has policies and they must be understood, they must be communicated and He has delegated authority, which must be accepted before we can ever please the second husband.
The believer is analogous to a married woman who prior to salvation has been under the authority of the first husband, the sin nature. But now, after salvation, as a believer, she is placed under the authority of the second husband, the Lord Jesus Christ.
But if her husband dies, she is free from the law, so that she is not an adulteress, though she is joined to another man.
In Paul’s analogy, the sin nature (husband) dies as a result of faith in Christ. Once the husband (sin nature) dies, the wife (believer) is free to marry another (the Lord Jesus Christ). Therefore, because the sin nature dies positionally the believer is legally “married” to Christ (the second husband) and not an adulteress (tantamount to illegal marriage). The actual case in the analogy is now presented. The believer is married to Christ through current positional truth and is not an adulteress because of that relationship with Christ. Through union with Christ in His spiritual death, the believer (wife) has positionally rejected human good and evil.
Therefore, my brethren, you also were made to die to the Law through the body of Christ, that you might be joined to another, to Him Who was raised from the dead, that we might bear fruit for God.
You were made to die, to be freed from the first husband, the sin nature, positionally. This verse is speaking of the second marriage where the Lord Jesus Christ becomes the groom and the Church becomes the body of Christ (sometimes called the bride of Christ).
We are married to another to produce. The human race is perpetuated by a relationship between a man and a woman and child-bearing is called fruit or production. So in the old marriage we had children and now in the new marriage we also have children. The children of the first marriage were sin, human good and evil. Now we are married to Christ, the wife is the believer, the Holy Spirit is the marriage counsellor and now new children are to be produced. The children of the second marriage are spiritual growth and divine production. However, it is possible for the believer to go back to the sin nature and produce sin, human good and evil. It doesn’t mean he/she is an unbeliever, it simply means that he/she is unfaithful to the second husband.
The production of union with Christ in His resurrection is maturity adjustment to the justice of God which glorifies the Lord Jesus Christ and produces spiritual growth. This can be accomplished only through the perception of doctrine under the ministry of one’s right pastor-teacher. Therefore, Bible doctrine resident in the soul is the seed planted for the harvest of glorification of the Lord Jesus Christ. Bible doctrine resident in the soul is the means of glorifying the Lord Jesus Christ. Doctrine resident in the soul is the seed which produces direct blessings from the justice of God to the advancing believer.
This chapter emphasizes that the Mosaic Law, while perfect in its proper function, is not the marriage counsellor for the second marriage. The Holy Spirit is presented as the marriage counsellor for the second marriage in the middle of verse 6. Therefore, death to the old husband includes death to the Mosaic Law, the marriage counsellor of the first marriage.
The baptism of the Holy Spirit at salvation provides the analogy of freedom from the first husband and marriage to the second husband, the Lord Jesus Christ. This explains the phrase “by the body of the Christ” in this verse. Therefore, to die with reference to the law means that the Mosaic Law, the marriage counsellor for the first marriage, is no longer functional or operational. We go to a higher marriage counsellor. In other words, the Mosaic Law has fulfilled its function in providing information for legal freedom from the first husband.
The Mosaic Law presents the problem of spiritual death in the first marriage. The first marriage occurred at physical birth. Retroactive positional truth is freedom from the first husband at salvation, while current positional truth is marriage to the second husband at salvation. The purpose is stated at the end of the verse: “that we might bear fruit for God.” No one bears fruit for God while spiritually dead. We have to be alive to God before we can bear fruit for God. If you are dead to the sin nature, and you are, then the sin nature should not be allowed to control your life. Your obligation as a believer is to your new husband, the Lord Jesus Christ. We fulfil this obligation under the filling, power and guidance of God the Holy Spirit.