Introduction: Last week, we learned that upon baptism in Jesus, we
“died to sin.” ( Romans 6:2) We learned that this meant that we were
“set free from sin.” ( Romans 6:18) How did that work out for you
this past week? Did you find that you had a sin-free week? Did you
enjoy living a perfect life? If not, what do you think is the
problem? If you had paid closer attention last week would you be
free from sin? Or, are you having a problem measuring Paul’s
writings against the reality of your life? Since the Bible is the
true and faultless word of God, we need to dig deeper to find out
what God is trying to teach us. Let’s dive into Paul’s continuing
- Read Romans 7:1. How many sins do dead people commit?
- Would you say that had more to do with them being
dead, than with the authority of the law?
- If so, how do you explain Paul’s statement?
- Read Romans 7:2-3. The woman here is alive. How is the
woman’s freedom an illustration of the law not having
authority over dead people? (It is the man who would
complain if his wife married another man. The law gives
him authority to make a claim over his wife. But, when
he dies, neither he nor his wife are bound by his legal
claim. The legal authority dies with the person.)
- Read Romans 7:4. Let’s work out this analogy. Who
represents you in Paul’s analogy? The wife, the dead
husband or the new husband? (The wife.)
- Who represents the dead husband? (The law?)
- Who represents the new husband? (Jesus – “Him who
was raised from the dead.”)
- If your relationship to the law is just like the
relationship of a wife to a dead husband, what does
that say about your obligation to the law? (Its
claims have no authority over you.)
- Later on, Paul talks about the commandment
against coveting. If the law against coveting
is like a dead husband, can I covet all I want?
(The authority of the law was this: if you
broke it you would die. When Jesus died, those
who accept Him in baptism died. Thus, the
authority of the law against coveting(that you
would die)has no force. The penalty has been
- If what I just wrote is true, what about the last
phrase of Romans 7:4 “in order that we might bear
fruit to God?”
- Is it God’s fruit to covet? (Of course not!
Instead of avoiding coveting because we would
be killed for it, we now avoid coveting because
of our love for God.)
- Is everyone free from the law? (If you have not
died with Jesus in baptism, then the authority
of the law is over you and you will die for
- New Service
- Read Romans 7:5. Does the law cause me to sin? (Not by
itself. Paul says that when our “sinful nature” was in
charge of our lives, then the commandment against
coveting caused us to covet.)
- Does that seem right to you? Have you ever seen a
beautiful car or interesting rock formation with a
sign “Don’t touch?” What came to mind? (Touching!)
- I was recently in a wonderful car museum. There
were absolutely no signs saying “Don’t touch.” I
thought “They must have such a law. They have it at
other museums!” The fact that the no touching law
must exist made me struggle with whether I should
touch. (I did, once, furtively!)
- Read Romans 7:6. Are we free to sin however we want? (No.
We “serve in the new way of the Spirit.”)
- “Serve.” What does that mean? (Recall what we
studied last week. Romans 6:17-22 told us that we
are now “slaves to righteousness.” The benefit of
being a slave to righteousness is that it “leads to
holiness.” Romans 6:22.)
- What does that say about sin? Need we no longer be
concerned about it?
- Paul’s analogy has us married to a new husband:
Jesus. What doe our new husband say about sin?
(This takes us to the absolute heart of things.
Jesus died because of the requirements of the
law. Our understanding of this, our love for
Jesus because of what He has done, means that
we want to obey Jesus. Instead of seeing “don’t
touch” signs at the car museum, we now love the
car and do not want to harm it by touching it.)
- The Law and Me.
- Read Romans 7:7-11. Is the law bad? (No. The law is good
because it shows me God’s will. It illuminates sin.)
- If the law is so good, why is it such a problem?
(Because I cannot keep it. It showed me the way of
right living, but I could not do it on my own. This
meant I would die because of the requirements of the
- Read Romans 7:12-13. If the law is not bad, what is it?
(Holy, righteous and good!)
- Some Christians say the law is done away with. Does
that seem right to you based on what we have read?
(No. The law is great. The law is our instructor.
The law shows the holy standard of God. We are just
not under its authority because we died when Jesus
died. Thus, the law can no longer kill us as long as
we remain in Jesus.)
- Read Romans 7:14-20. Why is it that I cannot keep the
law? (The law is good and I am not.)
- Notice Romans 7:14 says that I am a “slave to sin.”
I though we learned last week ( Romans 6:16-18) that
I am no longer a slave to sin but a slave to
righteousness. Which is it? (I think that Paul is
talking about the natural man.)
- Romans 7:20 says “sin” made me do it, not me.
Does that mean we are not responsible for our
- Read Romans 7:21-24. Does Paul sound like he is writing
about how he used to be or how he is now? (Sure sounds
- When we decided that Paul was previously writing
about the natural man, that should be in the past,
right? (Apparently not!)
- Read Romans 7:25. Is Paul a slave to sin and a slave to
righteousness? (Sadly, yes! He has made the mental
decision to follow Jesus. His body has not yet been
- Are we in the same boat? (Praise God for these
clarifying words of Paul. Paul previously wrote
( Romans 6:6 “our old self was crucified with [Jesus]
so that the body of sin might be done away with,
that we should not longer be slaves to sin.” That
suggested that the sin battle in my life showed me
that I was not up to Christian standards. But,
Paul’s admission that he, too, has this sinful
nature which gives him trouble every day makes me
feel a lot better.)
- Notice Romans 7:22-23 again. Does anything we have
studied mean that we can safely ignore God’s law?
(Paul says a “war” is going on in our lives. We need
the law to remind us of God’s standard. We need
God’s Spirit to lead us in His way. But, we are
still in a war against sin in our lives. Praise God
that the law has no authority over us. When we find
that we are still making mistakes, still caught up
in sin, the good news is that we have already paid
the law’s penalty through Jesus Christ our Lord!
That does not, however, release us from the
responsibility to still war against sin in our life.
Rather it gives us the motive to wage war, with the
power of God’s Spirit, against the sin in our
- Friend, do you see that you cannot win the war against
sin? Do you see that eternal death is your fate? The
only way out is to accept Jesus’ life and death on your
behalf. Will you today accept Jesus’ offer? Will you be
baptized, if you have not been already, so that the
penalty of the law in your case has been paid and you can
look forward to life eternal?
- Freedom in Christ.