Introduction: When we studied Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5),
you might have felt a little depressed. Jesus explained that keeping
the law is not just a matter of avoiding sinful acts, it has to do
with our thoughts and attitudes. It requires attitudes that are,
frankly, foreign to our natural heart. We are to do good to those
who abuse us? Turn the other cheek? The good news is found in our
lesson today. Jesus kept the law for us. The law is still our ever
constant “map” to keep us out of trouble, but the high standard Jesus
holds before us is not the test of salvation. Let’s wade into our
Bibles and learn more!

  1. A Dead Map?

    1. Read Romans 7:1-3. What is the most important legal issue
      in a second marriage? (Whether your original spouse is

        1. Is the death of a spouse something over which
          you have control? (I hope not!)

      1. What is Jesus teaching us? (Jesus’ example has both
        an obvious message (you are free to remarry after the
        death of your spouse), and a less obvious message
        (whether you are violating the law can turn on
        circumstances outside your complete control.)

    2. Read Romans 7:4. When Jesus says that we died to the law
      “through the body of Christ” what does He mean? (We died
      to the law when Jesus died on our behalf on the cross.
      Jesus’ death was outside our control, but it makes all the
      difference regarding our relationship to the law.)

      1. What is the ultimate intended consequence of Jesus’
        death? (“That we might bear fruit to God.”)

    3. Read Romans 7:5. What creates sinful passions in us? (Two
      things: a) a controlling sinful nature; and, b) the law!)

      1. How can the law “arouse” sinful passions? (Have you
        ever had someone say that you were not permitted to
        do something? Now you understand.)

    4. Notice the last words of Romans 7:4 and Romans 7:5 about
      “fruit.” How does grace help us to provide Godly fruit and
      the law help us to provide deadly fruit? Doesn’t that turn
      our normal expectations upside down?

    5. Read Romans 7:6. What is our present relationship to the
      law? (We are released from it.)

      1. What does it mean to “serve in the new way?”

      2. I’ve been hammering the “map” analogy – that the
        moral law is like a map to help us avoid the damage
        that violating natural laws would do to us. How does
        my map analogy fit? Let’s turn to that next.

  2. GPS Life!

    1. Re-read the last part of Romans 7:6. Have we traded
      masters: the law master has released us into the hands of
      the Spirit master?

      1. What does it mean to “serve in the new way of the
        Spirit? (Read John 14:26. The Holy Spirit will lead
        us in life.)

    2. Read Galatians 3:10. How does this help us to understand
      the “fruit” issue? (Relying on obedience to the law for
      our salvation is certain death. This is part of the deadly

      1. This suggests that map-reading is a “curse!” How many
        of you have trouble with a map? (We have trouble
        following maps: holding a map, seeing a map’s
        details, figuring out where we are on the map, etc.
        Worse, a map is only a representation of real roads.
        The Bible says that “keeping” the map is not the
        goal. If the goal is to keep the map (keep the law)
        we are destined to fail. We will be cursed.)

    3. Read Galatians 3:11-14. How are we justified? (By Jesus
      redeeming us!)

      1. What is our promise for the future? (Again, we see a
        reference to the Holy Spirit. Like many others, I
        have a GPS (“Global Positioning System”) program on
        my cell phone. The need for guidance has not changed
        since Jesus’ death. We still need and want guidance
        to keep us safe. The change is that observing the map
        is not the ultimate goal. The goal is a Holy Spirit
        led life – which still holds the promise of helping
        us to avoid the damage arising from violating the
        natural law.)

  3. Dead Law?

    1. Let’s return to Romans. Read Romans 7:7. What is important
      about the law? (It informs us about sin. Like a map, it
      gives us direction.)

    2. Read Romans 7:8-11. What is wrong with gritting our teeth
      and determining to keep the law? (It causes us to want to

    3. Read Romans 7:12-13. How is the law both good and death?

      1. Did the law die?(Notice something very important. All
        of the statements about something dying in the texts
        we have studied refer to us dying or sin dying. It
        never refers to the law dying.)

      2. Why is it important that we died? (The penalty for
        sin is death. When Romans 7:4 tells us that we “died
        to the law through the body of Christ,” it means that
        through Jesus we paid the penalty for sin. That is
        how we are freed from the law, we already died!)

    4. Read Romans 7:14-20. Let’s think about the law being a map
      again. You are a rebellious map reader! Sure, you can see
      the map, you agree that the directions on the map are
      accurate, but you hate to take directions from a piece of
      paper. You want to go in the way that looks interesting
      from a real-life point of view. What does the map do for
      you now? (Makes you feel guilty. You know the way to go,
      but your rebellious nature takes you in another

    5. Read Romans 7:21-24. How do we get out of this predicament
      with the map? (Read Romans 7:25. Jesus rescues us!)

  4. Getting in the Car

    1. Read Romans 8:1-4. How are “the righteous requirements of
      the law … fully met in us?” (Through Jesus’ “sin
      offering” on our behalf. When we accept Jesus through
      baptism, His death is our death to sin.)

      1. How is it ( Romans 8:3) that Jesus “condemned sin in
        sinful man?” (Because Jesus died in our place, we see
        the terrible consequences of sin.)

    2. Read Romans 8:5-8. Should we be frightened by this? Is the
      new test of salvation where we have set our minds?

      1. Recall that in the Sermon on the Mount Jesus said
        lusting and anger were serious problems like adultery
        and murder. Has the works battle moved to our minds?
        (No. Grace covers both our thoughts and our actions.
        However, we have to make a grace decision.)

    3. Read Romans 8:9-11. Let’s step back a minute. In the last
      part of Romans 7 Paul tells us that we have this daily
      struggle between wanting to do God’s will and doing sinful
      things. In the first part of Romans 8, Paul says this is
      not a problem because we already paid the penalty for sin
      through Jesus. But, now, we are told that we should not be
      “controlled” by our sinful nature. Why is that?

      1. Is this simply another way of saying that we have to
        obey to be saved, except this time we have to obey
        the Holy Spirit instead of the law? (Re-read Romans
        8:1-2. Grace releases us from condemnation. The
        question then is, “How shall we live?” If you want to
        live a life that pleases God, and takes advantage of
        His loving directions for avoiding disasters, then
        you need to choose a Spirit-led life.)

    4. Consider this example. Assume you want to arrive at a
      destination that is very difficult to find. Arriving at
      the destination is the most important thing in your life.
      I hand you a map, and tell you that if you do not strictly
      follow the map you will never make it. What would the map
      be to you? (Everything!)

      1. Now assume that I tell you that you are assured of
        reaching your destination because your car has been
        pre-programmed with GPS control by an experienced
        guide. You can rest in the knowledge that you will
        make it to your destination if you simply enter your
        car. What is the map to you now? (Not a bad thing,
        but compared to the pre-programmed car it is

    5. What if you are in the car, heading towards your
      destination, but you are looking at the map and feeling
      rebellious. Does that matter? (No! This is the transition
      from the last part of Romans 7 to the first part of Romans
      8. We have a war going on in our lives against sin. But,
      Jesus rescues us. When we are in the car (saved by grace)
      our destination is sure even if we are wrestling around in
      the car with the map.)

    6. Friend, how about you? Do you want to spend your life
      wrestling with obedience to the law? Or, would you rather
      know that through Jesus, the penalty for all your sins has
      been paid? If you prefer the assurance of salvation, then
      commit to living a life led by the Holy Spirit.

  5. Next week: Christ, the End of the Law.