Freed from the law of Sin and Death

Before covering Chapters 6, 7 and 8 of Romans it’s recommended that you first read ‘Subject to the Power of the Law’. That blog reviews the context of chapter 5 and the first half of chapter 6 and will greatly aid in the continuity of the following chapters.
One of the greatest misunderstandings in Christendom is that we are not freed from “bondage” to the Law of God but that we are, as Paul actually states, freed from our bondage to “sin”.
Paul is consistently taken out of context, misquoted and misinterpreted regarding this topic of “bondage”, “captivity” and “slavery”. We have been misled and/or misinformed for a very long time. Paul never said that we were in bondage to the Law of God given through Moses. Paul never maligns or denigrates the Law of Moses. In fact, he is quite proud of and devoted to the Law ~
What does the text say?

Romans 2:20 having in the law the embodiment of knowledge and truth— (see ‘What is Truth?‘)
Romans 2:23 You who boast in the law dishonor God by breaking the law.
Romans 3:31 Do we then overthrow the law by this faith? By no means! On the contrary, we uphold the law. (see ‘Paul Commands Us to Uphold the Law‘)
Romans 7:12 So the law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good.
Romans 7:22 For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being,
Romans 7:25 So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind
Romans 8:7-9 7For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. 8Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. 9You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you.

There’s only ever been or will ever be “one” Law of God. God is the same yesterday, today and forever; please see ‘Forever Means Forever‘.
Paul is adamantly Pro-Law in all of those verses. Paul never shows any disdain for the Law. He never profanes the Law at any time. The much-heralded watch words of today’s society such as “legalism”, “moral-law” and “ceremonial-law” aren’t in the Bible ever, much less in Paul’s writings. It was sin that had dominion over us and held us in bondage, captivity and slavery! It was from our obedience to sin, says Paul, that we have been freed.
What does the text say?

Romans 6:6 so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin.
Romans 6:12 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions.
Romans 6:16 Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness? (Obedience to what that leads to righteousness??? See ‘Justification vs. Righteousness‘)

  • John 8:34 Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin.

Romans 6:17 But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin
Romans 6:18 and, having been set free from sin.
Romans 6:19 For just as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness leading to more lawlessness
Romans 6:20 For when you were slaves of sin
Romans 6:22 But now that you have been set free from sin AND have become slaves of God

According to Paul there are only two types of slaves on earth. The first is the one who serves the Creator, God Almighty, and is a slave of obedience unto righteousness. The second is the one who is a slave to sin. These are Paul’s definitions not mine.
Paul clearly states, we were slaves of sin, with sin having dominion over us and therefore we were condemned under the Law, separated from God (again, please see ‘Subject to the Power of the Law’). However, because of the redeeming blood of the Messiah, we are under the grace of God and now can be reconciled back to serving Him.
What did Paul say in verse 22 above; we “have been set free from sin”; not the Law.
We have been and still are being taught wrong!
We are no longer under the dominion, captivity, bondage of our sin. We are no longer condemned but are now pardoned, and in Messiah we are set free from the dominion of sin in our lives! Hallelu-Yah!
However, we are not free to continue in that sin as Paul repeatedly reminds us ~

Romans 6:1-2 1What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? 2Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?

Should we continue to sin now that we are freed from sin? Paul just said ‘no way’!
In context, the two verses right before Romans 6:1-2 is as follows ~

Romans 5:20-21 20Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, 21so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Paul says the Law came in to “increase/augment” sin, to define what sin is and to show how terrible it is. When Jesus died on the cross, bearing the sins of the world, sinning was breaking the Law of God given through Moses. That is “the sinning” that Paul rhetorically asks in Romans 6:1 “shall we continue in sin?” Paul is saying that we should not continue in the sin he just mentioned two verses earlier in 5:20. He states we should not continue in the trespass/sin “increased/augmented” by the Law; i.e. the Law of Moses.
The word “continue” in the Greek is G1961 ἐπιμένωμεν/ epimenōmen which Thayer’s Greek lexicon states to mean: ‘to persevere’, ‘continue’; with the dative of the thing continued in.
By using the word epimenomen Paul is stating that it is the same sin (breaking the Law of Moses) that existed in Romans 5:20 that we are not to continue to live in. This is basic grammar, as well as, continuity of context and logic.
The Sin that the Law of Moses “increased/augmented” from Romans 5:20, is the Sin we are “not to continue in” from Romans 6:1; Period. Therefore, Paul unequivocally states we are “not to continue breaking the Law of God given through Moses; i.e. sinning.
How does Paul know what sin is?
What does the text say?

Romans 3:19 for by the law is the knowledge of sin.
Romans 7:7 I would not have known sin except through the law.

  • 1 John 3:4 Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness.

The ‘sins’ that Jesus bore for everyone on the cross did not and have not changed. Jesus did not die carrying ‘Mosaic-Law-sins’ for King David and ‘non-Mosaic-Law-sins’ for me. That is completely un-Scriptural and illogical. There is not one Scripture that changes the definition of sin after the cross. The fallacy of “ceremonial-Laws” and “moral-Laws” is a man-made doctrine and is found nowhere in any verse anywhere in the Scriptures. The sins that they/we were in bondage to was the same sins that have always been; the sins defined by God’s Instructions/Laws given through Moses.
We have been set free from the dominion of sin, so now what?

Romans 6:18-19,22 18And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness. 19I speak in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you presented your members as slaves of uncleanness, and of lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves of righteousness for holiness.… 22But now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life.

Here in verses 18, 19 and 22 we have Paul telling us that we are to be righteous which leads to our holiness/sanctification, that is, our being set apart as God’s people. Do you see how he contrasts ‘righteousness’ and ‘lawlessness’, as well as, ‘slavery-to-sin’ and ‘slavery-to-righteousness’? Righteousness is the opposite of lawlessness therefore righteousness is being lawful! Sin is breaking the Law of Moses, therefore if we are not slaves to sinning we are by default keeping the Law of God given through Moses. By default, as bond-servants of God we show our allegiance or faithfulness by obeying His instructions, right rulings and just decrees. It has nothing to do with trying to be “justified” but everything to do with us presenting ourselves (as Paul tells us to) or showing God that we are slaves to righteousness.
In verse 19 above the word present in the Greek G3936 is παραστήσατε/ parastēsate and is an Accusative Verb that Thayer’s Greek Lexicon states to mean: ‘to present or show’, with an accusative of the quality which the person or thing exhibits.
Now that we have been set free from our slavery to sin (which is lawlessness) Paul commands us to ‘exhibit ourselves’, to present ourselves obedient to righteousness (lawfulness). This is an action of demonstration that Paul is telling us that we must do if we are in Christ; not for justification but for righteousness (please see “Justification vs. Righteousness” to learn the difference between the two). Our ‘fruit of righteousness’ leads to our sanctification or holiness, which in turn leads to our eternal life, Romans 6:22 above. So says Paul…
What is Paul’s definition of righteousness?

Romans 2:13 for not the hearers of the law are righteous before God, but the doers of the law shall be declared righteous

Again, please see “Justification vs. Righteousness”.
Paul warns us over and over again in his letters to be righteous and not to return to the bondage and slavery of our sin ~

Galatians 4:3 In the same way we also, when we were children, were enslaved to the elementary principles of the world Galatians 4:8-9 8Formerly, when you did not know God, you were enslaved to those that by nature are not gods. 9But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how can you turn back again to the weak and worthless elementary principles of the world, whose slaves you want to be once more?… Galatians 5:1 For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery. (see ‘Freedom or Bondage‘)
Ephesians 2:1-2 1And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 2in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience-
Colossians 2:8 See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.
Titus 3:3 For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another.

  • Titus 2:14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.

  • Psalm 130:7-8 O Israel, hope in the LORD! For with the LORD there is steadfast love, and with him is plentiful redemption. And he will redeem Israel from all his iniquities.

  • Hosea 13:14 I shall ransom them from the power of Sheol; I shall redeem them from Death. O Death, where are your plagues? O Sheol, where is your sting? Compassion is hidden from my eyes.

Even Paul himself fought against the flesh in order to try to keep from sinning. He called it “another law”, different from the Law of God that he actually delighted in!
What does the text say?

Romans 7:22-23,25 22For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, 23but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members25So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.
Revelation 1:5 Jesus Christ the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of kings on earth. To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood

Next, let’s take the time to also dispel the myth that the ‘Law of God’ is the same as the ‘law of sin and death’ as so many teach today. These are 2 completely different “laws” that Paul himself explains if we read the verses in context.

Romans 8:2 For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.

The law of the Spirit of life is the ‘Law of God given through Moses’. The ‘law of sin and death’ is a completely different law that Paul is introducing in this commentary for the first time in order to show us that it is our obedience to sin that leads to our death.
What does the text say?

Romans 2:14-15 14For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. 15They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts

Those that do “what the law requiresshow/present/prove that the law is written on their hearts. This is a direct quote from Jeremiah and the prophecy about the “new” covenant ~

  • Jeremiah 31:31,33 31“Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the “house of Israel” and the “house of Judah”… 33For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people.”

A real Jew is one in his heart, by the Spirit ~

Romans 2:29 But a Jew is one inwardly, and circumcision is a matter of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter. His praise is not from man but from God.

Paul then tells us that the law is not sin, but that it defines what sin is. Paul informs us in the Present Tense that the Law tells us how we are to know what sin is… again I repeat, in the Present Tense! ~

Romans 7:7a What then shall we say? That the law is sin? By no means! Yet if it had not been for the law, I would not have known sin.

Paul claims the Law of God is Holy, Righteous and Good. Pretty self-explanatory ~

Romans 7:12 So the law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good.

So, can the Law ever be unholy or unrighteous or bad???
The Law of God is Spiritual says Paul, meaning divinely inspired, emanating from the Divine Spirit (as per Thayer’s Greek Lexicon) ~

Romans 7:14 For we know that the law is G4152spiritual, but I am of the flesh, sold under sin.

The ‘Law being Spiritual’ does not mean that the Law of Moses was somehow transformed into some esoteric apparition that is metaphysically or magically endowed upon us. In the very same sentence Paul is comparing the ‘Law’ to the ‘Flesh’. One is Godly, one is Carnal; one is Divinely Inspired and one is sold under sin.
The Greek for ‘spiritual’ that Paul used is G4152 πνευματικός/pneumatikos, which Thayer’s Greek Lexicon states to mean as it pertains to Romans 7:14: divinely inspired, and so redolent (reminiscent) of the Holy Spirit; emanating from the Divine Spirit, or exhibiting its effects and so its character.
As has been taught, the Law being Spiritual is not something new to the “New” Testament. Paul is just explaining the difference between the Law of Moses that exists as God’s Divinely Inspired Righteous Instructions and the carnal flesh that is at enmity with it.
Paul also states he delights in the Law of God with his inner-being, his inward man; and he serves the Law of God with his mind. ~

Romans 7:22,25 22For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being… 25So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind

Next we see the of ‘law of sin’ contrasted to the ‘Law of God’ that Paul delights in and serves ~

Romans 7:13 Did that which is good [the Law of God v.12], then, bring death to me? By no means! It was sin producing death in me through what is good, in order that sin might be shown to be sin

It is ‘sin’ that brought death, not the Law. The Law gives us the definition of sin and shows how bad it really is (Romans 5:20 above). The two verses prior to Romans 7:13 reveal this ~

Romans 7:11-12 11For sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment, deceived me and through it killed me. 12So the law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good.

According to Paul, sin which is defined by the commandment, seized him. Sins dominion over him killed him. Sin leads to death. This is the “law” of sin and death. He also unashamedly states that the Law is Holy, and the commandment is Holy, Righteous and Good.
Paul states that his flesh is sold under sin and that he often does what he does not want to do ~

Romans 7:15 For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.

Here it is, the second different law…

Romans 7:21-23 21So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. 22For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, 23but I see in my members “another law” waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members.

Did you catch that? Paul professes that he delights in the Law of God with his inner-being but another law lies close at hand in his members “waging war with the Law of God” in his mind. That other law, the one that’s at war with the Law of God, Paul calls “the law of sin.
What Law does Paul serve with his inner-being and his mind? What different law does his flesh serve?
What does the text say?

Romans 7:25 Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.

Two different laws, one good and one evil. One sentence later Paul reiterates that one ‘good’ law leads to life and the other ‘evil’ law leads to death.

Romans 8:2 For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.

  • Romans 6:23a For the wages of sin is death

The ‘law of sin and death’ is not the ‘Law of God’ as many tragically teach.
Paul then deliberately reminds these Roman believers (and us) that those who live by the flesh and thereby obey the ‘law of the sin and death’, those people are hostile to God ‘because’ they do not submit to the Law of God. Paul blatantly states in the Present Tense that those who do not submit to the Law of God cannot please God. ~
What does the text say in the Present Tense in the Greek?

Romans 8:7-8 7For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. 8Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

Those that live in the flesh, in sin, are hostile to God ‘because’ that person does not submit to God’s Law. That person, the one that does not submit to the Law of God, cannot please God! So says Paul…
Final Thought: We have been freed from our slavery to sin, not the Law of God. We are no longer under sins dominion, separated from God. We all can choose; either obedience to God’s Law or back to our obedience to sin. Choose this day whom you will serve…

3 thoughts on “Freed from the law of Sin and Death

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