Jesus the Messiah, died and rose again. In chapter 7 of ‘Romans’ the Apostle Paul mentions this fact in the dialogue of his letter; why, and in what context?
Well, for the purpose of context, let’s begin by looking at some of the verses in ‘Romans’ chapter 6 that lead into chapter 7, as well as, some verses from chapter 9 where Paul reveals to us who he is actually speaking to. Remember, the original text did not have verse or chapter breaks, it was a free-flowing letter.
In ‘Freed from the law of Sin and Death’, we learned from chapter 6 of ‘Romans’, that the apostle Paul taught, if we were baptized into Messiah, and if our “old man” has died, then we have been set free from our bondage to sin. He also said, now that we are slaves of God, and to righteousness, we are not to go back to being slaves to lawlessness; i.e. sin.
What does the text say?
Romans 6:19, 22 19For just as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness leading to sanctification… 22But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life.
Chapter 6 in context, is discussing the fact that we have been set free from sin, that through the blood of Christ, we’ve been “saved“ from sins dominion over us. So, should we continue in the sin that required the death of Jesus to save us? Should we go back under that bondage, that sin, which Paul calls “lawlessness”? The Apostle Paul says, “By no means!”
Romans 6:1-2 What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it?
In Chapter 9, we learned from Paul that he’s actually speaking to the ‘Lost Sheep of the House of Israel’. He addresses those from among the gentiles in Rome as the ‘not my people’ from the ‘Book of Hosea’, who are the scattered 10 tribes of Israel. Then Paul quotes from the ‘Book of Isaiah’, calling those Romans the ‘remnant of Israel’. Please select the link ‘Are You Grafted Into Israel? Part 1: Not My People’ for the complete study.
What does the text say?
Romans 9:24-27 24even us whom he has called, not from the Jews only but also from among the Gentiles? 25As indeed he says in Hosea, “Those who were ‘not my people’ I will call ‘my people,’ and her who was ‘not beloved’ I will call ‘beloved.’” 26“And in the very place where it was said to them, ‘You are not my people,’ there they will be called sons of the living God.’” 27And Isaiah cries out concerning Israel: “Though the number of the sons of Israel be as the sand of the sea, only a remnant of them will be saved,
With those facts in mind, let’s now address chapter 7, which Paul starts by stating ~
“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 as long as he lives?”
Please take note of two very important points from Paul:
First, verse one of chapter 7 is a ‘shout–out’ and a ‘warning’. Paul is telling those in Rome (and us), that if you are going to read any further you must know the Law. Today’s mainstream theology does not know the Law. The fact is, we’re taught from the cradle to disavow anything that has to do with the Law. We have been taught that the Law is a curse and that it’s been abolished. Yet, here we have the Apostle Paul himself about to teach from it. He is clearly telling the reader, if you don’t know and understand the Law of Moses then the following is not for you to hear or read, as he is not speaking to you. So then, how could anyone from today’s mainstream pulpit or lectern, logically think they have the knowledge or understanding to teach on the rest of this chapter (maybe even the rest of the letter)? Please select the links ‘The Law: Fulfilled or Abolished’ and ‘Galatians Part 2: the curse “OF” the law’.
Secondly, the words, “the law is binding” is in the Present Tense in the Greek. Paul is stating in his Present Tense, that “the Law is binding” on a person. He didn’t say the Law ‘was’ binding… the apostle Paul said the Law is binding!
We have to ask ourselves: “Would the apostle Paul really teach from an abolished Law???” Of course not!
Why is Paul referring to, and quoting from the Law of Moses as he prefaces this dialogue? It’s because Paul is about to teach from the current and valid Law which he told us to “uphold” in chapter 3.
What does the text say?
Romans 3:31 Do we then overthrow the law by this faith? By no means! On the contrary, we uphold the law. [please select the link ‘Paul Commands Us to Uphold the Law’]
Back to Romans 7:1; the reason Paul makes this remark to his ‘brothers who know the Law’, is because the metaphor he is about to expound upon is based on ‘that specific Law’ which pertains to the adulterous wife and her husband. The words “the law is binding” in verse one is KEY. Again, in Paul’s Present Tense, ‘the Law’ that he’s about to refer to, is binding and is in authority.
In the Greek, “is binding” is Strong’s G2961, κυριεύει/ kyrieuei. Thayer’s Greek Lexicon states this to mean: to rule over, have dominion over, to have power over.
This verb is ‘Present-Indicative-Active’, which is:
- The tense is present (describing action taking place now),
- the voice is active (meaning that the verb’s subject, the Law, is acting and not being acted upon)
- the mood is indicative (which demonstrates true reality)
Next, Paul goes on to explain that ‘according to the Law’, a wife is bound by that Law to her husband, if her husband is alive. But, if the husband dies she is released from the “law of marriage”; the Greek says ‘law of the husband’.
Romans 7:2 For 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.
Paul is explaining the current, valid and authoritative Law of marriage from the Law of Moses. Then, in verse 3, he continues citing from the current and valid Law of Moses in the Future Tense, regarding the law of the adulteress wife ~
Romans 7:3 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.
Which law is Paul discussing in this entire discourse? ‘The law of marriage/the husband’ as it pertains to the wife, and any adulterous behavior on her part, is the only law under discussion.
This is the context, period.
Context is critical, and this passage has been taken out of context for a very long time. Paul is not discussing the Law of Moses in its entirety; he’s discussing with those who know the Law of Moses, the ‘law of the husband’ and what makes a wife guilty of adultery according to ‘that’ specific law. Nor is he insinuating that that “law of the husband” has been abolished or put to an end. Therefore, Paul most certainly is not discussing the passing away of, ending of, abolishment of, nor the freedom from the entirety of ‘the Law of God given through Moses’; which is what mainstream theology teaches.
What does the text say?
Leviticus 20:10 “If a man commits adultery with the wife of his neighbor, both the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death.
Deuteronomy 24:1-4 1“When a man takes a wife and marries her, if then she finds no favor in his eyes because he has found some indecency in her, and he writes her a certificate of divorce and puts it in her hand and sends her out of his house, and she departs out of his house, 2and if she goes and becomes another man’s wife, 3and the latter man hates her and writes her a certificate of divorce and puts it in her hand and sends her out of his house, or if the latter man dies, who took her to be his wife, 4then her former husband, who sent her away, may not take her again to be his wife, after she has been defiled, for that is an abomination before the LORD. And you shall not bring sin upon the land that the LORD your God is giving you for an inheritance.
Now, the phenomenal and glorious reason for Paul’s analogy in Romans 7!
As the foremost authority of the Prophetic Scriptures in his day, the apostle Paul is about to reveal to these ‘lost sheep’ in Rome, the greatest mystery of all time.
But first, some CRITICAL Scriptural background very few are taught from the mainstream pulpit.
The LORD was husband to Israel.
What does the text say?
Isaiah 54:5-6 “For your Maker is your husband, the LORD of hosts is his name; and the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer, the God of the whole earth he is called. For the LORD has called you like a wife deserted and grieved in spirit, like a wife of youth when she is cast off, says your God.”
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, not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, declares the LORD.
The House of Israel, the 10 tribes of the Northern Kingdom, were divorced by the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob around 720 B.C. They were divorced, sent away and scattered to the nations because they were a rebellious and adulterous wife.
What does the text say?
Jeremiah 3:8 She saw that for all the adulteries of that faithless one, Israel, I had sent her away with a decree of divorce. Yet her treacherous sister Judah did not fear, but she too went and played the whore.
Jeremiah 3:20 “Surely, as a treacherous wife leaves her husband, so have you been treacherous to me, O house of Israel, declares the LORD.’”
According to God’s own Law, the adulterous wife (the House of Israel) can not return to the first husband (God), as it would be an abomination and pollute the land; it would be sin.
Deuteronomy 24:2-4 2and if she goes and becomes another man’s wife, 3and the latter man hates her and writes her a certificate of divorce and puts it in her hand and sends her out of his house, or if the latter man dies, who took her to be his wife, 4then her former husband, who sent her away, may not take her again to be his wife, after she has been defiled, for that is an abomination before the LORD. And you shall not bring sin upon the land that the LORD your God is giving you for an inheritance.
Jeremiah 3:1 “If a man divorces his wife and she goes from him and becomes another man’s wife, will he return to her? Would not that land be greatly polluted? You have played the whore with many lovers and would you return to me? declares the LORD.
Now for the GREAT MYSTERY: it was prophesied in numerous passages, that the LORD would take back His divorced bride! She would return to his arms, and call Him ‘my Husband’, and He would be betrothed to her forever!
What does the text say?
Hosea 2:14-23 14“Therefore, behold, I will allure her (the House of Israel), and bring her into the wilderness, and speak tenderly to her. 15And there I will give her her vineyards and make the Valley of Achor a door of hope. And there she shall answer as in the days of her youth, as at the time when she came out of the land of Egypt. 16“And in that day, declares the LORD, you will call me ‘My Husband,’ and no longer will you call me ‘My Baal.’ 17For I will remove the names of the Baals from her mouth, and they shall be remembered by name no more. 18And I will make for them a covenant on that day with the beasts of the field, the birds of the heavens, and the creeping things of the ground. And I will abolish the bow, the sword, and war from the land, and I will make you lie down in safety. 19And I will betroth you to me forever. I will betroth you to me in righteousness and in justice, in steadfast love and in mercy. 20I will betroth you to me in faithfulness. And you shall know the LORD.
Jeremiah 3:14 Return, O faithless children, declares the LORD; for I am your master; I will take you, one from a city and two from a family, and I will bring you to Zion.
How can this be?!?
How could the Lord GOD return to the adulterous bride when His own Law forbids it?
This stumped and befuddled the wise and learned for centuries.
As I mentioned, Paul was the leading authority of ‘the Scriptures’. So, with his understanding of who Jesus was (the Lord GOD-in-the-flesh), and what he came to do, Paul is about to explain this ‘great mystery’ to “those who know the Law”(v.1).
Romans 7:1-4 1Or 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? 2For 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. 3Accordingly, 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.
Paul is telling these ‘Lost Sheep from the House of Israel’, that they’re released from ‘that’ law of the Husband, that kept them in the Divorced-Adulteress state these past 800 years! God, who had divorced them, came into this world (Jesus) to redeem them, and when He died, they were then released from ‘that’ law of the husband’. They are no longer an ‘Adulteress’, and are now released to marry another!
But wait, there’s even GREATER news, says Paul!
Now, they can actual re-marry the Lord GOD, “him who has been raised from the dead”!!!
Romans 7:4 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.
With the Death of the Messiah (‘God-the-Husband’ manifested in the flesh) the House of Israel is released from the law of the husband, and thereby delivered from her adultery and exile. She can now return and remarry without condemnation.
Lastly, with ‘the Resurrection‘ of Messiah, she can now remarry the Lord GOD (Jesus-God-in-the-flesh) without sinning or breaking the ‘law of the husband’, and thereby fulfill the prophecies!
Do you see the context? Paul is discussing the “law of the husband” (v.2), and how it relates to the death and resurrection of Jesus. The ‘dying to the law’ (v.3), and being ‘released from the law’ (v.6), in context of the prior verses is the law of the husband, NOT the entirety of the Law of Moses as every single mainstream doctrine teaches. Paul states in verse 2 that the adulteress is “released from the law of the husband”; this is the same context in the following verses. Paul isn’t vacillating back and forth between subjects; context, context, context! The law of verse 2 is the law of verse 3, verse 4, verse 5 and verse 6; i.e.‘the law of the husband’.
Jesus, God-the-Husband-in-the-flesh, came to redeem and save that which ‘He’ lost, in order that He could reconcile ‘His’ divorced-exiled wife; ‘so that of all Israel could be saved‘ ~ Romans 11!
This was the main mission of Jesus, to save His lost sheep, the lost 10 Tribes of Israel exiled for rebellion and adultery.
What does God Himself say?
Matthew 5:24 He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”
Jesus, an Israelite from the tribe of Judah, is the Messiah of “Israel”.
Matthew 2:5-6 for so it is written by the prophet: “‘And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for from you shall come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.’”
John 1:49 Nathanael answered him, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!”
John 12:13 So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, crying out, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD, even the King of Israel!”
This is why in chapter 11 of ‘Romans’, Paul so adamantly preaches to these once-exiled Israelites, how CRITICAL it is to be ‘grafted into the Olive Tree of Israel! Please read ‘Are You Grafted Into Israel? Part 1: Not My People’, and ‘Are You Grafted Into Israel? Part 4: No Longer Gentile’.
Jesus, the Messiah of Israel, had to die, and He had to rise again so that He could re-marry His bride, His chosen people Israel; as God, He had to keep His prophetic promise to be ‘the Husband’ once again.
As I have discussed in other studies; ‘Don’t worry if you can’t know if you are part of the lost 10 tribes.’ At this point in God’s time line, no one can truly know; and really the blood line is only important because God MUST keep His prophetic promises to the children of Israel.
God is pretty smart; can we agree on that? In order for the “Good News” of reconciliation to reach ‘all of the lost tribes of Israel’, the word has to go to all of the nations/gentiles everywhere. In that way, all those who hear, believe, repent and choose to covenant with the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob can graft into the Commonwealth of Israel.
Choose this day whom you will serve…
Final Thought: I think the apostle Paul knew we would “misinterpret” and “misunderstand” the analogy of chapter 7:1-6 that we just discussed. That’s why he immediately goes on to say the following in the next few sentences ~
Romans 7:7 7What 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.
Romans 7:12 12So the law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good.
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,
The apostle Paul lived his entire life observing and keeping the Law of Moses | Acts 21:24
Please select the link ‘You Yourself Also Live in Observance of the Law’ for a complete study of Acts 21:24.
- For further study of Paul’s teachings, as well as the original Greek, please see the ‘Page Links’ at the top of this page or blog posts at the bottom. Be a Berean, and test Paul’s doctrines to the “Scriptures”. Please ‘share’ this study. Thank you for your time!