Paul here uses the analogy of marriage, two husbands even, to illustrate the believers relationship to the LAW.
Romans 7:4 "Ye are dead to the law through the body of Christ"
Romans 7:1-4: Or do you not know, brethren (for I speak to those who know the law), that the law has dominion over a man as long as he lives? For the woman who has a husband is bound by the law to her husband as long as he lives. But if the husband dies, she is released from the law of her husband. So then if, while her husband lives, she marries another man, she will be called an adulteress; but if her husband dies, she is free from that law, so that she is no adulteress, though she has married another man. Therefore, my brethren, you also have become dead to the law through the body of Christ, that you may be married to another—to Him who was raised from the dead, that we should bear fruit to God.
Notice that there is only one woman, while there are two husbands. The woman is in a very difficult position, for she can only be wife of one of the two, and unfortunately she is married to the less desirable one. The man to whom she is married is a good man; but the trouble lies here, that the husband and wife are totally unsuited to one another. He is a most particular man, accurate to a degree; she on the other hand is decidedly easy-going. With him all is definite and precise; with her all is casual and haphazard. He wants everything to he just so, while she takes things as they come. How could there be happiness in such a home?
And then that husband is so exacting! He is always making demands upon her. And yet one cannot find fault with him, for as a husband he has a right to expect something of his wife; and all his demands are perfectly legitimate. There is nothing wrong with the man and nothing wrong with his demands; the trouble is that he has the wrong kind of wife to carry them out. The poor woman is in great distress. She is fully aware that she often makes mistakes, but living with such a husband it seems as though everything she says and does is wrong! What hope is there for her? If only she were married to that other Man all would be well. He is no less exacting than her husband, but He also helps much. She would fain marry Him, but her husband is still alive. What can she do? She is ‘bound by law to the husband’ and unless he dies she cannot legitimately marry that other Man.
The first husband is the Law; the second husband is Christ; and you are the woman. The law requires much, but offers no help in the carrying out of its requirements. The Lord Jesus requires just as much, yea more (Matt. 5:21-48), but what He requires from us He Himself carries out in us. The law makes demands and leaves us helpless to fulfill them; Christ makes demands, but He Himself fulfills in us the very demands He makes. Little wonder that the woman desires to be freed from the first husband that she may marry that other Man! But her only hope of release is through the death of her first husband, and he holds on to life most tenaciously. Indeed there is not the least prospect of his passing away (Matt. 5:18). The Law is going to continue for all eternity. If the Law will never pass away, then how can I ever be united to Christ? How can I marry a second husband if my first husband resolutely refuses to die? There is one way out. If he will not die, I can die, and if I die the marriage relationship is dissolved. Verses 1 to 3 show that the husband should die, but in verse 4 we see that in fact it is the woman who dies! The Law does not pass away, but I pass away, and by death I am freed from the Law. How do I die? When Christ was crucified, I was crucified with Him. On the hill of Calvary it was forever done (Watchman Nee, The Normal Christian Life, pp.107-109).
But if I am dead, how can I be married to another? In Christ’s death I died and in Christ’s resurrection I LIVE! Thus I can be joined in marriage to Christ!
The believer is married to Christ! It’s a LOVE RELATIONSHIP not a LAW (LEGAL) RELATIONSHIP. This love relationship (joined to Christ and in union with Him) is what Christianity is all about. Christianity is not a RELIGION, it’s a relationship to a PERSON, the Son of God (John 17:3). It’s not doing something but it’s knowing Someone (John 17:3; 1 John 2:3-4). It is not a set of rules and it is not a system of morality. It is a unique and intimate relationship with the only true God and Jesus Christ whom He has sent.
Many in our day have lost sight of this truth. For many the Christian life has degenerated into another legalistic religious system. It is common for people to get wrapped up in rules and regulations and requirements and duties. It is easy for one to think that the Christian life is reading the Bible and praying and witnessing and memorizing and doing certain things and not doing certain other things. We know how a Christian ought to live, we know how a Christian ought to act, we know how a Christian ought to speak, we know how a Christian ought to think, we know the kinds of things a Christian ought to do and we know the kinds of things a Christian ought not to do, AND WITHOUT REALIZING IT THE CHRISTIAN LIFE HAS LOST THE VERY THING THAT MAKES IT DIFFERENT FROM EVERY OTHER RELIGION. We have missed the whole point.
To emphasize this, let’s see what the Bible does not say:
Philippians 1:21 -- For to me to live is reading my Bible, memorizing Scripture, praying at least 15 minutes daily and witnessing at every opportunity.
Philippians 3:8 -- I count all things but loss for the excellency of trying to guard my tongue, trying to overcome my bad habits and trying to have my daily devotions.
Philippians 3:10 --That I may do this and avoid doing that and that I may force myself to witness and avoid every appearance of evil.
Revelation 2:4 -- Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy daily Bible reading schedule and thou hast broken thy New Year’s resolutions and thou hast failed to keep the Ten Commandments.
2 Corinthians 5:9 -- Wherefore we labour (we are ambitious), that, whether present or absent, we may watch our temper, keep following our strict diet, memorize verses, get enough rest, and not watch too many bad television shows.
What do these verses really say? In the above verses the emphasis is upon KNOWING and LOVING and PLEASING a PERSON! Read carefully Colossians 1:9-12. Notice the emphasis of this great prayer: to know His will (v.9), to walk with Him (v.10), to please Him (v.10), to increase in my knowledge of Him (v.10), to be strengthened by Him (v.11), to be joyful in Him (v.11), to thank Him (v.12)!
Again let us think of the marriage relationship. There are many things the husband must do and there are many things the husband must not do. There are duties he must carry out, there are responsibilities he must meet and there are obligations he must perform. But why does he do all these things? BECAUSE HE HAS DECIDED TO LOVE A PERSON -- namely his wife. The wife does many things: prepares meals, washes the dishes, cleans the floor, washes the clothes, etc. But WHY does she do all these things? Is it because her husband has given her a long list of THOU SHALT’s and THOU SHALT NOT’s? Hopefully this is not the reason. She is doing these things because she is responding to the love of her husband. The marriage relationship is based on love, not law.
What then is the Christian life all about? The Christian life is simply knowing a Person, loving Him, seeking to please Him, walking with Him, honoring Him, obeying Him, thanking Him, rejoicing in Him, delighting in Him, trusting in Him, growing in Him, talking to Him, talking to others about Him, abiding in Him, learning of Him, learning from Him, sitting at His feet and enjoying His presence. Note the emphasis on HIM (on a PERSON)!
As we go through each day, are we walking with a Person and enjoying Him or are we following a religious, legalistic routine? If we really have that unique intimate love-relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ, then this will change everything we do. This will change PRAYER (prayer is talking to the Person I love). This will change BIBLE STUDY (I want to get to know this Person better!). This will change WITNESSING (I want to introduce others to this wonderful Person! I want others to know the Christ I know and love). Compare Revelation 2:2-4.
This doesn't mean we teach lawlessness, a believer isn't to do as he pleases, but he is under a different principle..the principle of LIFE.
DO THIS AND LIVE THE LAW COMMANDS
BUT GIVES ME NEITHER FEET NOR HANDS
BETTER NEWS THE GOSPEL BRINGS
IT BIDS ME FLY! AND GIVES ME WINGS!
borrowed from MBC