Click this link to hear an audio version of the below text narrated by SOTH member Jerry Rhinehart:
Romans 7:1-6 (NIV)
Released From the Law, Bound to Christ
7 Do you not know, brothers and sisters—for I am speaking to those who know the law—that the law has authority over someone only as long as that person lives? 2 For example, by law, a married woman is bound to her husband as long as he is alive, but if her husband dies, she is released from the law that binds her to him. 3 So then, if she has sexual relations with another man while her husband is still alive, she is called an adulteress. But if her husband dies, she is released from that law and is not an adulteress if she marries another man. 4 So, my brothers and sisters, you also died to the law through the body of Christ, that you might belong to another, to him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God. 5 For when we were in the realm of the flesh, the sinful passions aroused by the law were at work in us, so that we bore fruit for death. 6 But now, by dying to what once bound us, we have been released from the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code.
When Paul talks about the authority of the law, what does he mean?
Lord, when You provided Your law to Isreal through Moses, it included structure for society to live peaceably with each other, moral laws directing obedience and ceremonial requirements that outlined the worship and sacrificial guidelines. When measured by the Law, we could see how short we fall of the glory of God. With Your perfect sacrifice and death, You satisfied all aspects of the law. Through You, we died to the law in the sense that we no longer have to meet its requirements in order to gain acceptance with God because You perfectly obeyed the law for us. We have now been released from the obligation of the law of Moses and are now under the covenant of grace. You set us free to be Your people, connected to You as we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the law. By putting our faith in You, we are no longer under the jurisdiction of the Law in order to be justified before God. We are released from trying to keep the Law in order to gain acceptance with God. We live under grace rather than under law and have access to Your Spirit living in us who fills us with both the desire and ability to do what is right. Holy Spirit, lead me to desire to be faithful to You in my actions and behaviors. Let me utilize my freedom through grace to live joyfully, faithfully, and generously sharing Your gracious love with others. I am no longer burdened by the regulations of the law, but I am committed to abiding the civil laws of our land, to live in obedience to the moral law of God in the power of the Holy Spirit, and to accept Your gift of grace by worshipping You freely through the Spirit. Help me to love You above all else. Thank You for Your mercy and grace. Amen