How does the Law in the Bible relate to us? We are married to Jesus Christ. The law shows us how to live.
This is a Bible Study. Have your own Bible handy to look up the references mentioned.
If you do not have a Bible, I invite you to go to BibleGateway.com or another online Bible.
“Just to say you want to live for Christ won’t get you anywhere. You need to present yourself to Him, recognizing that you are joined to the living Christ.” (McGee, J. Vernon, Thru the Bible: Volume IV. [Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1983], 688, introduction)
1. “Legal claims are binding upon a person only during that person’s lifetime…People were under the jurisdiction of law only so long as they lived.” (Mounce, Robert H, The New American Commentary, Volume 27, Romans. [Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1995], 160)
2-3. “As long as they live, the husband and wife are under the authority of the law of marriage. If the woman leaves the man and marries another man, she commits adultery. But if the husband dies, she is free to remarry because she is no longer a wife. It is death that has broken the marriage relationship and set her free.” (Wiersbe, Warren W, The Bible Exposition Commentary New Testament Volume 1 Matthew-Galatians. [Colorado Springs: David C Cook, 2004], 534)
Dead to the Law
4. “Law is the husband to which the believer was at one time married. But a death has occurred. The believer has died to the law…Here it was the ‘wife’ (the believer) who has separated from her first spouse (the law) by her own death.” (Mounce, 161)
“The death of the believer took place when by faith that person became identified with the crucified Christ (cf. 6:3-7). Christ’s death to and for sin becomes our death to sin. (cf. Galatians 2:19-20). The purpose of this death is that we might belong to another husband—to the one who was raised from the dead.” (Mounce, 161)
“When we trusted Christ, we died to the law; but in Christ, we arose from the dead and now are ‘married’ (united) to Christ to live a new kind of life!” (Wiersbe, 535)
The last sentence in verse 4 tells us that we should bring forth fruit unto God.
We are to tell others about Jesus.
5. “‘In the flesh’ here describes a person who is able to operate only in the sphere of fallen mankind—an unredeemed, unregenerate person. Although the believer can manifest some of the deeds of the flesh, he can never again be ‘in the flesh.’” (MacArthur, 1527)
“The sinful passions at work in unbelievers produce a harvest of eternal death. (cf. Galatians 6:7-8)” (MacArthur, 1527)
6. “We died to the law that we might be ‘married to Christ.’ This truth refutes the false accusation that Paul taught lawlessness.” (Wiersbe, 535)
“The Holy Spirit of God energizes us as we seek to obey and serve the Lord.” (Wiersbe, 535)
I liked Phillips translation on verses 5 and 6.
Sin and Law
7. “The law is a mirror that reveals the inner man and shows us how dirty we are (James 1:22-25). Note that Paul did not use murder, stealing, or adultery in his discussion; He uses coveting.” (Wiersbe, 535)
“This is the last of the Ten Commandments, and it differs from the other nine in that it is an inward attitude, not an outward action. Covetousness leads to the breaking of the other commandments! It is an insidious sin that most people never recognize in their own lives, but God’s law reveals its.” (Wiersbe, 535)
8. “Since we have a sinful nature, the law is bound to arouse that nature the way a magnet draws steel.” (Wiersbe, 535)
“Confronted by God’s Law, the sinner’s rebellious nature finds the forbidden thing more attractive, not because it is inherently attractive, but because it furnishes an opportunity to assert one’s self-will.” (MacArthur, (1527)
“Believers who try to live by rules and regulations discover that their legalistic system only arouses more sin and creates more problems.” (Wiersbe, 536)
9. Without the law. [NKJV] “Not ignorance or lack of concern for the law (cf. Philippians 3:6), but a purely external, imperfect conception of it.” (MacArthur, 1527)
McGee tells us “The Law is a ministry of condemnation. The Law can do nothing but condemn us.” (692)
Commandment [KJV] “When he (Paul) began to understand the true requirement of God’s moral Law at some point prior to his conversion…He realized his true condition as a desperately wicked sinner (cf. 1 Timothy 1:15). I died. “He realized his deadness, spiritually, that all his religious credentials and accomplishments were rubbish (Philippians 3:7-8).” (MacArthur, 1527)
10. “The law cannot give life; it can only show the sinner that he is guilty and condemned. This explains why legalistic Christians and churches do not grow and bear spiritual fruit.” (Wiersbe, 536)
11. “No human teacher can take the place of Christ; no book can take the place of the Bible. Men can give us information, but only the Spirit can give us illumination and help us understand spiritual truths.” (Wiersbe, 536)
12. “Since the law is God’s law, it must of necessity reflect the nature of God. The law of a holy God must be consistent with his holy nature (Isaiah 6:3).” (Mounce, 165)
Paul’s “point had been that law has been used by sin as an unwilling accomplice to bring about death.” (Mounce, 165)
“Paul’s argument here is tremendous:
(1) the law is not sinful—it is holy, just, and good;
(2) but the law reveals sin, arouses sin, and then uses sin to slay us; if something as good as the law accomplishes these results, then something is radically wrong somewhere,
(3) conclusion: see how sinful sin is when it can use something good like the law to produce such tragic results. Sin is indeed ‘exceedingly sinful.’ The problem is not with the law; the problem is with my sinful nature.” (Wiersbe, 536)
Amplified Bible (AMP)
Copyright © 2015 by The Lockman Foundation, La Habra, CA 90631. All rights reserved.
New American Standard Bible (NASB)
New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995, 2020 by The Lockman Foundation. All rights reserved.
New King James Version (NKJV)
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
J.B. Phillips New Testament (PHILLIPS)
The New Testament in Modern English by J.B Phillips copyright © 1960, 1972 J. B. Phillips. Administered by The Archbishops’ Council of the Church of England. Used by Permission.
In this article Scripture quotations taken from KJV.
McGee, J. Vernon, Thru the Bible: Volume IV. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1983
MacArthur, John, The MacArthur Bible Commentary. Nashville, Thomas Nelson Inc., 2005
Mounce, Robert H, The New American Commentary, Volume 27, Romans. Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1995
Wiersbe, Warren W, The Bible Exposition Commentary New Testament Volume 1 Matthew-Galatians. Colorado Springs: David C Cook, 2004