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Sermon #3112

Not Subject to the Law

A Sermon on Romans 7:1-4


Romans 7:1-4 ESV KJV
Or 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? For a married woman is bound by law to her husband while he lives, but if her husband dies she is released …

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Sermon Description

What does marriage have to do with the relationship to the law? Paul begins Romans 7 by discussing how the relationship with the law closely mirrors a relationship with a spouse. In the sermon on Romans 7:1–4 titled “Not Subject to the Law,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones creates four points to show how Paul is using the marriage relationship as an illustration. Just as the woman is bound to her husband by law, so also the Christian is bound to the law. This reflects the leadership that the husband has over the household. In a marriage, the spouses are bound until a death breaks that agreement. Christians are also bound to the law until a death occurs. Death brings a freedom from the law. In the same way, Christians have died to the law and are now able to enter into a relationship with righteousness. Finally, the purpose of marriage is to replenish the earth and the relationship with God is to bring forth fruit. All must be delivered from the power and dominion of the law if they are to produce fruit. Dr. Lloyd-Jones says that the Christian must first be separated from the old in order to conform to the new.

Sermon Breakdown

  1. The apostle Paul is addressing all Christians, both Jews and Gentiles, not just Jews. He refers to them as "brethren" and the overall message of being freed from the law applies to all believers.

  2. By "law" Paul means God's moral law, not just the Mosaic law. All people are under obligation to God's law.

  3. The law has "dominion" over a person as long as they live. It applies to them and they are subject to it. But when someone dies, the law no longer has dominion over them.

  4. Paul uses the analogy of marriage to illustrate our relationship to the law. A woman is bound to her husband by law as long as he lives. But if he dies, she is released from that law and free to marry another.

  5. While the husband lives, if the woman marries another man she commits adultery. But if her husband dies, she is free from that law and can marry another man without committing adultery.

  6. Paul applies this analogy to believers. We were once "married" to the law, but now we have "died" to the law through the body of Christ. The law no longer has dominion over us. We can now be "married" to Christ.

  7. Some misunderstand this to mean Christians have nothing more to do with the law. But that is not the case. We are simply no longer under the law as a means of obtaining righteousness. We are under grace. But the law still reflects God's moral will for our lives.

  8. The purpose of salvation is not to abolish the law but to fulfill it. God writes his laws on our hearts and enables us to obey them. We demonstrate love for God by keeping his commandments.

  9. Paul quotes several of the Ten Commandments in his letters to Christian churches, showing the law still applies to believers. We fulfill the law through love of God and neighbor.

  10. Antinomianism, the belief that Christians have no obligation to God's moral law, is unbiblical and dangerous. The law is still "holy and just and good."

The Book of Romans

Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones

Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1899-1981) was a Welsh evangelical minister who preached and taught in the Reformed tradition. His principal ministry was at Westminster Chapel, in central London, from 1939-1968, where he delivered multi-year expositions on books of the bible such as Romans, Ephesians and the Gospel of John. In addition to the MLJ Trust’s collection of 1,600 of these sermons in audio format, most of these great sermon series are available in book form (including a 14 volume collection of the Romans sermons), as are other series such as "Spiritual Depression", "Studies in the Sermon on the Mount" and "Great Biblical Doctrines". He is considered by many evangelical leaders today to be an authority on biblical truth and the sufficiency of Scripture.