In order to get a proper understanding of the context of these verses, let’s read Romans 7:1-6, “Know ye not, brethren, (for I speak to them that know the law,) how that the law hath dominion over a man as long as he liveth? For the woman which hath an husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he liveth; but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband. So then if, while her husband liveth, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress: but if her husband be dead, she is free from that law; so that she is no adulteress, though she be married to another man. Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God. For when we were in the flesh, the motions of sins, which were by the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death. But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.”

In the beginning of this important chapter, Paul is explaining the limits of the law to those Romans who were familiar with the law.  He had already pointed out the purpose of the law in Romans 3:19-20, “Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.”  Did you notice that?  The law was given to convict men of their sins, “and all the world may become guilty before God.”  The law had the ability to convict, but it did not have the ability to save those convicted by it.  As we just read, “by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified…”  We also learn in Galatians 3:11, “But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith.”  To those who were under the law, that law lasted until that person died.  We just read in Romans 7:1 that, “…the law hath dominion over a man as long as he liveth.”

The law’s dominion over a man ended with his death.  So, to the Jewish Romans, Paul explains that those who are saved are reckoned to be dead.  I encourage you to read Romans, chapter 6.  It says much about our being dead.  Romans 6:6 says, “Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.”  Romans 6:8 tells us that we are, “…dead with Christ.”  Romans 6:11 says, “Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

In chapter 7, Paul gives us an illustration from the marriage law as instituted by God to make his point clear.  A husband and his wife are united in a union till death occurs and dissolves that union. The married woman is bound by the law of marriage to her husband as long as he lives. When he dies she is free and can be marry someone else.  Likewise, we have become dead to the law by the body of Christ. The body of Christ here means the death of Christ on the Cross. On the cross He bore the judgment which is rightfully ours. He bore the penalty and the curse of the law for us.  We read in Galatians 3:13, “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us, for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree.” The penalty of the broken law has been met and the law is vindicated. Inasmuch, then as HIS death is OUR death, in that we died with Christ, the law can have no more dominion over us.  “We are dead to the law by the body of Christ.”

As believers being dead to sin and the law, we are now able to serve the Lord in ‘newness of spirit.’  We serve God now by the leading of His Spirit, and not by the outward observance of the law of Moses.  Our position now before God is found in Ephesians 2:6, “(God) hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.”  Dead to sin and law, raised to new life in Christ!  (197.9)