No Longer Bound to the Law
1 Now, dear brothers and sisters[a]—you who are familiar with the law—don’t you know that the law applies only while a person is living? 2 For example, when a woman marries, the law binds her to her husband as long as he is alive. But if he dies, the laws of marriage no longer apply to her. 3 So while her husband is alive, she would be committing adultery if she married another man. But if her husband dies, she is free from that law and does not commit adultery when she remarries.
4 So, my dear brothers and sisters, this is the point: You died to the power of the law when you died with Christ. And now you are united with the one who was raised from the dead. As a result, we can produce a harvest of good deeds for God. 5 When we were controlled by our old nature,[b] sinful desires were at work within us, and the law aroused these evil desires that produced a harvest of sinful deeds, resulting in death. 6 But now we have been released from the law, for we died to it and are no longer captive to its power. Now we can serve God, not in the old way of obeying the letter of the law, but in the new way of living in the Spirit.
Before Jesus died for our sins, the name of the game was not breaking the law. It was a restrictive and difficult way to live because, as Paul mentioned before, everyone falls short of the law. But now that Jesus created a new covenant (unbreakable deal) with us, the old law is gone and the new name of the game is to serve God.
How do we serve God? Jesus was clear when he said that whatever we do to others, is done to Jesus. So when we give food to the hungry, clothes to the cold and shelter to the homeless – we are doing that for Jesus. Also, Paul mentions that when we are living in the Spirit (Holy Spirit), we are serving God. How is that possible? It is possible because when we are living in the Spirit, we are able to understand what God wants us to do and be obedient to those directions.
I find it interesting how long Paul spent talking about the Old Law (or just the law) and the New Law (Jesus’ death and ressurrection). It’s really not surprising that this was a major issue for the Jews of the day who had been holding fast to the Torah and the Old Laws. I bet many of the Jews faced challenges as they became Christians. Their faith and the law was SO engrained in them, there must have been many times where the old faith and laws and traditions clouded over the fact that Jesus died for our sins.
Right now, as I may have mentioned, we just finished a season in the Jewish community where they atoned for their sins through fasting and prayer. But Jesus fulfilled Yom Kippur – the day of atonment – with his death and ressurrection. He was the ultimate sacrifice and the ultimate fulfillment of the Old Law, making the Old Law obsolete.
So how do I live now in the life given to me by the grace of God? According to Paul, we all must live in the Spirit, giving glory to God. That is something I must work on every day.