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Volume 24 - Page 126 of 211 Index | Zoom | |
Finally, the Lord has said in more than one connection that "by their fruits ye shall
know them". Looking back to the days before salvation, we view our deeds then with
nothing but shame, and we learn, moreover, that their end is death. Shame and death
belong to Eden and the fall, for we are still dealing with the two types or heads, Adam
and Christ. But now, says the apostle, being made free from sin and becoming servants
to God, the fruit is unto holiness, and the end, life, life aionion.
Such is a summary of the apostle's argument concerning the dominion of law, as put
to the Gentile believer. The Jewish believer, however, had many more problems and
scruples, and to meet these, the apostle writes the second section, Rom. 7: 1-6. To this
we must devote a separate article.
Death ends the dominion of law (7: 1-6).
pp. 186 - 189
Although we pass from Rom. 6: to Rom. 7:, we do not commence a new subject.
The question which the apostle answers is raised in Rom. 6: 15:--
"What then? shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace."
He divides his answer into two parts, to suit his two classes of hearers. He first deals
with the question with respect to all men. Here the case of the Gentile is dealt with, and
the figure of the slave is used. The second part of the apostle's answer, which is now
before us, is addressed particularly to the Jewish believer, and has reference to the very
great and serious objection that every Jew had to giving up the law of Moses, which had
been given with such solemnity at Sinai.
"Brethren", says the apostle in effect, "Your objection would be quite valid if
my gospel meant nothing more than a change of opinion or of creed. You would
have every right to resist even unto death any attempt to tamper with your
allegiance to the holy law of God. I quite agree that the law given at Sinai is in
the nature of a marriage covenant in the light of adultery. You are in all this quite
right--only you have omitted the vital feature of my gospel that alters the whole
state of affairs. I readily admit that the law has dominion over a man as long as
he lives, or, to continue the analogy of marriage, that a woman who is married is
bound by the law to her husband as long as he lives. Should she leave him during
his lifetime and marry another she is rightly called an adulteress. So far we are in
agreement. But my gospel is nothing if it is not a message that the believer is
dead to sin (and so dead to its dominion) and also dead to law (and so dead to its
dominion). You will agree that, should the husband die, the woman is at once
loosed from the law of her husband, and should she marry again, her action is
perfectly legitimate and honourable. That, brethren, is the real fact of the case.