1 Or do you not know, brothers (because I am speaking to ones who know the law), that the law is lord over a man as long as he lives? 2 For example, a married woman is obligated by law to her husband as long as he lives, but if her husband dies, she is released from the law of the marriage. 3 So then, if she is joined to another man while her husband is still alive, she will be denounced as an adulteress. But if her husband dies, she is free from that law, and when she is joined to another man, she is not an adulteress. 4 So, my brothers and sisters, you also died to the law through the body of Christ, so that you could be joined to another, to the one who was raised from the dead, to bear fruit to God. 5 Because when we were in the flesh, the sinful desires, aroused by the law, were active in the parts of our body to bear fruit for death. 6 But now we have been released from the law, because we have died to what controlled us, so that we may serve in the new life of the Spirit and not under the old written code.
released – not on probation
The analogy Paul uses to describe Christians’ relationship to the written code is very descriptive. He compares it to a woman whose husband dies. Once her husband dies she is no longer married to him. She, being a widow, is free to either remain single or to marry someone else. The obligations to her former partner are over.
Some of the Roman Jewish Christians had difficulty with this concept. They thought of their faith in Christ as a kind of probation, and expected that being a Christian would finally help them overcome their own inner struggle with sin. They reasoned that once they got this faith thing sorted out they would find it easy to walk in obedience to the law, and thus win God’s favor.
Paul said, nah. He told them they were going about this faith thing with the wrong goal in mind. Sin cannot be conquered through the law. It can only be conquered through death to the law and total faith in Christ. So, you need to think of yourself as not on probation, by remarried to Christ. Now, the goal is not going back to the written code, but pleasing your new spouse.
LORD, help us to get our minds around our faith in the only Redeemer, and live to please him.