|Romans 7:1,4-6 |
1 Do you not know brothers, (for I speak to those who know the law), that the law has dominion over a man as long as he lives? [Until you lose your life by crucifying your sinful nature, your carnal mind, and your evil spirit, you are still under the law; until then you are still walking in restricted flesh; until then the law is your schoolmaster. Until Christ replaces your nature, mind, and spirit with His so that your fleshly nature is dead, you are under the law. When Christ controls your thoughts, words, and deeds, then the law no longer has dominion over you because the selfish "you" has died. Even those who know no law, have the inner law on their hearts by which a man is judged and which has dominion over him until his death. From the Word of the Lord within: "Until you witness receiving faith from Christ, you are under the law. Until you witness the law fulfilled in you, you are under the law."]
4 Therefore, my brothers, you also became dead to the law through the living body of Christ in you, so that you could be married to another, and raised from the dead to bear fruit to God.1 [Paul is addressing believers that had been crucified, (and therefore they had died to the law), who had been raised from the dead with Christ, the new creature in newness of life. Christ had appeared in them and dwelled in them. They had received the fruit of the Spirit from Christ with the measure of faith that frees from the law, enabling them to no longer walk after the flesh but to walk after the Spirit, as it guided all their words and deeds; they had reached the first stage of perfection. The translation of this verse has been typically twisted to mean that Christ's death and resurrection made a believer dead to the law, but we are only dead to the law through the law after we have been crucified and He is dwelling in us, totally guiding us, with His prompting of every word to speak and every deed to be done. While Christ's blood sacrifice made the Mosaic law obsolete, the inner law on every man's heart is still alive, never cancelled, (which inner law includes the moral core of the Mosaic law); and for you to be free from this inner law, by which all men shall be judged, you must submit to God condemning the sins in your flesh, with commands that you hear when waiting on Him; those commands are established as additional laws in your heart, in which are all the laws you must obey and continue to obey until you are completely crucified, to then walk in love and liberty under no laws.]
5 For when we were in the flesh, the passions of sin, (evil established by the law), worked in our members to bring forth fruit to death. [We are all trees with corrupt fruit, (adultery, sexual immorality, uncleanness, lack of restraint, idolatry [covetousness], sorcery, hatred, arguments, jealousies, rage, selfishness, divisiveness, envies, murders, drunkenness, revelries [partying], etc.), to start; but we must be changed while alive on earth to produce good fruit. Christendom would have you simply label the bad tree good, still producing corrupt fruit; but such trees will be cut down and sent to the fire, regardless of the label on them. The law does not cause one to sin; the law adjusts, regulates, and curbs sin. From the word of the Lord within: "Either make the tree good, or make the tree bad. A tree that is holy is a good one."]
6 But now we have been delivered from the law, having died to that by which we were held; so that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.2 [The moral laws only end when a man's selfish spirit has been crucified on the inward cross of self-denial, and Christ Jesus is resurrected in him to totally control his thoughts, words, and deeds with the Law of the Spirit of Life. See the footnote to Rom 3:28 for more understanding on why the the inner law on your heart, which includes the moral core of the old law, must still be observed and is your schoolmaster until your thoughts, and words, and deeds are under complete control of the Holy Spirit. From the Word of the Lord within, regarding newness of spirit: "The new life is as radically different as a man who has lived underground his whole life, suddenly coming above ground to see the sun, the sky, the plants, the animals, the wind, the stars." Notice! Paul had died to the law through the law and was delivered from the law; he served sin no longer. He fulfilled and established the law.]
2 But now we have been delivered from the law, having died to that by which we were held [sin]; so that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter. Paul is speaking to those whose sinful nature has been killed, who therefore have been delivered from the law, (even the inner law). So these believers are now serving according to the promptings of the Spirit of God, rather than serving according to the regulations of the letter (law). When a man walks by the rules, he walks according to the letter, not the Spirit. Paul also said they were able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit. For the letter kills, but the spirit gives life. 2 Cor 3:6. Jesus tells us that his spoken words are spirit and they are life, and so the words heard impart life. John 6:63. Paul tells us of what words both Paul and Jesus speak: The word is near you, even in your mouth, and in your heart [so you may obey it];" that is, the word of faith, which we preach. Rom 10:8.
Paul says obedience to the inner law, which includes the moral core of the obsolete Mosaic law and includes the commands you hear to repent from the Spirit, is required until you are totally led by the Spirit of God:
George Fox wrote of dying to the law through the law and the transition from the schoolmaster of law, to the Spirit of Christ, in his Journal.
The law of the spirit crosses the fleshly mind, spirit, and will, which lives in disobedience, and does not keep within the law of the spirit. I saw this law was the pure love of God which was upon me, and which I must go through, though I was troubled while I was under it; for I could not be dead to the law but through the law, which judged and condemned what is to be condemned. I saw, many talked of the law, who had never known the law to be their schoolmaster; and many talked of the gospel of Christ, who had never known life and immortality brought to light in them by it. You that have been under that schoolmaster, and the condemnation of it, know these things; for though the Lord in that day opened these things unto me in secret, they have been since published by his eternal spirit, as on the house top. And as you are brought into the law, and through the law to be dead to it, and witness [see, experience] the righteousness of the law fulfilled in you, you will afterwards come to know what it is to be brought into the faith, and through faith from under the law; and abiding in the faith, which Christ is the author of, you will have peace and access to God. But if you look out from the faith, and from that which would keep you in the victory, and look after fleshly things or for words [speaking your own words] you will be brought into bondage to the flesh again, and to the law which takes hold upon the flesh and sin, and works wrath, and the works of the flesh will appear again. The law of God takes hold upon the law of sin and death; but the law of faith, or the law of the spirit of life, which is the love of God, and which comes by Jesus, (who is the end of the law for righteousness' sake), makes you free from the law of sin and death. This law of life fleshly minded men do not know; yet they will tempt you to draw you from the spirit into the flesh, and so into bondage. Therefore you, who know the love of God, and the law of his spirit, and the freedom that is in Jesus Christ, stand fast in him. Stand in that divine faith which he is the author of in you, and don’t get entangled with the yoke of bondage. For the ministry of Christ Jesus and his teaching, brings into liberty and freedom; but the ministry that is of man, and by man, which stands in the will of man, brings into bondage and under the shadow of death and darkness. Therefore none can be ministers of Christ Jesus but in the eternal spirit, which was before the scriptures were given forth; for if they have not his spirit, they are none of his. Though they may have his light to condemn them that hate it, yet they can never bring any into unity and fellowship in the spirit, unless they are in it; for the seed of God is a burdensome stone to the selfish, fleshly, earthly will, which reigns in its own knowledge and understanding that must perish, and [reigns in] its own wisdom that is devilish. The spirit of God is grieved, vexed, and quenched with what brings into the fleshly bondage; and what wars against the spirit of God must be mortified by it for the flesh lusts against the spirit, and the spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to each other. The flesh would have its liberty, and the spirit would have its liberty; but the spirit is to have its liberty, and not the flesh. Therefore if you quench the spirit, join to the flesh, and be servants of it, then you are judged and tormented by the spirit; but if you join to the spirit, and serve God in it, you have liberty and victory over the flesh and its works.
So until you witness [see, experience] the righteousness of the law fulfilled in you, you must still strive to obey the inner law that includes the moral core of the outward law. Do you not know brothers, (for I speak to those who know the law), that the law has dominion over a man as long as he lives? Rom 7:1. Until you lose your life by crucifying your sinful nature, your carnal mind, and your evil spirit, you are still alive and still subject to the moral laws. From the Word of the Lord within, "until you witness receiving faith from Christ, you are under the law." The faith that frees from the law is received when you produce the fruit of the Spirit, against which is no law; then you are walking in love and fulfill the law. Until then, you are still subject to the moral laws: love your neighbor as you love yourself; don't steal; don't commit adultery; don't lie; don't covet; don't murder; honor your father and mother; do unto others as you have them do unto you, etc.
William Dewsbury further explains the inner law on the heart:
Therefore, everyone that desires to know the only true God and Jesus Christ whom he has sent, turn your minds within, and examine your hearts, search and try your ways with the light that Christ Jesus has enlightened you withal, that shows you in your hearts what is sin, that pride and covetousness, lying and swearing, dissimulation (deception) and cheating, vain and idle communications, foolish jesting and unbelief, are sins. These things you know to be sins in your own consciences, by the righteous law of God in the heart, that reproves you for them in secret.