Dead to the Law – What Does That Mean?

In Romans, Chapter 7, Paul says we are freed from the Law in the same way a wife is freed from the law of her husband who is dead. In Paul’s example, he says if a wife marries another man while her husband is alive, she would be guilty of adultery. But if the husband is dead, she is not guilty of adultery, and can remarry. Paul says we are loosed from the Law the same way a wife is loosed from the law of her husband.

Paul says Christians are dead to the law, now being married to Christ (Rom 7:4). That means we are freed from the penalties of God’s law, even for future sins, just like how a wife who remarries is not guilty of adultery if her husband is dead. Through Jesus we are dead to the law and have been declared righteous. We are not righteous, but we have been declared righteous. This is justification. It’s the starting point of the Christian life.

Paul goes on to say in Romans Chapter 8, “that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.” Since we are not under the Law, but under Grace, we have real freedom to love God with all our heart, mind, soul and strength, and to love our neighbor as ourself, without fearing the consequences of messing up, or thinking we have achieved righteousness through our works. The “requirement of the Law” is fulfilled in us when we walk by the Spirit fulfilling the “Law of Christ” (from which hang all the Law and Prophets). This is our sanctification process. God loves us too much to leave us the way we are. God first separates a Christian from the penalty of sin (justification) which is how we start our faith. This is irreversible. You can never become “unjustified” once you enter into Faith through Jesus. But God also goes on to separate us from the power of sin (sanctification), which He accomplishes as we walk in the Spirit fulfilling the Law of Christ.

And to fulfill the Law of Christ, it is very helpful to study both the Old and New Testament Scriptures together, because it is from both Testaments where we can properly understand God’s righteous standards, God’s will, how God relates to us, the Holy Spirit, how God loves us, and the Hope that we have.

“For whatsoever things were written aforetime (the Old Testament Scriptures) were written for our learning…” (Romans 15:4)

“The New Testament is in the Old Testament concealed. The Old Testament is in the New Testament revealed!”


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