1. Released from the Law, Joined to Christ (7:16)

1 Or are you ignorant, brothers and sistersfor I am speaking to those who know the lawthat the law rules over a person only as long as he or she lives? 2 For the woman who is married is bound by the law to her husband as long as he lives. But if her husband dies, she is released from the law relating to her husband. 3 Therefore, while her husband lives she will be called an adulteress if she becomes joined to another man. But if her husband dies, she is free from the law, so that she is not an adulteress if she is joined to another man. 4 Therefore, my brothers and sisters, you also have been put to death to the law through the body of Christ, so that you might be joined to another, to the one who has been raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God.

5 For when we were in the flesh, sinful passions that were through the law were working in our members, with the result that we were bearing fruit for death. 6 But now we have been released from the law, dying3 to that in which we were held captive, so that we might serve in newness of the Spirit and not in oldness of the letter.

As we have seen, this paragraph contains the main point that Paul wants to make in this chapter. It has four parts. In v. 1, the general principle on which the teaching of the paragraph is based is given: death severs ones bondage to the law. This is the case in marriage, where the death of a spouse sets the other spouse free from the law that brands a second marriage as adulterous (vv. 23). This general principle is applied to Christian experience in v. 4, which is the key verse in the paragraph; Christians, in dying with Christ, have suffered a death that severs their bondage to the law and that makes possible their new relationship with Jesus Christ. Then, in vv. 56, Paul shows the need for, and results of, this transfer of masters by contrasting the situation of people in the flesh, in whose case the law aids and abets sin, with the situation of people who are released from the law and serve in newness of Spirit.

1 Or are you ignorant4 occurs only here and in 6:3 in the Pauline corpus, another (though minor) point of contact between these chapters. Like Pauls more customary formula do you not know? (6:15), it introduces teaching with which Paul assumes his readers are familiar. The phrase implies that Paul is elaborating on a point he has just made. Meyer insists that this point must be found in the immediately preceding words (6:23), but the focus on the law that now begins makes it almost certain that Paul is harking back to his assertion in 6:14b (cf. v. 15) that Christians are not under law. Paul makes this assertion almost in passing, and it cries out for elaborationwhich he now gives.

Before he enters into his teaching, however, Paul addresses his readers: brothers,5 those who know the law. Some think that this address signals a shift in his audience, from the church as a whole to a specific group within the Roman Christian community: Jewish Christians, who know the Mosaic law.6 But a narrowing of the audience is unlikely in light of Pauls wording7 and when considering the clear connection between this passage and earlier texts in the letter. Others think that Paul characterizes his entire audience but that the reference to the law shows that this audience must have been a Jewish-Christian one.8 But this conclusion conflicts with clear indications that Pauls audience in Romans was a mainly Gentile one (see 1:57, 1315; and cf. the Introduction). Paul may, then, use the word law (nomos) here to refer to Roman law9 or to law in its most general sense.10 This interpretation is certainly compatible with Pauls intention in vv. 13 to formulate a general principle. On the other hand, Paul never elsewhere uses nomos to refer to secular law, and he certainly uses the word in 6:14, 15 and in most of chap. 7 with reference to the Mosaic law. This does not require, however, that his readers be Jewish Christians. Many of the Gentile Christians in Rome were probably god-fearers, or synagogue worshipers, before coming to Christ.11 In any case, new converts would have been exposed to the OT and the law early in their Christian instruction.12 It is almost certain, then, that Paul here refers to the Mosaic law,13 but no implications about the ethnic background of his audience can be derived from the fact.

What these converts know is a general principle: that the law rules over14 a person only as long as he or she lives. This principle is similar to a maxim of the rabbis: if a person is dead, he is free from the Torah and the fulfilling of the commandments.15 Paul may be citing this principle,16 although the relative dates call for caution, and the principle is of such a nature that it could have parallels in almost any culture.

23 Paul illustrates this general principle with an allusion to the marriage relationship. Perhaps alluding to the Mosaic law, Paul notes that the woman who is married17 is bound by the law18 to her husband as long as he lives. But if her husband dies, she is released from19 the law relating to her husband.20 In v. 3, Paul spells out the implications21 of this situation: as long as her husband lives, the woman will be called22 an adulteress if she is to be joined to (i.e., marry23) another man.24 On the other hand, were her husband to die, she would be free from the law. This law refers back to the law relating to her husband in v. 2, but Paul may have chosen to use an unqualified reference in order to set up his application more effectively. Since her husbands death frees her from the law, the woman will not be labeled an adulteress if she marries again.25

Pauls point is clear enough; but problems arise when we seek to relate the point to the conclusion in v. 4. If we assume that the details of the illustration in vv. 23 are parallel to the application in v. 4, then the first husband must represent the law, the second husband Christ, and the woman the Christian. Why, then, does Paul have the first husband dying in the illustration and the Christian (= the woman) in the application? In order to maintain an allegorical interpretation of vv. 23 while explaining this apparent discrepancy, interpreters have resorted to a number of alternatives. The most likely takes the wife in the illustration as the true self, the first husband as the old man, and the second husband as Christ.26 But this explanation, and others of its kind that maintain an allegorical relationship between vv. 23 and v. 4, must import concepts into the text that are not there. Probably, then, Paul does not intend us to find significance in the details of vv. 23. Thus many recent interpreters conclude, arguing that vv. 23 make a single pointdeath severs relationship to the law. The verses illustrate v. 1 as a preparation for v. 4.27

We think that this conclusion is basically sound; but it may go too far in minimizing some of the striking parallels between vv. 23 and v. 4: the use of join to to express the relationship, respectively, of wife and husband (vv. 23) and of the Christian and Christ (v. 4), and the emphasis on the new union that follows death. Not only, then, does Paul in vv. 23 illustrate the general principle that a death frees one from the law (v. 1); he also sets up the theological application in v. 4 by citing an examplemarriagein which severance from the law enables one to enter into a new relationship.28

4 In this verse, the center of the paragraph, Paul states an inference29 drawn from vv. 13. This inference depends not only on the principle stated in v. 1 but also on the illustration and expansion of that principle in vv. 23.30 We might paraphrase: Recognizing the validity of the principle that death severs ones bondage to the law, you believers can understand that, like this woman, you have through a death been severed from your bondage to the law and been enabled to be joined to another. You have been put to death to the law is reminiscent of the main point of chap. 6: we have died to sin (cf. vv. 2 and 11).31 What does this mean?

Since this verse is materially and contextually related to 6:14b, you have been put to death to the law will describe that act which results in not being under law. Therefore, those who interpret not being under the law to mean not being under the condemnation pronounced by the law, usually interpret being put to death to the law to mean delivered from the law insofar as it has the power to condemn. Calvins interpretation is representative and becomes virtually the orthodox view in Reformed theology. He distinguishes sharply between the law in its office, which was peculiar to the dispensation of Moses, and the law as rule of life. The first, which includes specifically the demand of the law for perfection of obedience, leading to condemnation for the inevitable failure to attain this standard, is, as Paul asserts here, abrogated for the Christian; but the second office of the law remains in force.32 Some scholars add to this freedom from condemnation the idea of a setting free from the perversion of the law into an instrument of securing justification,33 and a few confine Pauls intention to this idea alone.34

But reference to deliverance from such a misunderstanding of the law is unlikely, for Paul regards the law as a force that exercises legitimate authority over its subjects (vv. 13). Moreover, if misunderstanding the law was the root problem, God would certainly not have had to resort to so drastic a step as the death of his Son to free us from its rule.35 On the other hand, reference to condemnation must be included. The context connects being bound to the law with existence in the flesh (vv. 56), and with sins power to bring death (vv. 712; and note the reference to condemnation in 8:1). But we should not confine the meaning to condemnation alone. Throughout chaps. 58, Paul focuses not so much on the condemnation that comes when the law is disobeyedthe curse of the law (Gal. 3:13)as on the failure of the law to deal with the problem of sinthe inability of the law (cf. 8:3a). Thus, in vv. 56, where Paul elaborates v. 4, the law is presented as not only failing to deal with sin but as actually stimulating sin in the person who is bound to it. That law which Jews, not unnaturally, considered a great bulwark against sin is actually, according to Paul, an instrument that sin has used to produce more sin (vv. 5, 8) and to make the sin problem even worse than it was without the law (vv. 911, 13). This suggests that, as in 6:14, Paul in 7:4 is viewing the law as a power of the old age to which the person apart from Christ is bound. The underlying conception is again salvation-historical, as is suggested also by the use of the letter/Spirit contrast in v. 6. Just as, then, the believer dies to sin in order to live for God (chap. 6), so he or she is put to death to the law in order to be joined to Christ. Both images depict the transfer of the believer from the old realm to the new. As long as sin reigns, God and righteousness cannot; and neither, as long as the law reigns, can Christ and the Spirit.

It is this deliverance from the power, or binding authority, of the law that Paul describes in this verse. In being released from the law in this sense, the believer is, naturally, freed from the condemning power of the law. But we introduce categories that are foreign to Paulat least at this pointby distinguishing between the law in its condemning power and the law as a rule of life. Paul plainly teaches here a deliverance from the binding force of the law as a whole. But, to recapitulate what we have said on 6:14, this must be carefully qualified. First, we must remember that Paul is not here speaking of the OT as a whole, but of the Mosaic law. And, second, he is speaking of the Mosaic law as a system or body. This means that it would be premature to conclude from this text that the law can play no role at all in the life of the believer.36 For to be dead to the law, as we have seen, means to be delivered from the power-sphere of the law. It does not necessarily mean that the believer has nothing more to do with the law. Thus, positively, as a witness (1:2; 3:21) the law continues to teach the believer much that is indispensable about Gods holiness and the holiness he expects of his people. Moreover, while this verse implies that the believer is not directly under the authority of the lawthus excluding any third use of the law in the traditional sense37this is not to say that individual commandments from that law may not be re-applied as new covenant law (see, further, on 8:4 and 13:810). Finally, the law of which Paul speaks here is the Mosaic law, not law in the Lutheran sense of anything that commands us. Paul affirms here that the believer is no longer under the authority of the Mosaic law, not that he or she is under no law at all. In fact, Paul himself makes clear that the believer is still under law in the broader sensestill obligated to certain commandments (see Gal. 6:2; 1 Cor. 7:19; 9:2022).38

In a passage somewhat parallel to this one, Paul says of himself that he died to the law in order that he might live for God (Gal. 2:19). In that context (cf. v. 15: we who are Jews by birth), Paul is describing his experience as a Jewish convert to Christianity and, as in this paragraph, showing that he had to be released from the binding authority of the law if he were to be able to please God. We can understand how a Jew who became a Christian would die to the law, for the Jew would have grown up under the authority of that law. But how could it be said of Gentile converts that they would need to die to the law? In order to evade this problem, some expositors suggest that the law in 7:4 is moral law generally39 or that the brothers whom Paul addresses in this passage are exclusively Jewish Christians.40 But neither solution is acceptable.41 While Paul never makes the matter clear, we suggest that Paul views the Jewish experience with the Mosaic law as paradigmatic for the experience of all people with law.42 Israel stands in redemptive history as a kind of test case, and its relationship with the law is ipso facto applicable to the relationship of all people with that law which God has revealed to them (cf. 2:1415). In 7:4, then, while being put to death to the law is strictly applicable only to Jewish Christians, Paul can affirm the same thing of the whole Roman community because the experience of Israel with the Mosaic law is, in a transferred sense, also their experience. And, of course, Paul also wants to make clear that, in the new era, in which righteousness is revealed apart from the law (cf. 3:21), Gentiles have no need to come under the law to become full-fledged members of the people of God.

The instrument43 by which by the believer is put to death to the law is the body of Christ. A few interpreters have thought that Paul might be using this phrase with the collective sense it has in, for example, 1 Cor. 12: believers are put to death to the law by belonging to the church, the body of Christ.44 But Paul has laid no groundwork in Romans for this application; he must be referring to the physical body of Christ, put to death on the cross for us.45 The purpose for which believers have been put to death to the law is so that you might be joined to another. The phrase echoes the language of v. 3: as death separated the woman from her first husband so that she could be joined to another, so the believer has been separated by death from the law in order to be joined to Christ.46 This new relationship, Paul implies, will be a never-ending one. For the other to which the Christian is joined is the one who has been raised from the deadnever to die again (cf. 6:910).47 This theologically dense verse ends on the practical note that is basic to Pauls concern in this section: in order that we might bear fruit for God. Our new relationship with Christ enables usand requires usto produce those character traits, thoughts, and actions that will be for Gods glory.48

5 With his now-familiar when now (vv. 56) contrast between the pre-Christian and Christian situations, Paul explains49 why it is necessary that believers be freed from the domain of the law. In describing the person outside of Christ as being in the flesh [sarx], Paul means, in effect, that the non-Christian is enveloped in, and hence controlled by, narrowly human, this-worldly principles and values.50 We must again understand Pauls language against the background of his salvation-historical framework. Paul pictures sarx as another power of the old age, set in opposition to the Spiritwith which sarx is always contrasted in chaps. 78.51 As both Rom. 8:9 and the when in this verse make clear, this situation is an objective one in which all non-Christians find themselves and from which all Christians are delivered in Christ.

Existence in the domain of the flesh is determined by the three other powers of the old age: sin, the law, and death. In a sequence that is determinative for the direction of his argument in vv. 7ff., Paul brings these three together, claiming that sinful passions52 that53 were through the law were working in our members, with the result that we were bearing fruit for death. In asserting that sinful passions are through the law, Paul reaffirms the close connection between sin and the law that he has touched on before (3:20; 4:15; 5:20). Here, however, he appears to go further and speaks of the law as not just revealing sin (3:20) or as turning sin into transgression (5:20), but as actually producing sin itself.54

We can understand this concept in two different ways. First, there is Bultmanns so-called nomistic view, according to which the passions in view are the desires of people to establish their own righteousness. In holding out the prospect of life (v. 10), the law encourages people to obey the commandments as a means of attaining this life and leads them thereby into boastful pride and sinful independence of God and his grace.55 While, however, Paul castigates his Jewish brethren for pursuing righteousness through the law (cf., e.g., 10:18), he does not teach that the law itself encourages such a pursuit. It is unlikely that he would accuse the law of provoking these desires. Moreover, the sinful passions of this verse are interpreted in v. 7 as the desire that the law forbids.56 We must, then, reject this nomistic explanation in favor of the second explanation: that the sinful passions are those desires to disobey God and his law that are, paradoxically, exacerbated by the law itself. As Paul explains more fully in 7:711, the law, in setting forth Gods standard, arouses sins by stimulating human beings innate rebelliousness against God. In additionalthough this idea is not so evident in this versethe law increases the seriousness of sin by branding sinful failure as violation of Gods positive decree.

Although Paul has departed from his usual use of the singular sin, the remainder of this verse shows that he continues to characterize sin/sins as an active force: the sinful passions aroused by the law were continually working57 in the members58 of the Roman Christians before their conversion. And deathin all its dimensionswas the result.59

6 Because Pauls focus is on the law, he postpones what would be the expected contrast between being in the flesh and being in the Spirit until chap. 8 in order to emphasize once again the Christians deliverance from the law (v. 6) and to explore the implications of his teaching for the law itself (vv. 725): But now we have been released from60 the law, dying to that in which we were held captive.61 That in which the non-Christian is held captive is, as the parallel with v. 4 makes clear, the law.62 Believers, however, have been set free from this regime of the law.63

While, however, still preoccupied with the law, Paul knows where he wants to go eventually in his argument, and so he announces it in the last part of this verse: so that we might serve in newness of the Spirit64 and not in oldness of letter.65 This is the second time in Romans that Paul has used the letter/Spirit contrast (cf. 2:2729). As in this earlier text, the antithesis is not between the misunderstanding or misuse of the law and the Spirit,66 nor even, at least basically, between the outer demand and the inner disposition to obey,67 but between the Old Covenant and the New, the old age and the new.68 The essence of the old, or Mosaic, covenant, is the law as an external, written demand of God. Serving in the old state created by the letter meant not, as the Jews thought, a curbing of sin, but a stimulating of the power of sinand death is the end-product of sin (v. 5). Now, though, the believer, released from bondage to the law, can serve in the new condition created by Gods Spirit, a condition that brings life (2 Cor. 3:6) and fruit pleasing to God (cf. 6:2223). Before Paul goes on to develop the nature of serving in the Spirit (Rom. 8), he pauses to explain further the condition of serving in oldness of letter, and of being in the flesh where the law arouses sinful passions (7:725).

Before going on to this text, however, we might pause to comment further on this matter of bondage to the law in the OT era. Fairbairn argues for a subjective interpretation of being bound to the law, as applying only to those in the OT who did not find justification by faith.69 But this illegitimately eliminates the necessarily objective contrast between Old Covenant and New, old age and new.70 I have dealt with this problem before, noting that Pauls salvation-historical contrasts must not be applied with temporal precision. In particular, it is clear that Paul is often thinking only of the situation now that Christ has come: a situation in which there can no longer be a true saint who has not exercised explicit faith in Christ and become a partaker of the New Covenant. From this perspective, Pauls contrasts are absoluteeither one is bound to the law, and hence in the old, outdated covenant that produces only condemnation; or one has died to that law and been transferred into the new age of the Spirit and life. It is only when we ask the question about the status of OT saintsa question that was probably not in Pauls mind at the timethat a problem arises.

Nevertheless, it is clear that OT saints, while not suffering all the penalties incurred through the law, were bound to that law in a way that NT saints are not. Their status is somewhat anomalous, as they participate in the same salvation that we experiencethrough faith in conjunction with the promiseyet experience also that oldness and sense of bondage which was inescapable for even the OT saints. To be sure, these saints could, and did, delight in Gods law (e.g., Ps. 119). But even so strong a defender of the continuity of the covenants as Calvin recognized the inevitability of some degree of bondage under the Old Covenant that could be taken away only by the coming of Christ:

[W]e shall deny that they [the patriarchs] were so endowed with the spirit of freedom and assurance as not in some degree to experience the fear and bondage arising from the law. For, however much they enjoyed the privilege that they had received through the grace of the gospel, they were still subject to the same bonds and burdens of ceremonial observances as the common people. Hence, they are rightly said, in contrast to us, to have been under the testament of bondage and fear, when we consider that common dispensation by which the Lord at that time dealt with the Israelites.71

 

 

Footnotes

 3 The KJV translation, we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held assumes ̓́, which Beza introduced into the Textus Receptus without MS support, based only on what he thought Chrysostom was reading (Gifford).

 4 Gk. ̔̀ ̓͂.

 5 Gk. ̓́. This is the first time since 1:13 that Paul has so addressed the Romans.

 6 See, e.g., Minear, 62, 64.

 7 Zahn notes that, had Paul intended to narrow his focus, we would perhaps have expected him to have written ͂ ̔͂ ́ ́.

 8 See, e.g., Zahn.

 9 E.g., Käsemann.

 10 S-H.

 11 Cf. Dunn; Schmithals, Theologische Anthropologie, p. 24. See, for more detail, the discussion of audience in the introduction.

 12 Texts such as Gal. 4:21 and 1 Cor. 10:1 show that Paul assumes knowledge of the OT among his Gentile converts.

 13 Cf., e.g., Godet; Murray; Cranfield; Wilckens; Dunn; Fitzmyer. Michel suggests a reference both to the Mosaic law and to a general knowledge of judicial procedure; Hodge to the Mosaic law, but as a revelation of general moral law. The anarthrous state of ́ does not support this view, for Paul demonstrates no consistent relationship between the meaning of ́ and its articular state. And the second occurrence of ́ in the verse, which must refer to the same thing as the first, is articular.

 14 Gk. ́: note the parallel with 6:14a.

 15 b. Shabb. 30a, Shabb. 151b bar.

 16 Cf. esp. Str-B, 3.232; Schoeps, 171, 192; W. Diezinger, Unter toten Freigewerden: Eine Untersuchung zu Röm. IIIVIII, NovT 5 (1962), 27174.

 17 Gk. ̔́ ́. The word ̔́ means, literally, under a husband (continuing Pauls use of the preposition ̔́ to indicate a relationship of bondage); cf. the Heb. תַּחַת־אִישָּׁהּ (cf. Num. 5:29, etc.).

 18 Gk. ́ῳ, an instrumental dative.

 19 The Gk. ́ ̓́ means separated from (cf. Gal. 5:4; also Acts of Jn. 84:1020; Origen, Comm. on Eph. 2:15; and Macarius, Logos B 12.16 and 3.15 [I am indebted to Gerald Peterman, Paul and the Law in Romans 7:16 {M.A. thesis, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, 1988}, for these references]).

 20 The genitive ͂ ̓́ after ͂ ́ is probably objective: the law directed towards the hubsand (Turner, 212).

 21 Note the ̓́ ̓͂.

 22 ́, a gnomic future, used to express that which is to be expected under certain circumstances (BDF 349 [1]).

 23 The Greek phrase ́ ̓́ means be married to in the LXX, where it translates הָיָה לְ (Lev. 22:12; Deut. 24:2; Hos. 3:3; cf. Fitzmyer). One of the reasons Paul may use it here is in order to create a verbal parallel with the situation of the Christian and Christ (cf. v. 4).

 24 These verses are sometimes cited to prove that remarriage on any basis other than the death of ones spouse is adulterous. Whether this is the biblical teaching or not, these verses at any rate are probably not relevant to the issue. Paul is not teaching about remarriage but citing a simple example to prove a point. In such a situation, one often generalizes to what is usually true in order to simplify the analogy. Since Paul does not mention divorce, we can assume that the remarriage of the woman has taken place without a divorce of any kind; and any such remarriage is, of course, adulterous. Further, any body of law that Paul may be citingRoman or OT (cf. Deut. 25:14)allows for remarriage on grounds other than the death of the spouse. His readers, who know the law (v. 1), would certainly recognize this possibility without it in any way spoiling the effectiveness of Pauls analogy.

 25 The clause introduced with ͂ ̀ ̓͂ is probably consecutive rather than telic (see Robertson, 1002; contra, e.g., Gifford).

 26 E.g., Godet, S-H.

 27 Cf., e.g., Murray; Kuss; Käsemann; Cranfield; Fitzmyer.

 28 Cf. esp. J. A. Little, Pauls Use of Analogy: A Structural Analysis of Romans 7:16, CBQ 46 (1984), 8290. Little argues for a third theological application from vv. 23: that the law exercises a valid function during the time of its dominion.

 29 Cf. ̔́, so that, therefore. Paul often uses this conjunction to introduce the application of his theological argument.

 30 This is shown by the ́, also, following ̔́.

 31 The shift from the active ̓́ (we died) in 6:2 to the passive ̓́ (you were put to death), while putting more stress on the divine initiativeyou have been made to die [by God]does not affect the basic syntax or meaning. As in 6:2, then, the dative (here ͂ͅ ́ῳ) will denote that the death occurs to the disadvantage of the law, and the meaning will be that the Christian has been delivered from the mastery, or power, of the law.

 32 In addition to his commentary, see also the Institutes 2.11.9. A similar distinction is made by, inter alia, Melanchthon (Loci Communes: the believer is free from the moral law quoad justificationem et condemnationem, non quoad obedientium [with respect to justification and condemnation, but not obedience]), most of the Puritans (cf. J. S. Coolidge, The Puritan Renaissance in England: Puritanism and the Bible [Oxford: Clarendon, 1970], pp. 1034), and Wesley (cf. H. Lindström, Wesley and Sanctification [Wilmore, KY: Asbury, n.d.], pp. 7881). Cf. also P. Fairbairn, The Revelation of Law in Scripture (rpt.; Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1957), pp. 42930; Scott, Christianity, pp. 4142; Longenecker, 145.

 33 Cranfield (on 7:6); D. R. de Lacey, The Sabbath/Sunday Question and the Law in the Pauline Corpus, in From Sabbath to Lords Day (ed. D. A. Carson; Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1982), p. 169.

 34 E.g., Stuart.

 35 Cf. Räisänen, 4647; Sanders, Paul, the Law and the Jewish People, p. 99.

 36 As argued, e.g., by Räisänen, 4647, and Westerholm, 198205. For the opposite view, see esp. Schreiner, Abolition and Fulfillment, pp. 5259.

 37 The third use of the law refers to the role of the law as a positive authoritative guide to the Christian life (cf. the idea of the law as rule of life cited above from Calvin). Great care is needed in defining exactly what is meant by this authority, and one must observe many nuances (cf., e.g, Weber, Foundations of Dogmatics 2.39497). Most scholars do not think that Luther has a third use of the law, as usually defined (cf., e.g., G. Ebeling, On the Doctrine of the Triplex Usus Legis in the Theology of the Reformation, in Word and Faith, pp. 6264; H. Bornkamm, Luther and the Old Testament [Philadelphia: Fortress, 1969], pp. 12428; W. Joest, Gesetz und Freiheit: Das Problem des Tertius Usus Legis bei Luther und die neutestamentliche Paränese [Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1961], pp. 12933; perhaps the most extreme expression of Luthers views on this matter is in his How Christians Should Regard Moses [1525]; cf. LW 35.16271). But a third use of the law is adumbrated in Zwingli (cf. G. W. Locher, The Characteristic Features of Zwinglis Theology in Comparison with Luther and Calvin, in Zwinglis Thought: New Perspectives [Studies in the History of Christian Thought 25; Leiden: Brill, 1981], pp. 19799), is clear in Calvinfor whom the third use is the chief useand in Melanchthon (Loci Communes 7; cf. also the Formula of Concord, Art. 6), and is generally taught in Reformed theology.

 38 On this, see especially the monograph of Deidun, New Covenant Morality in Paul.

 39 E.g., Hodge.

 40 E.g., Bandstra, The Law and the Elements of the World, p. 140; Lagrange, 163.

 41 The flow of thought requires that the ́ here must be the same as the ́ of v. 5 and vv. 7ff., and this is clearly the Mosaic law (cf. the quotation in v. 7). Moreover, as we noted on v. 1, Pauls audience cannot be confined to any one part of the Roman Christian communitya community that included a significant number of Gentiles.

 42 Cf., for similar suggestions, Ebeling, The Doctrine of the Law, pp. 27580; T. L. Donaldson, The Curse of the Law and the Inclusion of the Gentiles: Galatians 3:1314, NTS 32 (1986), 1046; J. Blank, Gesetz und Geist, in Lorenzi, The Law of the Spirit, 83; Westerholm, 19295.

 43 Note Gk. ́.

 44 Robinson, The Body, p. 47; Tannehill, Dying and Rising, p. 46; Dodd.

 45 See, e.g., Gundry, 23940; Jewett, Pauls Anthropological Terms, pp. 299300. Probably, as in chap. 6, Paul looks at Christs death as a corporate event in which believers share. Christs death on the cross was also the believers death, a death to the law as well as to sin (Barrett). On the other hand, to read into this text connotations of baptism from 6:13 (as, e.g., Wilckens does) is not justified (Dunn).

 46 Gk. ́ + dative in each case.

 47 Bruce.

 48 A way of paraphrasing the meaning of the dative of advantage, ͂ͅ ͂ͅ. Many commentators have discerned in the image of fruit-bearing a continuation of the marriage analogy: good works are the offspring produced by the believers union with Christ (Bengel; Godet; S-H; Barrett; Fitzmyer). But this is pressing the analogy too far, especially since vv. 23 have not mentioned children at all (Lightfoot; Denney).

 49 The ́ in v. 5 thus introduces vv. 56 together as the explanation of v. 4.

 50 On the theological and ethical significance of ́ in Paul, see the note on 1:3.

 51 Flesh, in this sense, is not part of the person, nor even exactly an impulse or nature within the personfor this reason the NIV translation sinful nature for ́ throughout Rom. 78 is very misleading (cf. Dunn; and note the NIV marginal reading)but a power-sphere in which a person lives. See the discussion in Fee, Gods Empowering Presence, pp. 81622.

 52 Gk. ̀ ́ ͂ ̔͂, lit. the passions of sins. This phrase may, in light of ͂ ̓́ ̓͂ in 6:12, mean passions that arise from sins (genitive of source; cf. Schlatter), but the plural ̔͂ makes this unlikely. Just because of this pluralunusual in chaps. 58others think that ̔͂ might be an objective genitive: the passions that produce sins (Godet; Bandstra, The Law and the Elements of the World, p. 127). But it is unlikely that Paul distinguishes passions and sins as two separate stages, so ̔͂ is probably a genitive of quality: sinful passions (Murray; Käsemann). ́ usually means sufferings in both pre-NT and NT Greek (cf. 8:18; 2 Cor. 1:5, 6, 7; Phil. 3:10; Col. 1:24; 2 Tim. 3:11; Hebrews [3 times] and 1 Peter [4 times]), but it is used both here and in Gal. 5:24 as equivalent to ́, meaning passion or desire. Perhaps it is because passions need not be negative that Paul adds ̔͂. Schlatter has suggested that Paul uses the unusual word ́ to connote that the passions in question are aroused from without, but this depends overmuch on the etymology of the word.

 53 The definite article ́ ties the following prepositional phrase to the word ́.

 54 Cf. Sanders, Paul, the Law and the Jewish People, pp. 8485. Indeed, some deny this kind of connection between sins and the law, interpreting the phrase to mean simply that sins were made apparent through the law (e.g., Chrysostom). But the lack of any mediating word or phrase between ́ and ́ makes this unlikely; what Paul seems to mean is that sinful passions were actually aroused by means of the law.

 55 Bultmann, Romans 7, pp. 15455; cf. also his Theology, 1.246, 248; Jewett, Pauls Anthropological Terms, pp. 14549; Furnish, Theology and Ethics, pp. 14142.

 56 Cf., for these criticisms and others, Ridderbos, Paul, pp. 14546; Beker, 23940; Althaus; Wright, Messiah and People of God, pp. 14748; H. Räisänen, Legalism and Salvation by the Law: Pauls Portrayal of the Jewish Religion as a Historical and Theological Problem, in Die Paulinische Literatur und Theologie (ed. S. Pedersen; Teoloiske Studien 7; Århus: Aros, 1980), pp. 6971; idem, Zum Gebrauch von und bei Paulus, ST 33 (1979), 8599. See also the notes on 5:20 and 7:15.

 57 The verb ̓͂ (middle and intransitive) is imperfect in tense, emphasizing the constant activity of sin.

 58 Gk. ͂ ́; as in 6:13 and 19, our emotional and cognitive as well as physical faculties.

 59 The ̓ ́ with infinitive construction here could indicate a purpose (BAGD; Godet), but it is more likely to be consecutive (Kuss; Cranfield): the working of the passions has as its consequence the producing of activities leading to, or worthy of, death (on Pauls use of ̓ with the infinitive, see the additional note on 1:20).

 60 Gk. ́ ̓́. See the note on 7:2 for the meaning of ́ + ̓́.

 61 Gk. ̓́ ̓ ᾧ ́. This participial clause modifies the verb, explaining in language taken from v. 4 how the believers release from the law has taken place. The clause is elliptical and must be filled out by inserting the word ̓́͂ͅ after ̓́ (although Lightfoot takes ́ independently and attaches ̓̀ ͂ ́ to ̓́). And see BAGD for the meaning of ́ in the passive.

 62 See, e.g., W. G. Kümmel, Römer 7 und die Bekehrung des Paulus (UNT 17; Leipzig: J. C. Hinrichs, 1929), p. 42; Cranfield; contra, e.g., Griffith Thomas and Lagrange, who think Paul refers to the flesh, and Zahn, Denney, and Lenski, who refer generally to the old pre-Christian circumstances. Note the parallels between this verse and Pauls teaching about the law in Gal. 3:22, 23.

 63 As we argued at 7:4, the language used by Paul does not permit a restriction to a discharge from the condemnation pronounced by the law (as Cranfield suggests).

 64 Gk. ́ ́. The genitive here, and in the contrasting phrase ́ ́ could be epexegeticnewness, that is, the Spirit; oldness, that is, the letter (e.g., Cranfield)but is probably source, or subjective: the new state determined by the Spirit; the old state determined by the letter.

 65 Older commentators insist that ̔́ followed by the infinitive must mean contemplated result (e.g., S-H), but it is not clear that NT Greek is so strict in its categories. Since it depends on a verb depicting past action (́, we were released), it is more likely that the ̔́ clause denotes actual result: believers are now actually serving in newness of Spirit and not in oldness of letter (see Robertson, 1091, for a list of texts in which ̔́ with infinitive denotes actual result).

 66 E.g., Cranfield; Dunn.

 67 Godet; Huby.

 68 Cf. Käsemann; J. Kremer,  Denn der Buchstabe tötet, der Geist aber macht lebendig. Methodologische und hermeneutische Erwägungen zu 2 Kor 3,6b, in Begegnung mit dem Wort (für Heinrich Zimmermann) (ed. J. Zmijewski and E. Nellessen; BBB 53; Bonn: Peter Hanstein, 1980), pp. 22029; Westerholm, Letter and Spirit, pp. 23839. In 2:27 ́ denoted the law of Moses as a simple possession of the Jew, and in 2:29 ͂, in contrast, the sphere in which true, inward circumcision takes place. The only other place in which Paul contrasts ́ and ͂ is 2 Cor. 3:6, where ́ again depicts the law of Moses as the letters carved on tablets, and ͂ as the Holy Spirit. In this text the contrast is explicitly one between old and new covenants. These parallels (and 2 Cor. 3:518 has a significant number of similarities to 7:6; cf. B. Schneider, The Meaning of St. Pauls Antithesis The Letter and the Spirit,  CBQ 15 [1953], 203) suggest that this antithesis is present here also. Note also that ́ and ͂ reproduce the when now contrast between vv. 56 and that the -/- contrast in Paul is always a salvation-historical one (cf. 2 Cor. 3:6, 14; 5:17; Eph. 4:2224).

 69 Fairbairn, Revelation of Law, pp. 42930.

 70 It is just this objective status of being bound to the law that Dunn consistently underplays by suggesting that the problem with the law was mainly one of Jewish misuse of the law as a most favored nation treaty. This may have been part of the problem, but there is an objective inability of the law that plays a much larger role in Pauls teaching on this subject than Dunn has allowed.

 71 Institutes 2.11.9. We would dissent from Calvin here only in not confining the source of this bondage to the ceremonial law.