ROMANS CHAPTER 7
CHRISTIAN DIVORCE AND REMARRIAGE IN THE BIBLE.
Although many people may think Romans 7 was written for us to understand divorce and remarriage, it was not. Of course it does help us to understand this subject but the chapter was actually written about the law as were some of the previous and latter chapters. The apostle Paul was discussing the law; he was explaining how the law was good and served a purpose for a time, yet it failed in some respects and we needed a new Covenant. The Word of God often gives us an example of something in the natural or physical to explain something spiritual, as it is in this case. Paul doesn't attempt to give us an understanding of divorce and remarriage using the law but he is trying to give us an understanding of the law, using the example of a marriage. He uses the example of the covenant between a husband and wife to explain what has happened in the spirit concerning the 1st and 2nd covenant. Understanding how a marriage works will therefore give us an understanding of how this spiritual marriage works. And in fact vice versa, which we need, because as it seems there is a lot of confusion. Many people don't understand our earthly marriages (if we can call them that) because a marriage is made in the spirit. But as we come to understand all of this as a whole we can know more of what is expected of us in our marriages.
Verse 1 Know ye not brethren (for I speak to them who know the law), how that the law hath dominion over a man as long as he liveth?
He speaks to them that know the law. Therefore it is obviously important for us to know the law for us to understand what he is saying, for he is speaking of the law, and to them who know the law. He then states that the law has dominion over a man as long as he lives. He is speaking of the law which Moses gave them and the covenant which God made with them to keep that law. This covenant and law had dominion over them as long as they lived. This is obviously a point he is trying to make, and we will see its relevance shortly.
Verse 2. For the woman which hath an husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he liveth; but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband.
The apostle Paul has not changed the subject but he is now giving us an example to help us understand what he is trying to teach us. He now compares Israel to a woman that has a husband, and how she is bound by the law to her husband for as long as he lives. But if her husband dies she is then free from the law of her husband. This is a comparison he has made between Moses' law, which has dominion over a man as long as he lives, and the law of a wifeís husband, which also has dominion over a woman as long as she lives. We are here told that if the husband be dead she is loosed from this law. This then must have some importance for us to note.
Verse 3. So then if while her husband liveth, she be married another man, she shall be called an adulteress: but if her husband be dead, she is free from that law so that she is no adulteress, though she be married to another man.
Still looking at the example of a husband and wife we see quite clearly that if a woman is married to a second husband while the first is still alive she shall be called an adulteress. But if her 1st husband is dead then she is no adulteress even though she is married to another. It is very clear that nothing can dissolve the marriage covenant except death. But once again I draw your attention to the fact that Paul is using a marriage covenant between a husband and wife to illustrate to us what has happened to the law in the spirit.
Verse 4. Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God.
So we have had the physical example and now "Wherefore, my brethren," or in other words, "Just as I have shown you in the physical here it is in the spiritual. This, brethren, is what I have been trying to teach you," says Paul. Just as the woman was not able to marry another unless her former husband was dead, so too, you children of Israel were bound by the law and the 1st covenant to God and unable to enter into the 2nd unless, as in the example the husband be dead so that the woman (Israel) may enter into another covenant with another husband. The example was not that the woman died but the husband. We have become dead to the law. Israel did not die but she became dead to the law of her 1st husband. And how? The Word says by the body of Christ. Christ died in the flesh so putting an end to the 1st covenant, which was a law in a way after the flesh. So that Israel may be married to another, even to Him that was raised from the dead, (Christ) that we should bring forth fruit unto God. Israelís first husband had to be dead before she could enter into the second covenant with her new husband.
Verse 5+6 For when we were in the flesh, the motions of sins, which were by the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death. But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.
So we see that we have been delivered from this law which fell short in some ways and this law, in a sense, is dead. Now we are free to serve God in newness of life. This study raises a very interesting point. The old covenant was made between God and Israel and here we see that this covenant was ended with the death of Christ. This proves that Jesus was God in the flesh because only the death of the husband can allow the wife to remarry. And Israel would not have been able to enter into the second marriage, except if the 1st husband be dead. Unfortunately other translations have really missed the mark on this one. The only translation I really trust is the Old King James Version Bible. There is one more point I would like to make about this chapter concerning the covenant between God and Israel, God and us, and the meaning of fornication in the Bible. As we have discussed adultery may be fornication, but fornication cannot be adultery. With this in mind we will take a look at a couple of scriptures. 2 Cor 11:2 Paul says that he has espoused us to a HUSBAND, that he may present us as a chaste virgin to Christ. And in Rom 7:4 we see that we are said to be MARRIED to Christ so that we can bring forth fruit for God, which fruit we are bringing forth now. In Rev 2:21-22 And I gave her space to repent of her (FORNICATION); and she repented not. Behold I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit (ADULTERY) with her. From these verse's we can see that fornication in the Word of God is also called adultery. We are not married to Christ, but espoused. We commit fornication not adultery, but this is the way the Word speaks. Although, God has said that His People have committed adultery. They too were never married to God but were betrothed just as we are because in Ezekiel chap 16 Israel, the people of God, are accused three times of committing FORNICATION. So because adultery can be fornication but fornication cannot be adultery, Israel has committed fornication and therefore was not married, but betrothed to God. You might ask what does this matter. Well if we keep this in mind while looking at Rom 7 , it would mean that the covenant that had to be finished by the death of the husband was a BETROTHAL. Also if you keep this in mind while looking at verse 39 in 1 Cor 7, it would now make sense why Paul would say that a wife is bound by the law to her husband as long as he lives while speaking to virgins. And the exception clause in Matthew is now even more understandable.
Romans chapter 7