Full text of renowned Bible teacher Derek Prince’s teaching on the book of Romans (Romans 7:1 – 7:21): “The Believer’s Relationship to the Law” which was presented in in Ridgecrest, NC. March 1988.
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Derek Prince – Bible Teacher
In our last session we entered into the final stage of this pilgrimage before we reach our climax and our goal which is Romans 8.
DEATH IS THE ONLY WAY OUT FROM UNDER THE LAW
And we began to study Romans 7 which is the chapter which deals with the relationship of the believer to the law. And I warned you that it would be hard work but we went through just the first 6 verses in which Paul uses an analogy of marriage. And I’ll just review that briefly.
Paul says that when a woman is married to a man, as long as the man remains alive she’s not free to marry another. But if the man dies then she’s free to marry another. And the way he applies this analogy is that through the covenant of the law, Israel were married to their fleshly nature because the law requires us to do things relying on our fleshly nature, our own ability, not looking to the grace of God.
But on the cross, when Jesus died, that fleshly nature was put to death in Him. Because of that death we are now free to marry another. The other whom we marry is the one who rose from the dead, the Lord Jesus. So, we can enter into a new marriage relationship, not married to our carnal nature but married to the resurrected, glorified Lord Jesus. And through that marriage union with Him we are now able to bring forth the fruit of the Holy Spirit.
While we were in the flesh we were incapable of bringing forth the fruit of the Spirit, all we could bring forth was what Paul calls the deeds or the works of the flesh and he lists them in Galatians 5:19 and following. And there isn’t one good thing among them.
We need to see this very clearly. The works of the flesh are all bad and the fruit of the Spirit is all good. It’s not a little bit of one and a little bit of the other, they are totally opposite. We shall see this brought out again in Romans 8.
Now in the course of talking about the marriage relationship, I got into something which perhaps may have offended some of you or upset you or startled you, on the subject of divorce. I really didn’t intend to but I’m very deeply concerned about this because I believe uncounted numbers of Christians today, both men and women, are in a state of bondage or guilt because of a broken marriage.
So when I wrote this book, God is a Matchmaker, the editors who had chosen books said write a chapter on divorce.
I said, “Brother, I’ve got enough problems as it is, I don’t need any more!”
But they pressed me and I prayed and I sought God and I felt God wanted me to write that chapter. It was a very hard chapter to write. In this book, although the theme is how to find your mate, there is a chapter for divorcees and there’s a chapter for those who don’t marry.
Now I cannot go into this but if you were concerned about what I said about divorce, I think it would be fair to you and fair to me for you to get this book and read the chapter which is entitled “Divorce and Remarriage.” Read it carefully and see if what I say is Scriptural. I feel that uncounted numbers of Christians have been kept in bondage or under guilt because of wrong teaching about divorce.
And I was guilty of that wrong teaching myself at the beginning of my ministry. I used to teach that way. I’ve had quite a number of letters from both men and women who read this book and read that chapter and thanked me. They said, “Thank you for releasing me from a sense of guilt and the feeling of being a second class Christian.” So that’s all I want to say.
THE LAW BRINGS SIN TO LIFE AND OUT INTO FULL VIEW
Now we’re going to go back to Romans 7 and we’re going to deal with the second point in our outline which says the law brings sin to life and out into full view. Returning under the law when we’ve been released from it revives the old man who is still a criminal.
Now let’s see where this is stated because it’s stated several times. First of all, we’ll go back for a moment to Romans 3:20. Paul says:
Romans 3:20: “By the works of the law, no flesh will be justified in His sight…” No one will ever achieve righteousness with God by the keeping of a law. And then he concludes: “...for through the law comes the knowledge of sin.”
The law does not enable people to become righteous but it does bring out sin into the open and it makes us fully conscious of the nature and power and evil of sin. That’s one of its main purposes.
Then in this 7th chapter of Romans, we read one or two verses there just emphasizing this point. Verse 5:
Romans 7:5: “For while we were in the flesh, the sinful passions, which were aroused by the Law, were at work in the members of our body to bear fruit for death.”
Notice that what could be a very startling statement to some people. “The sinful passions which were aroused by the Law.” Most people don’t view the law that way.