Many of us go through the pains of Romans 7 because we lose sight of the truth that God has delivered us from any law system by which we can prove our worth and gain acceptance from God. I’ve heard believers say that after we become Christians, the indwelling power of God’s Spirit enables us to keep the Law. The problem with this approach is that it misses the truth that we are no longer under law but under grace. Romans 6:14 explicitly says “For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.” When law keeping becomes the focus of a believer’s life, the confusion, guilt, shame, compulsions, self-condemnation, frustration and despair of Romans chapter 7 will become our experience. That’s how the law exercises it’s “dominion” over us. When our focus becomes one of lawkeeping we lose the joy of our Christian experience. I already mentioned once that Romans chapter 7 has 41 references to me, myself, and I. It’s the struggle that leads to despair that comes when I focus on myself. We are not to focus on ourselves, but on Christ. Romans, Chapter 8, is all about learning how to lay down the law (let it go) and live the victorious Christian life.

There is no fruit bearing in focusing on a standard of conduct or lawkeeping. We cannot bear fruit of our own efforts and our own works of righteousness. It’s only through abiding in Christ. He produces the fruit. He is the vine, we are merely the branches. Our loyalties belong to the one who fulfilled the law on our behalf. You see, “you also have died to the law through the body of Christ, so that you may belong to another, to him who has been raised from the dead, in order that we may bear fruit for God” (Romans 7:4). Again in Galatians 2:19, Paul writes, “For through the law I died to the law, so that I might live to God.” He then continues in verses 20-21, “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose.”

Steve McVey concludes his discussion on the believer’s relationship to the law with this comment: “Our focus is to be Christ Himself, not a system of rules that we wrongly imagine God is expecting us to use as a code for living. Jesus is our source of living, and His life within us is more than enough to ensure that the actions in our lifestyle honor the Father. If we have believed that Christ empowers us to keep God’s Law, we have believed a lie that will have the opposite effect in our lives than the one we want. Life isn’t about keeping rules. It’s all about Him—about living in His love and allowing that love to pour out of us onto others. The Law keeps us looking at ourselves and constantly judging ourselves for our failures. Grace allows us to stay focused on Christ and empowers us to express His life and love to everybody else. Which way do you want to live?”