There are numerous uses of the idea of “adultery” as the picture or illustration of how Israel had turned away from God to have affairs with other gods; particularly the gods of the people that lived around them. The whole book of Hosea is about how a faithful husband (the picture of God) had married a woman who was continually being unfaithful to him. Yet, the husband repeatedly accepted her back because he had loved her so much. The idea of “unfaithfulness” and “adultery” is familiar to Bible readers. In the New Testament, however, Paul uses the idea in a very fascinating way. In Romans 7 actually begins with a discussion about this idea of unfaithfulness in a marriage. Paul writes in the first three verses, “Or do you not know, brothers—for I am speaking to those who know the law—that the law is binding on a person only as long as he lives? For a married woman is bound by law to her husband while he lives, but if her husband dies she is released from the law of marriage. Accordingly, she will be called an adulteress if she lives with another man while her husband is alive. But if her husband dies, she is free from that law, and if she marries another man she is not an adulteress.”

Paul has used marriage and adultery to help us understand our relationship with God and with the law. You see we’ve all been born espoused (so to speak) to the Law of sin and death. We personally consummated that contract when we reached the age of accountability and sinned on our own accord. Therefore we might say we were born married to the Law! Law is our husband. He dictated our behavior. He instructed us on what is right and wrong, and it was his permanent goal to keep us following his rules. Psalm 19, says, “The law of the Lord is perfect.” Being perfect, it shows no love, no compassion whatsoever. He tells us everything that we’re supposed to do but he doesn’t help us one bit. All he constantly does is point out to us every way and every time that we fail! It’s “death” to be married to someone like that. It destroys us. Paul says it brings a ministry of death. In 2 Corinthians 3:6-7, he writes, “For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. Now if the ministry of death, carved in letters on stone…”

But God loves us! So he devised a plan to get you and I out of our marriage to this miserable mate called the law. God planned a murder! He did not kill the Law. He killed you and me! The person married to the Law died! Then after our death, he allowed us to be born again. This is what Paul was getting at in Romans 7:4. He said, “So, my dear brothers and sisters, this is the point: You died to the power of the law when you died with Christ. And now you are united with the one who was raised from the dead.” Again, Paul lays this truth out for as at the beginning of Romans chapter 8. He says that the “law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us…”