6/20 Romans 7:6

6 But now we are released from the law, having died to that which held us captive, so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit and not in the old way of the written code.

All religious people who try to please God by following a set of rules find that their relationship with God is one of compulsion. It doesn't matter if those rules are good or not so good; they define service to God by the do's and don'ts of the rules. The Jewish laws were for the good of the individual and the nation; nevertheless, they prescribed a relationship through rule keeping. They were literally set in stone. Some Christians today find their service to God to be just as impersonal.

In the context of today's passage, Paul is using an analogy of a woman whose spouse has died to illustrate how we have been freed from servitude of the religious laws (7:1-5). Our marital vows are until death do us part. Jews saw themselves as married to the Laws of Moses. Paul is telling us that we died to the Law when we associated ourselves with Jesus in His death on the cross. After all, He is the Word made flesh. Now we belong to another, to Him who was raised from the dead. Now we serve Him instead of rules.

Think of it this way: Would you rather have a spouse who gives you a list of rules to obey, and as long as you keep them he or she is pleased with you; or would you prefer a spouse whose heart you share and whom you serve out of love for who the person is? The Spirit of God changes our hearts to desire that which God desires.

Consider: Both types of relationships involve submitted service, but we meet the demands of the latter in joyful cooperation.