A Short Study of Romans 7:2-3
Bound as Long as He or She Liveth (Romans 7:2-3, 1 Corinthians 7:39, 1 Corinthians 7:10-16)
The fact that a man and a woman who are married are one flesh is stated in many places in the Bible and they all agree: The wife is bound to her husband as long as he lives, and the husband is bound to his wife as long as she lives. This bond is not dissolved after the two are separated. We read in Romans 7,
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.
So then if, while her husband liveth, she be married to 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.
God stated it here in Romans 7 to apply it to our spiritual bondage to the Law of God. We all come into the world bound to the Law, and the Law is a very cruel husband to us, for the Law accuses us before God that we are sinners who deserve to be cast into Hell. But when Christ atoned for our sins about 2000 years ago, and when God the Holy Spirit made us “born from above” just a few years ago, we died to the Law and God changed us into new creatures; He changed us from sinners into saints, and He changed us from being slaves of Satan to being sons of God. And thus we have been loosed from our bondage to the Law, and instead we have become new creatures serving Christ.
In 1 Corinthians 7:39 God repeated the law of the two becoming one flesh, and thus there should be no remarriage after a divorce. Even the innocent party may not remarry, for after the divorce the two are still one flesh.
1 Corinthians 7:39
The wife is bound by the law as long as her husband liveth; but if her husband be dead, she is at liberty to be married to whom she will; only in the Lord.
Someone may object to this rule, claiming that he or she is married to an unbeliever, and so how can God be glorified if my mate is an unbeliever. Well, God addresses this situation earlier in this chapter.
1 Corinthians 7:10
And unto the married I command, yet not I, but the Lord, Let not the wife depart from her husband:
1 Corinthians 7:11
But and if she depart, let her remain unmarried, or be reconciled to her husband: and let not the husband put away his wife.
1 Corinthians 7:12
But to the rest speak I, not the Lord: If any brother hath a wife that believeth not, and she be pleased to dwell with him, let him not put her away.
1 Corinthians 7:13
And the woman which hath an husband that believeth not, and if he be pleased to dwell with her, let her not leave him.
1 Corinthians 7:14
For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children unclean; but now are they holy.
1 Corinthians 7:15
But if the unbelieving depart, let him depart. A brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases: but God hath called us to peace.
1 Corinthians 7:16
For what knowest thou, O wife, whether thou shalt save thy husband? or how knowest thou, O man, whether thou shalt save thy wife?
When we read in verse 10, “I command, yet not I, but the Lord”, and in verse 12, “to the rest speak I, not the Lord”, we might be inclined to think that only a portion of this letter to the Corinthians contains the Word of God. But that is not so. What follows in verses 10 and 11 has been said already by the Lord Jesus, as recorded in the Gospel accounts. And what follows in verses 12-16 has not been said by the Lord Jesus in the Gospel accounts, but is considered new information. And thus all the words in the Bible come from God. Again in verse 11 the Lord states that those who have separated must remain unmarried, or be reconciled to one another. But in verses 12 and 13 God declares that the believing spouse should not divorce the unbelieving mate, “if she be pleased to dwell with him”, or “if he be pleased to dwell with her”.
The reason for this is given in verse 16, “For how would you know if your unbelieving spouse would not become saved through your witness?”
Now, the condition for staying together is “if she be pleased to dwell with him”, or “if he be pleased to dwell with her”.
It could very well be that the unbelieving spouse makes life very difficult for the believer, which is an indication that he or she is not pleased to dwell with the believer. In that case “if the unbelieving depart, let him depart”.
God has called us to peace.
Can the believer then remarry?
When we read in verse 15, “A brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases” it does not mean that we can remarry.
Do not confuse “being under bondage” with “being bound”.
These are two different words in the Greek text.
If these two words mean the same, then all married men are not only bound to their wives, but are also in bondage to their wives. Being under bondage means it is the condition of spiritual slavery. Someone is in this miserable condition if he lives in sin, meaning he is under the bondage of sin and Satan. When we read “A brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases”, it means that we do not sin if we let the unbeliever depart, for God has called us to peace.
By Alfred Chompff