6 But now we have been delivered from the law, having died to what we were held by, so that we should serve in the newness of the Spirit and not in the oldness of the letter.
6 But now
Verse six runs as a contrast to verse five. This “but now” is a wonderful, striking feature of Christianity: “but now since we have been redeemed.” There is a radical difference in those who become Christians. These two words introduce the essence of the first six verses of chapter seven.
we have been delivered from [discharged from] the law,
Christ’s death broke the power of the law for Christians. Believers are no longer in bondage to the law. Since Christ fulfilled the law, Christians are free from its demands because He positionally fulfilled the law for them (8:2-4).
having died to what we were held [constantly in the past] by,
Christians are free from the rule of the law that held them in captivity. Before a believer became a Christian, he was constantly “held” by the absolute control of the Adamic sin capacity.
The result of death to the law as a way of life for the Christian is a new kind of service in “newness.” By dying with Christ the believer finds new life. Christ comes to be our new husband. The natural result of being discharged from the law is the new life we have in Christ. It is this filial relationship to Christ that changes the Christian. The privileges of grace produce something from the believer’s new capacity received from God. We serve because we love Him.
we should serve [obey] in the newness of [source] the Spirit
“Newness of the Spirit” is newness where the Holy Spirit is the source (6:4). In contrast to the law, which kindles more sinning, newness of life brought about by the Spirit produces spiritual fruit. This is a shift from the law, as a way for spirituality, to true spirituality by the Spirit of God. We serve God as redeemed people.
There are two words for “new” in the New Testament. One means new regarding time and the other means new in kind or quality. The latter is our term here. New life in Christ by the Spirit is a different kind or quality of life.
“Of the Spirit” is the enabling of the Holy Spirit to live the Christian life. This is also the argument of chapter eight.
Service out of a new relationship is the heart of the argument; it is not outward conformity to law. There is nothing slavish about the Christian life.
and not in the oldness of the letter [something written].
Christians as released from the law died to the dominion of the law. The letter of the written law produces disobedience, but newness of life in the Holy Spirit produces the kind of life God would have us to live.
Note the contrast between the new and the old, and then the Spirit in contrast to the “letter” or law. The contrast is one of true liberty from the law. The word “old” means something outworn, useless so as to not to be used again; the law was useless in changing a life.
There is an ongoing contrast between two domains of living the Christian life. There is living under the “oldness” of the law and the “newness of the Spirit.” One represents the law and the other grace. Oldness has to do with the life we received from Adam; newness is the life we received from Christ.
Newness of life comes out of a new relationship to Christ and leaving a former relationship in Adam.
There is a new dynamic, a newness of life, that influences the Christian for God. Because the believer has liberty from the law, we are free to serve in newness of the Spirit.
Ga 3: 3 Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh?
Ga 5: 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.
2 Co 3: 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.