Or do you not know, brethren (for I am speaking to those who know the law), that the law has jurisdiction over a person as long as he lives? For the married woman is bound by law to her husband while he is living; but if her husband dies, she is released from the law concerning the husband. So then, if while her husband is living she is joined to another man, she shall be called an adulteress; but if her husband dies, she is free from the law, so that she is not an adulteress though she is joined to another man.
Therefore, my brethren, you also were made to die to the Law through the body of Christ, so that you might be joined to another, to Him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God. For while we were in the flesh, the sinful passions, which were aroused by the Law, were at work in the members of our body to bear fruit for death. But now we have been released from the Law, having died to that by which we were bound, so that we serve in newness of the Spirit and not in oldness of the letter (Romans 7:1-6).
As we begin our study of Romans 7, the central theme is the believer’s relationship to the Law of God. In this chapter, and in the first four verses of chapter 8, the word “Law” (nomos) is used a total of 24 times. The Law of God is mentioned eight times in verses 1-6, six times in verses 7-13, six times in verses 14-25, and four times in the first four verses of chapter 8. It is impossible to read these verses and not see the constant focus upon “the Law.” In these verses, Paul is clearly defining the believer’s new relationship to the Law of God after his conversion to Jesus Christ.
In addition, the word “commandment” (entole), which means an order or charge issued by a superior, is used six times in this chapter, Romans 7. When Paul uses the word “commandment,” he is referring to one of the Ten Commandments, which are the foundation of the Law of God. As Paul uses the term, “commandment” is used synonymously for “the Law.” The Law does not give suggestions or options for how man should possibly consider to live. Rather, it contains authoritative commandments from God to be obeyed. The word “principle” is also found in chapter seven, and is translated from the same Greek word for “Law” (nomos). When you add all these together, the word “Law” or “commandment” is used a total of thirty-two times in Romans 7:1-8:4. Unquestionably, this is the dominant theme running through these verses in Romans 7 and the beginning of Romans 8.
Paul has already told us much about the Law in the previous verses. We have covered this subject of the Law with the apostle in earlier studies of Romans. This is not a new subject for our consideration. Surprisingly though, the Law is the last thing many Christians want to address today. There are hyper-dispensationalists who think that the Law has no binding effect on us in New Testament times. However, Paul argues to the contrary that nothing is further from the truth. Nine out of ten commandments in the Ten Commandments are reinforced in the New Testament. The only one that is different concerns the Sabbath. We must understand what our relationship is to the Law of God.
The Old Testament Law
The Law was given directly to Moses and is found recorded in the Old Testament books of Exodus, Leviticus, and Deuteronomy. The legal code issued by God can be divided into three sections.
The Moral Law
The first section is the moral law, which is how to live a godly life or how to pursue personal holiness. It is rooted and grounded in the Ten Commandments. These moral laws are still in effect today with one minor exception.
In the New Testament, Paul makes his case that children are still to obey their parents in Ephesians 6:1-3 by quoting the Law issued in Exodus 20:12. We still must honor our father (Ephesians 6:4). Believers must still tell the truth under the New Covenant (Matthew 5:37). We are not to steal. We are not to covet. In Romans 13:8-10, Paul argues that we are to love one another, and he quotes the Law from Exodus 20:13-17, in order to bind the conscience of New Testament believers. We must have no other gods before God Almighty. We must not take the Lord’s name in vain. We must not make something to aid our worship of God. If anyone says those commandments are not still in effect, they are dead wrong. The moral law of God is still in effect and are binding upon His people.
The Ceremonial Law
Second, there is the ceremonial law, which is the sacrificial system made up of the high priest, priests, sacrifices, offerings, the day of atonement, a scapegoat, and the rest. The ceremonial law was fulfilled in the life and death of the Lord Jesus Christ. He abolished the ceremonial law. That is why we do not attend churches today where a pastor cuts the throat of a lamb, lays it on the altar, and sprinkles its blood on the mercy seat. Christ was both our high priest and our sacrificial Lamb as He offered Himself upon the cross to make atonement for our sins (John 1:29). Everything in the Law, as it related to the ceremonial sacrifice, was to be a foreshadowing of the coming of Christ. The ceremonial law was fulfilled in the life and death of Jesus Christ. It is no longer in effect.
The Civil Law
The third aspect of the Law, the civil law, concerns how God’s people were to function as a society under the theocracy of the nation of Israel in the Promised Land. That part of the Law is not binding upon believers outside of the Promised Land without a king of Israel ruling over us. However, there is much for us to learn from the civil law. Our whole western system of jurisprudence is based upon the timeless principles based upon the civil law issued to Moses. For example, the death penalty should be still in effect. If you take someone else’s life, then your life should to be taken by the government. In Romans 13, we will we see that God has given the sword to the government to use to be an avenger of the wrongdoer. The sword of capital punishment is still in the hands of the civil government.
When you talk about the Law, you must break it down into these three divisions – the moral, ceremonial, and civil distinctions – or else it will be very confusing.
Uses of the Law
Coming out of the Reformation, John Calvin articulated three specific uses of the law. The first use was to give the knowledge of sin. We may know that we are sinners because we have been measured by the Law and shown to fall short of the glory of God. Romans 3:20 says, “through the law comes the knowledge of sin.” That is why we should use the law in our evangelism. That is why Jesus used the Law in His evangelism with the rich young ruler, who asked what he must do to inherit eternal life. Jesus said to keep the commandments. In our evangelism classes, we would never say that to someone, but Jesus did. The intent was to reveal the knowledge of sin to the rich young ruler.
The second use of the Law was to establish law and order in society. No society can survive without law and order. There must be a standard for right and wrong. This is found in the moral law of God. I understand that in the United States, we are not a Christian nation. But we must have some standard of what is right and what is wrong. It can be found, in synopsis, in the second half of the Ten Commandments. It establishes the home, the work ethic, truthfulness and honesty, and more. This is why during the Reformation there was the reestablishment of the Protestant work ethic. People became productive, prolific workers as a result of the Reformation because they preached the Law.
The third use of the Law was to guide believers in Christian living. This is the divinely-marked path of sanctification. It reveals the heart of the moral will of God. It is not something to discard. If you discard the moral law, you just discarded the roadmap that leads to personal holiness. It is the lamp that reveals the narrow path, showing the essential benchmarks in how to live a life that honors God.
I will add a fourth use of the Law, which is, it gives the knowledge of God. We know what God is like by reading the Ten Commandments. In the Law, we see that He is sovereign. He has the right to impose law upon us. He is the authority over our lives. In the Law, we see the holiness of God, because in it He makes distinctions between what is good and what is evil. In the Law, we see the love of God, because He is pointing us in the direction of His blessing. It will lead you into fuller expressions of God’s blessing. But if you go away from the Law in disobedience, you will experience God’s loving discipline. In the Law, we see the sufficiency of God, that if you will not covet, but work hard, He will provide for your needs.
Two Dangerous Extremes
In the church today, there are two extremes that Christians can fall into when thinking about the Law. One extreme is legalism, which comes in many different shapes and forms. It is much like saying “Baptist” today, which can cover everything from A to Z. There are three main ways to break down legalism.
Number one is that you have to keep the Law in order to be saved. Paul has repudiated that position so thoroughly that none of us should be in danger of thinking that we have to keep the Law in order to be made right before God. However, that is one extreme form of legalism.
Number two is to believe you have to keep the ceremonial or civil law in order to be sanctified. There are some Christian teachers who pull ideas from Exodus, Leviticus, and Deuteronomy and want to impose them upon the daily lives of believers. We must understand that that part of the Law has been abolished.
Number three is where people add more commandments to the Law. They come up with their own traditions and preferences, but they do not have a biblical chapter or verse for their standards. They claim that someone must wear certain clothing, not dance, not wear certain jewelry, but they have no explicit biblical text to substantiate their claims. That is all legalism. There is no biblical premise for their man-made rules. It is fine if you want to personally live that way. But if they impose it on someone else, saying they are not a good Christian if they do those things, they are a card-carrying legalist. If they have no biblical support, they have added to the Law.
The other extreme, which is the complete opposite to legalism, is antinomianism. The Greek prefix “anti” means ‘against’ or ‘in opposition to.’ “Nomian” comes from the Greek word nomas, which means ‘law.’ So antinomianism means a person is against the Law. He is on the other side of the theological spectrum from the legalist. He is against the moral law. Antinomians believe they have a free license to live however they want to live. If you ever say the word “obedience,” people in these churches rise up against you, calling you a legalist. They believe they are free in Christ to live however they want to live. That is absolute nonsense. Yet there are pockets of antinomianism in the body of Christ. This is not a straw man position or hypothetical extreme.
The Proper Balance
We want to be right in the middle of these two extremes. We should honor the moral law of God, which includes commandments such as: “You shall have no other gods before Me. You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain. You shall not make for yourself a graven image or an idol. You shall honor your father and mother. You shall not steal. You shall not bear false witness. You shall not covet.” We are to honor the moral law with our obedience from the heart. However, we must realize that we cannot keep it in the flesh or by our own trumped up self-efforts. We can only obey the Law through the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit. Only by divine enablement can we keep the Law of God, from the heart, as we should.
In Ezekiel 36:26-27, God says that in the new birth, He takes out our old heart of stone and puts in a new heart of flesh. God writes His Law upon our hearts and puts His Spirit within us to enable us to walk in obedience to His statutes. Because we have received a new heart, we now want to follow the moral law of God. This naturally creates conflict within our hearts, because we still have sinful desires. There is a conflict between our flesh and the Spirit in keeping the Law of God. We will look at this in Romans 7:14-25. Paul will lay bare his soul regarding the spiritual warfare that goes on inside of him to walk in obedience to the moral law of God.
For this study, we will cover Romans 7:1-6. Paul has in his crosshairs the first extreme view of the Law, which is that of the legalist who tries to be sanctified by keeping the Law in his own willpower apart from the inner working of the Spirit.
I. The Legal Axiom (7:1)
The apostle Paul begins his argument with an axiom, which is a general principle, rule, or truism. It is a fundamental principle in life that is commonly known by all people. So, Paul begins chapter 7 with a legal axiom, “Or do you not know, brethren (for I am speaking to those who know the law), that the law has jurisdiction over a person as long as he lives?” (verse 1). Note that Paul is addressing the “brethren,” which is those who are saved. When he speaks of the law in verse 1, he is not talking about the Mosaic Law, but simply the general laws of society that a Roman citizen readily knew and was required to keep. The question Paul asks is a rhetorical question, and the answer is, yes, they know this. “Has jurisdiction” (kurievo) comes from the same root word as Lord (kurios), as in the Lord Jesus Christ. It is the verb form of the noun “lord” and means ‘to rule, have dominion over, to exercise lordship over.’ The apostle is establishing a commonly known truth, that the law has authority over your life. Every citizen has a binding obligation to keep the law of the land in which he lives, as long as it is not in conflict with the word of God.
In Romans 13:1, Paul says that God has established the government officials to be ministers of God for the common good of its citizens. The law of a nation or empire has authority over a person’s life. For how long? It has jurisdiction as long as a person lives. It is not that once a citizen reaches a certain age, his obligation to the law has ceased. It does not matter how old an individual is. As long as one is living, he is under the law. This is the legal principle that Paul gives as an illustration for what he will say in the following verses. Brilliant teacher that he is, he is presenting a practical argument that will build up to the spiritual application. He begins with the legal axiom that if you are breathing, you are subject to the law.
II. The Marital Analogy (7:2-3)
Next, Paul gives an analogy in verses 2-3 to explain the axiom. As we read these verses, you may wonder what addressing a husband and wife relationship has to do with the Christian and the Law of God. This discussion on adultery and remarriage may seem to be a strange departure from the subject at hand. However, the husband-wife analogy continues perfectly in the same flow of thought, because it is an illustration of the axiom. In verse 2, Paul writes, “For the married woman is bound by law to her husband while he is living; but if her husband dies, she is released from the law concerning the husband.” The word “for” (gar) introduces an explanation of the previous verse. Having given the axiom, he now explains it with this analogy. It is a basic principle that a married woman is bound by law to her husband while he is living. She entered into a marital agreement with her husband, and as long as he is alive, she is legally married to him. However, if her husband dies, she is then free under the law to remarry another man.
Paul continues, “So then, if while her husband is living she is joined to another man, she shall be called an adulteress” (verse 3). The phrase “so then” means that Paul is drawing a conclusion from the analogy in the previous verse. If she leaves her husband and marries another man while he is still living, while she is still legally married to her husband, she shall be called an adulteress. Paul is emphatic that she is bound under the law to remain married to her husband as long as he is living.
I want to add a footnote to this statement about divorce and remarriage. The New Testament does give two exceptions to this rule. There are two grounds for divorce found in the New Testament. One exception clause is sexual adultery by the other partner (Matthew 5:31-34; 19:9). The other exception is desertion by an unbeliever (1 Corinthians 7:15). I do not want to pull us away into a detailed study of divorce and remarriage. However, I do feel that I should mention these two exceptions to what Paul is saying in Romans 7:3. Nevertheless, aside from those two exceptions, she is to be called an adulteress if she leaves her husband for another man.
Paul further advances his analogy, “but if her husband dies, she is free from the law, so that she is not an adulteress though she is joined to another man” (verse 3). In other words, if her husband dies, she is free under the law to marry another man. She is no longer bound to her dead husband. If she remarries, she will not be called an adulteress. By this analogy, Paul is giving a clear picture to help us understand the axiom he gave regarding the law.
III. The Personal Application (7:4)
Paul now makes the connection addressing the matter of sanctification in daily Christian living. He writes, “Therefore, my brethren, you also were made to die to the Law through the body of Christ” (verse 4). This is another way of saying, “On the basis of the analogy and the axiom.” He adds “brethren” for a second time to bring home this truth to the hearts of believers. “You” refers to believers, not unbelievers. It should be clear that Paul is addressing Christians on the matter of their spiritual growth. This does not pertain to the unbeliever.
The phrase “you were made” is a statement of fact. As a believer, there was a time in your past when you were made to die to the Law. Paul is looking back to the time of their conversion to Jesus Christ. The apostle is looking back to when they were justified by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. He is looking back to that time when they went from being a slave of sin to a slave of righteousness. It was nothing that anyone did that brought about this change in relationship to the Law. Every believer was “made to die to the Law.” This is something that the grace of God did in our lives. We were made to die to the Law.
Dead to the Law
In what sense were we made to die to the Law? We died to the Law in the sense that we no longer have to meet its requirements in order to gain acceptance with God. The reason is because Jesus perfectly obeyed the Law for us. Jesus was born “under the Law” (Galatians 4:4) so that in the thirty-plus years of His life, He met all of the demands of the Law on our behalf. In order to secure our salvation, Jesus not only died for us, He also lived for us. Christ not only sacrificed Himself upon the cross for us, He also obeyed the Law for us in our place.
All believers have suddenly died to the Law. How did that come about? Paul says that it was “through the body of Christ” (verse 4). In this context, “the body of Christ” does not refer to the church, as it does elsewhere in Paul’s writings. Rather, here it refers to the physical body of Jesus Christ. In His incarnation, Jesus fulfilled the demands of the Law through His sinless life and substitutionary death. As the second Adam, Jesus succeeded by His lifelong obedience where the first Adam failed by His disobedience. As the great High Priest, He offered Himself up as our sacrifice upon the cross to fulfill the ceremonial law.
“Joined to Another”
Here is the result of this death to the Law. Paul explains, “so that you might be joined to another” (verse 4). The believer has died to his old spouse, and is now free to remarry someone else. That someone else is identified as “Him who was raised from the dead” (verse 4). Every believer is now married to Christ and has become His bride. Every believer is now joined to Christ. The two have become one. This is a picture of our union with Christ.
Paul states that we have become joined to Christ “in order that we might bear fruit for God” (verse 4). When Paul says, “in order that,” this is the reason we have become one with Christ. Remember, “we” refers to believers, not unbelievers. All for whom Christ died and for whom Christ was raised from the dead will bear “fruit.” We will bear the fruit of personal holiness, which is a life that is well-pleasing to God.
As believers in Jesus Christ, we are now married to Him. By this intimate union, His power is now operative in our spiritual lives. As we abide in Him, Jesus enables us to walk in obedience to Him. We can fulfill the moral law of God, though not perfectly, because we have the power of Christ within us. In summary, we have died to the Law, and we are now married to Christ.
IV. The Sinful Arousing (7:5)
Paul begins verse five by saying, “For while we were in the flesh, the sinful passions, which were aroused by the Law, were at work in the members of our body to bear fruit for death” (verse 5). He uses this phrase, “while we were in the flesh,” to address our pre-conversion days. This was the time before believers came to salvation in Jesus Christ. This is when a person was an unbeliever under the dominion of the power of sin. Every believer was once in slavery to sin and he obeyed his old master, sin. He was living in the flesh, under the control of your sinful flesh.
Paul explains that “the sinful passions…were aroused by the Law.” The “sinful passions” are the lust, greed, egotism, covetousness, and envy that once dwelled in every unconverted heart. Paul says that these “sinful passions” were “aroused by the Law.” In other words, every time God said, “You shall not,” it made the sinful heart want to do the forbidden action. Every time God said, “You shall,” the sinful flesh rose up in defiance to His command. The Law provoked and stirred up the sinful passions. The fact that God said that we must not do something only provoked us to do it all the more. That is how sinful our flesh was. This was true for every believer before he was converted. No one was in a special category as a nice little kid who did not have any sinful passions. Even if a person grew up in the church and attended a Christian school, there were still sinful passions controlling that life.
Paul specifies that these sinful passions “were at work in the members of our body.” This means they were constantly at work in the unbelieving life. They never took a day off, never went on vacation, never stopped sinning. They were working hard to oppose the Law of God, whether by sins of omission or commission. These sinful passions were rampant within your body. They were in the min, producing sinful thoughts. They were in the heart, creating lust. They were in the eyes, gazing upon what should not be looked upon. They were in the ears, craving to hear gossip and slander. They were in the hands, committing acts of sin. They were in the feet, running to sinful places. They were in the tongue and mouth, speaking arrogant words.
These sinful passions were working hard “to bear fruit for death.” The result was a rotten harvest of every kind of deadly “fruit.” This death is a spiritual death, in the second death, which is an eternity in hell. That was once the relationship to the Law of every believer before our conversion. The Law was actually arousing our sinful passions. There were no pure desires within us to obey the Law from a proper motive.
V. The Spiritual Antithesis (7:6)
Paul concludes this paragraph of thought in verse six with the spiritual antithesis of what he stated in verse five. There, Paul described how we lived before becoming a Christian. But here in verse six, we see the reality of what we have become as a Christian. Paul begins, “But now we have been released from the Law, having died to that by which we were bound, so that we serve in newness of the Spirit and not in oldness of the letter” (verse 6). “We” refers to all believers without exception. This is not referring to unbelievers, but believers.
All those who have put their faith in Jesus Christ have been “released from the Law.” They are no longer under the jurisdiction of the Law in order to be justified before God. They are released from their striving to keep the Law in order to gain acceptance with God. Jesus said, “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30). Before coming to faith in Christ, we were trying to keep the Law in our own efforts. The commandments were a heavy yoke that we could not fulfill. We had to pull the whole wagon in our own strength, but we had not the strength to do it. We were worn out. But Christ takes that heavy yoke off of us and replaces it with His yoke that is light. In reality, we become yoked with Him, and He now pulls the wagon while we walk with Him in obedience, keeping the moral law.
“In Newness of the Spirit”
Having died to the Law, believers can now serve Christ “in newness of the Spirit and not in oldness of the letter.” We are justified by faith in Christ, who kept the Law on our behalf. We can now live in obedience to the moral law of God in the power of the Holy Spirit. We do so not by trying to keep the Law through our sinful flesh. We have been released from the Law in trying to keep it to gain our justification. However, we are not freed from the Law in our moral obligation to obey it in Christian living.
We are to live in obedience “in newness of the Spirit.” That is, we are to keep the moral law in the power of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit now causes my heart to supremely love God so that I do not want to love anyone or anything else more than Him. The Spirit is at work in my life so that I do not desire my chief affections to be upon the things of this world. I can worship God under the most adverse circumstances. I can worship God in a prison cell or out in the middle of the desert. I do not have to be in a place with candles, statues, and artwork all around me to worship God, because His indwelling Spirit is magnifying the greatness and glory of God. I do not need the external stimuli to manipulate my heart. The Spirit of God causes me to use His name for His glory. If you use His name flippantly, in vain, that means the name of God does not mean anything to you. Would you use your wife’s name the same way that you use God’s name? The Holy Spirit is leading me down a path of freedom, not to pursue anything I want, but to give me the ability to pursue obedience to the moral law.
Understanding the Law
This is merely the beginning of Paul’s discussion of the believer’s relationship to the Law. This chapter has many knots that require being untied. If we do not carefully untie them, we are susceptible to making false assumptions about our responsibility to keep the Law. For example, when Paul says we are released from the Law, some say we are free to do anything we want. Such is sheer absurdity. We are not free to have an adulterous relationship. We are not free to dishonor our parents. I seriously wonder if a person who says he has such freedom is even a believer. We must follow the spirit of the Law, as well as the letter of the Law. God has given you a new heart that makes you want to obey. Even when you do not want to obey, the Spirit of God convicts you that you are not living in a manner pleasing to God.
There is much more to understand about the Law. Every time God says, “You shall,” it is to be assumed that God commands us not to the opposite. Every negative prohibition implies a positive command. Likewise, every positive command implies its counterpart.
Furthermore, every time God says, “you shall do this,” it begins in the heart with your attitude. We know that from the way Jesus interpreted the Law in Matthew 5. You may say you have not murdered, but have you committed murder in your heart by hating someone else? You say you have not committed adultery, but you have lust in your heart. Every command begins in the attitude and carries over to the action.
If a commandment says, “you shall not steal,” the opposite is implied. You should work hard. If it says, “you shall not tell a lie,” the opposite is implied. You shall use your mouth for good, for edifying others. If it says, “you shall not covet,” the opposite is true. You should be content with what you have and where you are. If it says, “you shall not commit adultery,” the opposite is also true. You shall love your wife as Christ loved the church and sacrifice for her. If you should honor your father and mother, that begins a path in which you are living in submission to the authorities over you. Being under authority begins at home with one’s parents. It then extends to honoring the schoolteacher, the policeman, the judge, the governmental leader, the football coach, or whatever authority figure is over you. If fathers do not discipline their children to show respect to their mother, this insubordination will spill over into how they talk to their teacher and others in authority over them.
A Personal Testimony
In my early twenties, the Spirit of God convicted me that I needed to start obeying the law of God with greater adherence. Most specifically, the Spirit cut me to the core of my being that I needed to show greater respect to my father. I needed to stop acting like I knew more than my father. I needed to humble myself and repent of my sin, confessing my sin to God and to my father. It was the Spirit of God leading me to obey the Law by honoring my father and mother. It was the Spirit of God who convicted me not to steal. While in college, I needed to study on my own without trying to get copies of the exam ahead of time. It was the Spirit of God convicting me that was wrong.
The Spirit also revealed that the opposite is true, that if I am not to steal, I am to work hard, and by my hard labor, I should earn my own living. It was the Spirit of God who convicted me to be disciplined, to work hard, to get up early, to give a full day’s work for a full day’s pay. I was convicted to be in submission to my boss, to show up on time and do what he asked. That was the Spirit of God at work in my life.
If I was not to bear false witness, the opposite is also true. I must speak words of edification about the other people around me. I was convicted to use my tongue to build up other people. I was convicted not to slander, spread gossip, or tear down others. I became painfully aware that I was using my tongue improperly to make everyone laugh at someone else. I was rebuked that I was using my humor in an improper way. Then, I became a pastor of a church, standing in a pulpit. I became convicted that I could not say certain things from the pulpit that I might say jokingly with a group of friends. I came under deep conviction of my sin in how I was using my tongue.
I was also convicted of covetousness, of wanting possessions that were bigger and better than what others had. Rather than being content with where I was and with what I had that God had provided for me, I inwardly wanted more.
As verse 6 indicates, the Spirit of God leads us in this newness of life to walk in obedience to the moral law of God. The only one of the Ten Commandments that is modified is the one regarding the observance of the Sabbath. My understanding is that the requirements of the Sabbath rest were fulfilled in the death of Christ. Having said that though, I believe that we still need to be in church on Sunday, which is the Lord’s day. We still need to be with God’s people in public worship, but without the ceremonial restrictions. I believe you can eat in a restaurant or fly on an airplane on Sunday Others see it differently. That is fine, as that is their conscience that that aspect of the Law is still binding. For me, it is not.