Likewise, my brothers, you also have died to the law through the body of Christ, so that you may belong to another, to him who has been raised from the dead, in order that we may bear fruit for God. For while we were living in the flesh, our sinful passions, aroused by the law, were at work in our members to bear fruit for death. 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. (Romans 7:4-6 ESV)
Larry Christenson, in his work The Renewed Mind, describes it this way:
Let’s say that you live in an apartment under a demanding landlord. The rent has to be paid on time, every time, and if you’re a moment late, you’re penalized. Every month, it seems, the rent increases. Your landlord comes into your apartment at will and checks to see that all is perfectly arranged—he keeps a clean house.
One day you hear the news. Someone has come in and bought the apartment complex. You meet your new landlord and to your surprise discover that you don’t even have to pay rent. It’s free! You never have to undergo the meticulous inspections again. This landlord visits you, sometimes dropping by just for an occasional chat. He brings you things He thinks you need. You don’t know how to act.
Then one day, you hear a knock on the door. It’s a familiar knock—you know it too well. You go to the door, knowing who’s standing there. It’s your old landlord. And before you know it, you’re opening the door. He’s demanding payment, even though he does not own the apartment complex. Without thinking, because you’ve done it for so many years, you pay up—money you don’t even owe him!
You don’t have to open the door. The old landlord, the law, has no right in your home. He can exact no payment from you. You have a new landlord, who is also your friend.
You belong to another.