Hey y’all! I hope you’re having a great week! My energy levels have been going up, praise the Lord, which raises my spirits, which gives me the determination to blog! That tick bite over the summer really took a toll on me.
On 11.17.13 we studied Romans 7:1-6, which is the passage of this chapter that uses marriage/divorce to make a point about our relationship with Christ and the law. Many have called this the most “legal” portion of the Scriptures and we need to approach it with context and background.
“Or do you not know, brethren (for I speak to those who know the law), that the law has dominion over a man as long as he lives? For the woman who has a husband is bound by the law to her husband as long as he lives. But if the husband dies, she is released from the law of her husband. So then if, while her husband lives, she marries another man, she will be called an adulteress; but if her husband dies, she is free from that law, so that she is no adulteress, though she has married another man.” -7:1-3
Paul begins here with a self-evident truth, “…law has dominion over a man…” but one that could use some more explanation. We were just dealing in chapter 6 about how we often hear “grace” and think, “Oh, so my sins are inconsequential” and Paul was quick to say, “God forbid!” to that. Now, lest we let the pendulum swing to the other side, he is reminding us that as Christians we are dead to the law. In this metaphor of marriage, let’s be careful not to race away from the point he’s trying to make. Sometimes we try to take passages like this too far and press them as far as possible, when Paul is really just using a hermenutic to make one point and establish the fact that, “law has dominion over man as long as he lives…Therefore, my brethren, you also have become dead to the law through the body of Christ.”
This you Paul uses… is us. You, me we came into the world dead in our trespasses and sins and the law was alive to us, had dominion over us. “The strength of sin is the law” 1 Corinthians 15 tells us. There is nothing wrong with the law- we ‘stablished that one last sermon. Rather, the problem is with you and me. 3 sub points 😉 :
1) He does not speak here of the law in any kind of negative way. Indeed, we were not put to death with respect to the law’s righteous living. Sin is in the transgression of the law (remember, the law is good!) and we are liberated from the guilt that we have incurred from our transgressions.
2) We were put to death in respect to the law’s lordship. The unbeliever sees the law as a burden– and really, it is a load on their shoulders. But we have been liberated from that weight! When the law is our lord and controls our lives, that’s not good, because it is ruthless and there is no power in it to change you. Unlike a kind cop who lets you get off easy because you’re speeding to your grandmother’s deathbed, the law cannot forgive you. Christ can.
3) We were put to death in respect to the law’s penalty. God cannot excuse our sin, but instead, He marks it as already paid. The law cannot hold that over me! In these verses, the woman is bound to her husband by law as long has he lives, but once he is dead, her relationship to the law is changed and she is released from that. Our relationship to the law is now changed, too!
Verses 4-6: “Therefore, my brethren, you also have become dead to the law through the body of Christ, that you may be married to another—to Him who was raised from the dead, that we should bear fruit to God. For when we were in the flesh, the sinful passions which were aroused by the law were at work in our members to bear fruit to death. 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.”
We were put to death to the law for a purpose: that we may marry another–Christ! Marriage is a metaphor for the reality of who we are in Jesus, like we studied in Romans 5. We get to enjoy the communion of life with Christ! We are not in union with a dead Savior, no! Christ is raised from the dead like verse 4 says! And we shall not taste the sting of death, the sting of separation from God, the sting of the punishment for our sins.
Let’s not live in Romans 7, where it is describing what happens when we fail to deal with our sins by Christ and instead deal with them by law. “That we should bear fruit to God”– the purpose of marriage is to bring forth fruit for the Lord. He prepared a bride for His Son, who shed His own blood for the harlot who is us. Us who married another man while our Husband was living. I am thankful that our church has communion every week, because it reminds us of the marriage supper of the Lamb where everyone is rejoicing. In Revelation 19 where it is describing this great feast, the Bride is adorned and her “fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.” The fruit that comes out of this marriage, the righteous acts we do out of love for our Groom! And God is glorifying in these deeds that are the white linen. We can rejoice in who we have been made to be because we are married to Christ. His grace in our lives will be on display at the Feast! The glorious work He has done in us. Because we are dead to the law “That we should serve in the newness of the Spirit”!
Here’s another summer dress-turned-fall ensemble! I’ve worn this dress I guess three times now on the blog (here, here, and here). It’s just one of those perfect pieces! Our falls in TN can be warm or chilly, so we’re not always bundled up in long sleeves, but I do like to still go with chunky sweaters and more classic colors.
Alrighty, I better go get dressed before more neighbors come in as I sit here on the couch in my PJ’s…