Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Victory in Christ - Part 8

This is the next installment of a series I am writing concerning what Romans 6-8 teaches about our sin problem and God's plan for victory. To find previous installments do a search for the title: Victory In Christ. You can find the first installment here.

Chapter 7 – 1 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? 2 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. 3 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.

Paul is bringing us back now to the discussion of the law as it relates to us as Christians. He had previously told us that we are not under law, but under grace. The law about marriage and adultery applies to a person only while they are living. If a spouse dies, a person is no longer under the law that says she cannot marry another man. So if a husband dies, the wife is free to marry another man. She is not under that law. It has no jurisdiction over her because it is for a different situation. The law is not gone. It just doesn't apply in this case.

4 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.

In the same way, since we have died with Christ when He died on the cross, we have become dead to the law. As far as the law is concerned we died. The law says that the soul that sins shall die (Ezekiel 18:4). Jesus Christ, having born my sins on the cross represented me there and so the law that says I should die was fulfilled way back then. The punishment has been meted out and the law no longer applies to me. It has already been applied in Christ. The law can't punish the same person twice for the same crime.

The result is, according to verse 4, that now I'm free to be married to Christ so that I can bear fruit for Him. I've died to the old husband, sin, and no longer bear fruit for it. Just as a wife who marries a man can bear his offspring, so I can be married to Christ so that the fruit of his life in me can be born out into the world. It's similar to Jesus' parable of the vine and the branches. We bear fruit by abiding in Christ. Without Him we can do nothing (John 15:5). The idea of bearing His offspring is a hint to the answer to the question how is it possible to live the Christian life successfully. It is a matter of His bearing His life out through us by His Spirit. Even though this doesn't happen perfectly because of our weaknesses, we can have the confidence that the law that would smack us down has no jurisdiction in our case because we have died to that phase of life.

Principle 10: When you died with Christ you died to the jurisdiction of the law and are set free to bear fruit for God.

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