Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Romans 7:1-6 - Law or Life

Romans 7
Believers United to Christ
1 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? 2 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. 3 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. 4 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. 5 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. 6 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.

This passage is one that is very helpful to me, and it is so very rarely taught from.
The Exposition
The passage says a person is married so long as they or the other person lives. This is the nature of a binding covenant. The analogy is to our relationship to the law. If we have relationship with booth the law and Christ, then we would be adulterers. So how is this problem of law and grace resolved? “My brethren, you were made to die to the law through the body of Christ, so that you may be joined to Another, to Him who was raised from the dead.” We were made to die and if we died we are no longer bound to our former covenant. Therefore, we are free to be married to Christ. Now, we having been released from the law, we can bear fruit through the Spirit. When we attempted to do this under law we always bore fruit that was “for death”.

When I teach this principle, I use a little drama. I have people stand up on stage representing the different characters: sin and death, the believer, the law, and the Father. I play the believer and I start between sin and death and the law. If I attempt to get to the Father through the Law, I am defeated and end in sin and death. So in comes Christ. I hide in Christ and fulfill the law. Now, I pass through the law and make it over to the Father. What the observers sees is that the believer is with the Father and the Son but not with the law. The law is left behind. Now, the believer is free to serve the Father in the power of the Son and not the oldness of Law. It is therefore the type of spirituality we have that makes the difference.
Why does this matter so much?
Weakness is the Issue
Paul, later in Romans 8, says that our inability to bear fruit under the law is because the law is weak. The difference between the two types of Spirituality is that one is based on power and the other on law and will. This is so liberating. My problem, and I have a lot, is a weakness issue. I really do long to be a good or even great person in so many ways, but I am not even close to my goal. My failures could absolutely overwhelm me. The answer is in the relationship with Christ and my instant access to help and power. There is no condemnation, no guilt, only solutions. Shame and guilt are not constructive and neither is law. BUT now my relationship with God is entirely one of Grace and power and help.

We cannot have relationship with Law and Christ at the same time. Law will never assist us in becoming beautiful.

The emerging church people see the problems so much in worldview with respect to dogma and culture. I am convinced that the issue to help the church become relevant is to learn and disciple the churches into a proper understanding of the deadness of legalistic religion and the power of a living relationship with Christ. The issue is becoming beautiful through the Gospel. The crux of the matter is the orientation of our hearts not the orientation of the furniture.

Who are you having relationship with this morning? Law or Christ. How is your heart oriented? What is the posture of your soul?
God Bless,
brad

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