Questions for Littles: Of what were we slaves in v20? In regard to what were we free? What is the end of living that way (v21)? What are we now free from (v22)? Of what are we slaves? What kind of fruit does that produce? What is its end? What does sin earn (v23)? What comes only as a gift of God? In whom does it come? How long does the law have dominion over a man (7:1)? When is a woman free to marry another man than her previous husband (v3)? Who was our old husband, to whom we have died, according to v4? Through what did we die to the law? To whom are we now married? What kind of fruit does this marriage bear? Now that we are no longer married to the law, what (Who?!) enables us to serve God?In this week’s Epistle reading, we entered one of the trickier passages in Romans, but it really does not have to be that difficult.
We come into this world stuck in a bad marriage: slaves of sin and married to the law. In that condition, the law is like a wife who is truthful but unhelpful. It tells us how terrible our master is, and how terrible we are for obeying that master, and it’s right! God’s law is right!
But as long as we are slaves of sin, we are never going to be able to do anything about it.
When we believe in Jesus, something wonderful happens. We die. Why is it wonderful? Because it ends both situations: slavery to sin and marriage to the law. Instead, we become slaves to God, and married to Christ.
Does Christ tell us that our sin is terrible? Absolutely! But not by telling us how it’s going to drag us down to death and Hell. Christ tells us that our sins were so bad that they required His hellish death.
And while the law couldn’t help us, Christ most certainly can. The letters on the page couldn’t make us a single bit more able to obey. But, married to Christ, we don’t serve in the oldness of the letter. Now, we have His own Spirit empowering our service!
Christ is a complete Savior from sin. The fruit of sin is filthiness that ends in death. The fruit of slavery to God is holiness that “ends” in everlasting life. Christ has both earned everlasting life for us and also works in us, by His Spirit, to prepare us for that life by making us suitable for it.
If we say that we can “turn over a new leaf” in order to come to God, we deceive ourselves. We must be dead to sin and the law by faith in Christ before any good can ever come from us. And if we say that being in Christ makes us “free” to ignore God’s law, then we deceive ourselves and blaspheme Christ, by making Him responsible for our ongoing filthiness on a path of death!
What are some areas of weakness for you? How can you seek to serve by trusting Jesus’ Spirit to work in you, rather than by thinking you will be successful if you just try hard enough?Suggested songs: ARP196 “Waiting for the Lord” or HB271 “Rock of Ages, Cleft for Me”