A New Mate

As a father, one of the things I pray for in regard to my children is that they might have a mate who loves the Lord and is obedient to Him and that the marriage might not end in divorce. Any parent wants their children to have a harmonious marriage. 

In Romans 7:1-7, Paul contrasts an unhappy marriage between a sinner and the law with a believer’s happy, new marriage to Christ.  The unhappiness of our first marriage was due to our disharmony with the law. The law remains holy, but we are unholy. Let’s examine the passage.

Principle of Marriage – “Or do you know brothers, for I am speaking to those who know the law, that the law is lord over a man as long as he lives? For the married woman is bound to the living husband by law, but if the husband dies, she is set free from the law of the husband. Therefore then, while the husband lives she shall be called an adulteress if she becomes another man’s, but if the husband dies she is free from the law of the husband, so that she is not an adulteress though she becomes another man’s” (v. 1-3). Paul points out that the principle in marriage is “until death do you part.” A woman, for example, is free to remarry once her husband dies without fear of being labeled an “adulteress.” 

Point of the Analogy to Marriage – “Therefore my brothers, you were handed over to be killed with reference to the law through the body of Christ, so that you might become to another one, namely to the one who was raised from the dead in order that we might bear fruit to God” (v 4).  Paul builds from the analogy that believers are free to remarry Christ (figuratively speaking). This sounds confusing, but Paul is speaking in an analogical fashion. In one sense, we were married to the law, but that union ended. It did not end in the death of the law, but rather the death of the believer to the law (c.f. Gal 2:19). The believer’s death is with respect to the law. He is now married to Christ (v. 5).  We died with Christ, so to speak, as His death is our death (Gal 2:19, 20; Col 3:3; Rom 6:3-8). With this new union between the believer and Christ, we might bear fruit unto God. The fruit is the behavior and righteousness that comes by the Holy Spirit.  

Explanation “For when we were in the flesh the passions of sins were being active in our members through the law so as to bear fruit to death, but now we have been set free from the law because we died to what we were being held down by, so that we might serve in newness of the Spirit and not in the oldness of the letter” (v. 5-6). We might raise the question, since the law is holy, why is it not a good union for the sinner? Paul pointed out that sin, by its rebellious nature, became more active in the presence of the law (a point that Paul further demonstrates in verses 7 and 8). He noted that the strength of sin is the law (1 Cor 15:56). Rather than help the sinner, the holy law provokes the sinner due to the rebellious nature of evil and sin. With such a union, the only offspring would be death. The wages of sin is death (Rom 6:23).

Now that we are dead to the law, we are free to marry the One who died and rose from the dead.  Our offspring are the fruits that please God. It is fruit not by the legal code of the law, but rather in the newness of the Spirit. Here is a visual aid to help us understand Paul’s analogy:   

Marriage – Law/Sinner                                                Marriage – Christ/Believer
Offspring – Death                                                         Offspring – Righteous behavior

Conclusion – Now that I am saved, I am no longer under the law but under grace (Rom 6:14). I have a new husband. I am dead to the law and married to Christ (Rom 7:4). God’s purpose in this union is that I may bear fruit that is an offspring of righteousness (c.f. 6:12, 13).  What kind of offspring am I producing? Am I producing fruit that is righteous and pleasing to God? God did not save me to deliver me from hell; He saved me to deliver me from sin. Does the fruit I produce in my life show that I have been delivered?