Until Death Do Us Part
Paul tells about a lovely woman who found herself married to a demanding perfectionist. He
laid the law down to her day after day. He made insistent demands on her behavior. There
was no escaping his tyrannical guilt trips. No matter how hard she tired nothing she ever
did was good enough to please him. It was impossible to live up to his standards of
behavior and conduct. No matter how hard she tried, she was a failure.
Because of his insistent attitudes, her feelings altered between fear
of his exacting demands and judgment to a sense of complete failure, guilt, resentment and
hostility. Her situation was hopeless. He was perfect and she was just the opposite.
Living with him was impossible.
How long could she go on in this situation? Secretly she wished he
were dead. Nevertheless, he was in perfect health and strict moralist. He wasn't going to
go away. He wasn't going to die, and for him divorce was out of the picture.
Then would you know it, she met another man. This man was everything
she ever wanted. Yes, he was perfect, yet it was balanced with love. There was grace about
him. Her new suitor was everything she ever wanted. She found it impossible to resist his
intense love for her. Moreover, she desired a mature intimate love relationship with him!
In time, he asked her to be his. Oh, yes, he was aware of her present
state. She belonged to another man. She was married. Moreover, the law was very clear
about adultery. The law has jurisdiction over a person as long as he lives.
When a person dies that is the end of the authority of the law. However, after he dies she
is free to marry anyone she pleases. Since her husband was not going to die, and he would
never consent to divorce there was only one alternative. She would have to die! Then
the law could have no effect on her. She could marry whom ever she pleased and be
I know. You are asking the question, "But if she were dead, how could she possibly marry her
There is only one way. She would have to die and rise from the
The Apostle Paul tells us that is exactly what happened to
us. Therefore, my brethren, you also were made to die to the Law through the body of
Christ, that you might be joined to another, to Him who was raised from the dead, that we
might bear fruit for God (Romans 7:4).
Paul used a simple illustration of marriage law to show how
Christians have been freed from law in order to be married to Jesus Christ. His
antagonists had raised question, But what about the law? Doesnt
salvation by grace through faith lead to immorality? Legalists still argue the same
point, Doesnt the gospel you are preaching annul the law or set it
Pauls argument is that the law is fully honored and satisfied
in the good news of Gods free justification of the sinner based on the atoning death
of Christ. The very salvation God provides in Christ fulfills the law. Moreover, it
liberates those who have been held in its bondage so they can produce righteousness.
Remember, we have
become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall be also in the
likeness of His resurrection, knowing that our old self was crucified with Him, that our
body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin; for he who
has died is freed from sin. Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also
live with Him (6:58).
This truth is so crucial to the believer's daily walk with Christ
that Paul reminds us to "consider (reckon, count upon the fact) yourselves to be dead
to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus" (Romans 6:11). God's solution to our sin
problem was to crucify us with Christ. As far as God is concerned, we were there in the
grave with Christ and we rose into newness of life with Him. Now we are joined in an
intimate union with our Lord and Savior. Paul develops this idea and applies it to the
believer in Romans chapter seven. Our understanding of this great chapter is vital to our
abiding in Christ.
Please keep in mind the context of Romans chapters five and six.
The believer has died to sin (6:2) and to law (7:4). He is free from sin (6:18) and from
law (7:3). He is "justified from sin" (6:7) and discharged "from law"
(7:6). He walks in newness of life (6:4) and serves in newness of Spirit (7:6).
The law is holy, and the commandment is holy, righteous and
good, but it cannot save anyone. Just as the law cannot save, it also cannot
sanctify. The law never produced righteousness in anyone. It can only bring condemnation
because no one can live up to its holy demands. It does not empower anyone to live
according to its high standards. Everyone is bound to the law as long as he or she lives.
So how can we be fruitful? The answer to a holy life is not the law, but a person living
within us through the power of His resurrection. That is little good, however, if we are
still under bondage to the law. How can we be released from the law? Only by dying to the
law. Death must terminate our old relationship in order to enter into a new, fruitful
relationship with Jesus Christ. In order to produce holiness in our lives we must die to
the law in order to be free for Jesus Christ. The rescuer is a personJesus Christ.
You died to the law through the body of Christ, that you might
belong to another, to Him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit
to God (Rom. 7:4). His death becomes our death. When we die in Him we die to the
law, and when we rise in Him we rise to the new relationship. I have been crucified
with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I
now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me, and delivered
Himself up for me (Gal. 2:20).
Message by Wil Pounds (c) 2006
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