Monday, 28 June 2010

Freed From Law; Bound By Love. Notes on Romans 7:1-6

Romans 7:1-6 here.

A Dark Marriage.
Way back at the dawn of time, the human race (Adam and Eve) by its own initiative, was married to the law, bound to it not by love, but by sin. The serpent acted as priest and facilitated the preparation and the ceremony. In Gen. 3:1-6, we see Adam and Eve covet what God has, then stick two fingers up at him, reject his friendship and set themselves up as god, deciding for themselves what is right and wrong, who's in and who's out and hijacking the whole creation for their own ends.

Life Married to the Law.
The Law is like a husband who, dominates us, who lays demands on us, but never lifts a finger to help, who is always right, but does not love us and who is impotent and cannot birth the life and love of God in us. In fact, the perverse thing about this husband is that far from making us better, he actually makes us worse. His demands, rather than encouraging us to do what is right, have the bizarre effect of producing the very opposite of the demand, he makes us worse not better.

The problem with this futile marriage is that there’s no way out. “Til death do us part” means exactly what it says. Divorce from law is not an option (Mal. 2:16), because it’s a counterfeit salvation. It says you can have the blessings of a new (married) life without death, and as we have seen in Romans 6, you cannot enter into the blessing of God except through participating in the death and resurrection of Christ.

Betrothed to Jesus Christ.
In Western culture we have engagement, which is serious, but not legally binding (covenantal). Traditional cultures have the ritual of betrothal. This is how we are united to Christ in this life. We, (the church) have died and thus legally ended our marriage to the Law and we have been raised in and for Christ. And whilst we have not yet entered into the full blessing of union with Christ (that will happen after the great judgment) we are betrothed to him. Betrothal is legally binding; the marriage is as good as done. It’s a time when the couple get to know each other better and prepare for the day of their uniting. Psalm 45 is a beautiful picture of Christ and his betrothed bride.

Serve Jesus by Love not Law.
The old (pre-Christian) life is like a Christmas tree. It's dead and the only way to make it look good is to slap on some pretty decorations. Law following, rule keeping, and any other spiritual principle/technique you care to mention, no matter how impressive or wise, is like tinsel on a Christmas tree, it may look good, but ultimately it has no life giving, love stirring power. (No one likes munching on tinsel). A vine however, gives life to the branches and bears tasty life-giving fruit naturally – it cannot help but bear fruit. When the Holy Spirit unites you to Jesus and transforms your heart, you cannot help, but begin to fulfil the law, in love.


Glen said...

Fantastic! Hallelujah! And I'll be ripping it all off just as soon as I get the chance :D

Richard Walker said...

God is good!! And on a human level, I'm ripping your stuff all the time. It's a pleasure to be of service. :-)

dave bish said...

Richard - I shared your notes with some Cardiff students last week whilst working through the passage with them. Loved it.

Richard Walker said...

Should have mentioned that I nicked it from Virgo first.