Or do you not know, brethren (for I speak to those who know the law), that the law has dominion over a man as long as he lives? For the woman who has a husband is bound by the law to her husband as long as he lives. But if the husband dies, she is released from the law of her husband. So then if, while her husband lives, she marries another man, she will be called an adulteress; but if her husband dies, she is free from that law, so that she is no adulteress, though she has married another man. Therefore, my brethren, you also have become dead to the law through the body of Christ, that you may be married to another—to Him who was raised from the dead, that we should bear fruit to God. For when we were in the flesh, the sinful passions which were aroused by the law were at work in our members to bear fruit to death. But now we have been delivered from the law, having died to what we were held by, so that we should serve in the newness of the Spirit and not in the oldness of the letter.
Welcome back to Delving into the Scriptures! Today Paul is giving us a great example of our salvation – and how we should live.
Firstly, as we have been over multiple times whilst studying Romans, we were dead in our sins – there was nothing we could do to get us out of that situation. To use the example above, we were bound to the law unto death! But, through the death of Jesus Christ, we have been freed from that law and are now bound to Him. We are freed from death and given a new life!
And if we like, we can use the same example Paul gives above in reverse. We were freed from sin through death – so now, we cannot go back! There will always be times in our lives when we will be tempted to sin (make sure you come back – we will be getting to that part in Romans very soon!), or times when we fall into sin. But, we have died to our sinful nature – we are no longer bound to sin, bearing fruit to death – we are free to live in newness of life with Jesus Christ!
To use the words of the scripture, we have been ‘delivered from the law‘. The law no longer has any hold on us. To us, it is dead.
So what does that mean though? Firstly, we know from previous scriptures that it doesn’t mean we are now free to sin as much as we want or desire – that was not the purpose of being free! Paul answers us in verse 6 – ‘so that we should serve in the newness of the Spirit‘. We have been freed from serving the law – but we are now to serve God through the Spirit.
This is one of the tougher doctrines of Christianity. Let’s look at it from a selfish point of view, which is where most of us will see it at some point or another. When we were in sin, we felt ‘free’ to do whatever we felt like. But if we are to become a Christian, we now live in ‘servitude’ to God? Why would we become a Christian then? Why on earth would I want to give up the freedom to live my life ‘to the full’ to live by a bunch of rules???
There is really a lot to answer there, but the first answer is at the beginning - a selfish point of view! We are looking only at our point of view, our view of life as it stands at that moment. But there is more to life than just us! And I would say that ‘freedom’ that we think we have in Sin, is really slavery – slavery to sin, which brings eternal death and separation from God. It sometimes may not feel like slavery, but that is exactly what it is – we are all born into the slavery of sin, and we have no way out in our own power or strength.
To understand this better, we need to first look at the bigger picture. Why am I here? Am I just a multi cell organism evolved from cells that appeared when something exploded a few billion years ago (that is the short summary of the ‘Big Bang Theory’ taught to many)? Or, are we created? I don’t want to enter into the argument of creation here (there are millions of pages covering it already!), but Scripture says that God is evident to all creation through His creation, and I believe that. Looking at even many small parts of this world make me know there is a God (look at someone’s eye, or a pet’s eye, or your thumb, or…) – then adding all those small things into something larger (say, your body), and then in the end to the whole world, there absolutely must be a God!
And if we are created, who created us? Why were we created? Do we owe anything to this creator?
Once we get there, then we start to see the answers. We were created by a loving God because He wanted to create us, in His image, to serve and love Him, and for Him to love us. Short cutting the whole story here a little (you know – creation, first sin, the chosen people, the prophets, Jesus, the resurrection, the new church, you get the picture), we see that despite us being created to love and serve a living God, we are separated from Him through sin, yet He made a way for us to get back to Him through Jesus Christ, who took on our sins through His death (for without blood there is no remission of sin), so that we will be declared righteous before God!
So in reality, by serving and loving God, we are getting back to what we were initially created for! This is where we were meant to be, and where we will find true life, and complete fulfillment, and eternal life!
This is why we choose to love and serve our God. It is not a burden, it is not a chore. It is what we were created to do – and in it we find true freedom and peace. As the scripture says, ‘But now we have been delivered from the law, having died to what we were held by, so that we should serve in the newness of the Spirit and not in the oldness of the letter’.
Lord God, help us to understand what it means to be truly free. Help us to see through the fallacies of this world that would proclaim there is no God, and that freedom is in being selfish and doing whatever we please. Help us to live and serve in newness with You. In Jesus Name. Amen,.