How Shall We Ever Please God?
By Eli Stutzman
January 1, 2012
One of the most interesting and inspiring explanations anywhere with regard to our new relationship in Christ is in Romans chapter 7 where Paul likens the walk of grace to a marriage scenario. But first we will visit briefly what law is like.
The trade mark of law is punishment. A law is not a law unless it has teeth. Rules that have no teeth are only guidelines or suggestions. Parents may have house rules that children need to obey. There are two primary reasons why children or adults will obey. One reason is the fear of punishment and the other is not wanting to disappoint someone we love. Of course the latter is always a better motive.
The whole of our society needs the rule of law because love and respect are not present in all people all the time. The penalty of not obeying a stop sign is spelled out by the law. Our forefathers went through the same intersections as we do without stopping, yet did not violate law until the corner had a stop sign posted. So now we become lawbreakers simply by default. The nature of law is to always need more law. Even though we oppose more law, its increase is inevitable. No country can exist without laws.
Likewise the Old Testament had law spelled out in details that were to govern Israel. The law was designed to deal with sin. When the church was first getting started, many being from Jewish background were struggling to deal with trying to fulfill those laws. So the apostle Paul explained how believers now are to deal with sin in the new Testament way. Incidentally, the law continues forever. It is not about to be removed or become extinct.
Now to Romans 7:1-4: Know ye not, brethren, (for I speak to them that know the law,) how that the law hath dominion over a man as long as he liveth? For the woman which hath an husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he liveth; but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband.
So then if, while her husband liveth, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress: but if her husband be dead, she is free from that law; so that she is no adulteress, though she be married to another man. Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God.
There are three players in the above scene:
- First, is the husband who is the Law of Moses.
- Second, the woman who is us, that is the church.
- Third, the next husband known as ‘another' who is Christ.
When we are born to our parents as all are, we are under Law. No matter where you are born, you come under God's Law. That is not escapable. The law is right and true. The first husband is totally righteous and demanding. He does not offer her, the woman, any help to perform his requirements. His demands are just, proper and true. But the woman is unable to meet all his demands. She is easy-going, casual and hap-hazard. Life is indeed very difficult. She is fully aware of her inability to carry out his demands. Since divorce is impossible, she seems stuck with her fate. And he (law) is not about to die. (Matthew 5: 18)
But, there is a way out. She has to die. Verse three says that if he died, she is free to marry another man. And therein lies the secret of the Christian life. We must be counted as dead in order to be born again. Now it becomes apparent from Matthew 5 Sermon on the Mount that the new husband is no less demanding, but has an even higher standard. BUT the big difference is this; the new husband in verse 4 carries out the requirements in himself. That is the only way to produce fruit.
You can never take satisfaction that you have lived a life good enough that you can take credit for getting yourself into heaven. If that were possible, Jesus would not have needed to come to earth. Only one sin, one slip up and the law says the soul that sins must die. That concept of dying seems hard to understand, but rest assured that God knows how to do this. Call in total honesty and openness of heart on the name of Jesus and ask him to do it. It will change you forever.
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