Paul concluded at the end of Romans Chapter 6 that the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Jesus. He continues:
“Or do you not know, brothers – for I am speaking to those who know the law – that the law is binding on a person only as long as he lives? For a married woman is bound by law to her husband while he lives, but if her husband dies she is released from the law of marriage. Accordingly, she will be called an adulteress if she lives with another man while her husband is alive. But if her husband dies, she is free from that law, and if she marries another man she is not an adulteress” (Rom 7:1-3).
Paul’s focus in this example appears to be on the married woman whose husband has died but she has not. But the parallel Paul wants to emphasize is a surprise:
“Likewise, my brothers, you also have died to the law through the body of Christ, so that you may belong to one another, to him who has been raised from the dead, in order that we may bear fruit for God” (Rom 7:4).
There is a holy reversal here: once we determine to live with the risen Christ, we are like him in having also been crucified (Rom 6:3-6), in the sense that it is Jesus whose physical body died for us, and we are now the widow who desires to belong to another.
And who is that new husband? It is he who has been raised from the dead – Jesus himself!
This is how grace shall reign – we are the bride of the risen, immortal Christ. And what is our purpose? It is the same as a widow in a second marriage – to bear fruit, to bring more children into the kingdom of God.
Are not the unbelieving souls we encounter every day like a pregnancy, a new child of Christ waiting to be born again, the fruit for God? As the “mother” do we not love the unborn child with every fiber of our being?
Have you ever looked at yourself as a pregnant mother nurturing, whispering to, and praying for your unborn child who needs Jesus so badly? Until this moment, I have never pondered this either.
This is how grace shall reign! This is the root of perfect unity with Jesus and God his father and the Holy Spirit.
“For while we were living in the flesh, our sinful passions, aroused by the law, were at work in our members to bear fruit for death. But now we are released from the law, having died to that which held us captive, so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit and not in the old way of the written code” (Rom 7:5-6).
The new way of the Spirit has many implications as we shall see next time. Hurry back to encounter once again the power of Paul’s question, “What then shall we say?”
For now, we should think of that spiritual child standing in front of you and dream of the day when he or she is born – again – because of the grace reigning inside of us..