Monday, February 13, 2012

The Gospel's two types of husbands

Romans 7:1-2 Or do you not know, brethren (for I am speaking to those who know the law), that the law has jurisdiction over a person as long as he lives? 2For the married woman is bound by law to her husband while he is living; but if her husband dies, she is released from the law concerning the husband.

Sin - the Horrible Husband (Spouse)
Romans 7 is going to explore the conflict that exists in the life of the Christian.  Before getting to that main theme, Paul chooses to illustrate the reality of sin and the reality of Christ through the illustration of marriage.  The Gospel always begins with the bad news before proceeding to the good news. 

When you and I are born into this world, we are, as it were, wedded to sin.  As we grow and develop, this spouse comes to more and more dominate your life.  In using the analogy of marriage, Paul states that as long as unbelief operates in the human heart, the marriage to the sinful self will become more and more loveless.

Sin's chief function in the life of the unbeliever is that of dominion.  By tracing the argument back to Romans 6:14, we discover that the Christian is set free from the "dominion" or the "necessity" to only sin.  Like a bad marriage, sin abuses, takes over and demands.  In the life of the unbeliever, self is always crying "I want" and never "I'll give".  Sin shouts "mine" and never "His".  Sin will gladly wear a three-piece suit and go to church and be religious, just as long as the cross is not mentioned. 

Christ the Good Husband (Spouse)
Paul teaches that as long as the first "husband" of unbelief is alive in my heart, I am bound to that "bad marriage".  A loveless, lifeless marriage is like a walking death.  This is Paul's point - to show His readers that Good Husband - Christ.  Therefore whenever the Spirit comes calling, I by grace through faith believe and the former life, the former "husband" is declared legally dead by God.  Death can only be declared at the cross.  When I embrace the cross, my so-called marriage to unbelief in Christ is over.  The former husband dies at the cross. At that point I'm set free to embrace Christ. 

Now what kind of spouse is Christ?  Romans 7:4 explains "Therefore, my brethren, you also were made to die to the Law through the body of Christ, so that you might be joined to another, to Him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God."  He brings me new life.  He brings you flowers in the form of righteous living.  He brings to light His love letters called the scriptures.  He clothes you in new garments called His righteousness.  He is building for you a new home in Heaven. (John 14:1-6)  He loves you no matter what. (Romans 8:32-37) 

Romans 7:6 sheds even more light - "But now we have been released from the Law, having died to that by which we were bound, so that we serve in newness of the Spirit and not in oldness of the letter."  The New Husband, Christ, makes all things new.  The shame, regret and hurt of your former "marriage" to sin is erased.  Now that old husband will attempt to come back and convince you that you need to go back.  However you need to say to your old self that you are Christ's, and that Christ is yours, and that you are in no way going back. 

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