Our Marriage To The Risen Lord
Fruit-Bearing With Our New Husband
In a Brief Survey of the Epistle of Paul to the Romans
Based on sermons preached in PCC Worship Services, July 2003 to Sep 2005
Part 28c of 83

“…4 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. 5 For when we were in the flesh, the motions of sins, which were by the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death.  6 But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.…” (Romans 7:1-6).

[Paul has been using the analogy of remarriage after the death of a old husband to speak about our relationship with the Law (our old husband) and Christ (our new husband). As we conclude our exposition in this final instalment of this tranche of articles, we must consider Paul exhortation to bear fruit with Christ. —JJL]

2.  We Must Bear Fruit
With Our New Husband

a.   When you were married to the Law, you could only “bring forth fruit unto death” (v. 5b). Make no mistake: If you are serving according to the letter of the Law, you will only bring forth fruit unto death.

You will breed spiritual pride and hardness of heart. And not only so, but because you have no power to keep the law, the law which is ordained unto life will be the very instrument to condemn you unto death (v. 10).

The Law says: “This do, and you shall live.” If you live according to this principle, you will strive to keep the Law; but you will find yourself sinning at every point.

The Law says: “Thou shalt have no other gods before you.” You will fail to keep this command because you will not be able to love the Lord with your whole heart, soul, mind and strength. The Law will condemn you.

The Law says: “Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image.” You will fail… because you do not have perfect knowledge of God and your mind is an idol factory.

The law says: “Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.” You will fail… because you cannot even keep hypocrisy out of the opening words of the Lord’s Prayer: “Our father…”

The law says: “Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy.”  You will fail… because even your most righteous deed on the Sabbath are sinful in God’s sight.

The law says: “Honour thy father and thy mother.” You will fail… because you will not be able to do enough to honour them.

The law says: “Thou shalt not kill.” You will fail… because you are bound to get angry against another person unjustly.

The law says: “Thou shalt not commit adultery.” You will fail… because you cannot shut your eyes, your ears and your minds.

The law says: “Thou shalt not steal.” You will fail… because you are going to be late for some appointments.

The law says: “Thou shalt not bear false witness.” You will fail… because it is impossible in this life to tell the whole truth to your neighbour.

The law says: “Thou shalt not covet.” You will fail… because no one except the Lord Jesus has perfect contentment.

And what’s more James says:  “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all” (James 2:10).

If you are living according to the principle of the law as a covenant of works, you will be condemned. Your union with the Law will only bring death.

b.  But thanks be to God, our union with the risen Lord will bring forth “fruit unto God” (v. 4b). And you know what? The fruit will be borne by us!

God instituted marriage that He might seek a godly seed (Mal 2:15). The wife is compared to the fruitful vine and children are called the fruit of the vine.

In our union with Christ, we are the wife, He is the husband. We will be the fruitful vine. We will bear forth good fruits.

What is this fruit? It comprises something internal and something external. The internal is the fruit of the spirit. And the external is every good work.

Paul tells us in Galatians 5 that the Fruit of the Spirit of Christ is—

“Love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, [and] temperance” (Gal 5:22-23).

And he tells us in Ephesians 2 that…

“We are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them” (Eph 2:10).

Spiritual graces and good works: This is the good fruit that will be produced by you when you serve Christ your husband according to the spirit of the Law.

As your old marriage to the Law produced the fruit of sin unto death; so your new marriage to Christ should produce fruit of righteousness unto God. This fruit is pleasing to God and brings honour and glory to Christ our husband.

c.   This fruit can never be produce by a marriage to the Law. A marriage to the Law will only produce sin and every wicked work.

Let us make no mistake: Unbeliever and hypocrite can never do good works. Good works are the fruits of the believer’s union with Christ.

But you have been delivered from the Law (v. 6). You are married to Christ! If you are truly a Christian, you are married to Christ and you cannot be barren. Why? Becayse Christ is risen and His Spirit works powerfully in the lives of all who are married to Him.

Our Lord used another metaphor to speak about the fruitfulness of His church. Let us turn to His exhortation and encouragement in John 15:

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. 2 Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. 3 Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. 4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. 5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.  6 If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. 7 If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. 8 Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.” (Jn 15:1-8)

What is our Lord saying? He is speaking to the Church. You are united to Christ if you are a member of the Church. You are united to Him as a member of the Church Visible. But if you are truly united to Him as a member of the Church Invisible, you will bear good fruit.

If you do not bearing fruit, He will cut you off. But if you are His, you have been bearing fruit and you will continue to bear fruit. And Christ will purge you so that you will bear more fruit.

What does this means? It means that He will expose your sin to you. He will cause you to see your fault that you will turn from it. He will cut away unproductive parts from you so that the rest of you will not be sapped of vital nutrients. This is how the vinedresser takes care of the plant. He does not let every branch grow. That will leave the whole plant very weak. No, he cuts off the parts that are unproductive. He nurtures the parts that are fruitful.

Are you a fruitful vine, dear reader? If you are serving Christ according to the newness of the Spirit, rather than serving the Law according to the oldness of the Letter, you are no doubt a fruitful vine. Thank God for your union with Christ your husband.

Conclusion

a.   The apostle Paul is seeking in Romans 6 and 7 to persuade us to live as members of the Covenant of Grace.

Our old man, sin, is dead. We need not and must not any longer obey his voice. He is dead, let us not give in to his demands.

Likewise our old husband, the Law as a covenant of works, is dead to us. We need not and must not live according to the principle of the Law. We must rather live for Christ!

Christ our Lord loves us so much He laid down His life for our sin. He rose for our justification, (in that He has fully paid for our sin). He suffered all the pains that we deserve for our sin. How much did He suffer? He suffered on the Cross what you and I, and all the elect in the world throughout the ages should suffer for our sins. Christ took it all on Himself.

b.  The world is full of critical stares and finger-pointing. It is an unforgiving world. If we excel in the world, the world loves us; but if we do not do so well in the world, many fingers will begin to point at our faults. The Law, our natural husband, is also unforgiving. He says, “This do and you shall live.” But in the same breathe, he says: “Fail to do this and I will kill you!”

What a great difference is our risen Lord! He is our compassionate Great High Priest. He was tempted like as we are and yet without sin. He loves us and gave Himself for us that He might sanctify us and cleanse us (Eph 5:26). He sees more of our faults than anyone else in the world. He felt the wrath of God for every of our faults. Yet He does not penalise us for them. He took the punishment due to us upon Himself!

When we fall, He tenderly applies the balm of Gilead and binds up our wounds. He weeps with us; and invites us to cast our burdens upon Him because He cares for us.

When we err, He gently teaches us and leads us as a shepherd leads his sheep. If He has to chastise us, He will always do so with a tender look as when He looked at Peter who betrayed Him. His banner over us is love.

c.   This, dear believer, is your husband. This is the lover of your soul. Will you not serve Him according to the newness of the spirit? Will you not bear godly fruit with him? Oh do not harden your heart. Do not spurn your husband. Listen to His entreaties and return to Him, O son or daughter of the most high. Amen...

—JJ Lim