Our Marriage To The Risen Lord
Living For 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 28b of 83

“… 3 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. 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.…” (Romans 7:1-6).

[We have begun a study of Romans 7 where the apostle Paul seeks to clarify the Christian’s relationship to the Law. In the first part of this study he reminds us that the Law is like a late husband to us in that it can no longer demand that we live by it to obtain life. But now in the second part, we must consider how we are to live with our new husband, Christ. —JJL]

2.  We must Live for
our New Husband

a.   Look at verse 3. Notice the phrase “she is free from that law.” The word ‘law’ here must not be confused with the ‘law’ in verse 1. In verse 1, the Law refers to the Moral Law of God. The Moral Law is summarised in the Ten Commandments.

The law in verse 3 may be translated ‘principle.’ It is the law of the Moral Law. It is the principle of the Moral Law as a covenant of works. What is that principle? It is: “This do, and you shall live.” Like the wife who faithfully submits to her husband, the Jews and many Christians are faithfully submitting to the Law when it says: “This do, and you shall live.”

But that should not be the case, for our former husband is dead. If her husband were not dead and a wife submits to another man’s wishes, she would be guilty of adultery. But our former husband, the Law is dead unto us. We should no longer live according to the principle of that law.

b. The Law will still say: “This do and you shall live.” It will continue to nag at us: “This do and you shall live.” But we must no more obey that demand. We have a new husband! Indeed, if we were to follow that old principle, we would be guilty of adultery.

Let me put it this way: When you hear our former husband says: “This do and you shall live.” What should you do? You should say: “You are dead unto me. I am dead unto you. You have no more rights to demand that of me. I need not fear you.”

Our new husband is different from our old husband. What does our new husband, Christ our risen Lord say? “Come unto me, believe in me, rest in me, love me, follow me.” What do we say? “Lord I come to thee, I believe in thee, I will rest in thee, I will follow thee… gratefully and lovingly.”

This is the grace-oriented-life. This is the Christian life. You “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” (v. 4) says Paul.

c.   We are married to Christ who was raised from the dead. Christ our new husband died that the Law might be dead to us. But He did not remain in the grave. He rose from the dead. He is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. It is unto this Christ we are married.

We must therefore no more submit to the demands of the Law and to seek salvation by keeping the Law. And we must no more fear the curse of the Law, for we have been delivered from the curse of the Law (Gal 3:13).

But what is the practical difference between living according to the principle of the Law, and the principle of Christ? The difference is well expressed in verse 6. To live according to the principle of the Law is to live according to the “oldness of the letter.” To live according to the principle of Christ is to “serve in newness of spirit.

The Christian must still serve. But no longer does he serve the Law in the oldness of the letter. Rather, he would serve Christ in newness of spirit.

He does not serve out of fear and compulsion. He serves cheerfully and gratefully. Like the unnamed woman who anointed the Lord’s feet with her tears; he is not afraid of going overboard in his expression of love and gratitude to the Lord.

He is not concerned about pleasing man. He is concerned about pleasing God. “He is a [true] Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God” (Rom 2:29).

He is not concerned only about his outward behaviour. He is concerned about his heart—that it will be a pleasing sacrifice to Christ. “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise” (Ps 51:17).

He keeps God’s commandments lovingly, and not like the rebellious child who obeys his father only because he is holding a rod in his hand. “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous” (1 Jn 5:3).

Dear reader, are you serving the Law according to the oldness of the Letter; Or are you serving the Lord according to the newness of the Spirit?

If you are a child of God, your old husband, the Law has died. You are married to Christ. Serve no more according to the letter of the Law. Serve Christ according to the spirit of the Law. “The letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life” (2Cor 3:6). If you serve the Law according to the Letter, you are not enjoying a true Christian life.

Do not serve your old husband, the Law. He is dead to you. Rather, serve your new husband, Christ, and bear fruit with Him and by Him. This is the third thing that Paul reminds us in our text.

…to be Continued Next Issue