Every Christian should know that the church is the bride of Christ – Revelation 21:9 – “Come, I will show you the bride, the Lamb’s wife.” In Scripture, the Lord uses the “marriage” analogy of our grace relationship to help us define His relationship with the church, believers.
Romans 6:14 – For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace. So what exactly does that mean? The Apostle Paul explains this in Chapter 7 in Romans.
Romans 7:1 – Or do you not know, brethren (for I speak to those who know the law), that the law has dominion over a man as long as he lives? (Verse 2) For the woman who has a husband is bound by the law to her husband as long as he lives. But if the husband dies, she is released from the law of her husband.
(Verse 3) So then if, while her husband lives, she marries another man, she will be called an adulteress; but if her husband dies, she is free from that law, so that she is no adulteress, though she has married another man. (Verse 4) Therefore, my brethren, you also have become dead to the law through the body of Christ, that you may be married to another even to Him who was raised from the dead that we should bear fruit to God.
God gave the law and the law is not bad, but there is one who is bad and his name is Satan. Satan is called the “accuser” of the brethren. And here is what he accuses us with, the law. Satan will condemn us by taking something that is good and uses it for bad. This is what the Apostle Paul devoted his life to deal with.
Here is what Paul is saying in these verses: You, us, believers, were married to the law, but we died to the law so we are now free to be married to another – Jesus. But because we were married to the law for a season, this messes our thinking up with how Jesus wants to treat us!
Think about this: What kind of husband do you think the law is? Is the law a forgiving husband? Is the law a loving husband? Is it caring or kind? Is the law compassionate or understanding? No, to all of these.
Here’s what the law does: The law points out what we do right and what we do wrong. The law is overbearing, faultfinding, critical, and judgmental husband. That’s who we were married to for a season. But now we are married to Christ. But how did we get married to Christ? How can we be free to marry someone else?
God came up with this brilliant plan: The law is not going to die, but we die, not physically, but we die to self, our own desires. If we die to that, we can be married to another. That’s what Romans Chapter 6 is all about. We can be buried in baptism and raised free to be married to Christ.
The law cannot justify.
The law cannot justify us in the sight of God. Romans 3:20 – Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight. Romans 3:28 – Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law.
In the book of Galatians, there were people around that were saying, “We believe in the gospel of Paul, that we are saved by faith,” yet they were also saying that in order to mature, in order to be sanctified, in order to keep your salvation, you also have to follow the law.
We are still dealing with this today in some churches. They say, “Yes, we are saved by grace through faith, but you still have to do this, this, and this.” Paul addresses a group in Galatians that were telling Gentiles that they had to be circumcised in order to keep their salvation.
Galatians 3:1 O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you that you should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed among you as crucified? (Verse 2) This only I want to learn from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? (Verse 3) Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh?
When people think “grace” plus “law,” it’s hearsay, false doctrine. Here is the reason: You reduce Christianity to the same level as every other religion in the world. First of all, Christianity is not a religion, it’s a relationship. But every religion in the world teaches “works!” You have to do something to be in right relationship with God according to those. Christianity is the only faith where we have to “receive.”
If you were raised in a very legalistic church, you will always struggle with your performance for God.
The law cannot empower.
Romans 7:4 – Therefore my brethren, you also have become dead to the law through the body of Christ, that you may be married to another – to Him who was raised from the dead, that we should bear fruit to God.
Jesus is the fruit-producing vine as opposed to a wild vine. The only way we are ever going to bear fruit is to be married to Jesus. Jesus is the husband that can give us fruit. Galatians 2:21 – “I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law then Christ died in vain.”
If we could be righteous through the law, our performance, then why would Jesus have died for our sins? Do laws of “thou shall not” make you stop doing what the law said not to do? Does any law make everyone obey them? No. We can have all the laws we want, but none of them will keep people from breaking them. The same goes for God’s laws.
Once you read the laws of God, were you empowered to never do what He said not to, do again? The law can’t empower us to stop doing anything, only the grace of God can empower us. The only way we break any stronghold in our life is to give our lives to Jesus Christ. The power to overcome comes from Jesus!
Is it not better to be married to a person than to be married to a list of don’ts or do’s? Many Christians are trying to empress their second husband, Jesus, by keeping a good relationship with their first husband, the law. Try that in the natural ans see how it works out. You can’t take the faultfinding do’s and don’ts and use it to empress the second husband. Can you imagine a wife still going over to her first husband’s house and serving him and then telling the second husband that this will make their marriage better? That’s nuts.
Love can justify and empower.
Who is love? The Bible says God is love! God can justify and God can empower. The Pharisees asked Jesus what he greatest commandment was and Jesus said, “Love… Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, and strength and love your neighbor as yourself.” The whole law is wrapped up in those two.
Love is the strongest governing force in the world. Some people think that if they teach more grace than the law, people will sin more. That’s wrong. Grace does not produce sin, it produces righteousness! God doesn’t think like we do. God says, “If you want to receive, give; if you want to have authority, get under authority; if you want to live, die to self; and if you want to have a holy church, preach on grace!
What gives sin its strength? 1 Corinthians 15:56 – the strength of sin is the law.
If someone sits under a legalistic church, they will follow the rules as long as they can and then they break! They will walk away frustrated and go back to the way they were before being saved. I’ve seen this happen especially when they are not being taught about God’s amazing grace.
We die to the law husband and marry the grace husband – Jesus Christ! Which kind of husband do you want to be married to? Jesus tells us that He will never leave us or be unfaithful even though we might.