Romans 7: 4-5
So, my brothers and sisters, you also died to the law through the body of Christ, that you might belong to another, to him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God. For when we were in the realm of the flesh, the sinful passions aroused by the law were at work in us, so that we bore fruit for death.
What does it mean to die to the law? Paul uses an example of marriage, that a husband and wife are bound to one another in marriage, until one dies, and then the remaining partner is “freed” from that obligation and can marry another. So it is with us and the law. We have died to the law, so God’s approval of us is not dependent on our good works. Hallelujah! However, we haven’t been set free from the law and then just turned loose into the wilderness. We have been set free TO CHRIST. As believers, we now belong to Him, so that we might bear fruit for Him. This isn’t so that we can earn His approval, but we who belong to Christ do good works as an act of worship, and a way to grow and know Him more deeply. Paul is underlining that seeking to do good is still important, but now as believers, we get to fight sin and seek to do good works by the power of God’s Holy Spirit, and confident of His love for us.
There is plenty in this chapter to challenge me. First of all, how often do I think of my sin in such harsh terms as Paul uses here, in calling it “fruit for death”? What sins in my life am I justifying or explaining away as “not that bad”? How can I bring these to God and ask Him to help me fight them, for the sake of my own joy and life? To quote John Owen, “be killing sin, or sin will be killing you.”
However, on the other hand, what sins might I be trying to fight in my own strength, and not letting God into the equation? What sins am I labouring under alone, despite being set free to walk through them in the love of God and with the help of His Holy Spirit?
Lord, I pray that you would continue to grow, teach and purify me. Lord I pray that you would reveal to me areas of my life that I need to bring to you and ask for your help in fighting. Give me the ability to desire your will in all things. Thank you that you chose to die for us, so that we could live free in the light of your grace.