Hey you! Are you a believer?
Well, guess what?
Then you are married! Yes you are. And to make matters even more interesting. We are all brides here, married to the same man, Jesus Christ the groom! We, the church, are the body of…Christ. He loves us and we love Him. It’s intimate. It’s a covenant of ‘all I have is yours and all you have is mine’. There is no holding back or reservation. It’s all in.
Paul’s first conclusion in Romans 7 is this:
“But now we have been delivered from the law, having died to what we were held by, so that we should serve in the newness of the Spirit and not in the oldness of the letter.”
This is a real change and it is not just positional. It’s not just ‘I am a forgiven sinner’ still living with the same fears, addictions, hurts and anger.
You see, many of us were taught, and I was certainly one of them, that we are forgiven sinners. Why did Jesus come to earth and why did He die on the cross? He didn’t do this because we were sinners. He did that because we were lost sons and daughters. Please bear with me. This is not a play on words here. It’s a completely different perspective. If in Romans 5 Paul writes that Christ came as the New Man, the New Adam, to do it right where Adam got it wrong, that tells me that righteousness with God is a big deal. He wants to take you and me to the place, not just positional, but also moral and spiritual, where we can look at ourselves and God ‘as if we never ate from the tree’. It’s also called reconciliation. We are friends of God again living in a right relationship with Him.
So, what happened on the cross? Jesus died on the cross, because He paid a high price, purchasing us back so that we may live with and for Him. He didn’t die for a bunch of unworthy sinners. Let’s suppose you go to a car dealer and you are interested in a second-hand car that’s worth 20k. You don’t go to the car dealer and offer him 30k instead, do you? No, you pay the price that it is really valued at. Right? How much do you think the blood of Jesus, His broken body…the Son of God, meant to the Father? What price-tag do we put on that? That’s impossible! Exactly right!
Our lives were worth the blood! Every blow he received when He was beaten was for you and me. Isaiah 52:14 says this:
“So His visage (his visual appearance) was marred more than any man, and His form more than the sons of men’.
In simple English…They beat Him till you could not recognize Him anymore as Jesus of Nazareth.
Why was he beaten that bad and became so unrecognizable? Well, when sin was done with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, they didn’t look anything like what they were supposed to be. That’s why! Cut off from the source of life and love, they became in need of it. Needing life and love. Finding identity in self. Needing love at the expense of the other…Sin really ravaged big time.
And guess what? It pleased the Father to bruise the Son so that we could be truly set free and live. I guess He values us that much! You have a very, very high price and it was worth all the blood of Jesus. Jesus died because we were lost sons and daughters that lost the image of God and His death AND resurrection restores lost sons and daughters back to the Father. He is the Way to the Father.
Jesus died while we were sinners (Romans 5:8). Not because we were sinners. It was obviously because we sinned that He died on the cross, but it is not a play on words here. It really is a completely different perspective on redemption.
Our TRUE identity is that we are sons and daughters that can live again in a right relationship with Him. Jesus Christ made that possible again. It’s called righteousness. God never took His eyes off the potential, destiny and purpose of you and me. Perhaps it’s time for you to believe that too and NOT measure your life and failures by what you know about yourself. God knows you for what you can be.
And still, we may have a hearing problem. Not the one I have physically, but rather spiritually…
YEAH BUT?! Patrick, are you saying that we don’t sin? What are saying here? Are you perfect? Don’t we get it wrong?
Let me say it plain: we think that our ability to sin – which we still have on this side of heaven – actually determines our identity as sinners. We take on the sin-identity as if that is still somewhere inside of us, waiting to raise its ugly head. It is as if you woke up this morning thinking that you are ‘sin waiting to happen’.
Let me ask you some questions to make this very clear. When Adam and Eve sinned by eating from the tree, what happened there? Really! What went wrong there?
Well several things, right?
First, their eyes were opened and ‘saw’ each other as naked. Shame was introduced to the world. Another way of saying it is that they became SELF-CONSCIOUS. And it wasn’t a good thing!
Second, they knew what the difference between good and evil, right? Yet, because they chose evil by disobeying God, they also became SIN-CONSCIOUS.
Third, when God asked Adam where He was, He gave Him a simple ‘yes-or-no-question’.
“Adam, did you eat from the tree?” Simple question. Just answer with yes or no…
Now Adam, fresh into the reality of sin (nobody taught him anything in this arena) did what?
“Well God, it isn’t my fault, Eve gave me to eat. If you hadn’t given me the woman, I probably wouldn’t have eaten from the tree in the first place.”
What’s that?! It’s SELF-PRESERVATION and BLAME-SHIFTING.
With Eve it wasn’t very different. Same question for Eve and same response but in different words: It wasn’t me God! The devil made me do it!!
You see what went down here? People became self-conscious, sin-conscious, self-preserved and blame-shifters. And we are all very much aware of that, aren’t we?
So, when Paul is saying in Romans 7:6 that we are free to live with Christ as our Husband because we live and serve in the newness of the Spirit rather than the oldness of the letter, something major had changed.
And I don’t know about you, but change frightens people. It pushes them out of their comfort zone, big time!
That’s why you can see how Paul is debating with the Jews that now might have concluded that the whole problem was the Law. After all, when you don’t know the Law, you can’t break it, true?
It’s what you hear when people say: “What you don’t know, won’t hurt you either.” It’s a blissful ignorance. Isn’t it sometimes better to not know it rather than to know and be held accountable to that knowledge? Well, not really. Scripture also says that people are perishing because of the lack of knowledge. Some translations even say the lack of understanding or revelation. Ignorance is not bliss after all.
What is it with the Law then? How do we deal with the Law? What is our relationship to the Law today? These are all questions for the next blog.