We belong to another … to bear fruit for God (verse 4).
What a great and glorious truth: We belong to Christ! We have been released from the law to serve in the way of the Spirit (verse 6). We are no longer bound by the law, but are bound to Christ. The illustration of marriage that Paul uses here underlines this point. The wife, by law, belongs to her husband (i.e. the law); but when her husband (the law) dies and she marries another (Christ), she now belongs to her new husband (Christ) and not to her previous one (the law).
Paul applies this to our lives very clearly “you … died to the law through the body of Christ”. In other words, we no longer belong to the law, we are not bound by it, “we have been released from the law” (verse 6).
However, this does not mean that we are now lawless and can live any way we please. Rather, we “belong to another [Christ] … in order that we might bear fruit to God” (verse 4). We have a new ‘husband’, we belong to Christ and therefore we seek to please Him. This is what Paul means when he says “we serve in the new way of the Spirit” (verse 6).
What then does this mean for us? Do we just cast out the law and live however we please? No! We live to please Christ who fulfilled all the requirements of the law for us (Matthew 5:17). We belong to Christ, we seek to know Him more and more as we grow deeper in our relationship with Him, we want to know what pleases Him so that we can bring Him glory. This is why we read our Bibles – we study the words of Jesus to understand what He wants from us; not to earn our righteousness, but to please Him. He has already given us the righteousness of God (Romans 3:22). He has given us new life and new desires – a desire to want to please God.
Praise God that I have new desires to want to please God (Romans 7:22, 25).
In verses 14-25, Paul describes a war that wages within a believer. I trust that you have experienced this kind of war, as I experience every day. The fact that you and I battle against evil and desire to do good proves the fact that God’s Spirit lives in us and we seek to bear fruit for God. If we did not have this daily fight going on in us, we may need to question whether or not we have been granted the new life (which we described in our study yesterday). You see, if we have no new life, we cannot have new desires and consequently will not fight against sin. But by virtue of the fact that we have been raised with Christ and have a new life, we do have new desires and do fight against the sinful desires that war against our flesh.
Dear believer, take courage today. We will face temptations and struggles today, but remember that you belong to Christ. Don’t get caught up with trying to be bound to the law, but rather serve Christ in the new way of the Spirit. Fight against those evil desires which wage war against your new desires. And remember that God delivers you through Jesus Christ.
“Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (verse 25).