Reading through Romans today I came across this great illustration that Paul sets forth about our relationship to sin. He builds the analogy that man’s relationship to sin is similar to a woman’s relationship to her husband. Check out Romans 7:2-3 from the ESV.
2 For a married woman is bound by law to her husband while he lives, but if her husband dies she is released from the law of marriage. 3 Accordingly, she will be called an adulteress if she lives with another man while her husband is alive. But if her husband dies, she is free from that law, and if she marries another man she is not an adulteress.
What Paul is pointing out is that marriage is such a significant relationship that it is really only death that can break the bond between husband and wife. Likewise for us, we are born into this existence ‘married’ to sin. We are obliged to continue our relationship with sin and I would submit that often we are extremely desirous to please our ‘husband’. Death has to occur to release us from our bond to sin. What is wild here is that it is not sin that dies, rather it is us. Romans 7:4 says,
4 Likewise, my brothers, you also have died to the law through the body of Christ, so that you may belong to another, to him who has been raised from the dead, in order that we may bear fruit for God.
This is great and wonderful. We are stuck married to sin with no chance for reprieve, so God in his love initiates our freedom by providing a way for us to die and be joined to Him. Greater still is that He first dies so that we are able to follow him in death. The challenging part of this is that the death we share with Jesus is only spiritual for now. I think this is what makes it hard for us. The reality is we have died spiritually but yet we still dwell in the physical realm and the physical realm is where our old husband sin still lives. And think about it, the old husband doesn’t really know we died because we are still around, but died we did. Paul wraps this up nicely in Romans 7:5-6,
5 For while we were living in the flesh, our sinful passions, aroused by the law, were at work in our members to bear fruit for death. 6 But now we are released from the law, having died to that which held us captive, so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit and not in the old way of the written code.
This is the takeaway for me. Paul reminds me that prior to conversion my life was all about my obligation to sin but that in Christ I am no longer bound to it. The spiritual death that Jesus provided me has allowed me to be bound to Him. Applying this truth requires me to be mindful and diligent to walk in ‘the new way of the Spirit’ and reject the no longer valid obligation of sin.
Father, thank you God for your Word. It truly is a guide for me. Thank you for the reminder that I am no longer bound to sin and that I am free in the Spirit to be conformed by your power to your Holy image. Help me in weakness and empower me to glorify you and enjoy you as I seek you. I offer you praise. In Jesus name, Amen.