Released to Serve
Lord, help me to interpret Your Word in a way that will bring honor and glory to You as I seek to serve You in the freedom Christ has won.
Read Romans 7:1-6
Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Do you feel “married” (4) to the Living Christ or to some “written code” (7)? Or, to put it another way, is your faith based on a relationship with Jesus Christ, or keeping a list of rules!
The Old Testament Law, for many Christians, seems rather remote, with little direct relevance to their lives. Yet Paul says a great deal about it in Romans, not least about its relationship to believers. In 6:14-15, he talks about the need for believers to be taken from under the law’s authority if there is to be freedom from sin. Elsewhere in chapters 6 and 7 he argues, similarly, that Christians experience a death so they can be free from the law of sin and joined to Christ. Compare 6:2 and 6:6 with 7:4 and 7:6–death and freedom; also 6:18 and 6:22 with 7:4 and 7:6–freedom leading to fruitful service. He is talking about the believer’s relationship to two of the main powers of the old regime: sin and the Mosaic Law.
Paul argues that believers are released from the Law, just as the death of a spouse releases the partner from former obligations. If believers have been released from the Law, what does that mean in practice? Can we put the Old Testament to one side, and focus on Jesus’ command to love God and others, on which he said the Law depends (Matt. 22:40)? This is a very big question, about which much has been written. I believe that for believers, this means a total death to the law (Gal. 2:19,20). This does not mean we are free to do as we wish (Rom. 6:15-18; 1 Cor. 9:21) but we are now subject to the law of Christ, which we see in the example of Jesus and the commands he and his apostles issue as a guide to the life led by the Spirit. So, through the power of the Spirit, we can bear fruit for God. Paul will develop this more in the next chapter. As one writer put it, “The law has done its job for us and now goes into honorable retirement” (Gal. 3:25).
Paul talks about how faith in Christ leads to freedom in Christ, “in order that we might bear fruit to God” (4). How has this freedom resulted in holiness, service and fruit in your life?
Thank You, Lord, that You’ve set me free to serve You in the new way of the Spirit. Help me to see the wonder of what You’ve done.