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(Romans 7:4) The Offspring of Our Union

(Romans 7:4) The Offspring of Our Union

Ref: Romans 7:4

During His brief years of ministry, Jesus was constantly surrounded by pseudo-disciples who followed Him for their own gain. But when they discovered that Jesus had certain expectations of them as well


The Offspring of Our Union

Romans 7:4

Romans chapter 7 began by describing the marriage of the Christian to the Son of God.

Our old marriage to the law has been dissolved, not by divorce, but by death.

Having died to the law in Christ, we are now free to remarry, and Christ offers Himself to us as our eternal Bride-groom.

The Holy Spirit presides over the wedding ceremony we call conversion: and He asks us, “Will you take the Savior to be your wedded husband?

And you answered, “Yes!”

You took His name – Christian – as your own; you are awaiting His coming to take you back where he’s already prepared an addition onto the Father’s house.

But that’s just the beginning.

Just what is the purpose in your union with Christ?  What did you expect from your marriage to Christ?  What does He expect from you?! 

Last Sunday I saw a young woman showing off her engagement ring to some friends – I stopped by and said, “Let me see it – it was a beautiful ring – she was engaged to be married.”

Suppose I were to ask her, “Now just why did you pick this guy to marry?”

What if she answered,  “Because he makes me feel good about myself.”  Who’s at the center of her reasoning?  She is. 

What if I asked some guy, engaged to be married,  “Why are you marrying her?” and he says, “Because she meets all my needs.”  What is the chief incentive for his union – his own self-centered desires.

What if I asked a young fiance, is there any other reason for marrying this guy, and she said, “He makes me happy.”  “He makes you happy?” 

What happens after you get married and discover that no one on earth can make you more unhappy than he can?” 

You’ll end up calling your mother and saying, “He’s so irritating and exasperating!”

I’m not speaking from experience.

Ask some fella, “Why you gonna marry her?”  “Well, because she’s so sweet.”  “What happens when she goes sour?” But, she’s so kind and gentle!  What happens when she isn’t gentle; what happens when she turns into a wild-eyed she-bear trapped in a cave and you’re the only living thing between her and freedom?  Then what?!

I’ve never been much good at pre-marital counseling.

The truth is, we not only enter marriage selfishly; we discover marriage to be amazingly adept at revealing every flaw in the human nature.  

I thought it was funny that Pastor Jonathan Edwards dealt with this issue as well.

Just this past week I was reading about an incident in the ministry of Jonathan Edwards, during the Great Awakening in American revivals 150 years ago.  Jonathan Edwards was leading  a massive prayer meeting with around 800 men. Into that meeting a woman sent a message asking the men to pray for her husband.  The note described a man who had become unloving, filled with pride and extremely difficult to live with.  Edwards read the message in private and then, thinking that perhaps the man described was present, made a bold request.  Edwards read the note to the 800 men; then asked if the man who had been described would raise his hand, so that the whole assembly could pray for him; and 300 men raised their hands.

Citation: Bryan Chapell, Holiness by Grace, (Crossway, 2001), p. 80.

D. Martin Loyd Jones provoked my thinking when he wrote about the way we pander to the selfishness of the unbeliever as we attempt to win them to Christ.

We say things to the unbeliever like,

  • Would you like to feel better about yourself – accept Christ.  
  • Would you like to have all of your needs met – come to Christ;
  • Are you unhappy?  Come to Christ and He’ll make you happy all the time.”

Presenting only those motives to an unbeliever not only distorts the gospel and misrepresents the Christian life, it also allows the unbeliever to remain the center of his world, and the gospel becomes nothing more than some anti-depressant; Christ becomes a spiritual therapist who exists to ease their aches and pains . . . and then they say, “Yes, I want that kind of Jesus” and they pray a little prayer and 2 months later abandon it all saying, “Christianity is too much work . . . I didn’t know Jesus was gonna want to reconstruct my life . . . I never dreamed how inconvenient holiness would be.”

Adapted from D. M. Lloyd-Jones, Romans: The Law (Zondervan Publishing), 1973, p. 64

What is the purpose of our union with Christ?

Why did you get married to Christ?

There are a number of reasons, but the one Paul emphasizes in Romans chapter 7 surprised me.

Look at verse 4.  Therefore, my brethren, you also were made to die to the Law through the body of Christ, so that you might be joined to another, to Him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God.

I would have expected Paul to write, “So that you might be joined to another, to Him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might be forgiven;”

or, “that we might know the liberty we have in our union with Christ;”

or, “that we might inherit eternal life.”

All those things are true, yet the purpose statement that Paul delivers here states the surprising motive, “in order that we might bear fruit for God.”

On second thought, it isn’t really surprising is it?  Paul is writing within the context of an illustration of marriage between Christ and His bride, the church.  Paul now includes a reference to the offspring of our union with Christ.  “That we might bear fruit for God.”

Paul moves from the image of a bride to the image of tree bearing fruit.

Fruit is the expression of life.  We were planted in the soil of sin and law and death; but God through Christ transplanted us and placed us in the rich soil of grace and mercy so that we would be able to bear the fruit of His life in our character and conduct.

Fruit is the proof of life.

Fruit reveals what kind of life is in the tree.  Jesus said in Matthew 12:33b  “for the tree is known by its fruit.

What kinds of fruit are there?  What are kinds of fruit that evidence marriage to the Son of God.

Nearly 70 times, the word karpos – fruit appears in the New Testament.  We obviously don’t have time to look at all of them, in order to understand Paul’s declaration of God’s intention for our lives, but let me give you a few of them.

First)  There is the fruit of speech:

Hebrews 13:15.  Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name.

Sons sound just like their fathers; girls talk just like their mothers!  Accents and nuances are exactly the same.  That comes from exposure to one another.  Husbands and wives adopt similar vocabularies and expressions.

You spend time with Christ and you begin to speak the language of Christ – your speech is pure and filled praise that becomes a sacrifice to God.

2nd) There is the fruit of surrender:

John 12:24.  Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.

“Lord, here I am . . . your seed . . . You can bury me now

whenever and wherever You wish!”

Like a woman I was told about recently – a young lady in our

 congregation who recently became convicted that she wasn’t

bearing fruit for Christ.  She didn’t feel like she was really doing

anything for her Lord.  She discovered a group of 5 older women

and just started talking to them.  She found out they were

believers but not really doing anything for Christ.  They told her

they preferred to work evenings and weekends because they

were basically lonely and preferred work rather than staying at

home alone.  This young lady invited all five to her home for

dinner and began a Bible study with them.  She then prayed for

something to do together with them where they could have a

chance to serve as well.  She called the mission to homeless

women and children in Raleigh.  They’ve recently gone together,

providing a skit and a Bible story for homeless women and their


Here am I Lord . . . your seed . . . bury me wherever You will!

The reason the fruit of many believers is little instead of much, is because their surrender has conditions; they will determine where they will be buried and they will determine where they will bear fruit – and they never fully accept where God buried them and that lack of full surrender fails to bear much fruit!

3rd) There is the fruit of spiritual maturity:

Hebrews 12:9.  Furthermore, we had earthly fathers to discipline us, and we respected them; shall we not much rather be subject to the Father of spirits, and live?  10.  For they disciplined us for a short time as seemed best to them, but He disciplines us for our good, so that we may share His holiness.  11.  All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.

The correction of God, to the believer who listens and learns from his mistakes, brings about fruit of righteousness – right living which involves spiritual maturity.

Many Christians are growing old in the Lord but not they are not growing up in the Lord – and the primary reason the writer of Hebrews suggests, is that they will not listen or learn from the correction of God Spirit and His word.

One of the greatest evidences of spiritual growth is the growing evidence of this next kind of fruit.

4th)  It is the fruit of sacrificial giving:

Paul wrote these astonishing words to the Philippian believers:  4:15.  You yourselves also know, Philippians, that at the first preaching of the gospel, after I left Macedonia (listen to this!), no church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving but you alone;  In other words, when Paul began his ministry, nobody supported him except the Philippian church.  16.  for even in Thessalonica you sent a gift more than once for my needs.  17.  Not that I seek the gift itself, but I seek for the profit (karpov – or fruit) which increases to your account.

According to Paul, the financial assistance given to him allows the Philippian believer to receive future reward from Paul’s labor.

A person will invest in stock – hoping his shares will grow in value and he add the increase to his account.

We invest in people – we give so that ministry can happen in the lives of people – and people who give become a partner not only in the ministry but in the reward.

I want you to know how excited I am about the way this church gives to people and projects outside our own budget.  I believe this church has developed a good nose for investment potential. 

A few weeks ago I brought up on this stage a young man who was heading for Moody Bible Institute.  A Russian teenager who came to America, an atheist – but was led to Christ here and discipled here by our Student ministry staff.  His name is Dima –  you remember he sat on the front row in his new suit he bought for $10.00 from Good Will.  Within a matter of days he was heading for Bible college to prepare for the ministry – he was planning to go back to Russia as a missionary.  I brought him up on stage – it wasn’t part of our service – we hadn’t planned to do this – we just sensed  that together we could help him pay for his schooling as well as get him to Chicago; in fact, he didn’t even know how he was getting to Chicago that Sunday morning.  We passed the plates in the 2nd and 3rd service.  Others from the 1st service heard about it and contributed. 

This congregation, after already giving beyond our own budgeted needs, reached in it’s pockets and gave Dima an offering of $17,400 dollars – and three plane tickets!

The Bride of Christ bears fruit that resembles the heart of her BrideGroom; who came to give Himself away!

Did we lose anything?  No!  What an incredible investment!

5th)  There is the fruit of saving truth

Colossians 1: 3 We give thanks to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you,  4.  since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and the love which you have for all the saints;  5.  because of the hope laid up for you in heaven, of which you previously heard in the word of truth, the gospel  6.  which has come to you, just as in all the world also it is constantly bearing fruit. 

The gospel bears the fruit of truth and the fruit of life and the fruit of light and hope.

Without the gospel, there is not light but darkness;

Without the gospel, there is not truth but speculation;

Without the gospel, there is not life but despair;

Without the gospel, there is not hope but futility.


Everything a person yearns for in life ultimately is that which rides upon the wind of the gospel.  For the true Gospel points men and women to Jesus Christ.

There is no greater thrill than sharing the gospel of hope to someone who is hopeless – and watching them discover hope in Christ.

A few weeks ago Marsha and I were on our way back from the coast – some friends of ours loaned us their beach house – we celebrated our 22nd anniversary in that beautiful spot of creation.  We picked up our youngest daughter on our way home – she was staying with friends not too far away.  It was raining off and on as we traveled back . . . Interstate 40 has a 70 mile an hour speed limit, but because of the rain which had saturated the road, I had slowed down.  I still don’t know what happened, but I remember feeling the steering wheel jerk a little to the left – I pulled it back as we began to hydroplane out of control.  Our van turned completely around as if it were on ice and we went off the interstate backward at about 60 miles an hour.  We crashed into a guardrail and skidded down it, knocking one post after another down.  Finally we came to a stop.  No one was hurt, the windows hadn’t broken, but the side of the van had been destroyed – the van was totaled.  We called our friend, Ed Maness – a member here who is an officer with the State Highway patrol.  Within minutes he was here to calm us, help us, deal with the traffic report – he even drove us home.  

We were right in the middle of our series on adversity.  I didn’t mention this then because I didn’t think it qualified to be in the list of adversities that our brothers and sisters in Christ were experiencing.

But for us, this was adversity.  I remembered what Richard Allen Farmer had said, “While we don’t always know the reason for adversity, adversity always has a reason.”

I wondered what the reason was.

I went to the dealer to look at vans like the one we’d just totaled.  The sticker shock sent my heart racing . . . I couldn’t believe how much vans had increased in 4 years.

I went on the internet and found a used van like ours in Connecticut.  I searched the history of the van through the vin number – it was clean and with low mileage, it was still under warranty.  I negotiated the deal over the phone and agreed to buy the van.

Wayne Witt and Drew Baird, a couple of guys who love to fly planes, flew me in a little plane to Cheshire Connecticut.  The van salesman met us at the little community airport where we checked out the van and then drove it back to the dealer – my friends flew back to Raleigh.

My plan was to wrap up the deal and get to my parents home in Virginia no later than 10:00 that night.

Pulled away from the dealers around 2:00, the plan was working like clockwork. I still couldn’t figure out why this was all happening.  I drove about 30 minutes south and pulled off for some food.  After getting some strong coffee I got back in the van and it wouldn’t start.

It wouldn’t start.  It just made a funny noise.  I’m not a mechanic, but I know a funny noise when I hear it.  It was not a dead battery noise; it was not a bad starter sound; it made a noise that sounded like 1,000 people laughing and jeering at me for buying a van in Connecticut. 

I called the dealer on my cell phone and said, “What did you sell me?”  He said, “Stephen, the van, as you know from our vin number search, had a bulb replaced and a door lock – that’s it.  It has never broken down.  True, we had driven it back from the airport – ran like a charm.

He said, “You’re still under warranty so you have free roadside assistance.”  Suddenly I’m filled with joy!  After several hours waiting, I was towed to a little dealership in the little town of Fairfield, CT. It was not fair and there were no fields anywhere in sight. 

All the while I’m thinking – adversity has a reason.  When we got to the dealership it was closing – they checked for spark and gas and got both – the mechanic said, “Look, it’s after 5:00; I’ll look at it first thing in the morning.”

I don’t want to bore you with all this, you want to hear the rest of it?

I said, “Well, do you have a hotel nearby?”  He said, “Yea, there’s a Fairfield Inn down the street a couple of blocks.”  I made it there, booked a room – for 85 bucks – and then remembered my younger brother could get me a room with his frequent flier miles – it just had to be connected with Marriott – Hampton Inn, Fairfield Inn.  I called him and he said, “No problem – called back a little later but instead of giving me a code number he said, “Stephen, the Marriott people can’t find a Fairfield Inn where you are – the closest one is in New Haven – 10 minutes north.”  I said, “Look, I’m standing in the lobby of the Fairfield Inn.”  He said, “Okay, I’ll keep looking.”  10 minutes later he called and said, “There isn’t anything related to Marriott in that town.”  By now I had been looking around – I’d noticed there wasn’t any air conditioning and the lobby was rather chewed up – I said, “Wait a minute” and walked outside, looked up at the sign and it said, “Fairfield Motor Inn.”  I was in the town of Fairfield. 

I asked the hotel clerk if she would call me a cab – 30 minutes later he pulled up, I got in and said, “Fairfield Inn, New Haven.”  He said, New Haven – that’s 20 miles north – it’ll cost you 30 bucks.  I said, “It is not – it’s 10 miles north.”  He said, “No it isn’t – it’s 20 miles north and it’ll cost you 30-35 bucks.”  I grabbed my briefcase, got out and then said, “You go yank somebody else’s chain.”  I walked into the hotel, pointed at the lady who I’m sure was part of the conspiracy and said, “Call me an honest taxi – that guy said it was 20 miles north and would cost around 30 bucks.”  She said, “He’s right!”

Now I’ve blown it!

What do I do . . . I called the dealership and got a salesman; explained me need to get to New Haven, could he take me? 

“Well, that’s an hour round trip for me . . . I’ve got to work until around 8:00 . . . sorry.”  I said, “Okay, don’t worry about it.”

What do I do . . . I don’t have much cash on me, I’m hungry, can’t get to my hotel, my van is a lemon and I’m stuck in a town filled, no doubt, with liberal Democrats. . .not that there’s anything wrong with that!

What’s the reason for this, Lord?

20 minutes later I was about to call that taxi back – when the lady at the desk said to me, “You have a phone call.”  It was the salesman – an elderly man, retired, but working part time to make a little money.  He said, “I’ve been thinking about you – I’m sorry you’re stranded . . . look, if you can help me with gas money, I’ll come after work and take you to New Haven.”

I said, “Thank you so much.”

A little after 8:00 he pulled up – obviously on his own last nickel – his name was Michael.  He was an elderly man who was working part time.  A soft-spoken man.  We took off.  The last thing I wanted to do was talk much – but he began to tell me his life story – former POW, divorced, grown kids that he rarely saw.  Got cancer a year or so ago – survived it – moved to Fairfield to be near his high school sweetheart who was a widow . . . they were seeing each other, not sure what was next.  He then said, not knowing I was a pastor, that he had undergone a number of blood transfusions because of the effects of his cancer and had been told that he had contracted the HIV virus.  It had developed rapidly, and he had been told recently that he had 6 months to live. He said to me, “You know, I’ve never told anyone this before – that I have AIDS – you know what I’ve decided to do?  I’m gonna go to Florida this winter and die in the sun.

For 2 weeks I had wondered – why?  What’s the reason for the accident and the plane trip and the broken down van – will I ever know the reason why?

When this man said, “I’m gonna go to Florida and die in the sun,  I knew . . . We had been taken through all of this so that I would be brought to a town in Connecticut called Fairfield, a messenger boy for the King – delivering a message to this man that God had already prepared, through his deep adversity, to hear the gospel which bears the fruit of light and truth and hope.

We sat out in the parking lot – it wasn’t long before he prayed and became the bride of Christ.

He had tasted the fruit of the gospel, which Paul said in this verse, continues to bear fruit all around the world.

We have been married to Christ – and the offspring of our union is fruit.  It is the fruit of:

  • Speech marked by purity and praise
  • Surrender with our lives to God’s will in his placement
  • Spiritual maturity as we learn from His instruction;
  • Sacrificial giving as we seize ministry investment opportunities;
  • Finally, the privilege of sharing the gospel with others so they too can experience it’s life giving fruit and become the Bride of Christ.


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