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Saying “I Do” to Christ

by Stephen Davey Scripture Reference: Romans 7:1–4

In the opening verses of Romans 7, the apostle Paul explains the great truth that we who are saved through faith are freed from the law and united with Jesus Christ. The result and evidence of this union is a spiritually fruitful life.


In Romans 6 Paul took us to the graveyard and taught us that we died in Christ, we were buried in Christ, and then resurrected in Christ to newness in life. As we sail into Romans 7, Paul takes us from the graveyard to a wedding. He shows us a wedding album, and we discover that we are in the photograph. In chapter 6 we were buried with Christ; but now in chapter 7 we are the bride of Christ.

And the good news is that every Christian has experienced the burial of chapter 6; and every Christian will experience the wedding of chapter 7 and, ultimately, the victory of chapter 8.

Before we dive in, I should note that there are a number of opinions about who Paul is referring to here in chapter 7. I don’t want to take time to give you all the opinions out there; so, I will just give you the right one.

I believe the answer to that question is obvious if you simply notice the pronouns Paul uses. He is going to use the personal pronoun “I” thirty times. If you added to that his uses of personal pronouns like “me,” and “my” and “myself,” Paul refers to himself more than fifty times in this chapter.[1]

This is Paul’s testimony. And beloved, it is your testimony as well.

Paul begins this chapter by masterfully delivering a principle. He illustrates the principle and then applies the principle to us.

He begins here in verse 1 with the principle of the law’s limitation:

Do you not know, brothers—for I am speaking to those who know the law—that the law is binding on a person only as long as he lives?

Some believe Paul is referring specifically to the law of Moses here. However, this phrase in the Greek New Testament lacks the definite article the. So, Paul is referring to law in general.

He is saying that any law has jurisdiction over a person only while that person is alive. You cannot take a corpse to court. You cannot subpoena someone who has already died.

Paul illustrates this principle with the marriage covenant. Verse 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.

Paul is simply saying that everyone intuitively understands that “’Til death do us part” is the natural law behind the covenant of marriage.

Paul continues in verse 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.

Paul’s point is simply this: God intends marriage to last a lifetime. Because of abandonment, or infidelity, or abuse, that covenant can be broken. But apart from those kinds of exceptions, as we have already studied in our Wisdom Journey, the covenant of marriage is active while the husband and wife are alive. Then, if one spouse dies, the other one is no longer bound to that covenant.

This is the illustration of Paul’s point that the law is limited. We are bound to the law as long as we are alive. We are bound to the law—married to it, if you please. But because the law is not a living being, it cannot die. And that means, according to Paul’s analogy here, the law is our husband, and he cannot die. Yet the only way out of this bond is for someone to die.

In other words, somebody has to die to free us from our marriage to Mr. Law, so to speak, so that we can be free to become the bride of Christ. But again, the law cannot die, so it appears that we are stuck.

Well, there is the solution, and we find it in verse 4:

You . . . 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.

The law does not die, but—guess what––you died in Christ and were raised to new life in Him.

In the mind of God, you died in Christ; so now the law cannot claim you. Paul writes here that because you have died in Christ, you can belong to another, “to him who has been raised from the dead.” That’s Jesus!

Paul is effectively saying that our marriage to the law was dissolved by death––our death in Christ, who died on our behalf. So, we have been freed to remarry. And our new husband is Christ Himself, our beloved Bridegroom and Redeemer.

We have even taken His name as ours. We are now called Christians because we belong to Christ.

And let me tell you, names matter at weddings. You have to put the right name on the marriage certificate. One weekend I married a couple—the groom’s name was Richard. The next weekend I married another couple—his name was Robert. During the vows at that second wedding, I said to the bride, “Do you take Richard to be your lawfully wedded husband?” Problem was, this guy was Robert. Everybody froze—and then everyone burst into laughter, primarily at my embarrassment. I had to get it right! The bride did not say to me, “It does not matter; you can call him Henry for all I care.” Oh no—it mattered. She was only interested in marrying Robert.

Over in Acts 4:12 the apostle Peter said, “And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” You know what salvation is? It is Jesus proposing to you and you saying yes to Him. When you accept Him as your Savior, you are effectively saying, “I now take Jesus Christ to be my lawfully wedded Husband! I take Him as my Groom—my Savior.”

If you have done that, let me tell you something about your future. Over in Revelation 19 we are given a glimpse of the marriage feast between the church and Jesus Christ, just before the Lord sets up His millennial kingdom on earth.

We are described as dressed in fine robes—appropriate wedding attire—as the great feast celebrating our wedding begins. At this wedding feast, the Lord is referred to as the Lamb. It’s as if the Lord wants His bride, the church, to remember how much He loves them. He paid the ultimate price to purchase His bride. He is the Lamb who sacrificed His life for the church.[2]

At this point, Paul reminds us that our marriage to Christ should produce results here and now. In verse 4 Paul refers to the “offspring” of our union with Christ, when he writes, “that we might bear fruit for God.” In other words, our marriage union with Christ should produce “fruit”—that is, as Christians we should bear spiritual fruit that honors God.

The New Testament speaks of various kinds of spiritual fruit. Hebrews 13:15 speaks of the “sacrifice of praise to God . . . the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name.” So, our vocabulary should be pure and filled with praise to God.

In Philippians 4:15-17, Paul writes of the Philippians’ sacrificial giving to support him as spiritual “fruit.” In other words, every offering we give to the work of the gospel around the world is itself spiritual fruit from our union with Christ—and it contributes to spiritual reproduction as the gospel goes forth.

It is our privilege, but it is also to be our passion, to live our lives in such a way that we bear this kind of fruit for the glory of God.

[1] Alva J. McClain, Romans: The Gospel of God’s Grace (BMH Books, 1973), 151.

[2] Warren W. Wiersbe, Wiersbe’s Expository Outlines on the New Testament (Victor Books, 1992), 850.

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