1. Message:  In Romans 7 Paul uses their understanding of the Mosaic Law in regard to marriage in order to explain their relationship to the law after receiving Christ. According to the law, when a woman married a man she was bound to him legally until his death. She was free rom the bonds of that marriage covenant after his death, and was able to marry another. If she gave herself to another man while he was still living, she was considered an adulteress, even if they were divorced. Paul used this example in comparison to their spiritual marriage bond to the law that ended in death when they accepted Jesus. They died a spiritual death to their old life in order to join in marriage to another- Jesus. I see a lot of Christians get tripped up here because of the appearance of the law of Moses being used in the New Testament. The point of this text was not to condemn divorced people. We take similar vows in marriage and they are very serious, so this is not to say that we don’t also hold marriage to a serious standard. Paul’s use of this example was powerful to the Jews because they lived under the Mosaic law their entire lives and were struggling to transition to their new covenant with Jesus. Paul further explained how the law was holy but their relationship to it brought sin because of their inability to keep the law. Christians also get tangled and confused by this because most don’t understand that the Law of Moses was for the 12 tribes of Israel and their descendants. It was never intended for the gentiles. We read about it in the old testament because it gives insight and understanding to the new covenant. The physical things that the Jews had to do are tied to spiritual principles of the heart that we all deal with. As gentile believers we weren’t bound to the Law of Moses, we were bound to our sin nature. We ended that covenant in death when we died a spiritual death to our carnality and gave ourselves to another- Jesus. Because we are the spiritual bride of Christ we belong to him. We are in an internal war with sin, similar to the internal struggle the Jews had with the law (which produced sin in them). Since we are the bride of Christ, we no longer sin against just ourselves.  What we do (or don’t do) is a reflection of our faithfulness to Him.
  2. Command: Honor my relationship with Jesus as a faithful bride.
  3. Promise: We belong to Christ.
  4. Warning: Sin continues to be an internal struggle, but since we are the bride of Christ, our sin is not longer against just ourselves. When we give ourselves to sin it reveals our unfaithfulness to God.
  5. Application: This really weighed on me in the area of faithfulness. Since I have been married 25 years, I read this with a different understanding that our sin is not just against ourselves. It is a direct reflection of our faithfulness to God. I understand this concept in my marriage so well because anything I do directly affects my marriage, just like anything my husband does directly affects our marriage. There can be no secrets or decisions made without each other. We are two individuals but everything we do as individuals affects each other physically, emotionally and spiritually. We have a reputation together as well so what we each do as individuals affects the integrity of our reputation. I had always understood that we are the bride of Christ but still viewed my issues as my own. Today I looked at that in the context of faithfulness in marriage and it jolted me a little. My takeaway today is to examine my current behavior. Every attitude, every response, every word spoken and ask myself if it reflects well on my relationship with God. Not, “am I in trouble”? but “am I representing us well?” “Am I acting as a faithful spouse both to my husband and to my God?”

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