Sunday, May 18, 2014

Bearing Fruit--The Rest of the Gospel

Romans 7:1-6

The first command in the Bible is Genesis 1:28"  Be fruitful and multiply".  Non-life cannot produce life.  Knowing  good and evil cannot bring life(so don't eat of that tree; Genesis 2:17).  It takes life to produce life  (so eat of the tree of Life, which is Christ; Gen. 2:9).  God's law is good and true but it cannot produce life.  If we are to obey God's first command we must partake of Jesus Christ.

In the first part of Romans 7, Paul talks about a marriage.  A woman is married to a perfect man.  The only problem is that he expects her to be perfect too(which she cannot do).  How can she love such a demanding man?  She needs to get out of that relationship and marry another man but she cannot unless her husband  dies(or she will be guilty of adultery).  That perfect and demanding man is  the Law(and he is not going to die!).  Is she stuck?  No.  If a death must part them, then she can die.  We are that woman and we can die. In fact, if we are believers in Christ, we already have. Through the cross of Christ we have died to the law(vs.4), to ourselves(Romans 6:6), and to sin (Rom. 6:11).  So the woman, having died (that's all believers) is now free to marry another.

The other man is perfect also.  And he expects perfection.  But He does it for us.  Jesus is the fulfillment of the law.  It ends with Him!  Such a man is very easy to love for all He wants from us is to love Him back and trust Him.  Now, as He lives His life in and through us, we can and will bear fruit for God(vs. 4).

We cannot obey any command in our own strength--even the one to "be fruitful".  But He can and will.  Like women, we are receivers.  No woman can get pregnant without the help of another man.  The man gives or plants the seed.  The woman receives the seed and life begins.  Nine months later fruit is born.  We are containers--"we have this treasure in earthen vessels".  The way God planned physical birth is for it to issue out of a love relationship between a man and a woman.  Spiritual fruit is born out of our love relationship with God in Christ, as we receive His life into us.  And the fruit comes naturally and almost spontaneously. 

A person in love wants to tell others of his or her love.  As we allow Christ to live in us, others see Him in us and we share the same good news with them that we now enjoy.  And "faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of (or "about") Christ(who He is and what He has done and continues to do for us).

Our focus should be on God, not on ourselves.  We should not dwell on our sins or our management of them.  We certainly should not dwell on the law(rules, precepts, commands etc.).  Our focus is on Jesus Christ through His Spirit(Colossians 3:1-3).  The result will be life, not death(Romans 8:1-11).  We will bear fruit for God.  We will "be fruitful and multiply".


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