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Discussion Forum : Articles and Sermons : A CHANGE OF HUSBANDS

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How wonderful it is! - in our new slavery to Christ we are joyfully free to be producers of the fruit of the Spirit, and cannot come again under the control of our old sin-owner. In our new slavery we say from the heart what it says in that old Church of England prayer: " in whose service is perfect freedom." That is the fact; but how about our realization of it?

Let us face it: Though Paul has declared to us the totality of our new freedom as slaves to our new Owner, we often don't seem to have found this fixed level of new freedom working out in our lives, but are caught up again under that old sin-boss. Where does the answer lie? It is in our relationship to the law. We go back to this word of Paul's: "You are not under the law." But in fact we are under it and know a lot about the heavy bondage of the law on us with its "you ought" and "you ought not"! Then what does Paul mean when he says that we have full freedom from the law? We must look thoroughly into this and find the solution. For if Paul is saying, "Sin shall not have dominion over you, because you are not under the law but under grace," that evidently means sin will have dominion over us as long as the law does continue its hold over us. But how to be not only "dead to sin" (6:2) but "dead to the law" (7:4)? And how can that give us our liberty?

Paul explains it like this in Romans 7:1-6. In a marriage, law binds you to your mate. Now we humans started life mated to Satan, expressing his sin nature and producing his children, "the motions of sin in the flesh." But as we have already said, we came into the world blinded to the reality of our marriage and to the control of our sin-husband, and to the fact that it was his children which we were producing. We were duped into regarding ourselves as free persons living our own lives. If we had a relationship to sin, it was more as it having some "influence" on us, but by no means having control over us as husband over wife. We recognized Satan neither as husband nor slave-owner over us.

Therefore in our unsaved days, when blind to our true relationship to Satan, God in mercy sent us the law through Moses with its written list of "Thou shalts" and "Thou shalt nots" to shoot holes through our false independence and self-righteousness. We admitted the authority of God's law of right living, for we were still His offspring created in His image. But how husband sin laughed at us: "Fulfill God's law based on being a self-giving self, when you're mated to me, the enemy god of self-loving self? Ridiculous!" He was right. We couldn't and didn't want to fulfill God's law. So God's hidden purpose of grace in sending us the law was first fulfilled not in us humans keeping the law (which we couldn't) but in our consistently breaking the law, and thus being exposed by the law as guilty lawbreakers, as sinners.

So by the law we were ultimately driven to take that first great outward step of "coming honest" and acknowledging our guilt, repenting, and being delivered from the curse and condemnation of the law of God's own Son, "set forth" as the propitiation for our sins.

But then comes the further step. The total work of the law is not just to expose the fact of sins committed and the consequent judgment. It is that "by the law is the knowledge of sin" - not sins, but the sin principle which was dwelling in us when the father and originator of sin dwelt in us.

Paul, through analogy, explains how we are at first married to and totally controlled by our Satan-husband, but then by one stroke the marriage is broken up - Christ's death as our representative cutting us off from the marriage to Satan! Having died with Christ, we are now dead to our old husband. That means that the law can no longer point its finger at us as unable to keep its commands - unable because our husband (who expressed himself by us) would never let us - for death has put an end to that marriage; so the law has no further condemning claim in that respect. "Wherefore, my brethren, you became dead to the law by the body of Christ, that you should be married to another" (7:4).

He then uses the marriage illustration, just as he had used the owner-slave illustration, to bring home the same truth to us: that we humans are always under a deity management. So there's no such thing as we humans remaining unmarried, just the same as we couldn't remain free from slavery. Therefore the marvel of God's grace, says Paul, is that at the moment our old marriage was broken by the death of Christ our representative, immediately in His resurrection He became our new Husband in place of Satan. There's no such thing as a time period in which we are a kind of widow! We have immediately changed husbands and entered into our new marriage contract, in which "the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made us free from the law of sin and death" (8:2).

When I inwardly know this and have got the facts in clear focus, I find that my new Husband has me, to my delight, in His total ownership; and I have nothing to do in our family life beyond producing the fruits of our marriage, the fruit of the Spirit. Then the law has disappeared from me, because my new Husband, who is the resurrected Christ, fulfills it by our union life. I thus have become dead to the law in its outer form - the form in which God first sent it, so as to expose me to the reality of my old Satan-husband.

What perfect joy for us who have come this whole way by grace into our new union and know, in its full reality, our marriage to our new Husband! But actually, the point of what Paul is now writing about, and bringing to its climax in Romans 7, is that we've not yet properly understood our relationship to our two husbands. Being all tangled up, our concepts need to be untangled. The tangle is caused by the false idea of myself as an independent person, about which I've been deceived from the Fall. Not knowing that as a sinner I lived under the total management of my old husband and solely expressed him and reproduced his children, but wrongly thinking I then had an independent life of my own, I started out living my new life thinking that now also, as a redeemed human, I have an ability of my own and so can fulfill the law. And so my former husband catches me unaware. When I think I ought to be "doing my own thing" for God (for now, being redeemed, I delight in the law of God) Satan cunningly re-exerts his control over me and causes me to fulfill his flesh will. How can this be? Because "doing my own thing" is Satan's principle, the very cause of his and Adam's fall. It is the sin principle. Here then is the value of the continuing law to my life. I needed to have one final radical exposure of the "nonsense" of my supposed independence. By this, at last, I can see I have never been independent: because the self- relying self was the sin-spirit in me. Until, however, I consciously know and enter into the reality of not only my cutoff from my old husband, but also my marriage to my new Husband, I will still be in an illusory condition of independence, and so actually under the remote control of my old husband. There is no in-between status. So the law completes its work by revealing the illusion of my independence, and grace reveals the reality of my new marriage. Once I move into that, the law ceases to exist as having an outer claim on me, since it is now being inwardly fulfilled in me. This is why Paul puts such strong emphasis upon the completion of God's purposes through the law for my freedom, exposing sin as well as sins, and the lie about a time of independence intervening between the old ownership and the new, the old husband and the new.

How wonderful to know that I am now married to Christ! To know that "I am my Beloved's, and His desire is toward me" (S. of S. 7:10).

 2016/5/6 7:52

Joined: 2008/10/30
Posts: 2010


"How wonderful to know that I am now married to Christ!"

Tell me tuc, is there any possibility of this marriage ever being dissolved, or is it indissoluble?

This is a very serious question.

 2016/5/6 8:08Profile

 Is there any possibility of this marriage ever being dissolved, or is it indissoluble?

No! NO! NO! There is NO possibility.

"Know ye not that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are,… whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?" (6:16). Paul makes it plain that we humans do not have a freedom of our own - that we have no self-operating human nature. We are always servants ("slaves," in the Greek) to one deity or the other. And the deities are here named by their character and lifestyle: sin... or righteousness. Yes, here alone is our freedom: "Know ye not that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are?" That is our charter of freedom within slavery: our freedom to belong to one master only. And as believers, we have already changed our slavery - from sin to righteousness, from Satan to Christ (vss. 17-18)!

A slave does not change his owner every hour of the day, or even every month! That is the law of slavery, and of freedom within that slavery. Humans may not always seem so consistently under one or the other owner - we may slip and slither in our outer behavior - but at our spirit-center we're always in one of those two slaveries and freedoms (vss. 20-22), fixed and not interchangeable (except by God's grace!) This, then, is how total our transference is from the first Adam's family to the last Adam's, by the radicalness of Christ's once-for-all death to sin and aliveness to God.

This slave-illustration strongly confirms us in knowing in which family and whose service we are - and that our salvation is for keeps, despite any deviations. It equally confirms us into not being hastily judgmental of others in their apparent deviations. See through to the center, where spirit is joined to Spirit! Always contribute faith, not negative downgrading judgment, to any deviators.

Our freedom, Paul says, is total freedom from any other claimant. We can never serve two masters, even if we delude ourselves into thinking we can. We were free from God's way of self-giving living while we "enjoyed" the freedom of self-loving living as slaves to sin. But now, through our obedience in believing the gospel truth brought to us (6:17), our service to sin has been severed and replaced by our service to righteousness - which is being servants of God (6:18,22). We have exchanged freedoms and cannot return, and are in the enjoyment of our new slavery!

Then Paul asks, Did you really enjoy that former freedom with its "Dead Sea fruits" of conscious guilt, and the hard labors involved in sinful living? (vs. 21). We had to work for a despot in our inwardly chaotic state of fallen selfhood, and our wages were eternal death! What a freedom! -and how rightly we are now ashamed of it! But our new freedom, a free gift, spontaneously produces not works, but the rich fruits of holy living; and the end, everlasting life. Owner "sin" pays wages in eternal death; owner "grace" gives the free gift of eternal life.

So here is the royal and wonderful answer to the fear of license some may have because of their new freedom from the law. Is there not danger that, if we're free to do what we like, we'll then choose to indulge ourselves in all kinds of sinning? But the miraculous difference in this new freedom lies in the law of the Spirit replacing the old law. When this truth really dawns, we see it is not that it's easier to sin and harder to live rightly.. but the other way round! It is easy to walk God's way and hard to go back to the devil's ways! It is absurd even to think of being the devil's dupes again! What a boldness it gives us when we know that we are totally controlled by the One who owns us, and that we have nothing to do with keeping ourselves. Our Owner is also our Keeper.

 2016/5/6 9:30

 Emancipation can only be accomplished by one who pays the price

How bold it was of Paul - and what a word of revelation - to affirm these two absolute freedoms: If we are slaves of Satan and sin, we are so freed from Christ and righteousness that we cannot change from one to the other.

A slave can't free himself. Emancipation can only be accomplished by one who pays the price - by one who buys us back from our captor. So now, freed from that sin- slavery which totally controlled us, we are so totally free as slaves to Christ that sin and Satan cannot get us back again.

What confidence that gives us in our own new freedom and the like freedom of our brethren. Paul is going to lead us in chapters 7 and 8 of Romans into the full focus of this truth, so that we shall know with a fixed inner certainty that we humans have no nature of our own by which we might direct our own lives. Rather, we are directed… and we are kept... however much, under temptation, we may temporarily wriggle or squirm against our new "bondage" which is our freedom.

So having got that clear once for all - that we are total slaves, eternally fixed to our new owner - Paul can now turn his attention to the one remaining problem which can block our entry into the full freedom that is ours in Christ (and indeed does so until fully and finally cleared away): the control of the law on our deluded independent selves, and the means of freedom from it.

 2016/5/6 9:38

Joined: 2008/10/30
Posts: 2010

 Re: Emancipation can only be accomplished by one who pays the price

Thanks tuc!

To avoid putting words in your mouth, let me ask something further. Following the logical conclusion from your answer which you wrote,"No! NO! NO! There is NO possibility",are you saying that a person who is saved cannot lose that salvation?

 2016/5/6 10:01Profile

 Can a saved person loose their salvation?


A saved person CAN NOT loose their salvation.

What a boldness it gives us when we know that we are totally controlled by the One who owns us, and that we have nothing to do with keeping ourselves. Our Owner is also our Keeper.

 2016/5/6 10:10

Joined: 2008/10/30
Posts: 2010

 Re: Can a saved person loose their salvation?

Thanks again tuc for your prompt answer, and also for the clarity of your answer!

 2016/5/6 10:18Profile

Joined: 2012/2/8
Posts: 5390


John 15:5-6 I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned.


 2016/5/6 10:20Profile

Joined: 2011/10/21
Posts: 1277
Dothan, Alabama


My beloved brother,

Just wanna say, thank you for your love of the truth bro!
It is not only very encouraging but also very fruitful:)
And for your demonstrating what you believe consistently here on SI.

....and for your personal correspondence to me last year as it has really been quite a blessing+:)


 2016/5/6 12:04Profile

 Re: Can a saved person loose their salvation?

"A saved person CAN NOT loose their salvation."

As brother Zac Poonen states, "No one can ever snatch me from Christs hand, but I can choose to jump out of His hand".

That is the balance isn't it? That we are not robots without a free will. A created being with free will can choose to walk away and deny Christ, just as the angels with free will also chose to rebel against God.

Also, and as a separate point. From a practical standpoint, MANY who believe they stand...actually do not. They think they are saved but they are not. To them, from their perspective, when they discover that they are not standing it appears to them that they have "lost" their salvation.

And some of them very well might have...who really knows?

Half of Christendom believe that a saved person can lose their salvation and the other half believes that it is impossible.

So we will continue kicking this subject around for millennium:-)

 2016/5/6 15:09

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