Ask God to orient or reorient you to Himself. Confess any known sin. Thank Him for His forgiveness. Be still and reflect on Jesus and His sacrifice for you. Ask the Holy Spirit to open your heart and mind to God’s Word. Pray for others in your life that they, too, would know and love God today.
“1 Do you not know, brothers— for I am speaking to men who know the law— that the law has authority over a man only as long as he lives? 2 For example, by law a married woman is bound to her husband as long as he is alive, but if her husband dies, she is released from the law of marriage. 3 So then, if she marries another man while her husband is still alive, she is called an adulteress. But if her husband dies, she is released from that law and is not an adulteress, even though she marries another man. 4 So, my brothers, you also died to the law through the body of Christ, that you might belong to another, to Him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit to God. 5 For when we were controlled by the sinful nature, the sinful passions aroused by the law were at work in our bodies, so that we bore fruit for death. 6 But now, by dying to what once bound us, we have been released from the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code.”
In my Bible, I’ve circled all of verse four and I’ve put a red cross next to it. I did this because it reminds me that this is the Gospel in a nutshell. In fact, let’s read verse four again, “So, my brothers, you also died to the law through the body of Christ, that you might belong to another, to Him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit to God.” This was the main point of Paul’s marriage illustration.
Look at what Paul said: “We have died to the law.” Notice that Paul did not say that the law was dead. What is important to remember is that the law still has a valid ministry in producing conviction of sin. How is it that we’ve been made dead to the law? “Through the body of Christ” which refers to Christ’s physical, crucified body.
Through faith we’ve been united with Christ in His death. We are now joined to the risen Christ. Think back to the marriage illustration: One marriage was broken by death and a new one was formed. Now that we are free from the law, we can bear fruit to God.
Paul was just continuing to hammer this theme of “death and freedom.” You’ll probably remember that he’s already made this point earlier when he wrote, “We were therefore buried with Him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.” It’s only by living in this new life that we can “bear fruit to God.”
And what is this “fruit to God”? What does this fruit look like? It’s practical works of service, the good deeds that come from union with Christ. The fruit is the same as the fruit Paul talked about when he wrote about being liberated from sin and becoming slaves to Christ, “The fruit that results in sanctification—and in the end is eternal life!” This fruit is a new life, characterized by those “Good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do (Eph. 2: 10).” This fruit is grounded in Love! (Gal. 5:22) And along side love flow joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness and
What fascinates me about this fruit is that we don’t produce it because we feel we can earn God’s favor, instead we live it out as a demonstration of our profound gratitude through our changed character in actions towards others. In other words, we can’t help but live devoted to Him. Our good works are the fruit of our salvation!
This fruit is grounded in Love! (Gal. 5:22) And along side love flow joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness and
Yes, this is good news. I’ll say it again; verse four is the “Gospel in a nutshell!”
Today take some time and think about your life: where you were before Christ, where you’ve been, how you’ve grown, and the ways you’re currently growing. In what ways have you seen the fruit of God?
*From what you have just read and considered: What is a personal implication/application for your life today?
(Personalize this prayer today; make it specific to the circumstances that face you.)
Ask God to lead you through His Spirit as you go through your day. Ask Him to bring to mind the truth of the gospel and its implications for what you will encounter today. Tell Him “Yes” to His will and ask Him for His power and protection to live this “yes.” Ask God to create and reveal opportunities to proclaim the good news today. KEEP PRAYING THROUGHOUT YOUR DAY.
Inspiration and insight for the devotionals came from the following books: Reading Romans with John Stott; The Message of Romans: God’s Good News for the World (The Bible Speaks Today Series), Stott, John; Romans (The NIV Application Commentary Book 6) Moo, Douglas J.; Encountering the Book of Romans: A Theological Survey (Encountering Biblical Studies) Moo, Douglas J.; Believers Bible Commentary; The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, with the New International Version, Romans through Galatians; NIV Application Study Bible. The Cambridge Bible Commentary, Romans, Best, Ernest.