God’s grace was clearly & frequently at work in the Old Testament times, God described himself to Moses as “The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness” Ex 34. The world was created by a God of grace.
Under the Law
Like humanity, we too were previously under the umbrella of the law, which God used to delineate the condition of the heart, to reveal the need of a saviour.
In Romans 7:4-6 Likewise, my brothers, you also 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, in order that we may bear fruit for God. 5 For while we were living in the flesh, our sinful passions, aroused by the law, were at work in our members to bear fruit for death. 6 But now we are released from the law, having died to that which held us captive, so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit and not in the old way of the written code.[a]
Married to the 'Mr. Law'
Paul uses the analogy of marriage in this chapter regarding the law, once we were married to the law (or under the law). There was no way of escaping the law, the only escape was death – our death.
Jesus and the Law
Jesus had 2 relationships with the law.
Firstly He was innocent and obedient to it. He kept the law perfectly.
Secondly He received all the sin of humanity onto him. He became the personification of sin then God judged Him in our place. The law finds Jesus guilty of all our sin and on the cross, He bore all of our guilt, all the writing that was against us was nailed to His cross. He becomes the personification of evil and is cursed and the cross is the place where the judgement of God is revealed, and the love of God is revealed. The law finds Him guilty, and He dies to the law once and for all.
We Died to the Law
Paul is saying in verse 7:4 - You Christians have died to law through the body of Christ.
Being Released from the Condemnation of the Law (Rom 8:1)-
Romans 7:6 But now we are released from the law, having died to that which held us captive, so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit and not in the old way of the written code.
The law was the master that condemned us. Having been released from the law, we are completely free from condemnation, which primarily comes from the accuser. We have the freedom to mess up and still know no condemnation.
Now We Belong to Another to him who has been raised from the dead - To Jesus.
Previously we belonged to the line of Adam, now we belong to Christ. We are In Christ, and through Him have access now to God the Father by the work of the Spirit.
This is Worked Out Through Faith.
Paul said to the Romans (Rom 4:5) 5 And to the one who does not work but believes in[a] him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness.
We receive Christ’s complete righteousness, holiness, His sonship, through faith in Jesus. Jesus’ perfect fulfilment of the law and all His righteousness is credited to our account - we are justified - properly, approved, especially in a legal, authoritative sense. 1344 /dikaióō, "made right, righteous, before God".
And by Grace
Writing to the Ephesians, Paul declared (Ephesians 2:8-9). For by grace, you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
It humbles the heart, as we can’t add anything to this deal. Incredibly, we begin as a winner.
I love the story of the baptism of Jesus, before He had achieved anything for His father, He receives the pleasure, delight and love of the Father. By grace, we are grafted into Christ in whom is all the father’s pleasure and delight.
Called to Reign
Paul says in Romans 5:17- For if, because of one man's trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one-man Jesus Christ.
We Reign in Life
Not by works or personal strength or anything to do with us, but by receiving the abundance of God’s grace and the free gift of his righteousness. (Rom 5:17). Because of our position in Christ, we now reign in life. He reigns, therefore we in Him reign! It’s a done deal!! When we slip up and sin, grace abounds to us, the more we sin, the more the grace given us, which ultimately results in praise and glory being given to God!
Paul says in Romans 5:20 - Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, 21 so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
How Do We Reign in Life?
In Romans 6, Paul highlights several things regarding reigning in life. Let me mention 3.
1. Know it to be true. Romans 6:3 says, ‘Do you not know.....’. There are a few things we need to know.
3. Do not present yourself to sin. After these amazing promises (in verses 3 & 11) that Christ has achieved for us, our only response is to give ourselves to God. Why we want to put ourselves back under the power of sin, when that is no longer our identity, we are alive in Christ, His righteousness is ours. We have newness of life and fellowship with the Father, the Son and The Holy Spirit. Wow!
We are Fruitful
Romans 7:4 Likewise, my brothers, you also 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, in order that we may bear fruit for God...
Fruits of Grace
The Macedonians Response to Grace
Paul Encourages the Corinthian Church in Cheerful Giving
He is not after guilt-giving, or ‘through gritted teeth’ giving. He is calling on faith-filled, cheerful, and joyful giving. He is not even after ‘10 percent’ giving, he is after grace-motivated giving, which places no restraints or limits on how much it gives but in recognising everything we have belongs to God anyway.
Sowing and Reaping
Paul uses the terminology of sowing and reaping, used in agriculture, in the area of giving. He is saying if you sow (context is finance), God will give you more seed. If you become involved in giving, God will multiply your seeds to give more away. Sowing (or giving) is a principal God invites us to test him on (Mal 3:10).
Having All You Need.
Paul, highlighting God’s incredible generosity, says to the Corinthians - as you trust in Him, God promises to sustain you, provide for you, and increase your seed to sow, so that you may continue to ‘abound in every good work’.