Pondering the book of Romans today gave me an interesting viewpoint. The genius that the Apostle Paul was never ceases to amaze me. No matter how much time one spends reading and studying Romans you can always see a little bit more.
Today my thoughts seemed to be about how Paul breaks things down into one of two categories throughout the letter of Romans. In the beginning, while we are all under sin, Jew and Gentile alike, we are divided into two distinct groups. Those with the Law and those without, and of course we quickly learn that those with the Law are really no better off than those without because no one will ever be justified by the law.
We read in Romans 3 & 4 that we are only justified by faith. Paul seems to always refer back to Abraham when the issue of justification comes up because he was a man of faith. Once again nationality has absolutely no bearing on justification and if we are of faith we are righteous just as Abraham was righteous. We are his heirs according to the faith.
When it comes to Romans 5 we discover everyone is either in Adam or in Christ. We learn “as through one transgression there resulted condemnation to all men, even so through one act of righteousness there resulted justification of life to all men. For as through the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous.” We all start out in sin joined to Adam. Upon placing our faith in Christ we are joined to him by way of his Spirit and declared justified therefore being forever removed from Adam and placed in Christ.
The sixth chapter defines for us how this transfer takes place. We read that those of us who have been baptized into Christ have been baptized into his death. In other words we have been co-crucified with Christ, buried and raised again to walk in newness of life. The cross is God’s way of cutting us off from Adam freeing us to be joined to Christ, by way of the Holy Spirit. We are told “sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace.” We are no longer a slave to sin, but now we are a slave to righteousness.
The first part of Romans 7 gives an illustration of a woman and two husbands. Of course, according to the law, you can only have one husband unless he dies then you are freed from that law and can marry another. This is what Paul is saying has happened to us except the husband didn’t die we did. The husband represents our first union with Adam who we know is under sin, under law and under condemnation. Thank God, through our co-crucifixion with Christ, that marriage has been severed, and we are now joined to our new husband Jesus Christ himself. The rest of Romans 7 is Paul’s description of what it looks like for anyone still trying to please the first husband. It is an endless cycle of trying and failing to obey the Law. The greatest thing is Paul doesn’t leave us there he cries out “Who will deliver me from this body of death?” Of course he then gives us the answer and it’s Christ, our new mate! We no longer have to operate under the old system of trying to keep the law, failing and living in a state of condemnation.
Finally we come to Romans 8 where we read how it is only through the Spirit of God that we live. “The Law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set us free from the Law of sin and of death.” We could never be made righteous by way of the Law because the flesh is weak. The Law itself is pure and holy, but in the flesh it is impossible to please God. Of course God always planned to dwell within us and be our life, but we didn’t know it. Thank God he implemented a plan to bring this to our attention. The plan was giving us his law so we might try and keep it, come to our senses, realize we can’t and cry out to receive Christ.
In conclusion, we have discovered it doesn’t matter if we are Jew or Gentile we must by faith be joined to Christ. According to the Word of God we have been transferred from Adam to Christ, from sin to righteousness, and from under the Law to walk in the freedom of the Spirit. All of this, by the way, is only possible because the Son of God lived a sinless life, and He died a sinner’s death only to be raised three days later by the Spirit of God. This is the same Spirit that now dwells in we that have placed our faith in his finished work. Amen!!