Theme of the Week: Why Easter Changes Everything
Bible Verse: 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. Romans 7:4 ESV
Scripture Reading: Romans 7:1-6; 1 Peter 2:24; Ezekiel 36:25-27
I want my life to count. I want my life to make a difference for the kingdom of God. I want my life to produce what is good and pleasing, like the fruit produced by a fruit tree. I assume you want the same for your life too.
Thankfully, the resurrection of Jesus Christ makes this possible. Without the resurrection, God’s people would not be free to bear fruit for God. The problem is our relationship to the law of Moses. Originally, the law of Moses was a gracious gift from God given to a redeemed community to help them live the good life in the land God gifted to them. But as we learn in Paul’s letter to the Romans, the law has another function. It reveals the depth of our sinfulness (Romans 3:20). So, trying to keep the law to gain right standing with God is a dead end. Verse 20 affirms: “no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the law.” Instead, the law brings wrath (Romans 4:15).
So how do we escape the condemnation we receive from the law?
Believers in Christ who are united with him in his death are also united with him in his resurrection. “It is as if the Holy Spirit reproduces Jesus’s death and resurrection in our lives when we believe in Christ.”1
This, of course, changes everything! According to Thomas Schreiner: Romans 7:4 indicates that the death and resurrection of Christ not only were designed to remove the condemnation of the law, but they also broke the power of the law, so that believers could live lives pleasing to God by bearing good fruit.2 Because of Jesus’s death and resurrection, we now “serve in the new way of the Spirit” (Rom. 7:6) in fulfillment of God’s promise to give his people a new heart and put his Spirit within them (Ezek. 36:25–27).
With the power of the resurrection flowing into our lives, we can now bear fruit for God.
This fruit may come in the form of people who find new life in Christ because we shared the gospel with them. This fruit may consist of someone who has been able to overcome bitterness or drug addiction because we spent months or years showering them with God’s love. Perhaps the fruit will be a new church we helped to establish or an established church we helped to revitalize because of faithful, Christlike living. It is our relationship with the One who was raised from the dead that makes all the difference.
1 Grudem, Wayne, Systematic Theology (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1994)
2 Schreiner, Thomas R., Romans, Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1998).
Some content taken from Risen: 50 Reasons Why the Resurrection Changed Everything. Copyright © 2013 by Steven D. Mathewson. Used by permission of Baker Books, a division of Baker Publishing Group, www.bakerpublishinggroup.com
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