bible blog 2002

ROMANS7: 1-6

Perhaps you don’t realise, brothers and sisters,- I’m speaking to those who know the Jewish Law- that the Law only applies to people as long as they are alive? So a married woman is bound by Law to her living husband but if the husband dies she is released from the marriage bond. Accordingly, she can be called an adultress if she joins herself to another man while her husband is alive, but if her husband dies, she is free from the Law and is not an adultress if she joins herself to another man. In the same way, brothers and sisters, as part of the body of Messiah, you have died to the Law and have been joined to Another Partner, tne One raised from the dead so that we could bear fruit for God.

While we lived by mere flesh and blood standards, our sinful desires, aroused by the Law, were at work in our bodily organs to bear fruit for death. But now, since we are dead to the power that held us captive, we are released from the Law to be slaves in the new way of the Spirit, not the old way of the written code. (Translated M Mair 2016)

It was only as I translated the above that I saw clearly the sexual metaphor which underlies it: the life of a believer is being compared to a sexual liaison which results in pregnancy. In detail the comparison doesn’t quite fit, since in the case of the woman, the husband dies, so she is free from the Law, but in the case of believers, they die with Jesus Messiah and are therefore free. But the force of the metaphor is to imagine human partnerships a) with the Law and b) with the Risen Messiah as passionate attachments which can be described as enslavements, producing “fruit” for a) death and b) God.

The value of this imagery is that it again insists that the whole human person is intimately involved in the these partnerships with spiritual powers, Law, Death, Messiah, Spirit, God. When we commit ourselves to a “worldly power” or to God we determine the workings of our minds, wills,  desires and bodies. This is a distinctive psycho-social analysis of human nature, which was probably as unpopular then as it is now. Nobody likes to think of himself as a slave.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: