So, my brothers and sisters, 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 for God.
Romans 7:4 NIV
“I just can’t do anything right! I can’t please you!” Have you ever yelled those words? Screamed them in your head? Usually, they are directed at a person whose expectations are just too much for you to meet, but whom you desperately want to make happy.
A father. A mother. A husband. A child. “I love you. I want you to be pleased with me. I keep trying, this way and that way, with new techniques, new resolve, with effort overflowing, and yet … I fail. I can’t keep all your rules and follow all your directions perfectly enough to win your favor.”
That’s the position the Israelites were in with the Old Testament law. They had a gazillion rules to keep, and they kept breaking them, because those Israelites were as human and broken and sinful as you and me. They had become slaves to the law. It had become miserable.
And then Jesus came, offering a new way to find God. Not through rules, but through grace. This verse describes the turning point. Before, you were married to the law. You belonged to it. But you died to it. And you have a new life now, one in which you belong to someone utterly unlike the law – Jesus.
Instead of offering us a list of rules and a grumpy face because He knows we’ll break them, Jesus says … Come, be mine. Let me love you. Give your life to me and let me mold you. Let me point out your sins, not to wear you down but to help you live more freely without their chains. Let me accept you despite all your faults. You please me, just because … you belong to me.
When we live under that kind of freedom, when we are cherished by God, the good fruits (good works) grow out of grateful hearts transformed, not enslaved hearts striving to try to get it right.
Belonging. Freedom. Joy. Mine in Christ.