Ever see a movie that shows a long time prisoner being released back into society? There were a few. The Shawshank Redemption comes to mind. Ole Morgan Freeman really shows the inner struggle one might face when suddenly living in a new freedom. If you haven’t seen the film, put it on your movie bucket list. In this study, Paul will be writing and speaking directly to the Jewish Christian in Rome and addressing this very issue.
We’ll be reading Romans 7:1-6. Paul is continuing a section where he has described this new life in Christ. We have been given a new freedom. But now that we have been freed, how do we proceed? How will we live in this new life? And what about the past? How do we fit the past into the now? These are huge questions for the emerging church in Rome and they are huge to us as well.
Paul masterfully uses the analogy of marriage to cover many of the aspects of this transition. In v 1-2 particular importance is placed in the fact that death ends a marriage. How does that make us feel? Knowing the death he is alluding to is Christ’s death, atoning for our sins, how does that make us feel? How we feel is part of Paul’s point. The direction of thought is being realigned from legal to relational.
In v2-3 Paul continues the marriage analogy with yet another uncomfortable relational situation. Remarriage after the death of a spouse, while perfectly legal, is for all parties involved, complicated. In v-3, adultery is mentioned. How do we see adultery fitting into the following verse that states our new union with Christ is to prove fruitful to God?
Paul is attempting to unite a divided Roman Church. The divisions present two thousand years ago are still manifest in our walk today. Given our new found freedom, how will we live free? How should the past shape our future? On what side of Christ’s death will we live? These are all questions the Roman Christians were facing and I believe we all struggle with today. It should be an interesting study!