“For a married woman is bound by law to her husband while he lives, but if her husband dies she is released from the law of marriage. Accordingly, she will be called an adulteress if she lives with another man while her husband is alive. But if her husband dies, she is free from that law, and if she marries another man she is not an adulteress. 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 7:2-4
We were once married to the Law in this sense: We were obligated to do its bidding. But The Law was an abusive husband, beating us over every infraction. It gave us no encouragement, but only condemnation. It never spoke sweetly to us, but only shouted its accusations. It ruthlessly exposed our nakedness to the world. It battered us at every turn. It could not be pleased. It refused to be satisfied – and always glared its disapproval at every shortcoming. It held up a standard we could not live up to, and chided us with hateful barbs every failure. It imprisoned us in chains of fear and the constant threat of eventual and inevitable doom. It thundered and raged constantly. It gave no forgiveness, but rehearsed the record of our crimes perpetually on its tongue. It extended not the slightest hope, nor ever extended the slightest help to improve us.
But now, having died and been raised to a new life, we are married to another – even Christ. That we may do His bidding. Christ is the loving husband who holds us dear, encourages us, and draws us after Himself in sweet love. When we fail, He washes our feet instead of beating us. With His own blood, He washes our sin-stains away. He teaches us gently how to avoid the pitfalls and traps that challenge us. He reaffirms His love for us, and assures us we will one day have not even the slightest spot or wrinkle. He binds Himself to us with unbreakable oaths. He feeds us with the Bread of Life, slakes our thirst with the Spirit, binds up our wounds with oil and wine. He leads us beside still waters, and restores our souls. He makes us lie down in green pastures – knowing the rest we need from our labors. Because we are His, we know that goodness and mercy will follow us all the days of our lives – instead of our criminal record. He grieves with us when we groan over our sins. He lifts up our eyes to see His beauty and glory lest we see only our sin-stains. He clothes us in robes of righteousness that He Himself has woven. He corrects in love, and never apart from instruction and encouragement. He lets us glimpse the light of the glory of God as He bids us look ever at His dear face. He rejoices over us with singing. We are betrothed to Him. And nothing can separate us from His love. No trouble or distress, not even persecution or the sword. Nothing in life, or even death itself can separate us. Not even the machinations of wicked angels. For He gave Himself up for us. He justified us in His own blood. He was raised up to the right hand of the Father, and ever intercedes for us. Our beloved is ours, and we, are His.