7.24.13 — When Your Spouse Dies

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Romans 7:1-6

Since I am speaking to those who understand law, brothers, are you unaware that the law has authority over someone as long as he lives? For example, a married woman is legally bound to her husband while he lives. But if her husband dies, she is released from the law regarding the husband. So then, if she gives herself to another man while her husband is living, she will be called an adulteress. But if her husband dies, she is free from that law. Then, if she gives herself to another man, she is not an adulteress.

Therefore, my brothers, you also were put to death in relation to the law through the crucified body of the Messiah, so that you may belong to another — to Him who was raised from the dead — that we may bear fruit for God. For when we were in the flesh, the sinful passions operated through the law in every part of us and bore fruit for death. But now we have been released from the law, since we have died to what held us, so that we may serve in the new way of the Spirit and not in the old letter of the law.

This is a wonderful illustration from the Apostle Paul. He teaches that the law of marriage is a binding law which is only nullified at the death of one spouse. A husband or wife can no longer be in a binding covenantal marriage with a spouse that is dead. Death of one party breaks the covenant. If one spouse dies, the remaining person is free to re-marry another without being considered an adulterer or adulteress.

This illustration is used to teach us that in the old covenant we were married to the law. We were bound to be condemned by a spouse we could never fully please. This spouse demanded perfection, and promised condemnation at every act of disobedience. There was never any hope of happiness with this spouse. The reason though is not because the requirements were sinful in themselves. On the contrary, it is because of these requirements that we learned that we are the ones that are sinful and unable to be a pleasing husband or wife. We are the problem, not the law.

Are you in this state (married to the law)? One way to know if you are or not is to pay attention to yourself when you read or hear the Bible taught. Do the commands of Scripture produce an arousal of passions inside of you which desire you to disregard and disobey the commands? Do the commands of Scripture produce good fruit or bad fruit in you?

If you have been born again, your spouse (the law) has died. You may have grieved at their funeral, but soon afterwards you were approached by Jesus and asked into another marriage covenant. This covenantal relationship is different from your first marriage because it has changed your desires when you now hear or read the Scriptures. The laws and commands of Scripture now, instead of producing condemnation and sinful desires inside you, produce good and lasting fruit like love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, goodness, meekness, and self-control. You find now that you love the law. It no longer condemns you in guilt and shame. It leads you in paths of righteousness for Jesus’ name sake. It produces thankfulness which flows out of you because the condemnation the law required has been payed for in full by your new spouse Jesus Christ. He took the penalty for you out of love. He desires for you to still obey and conform to the law, yet he will never condemn you for falling short. More than that, his spirit which is holiness, has been placed inside of you to help and guide you along the way. You are not alone on your pilgrimage, you have assistance.

One last point; the great purpose of marriage is fruitfulness. Our marriage to Jesus is meant to produce fruit in our lives. Good works are the children of the new covenant. But in a literal marriage between a husband and a wife, the great purpose of marriage is children. Don’t let our society educate you that children are a burden and a hinderance to happiness. They are the fruit of a marriage. This fruit can obviously only be produced if the married parties are a man and a woman.

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