by Alex Crain, Editor, Christianity.com
"…you also were made to die to the Law through the body of Christ, so that you might be joined to another, to Him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God."
Romans 7:4 NASB
Usually, we think of "having faith" as simply "trusting, believing." And while that is true, it can be incomplete if we forget that, as Christians, we are also joined to Christ as our Bridegroom. In other words, there is a real relationship with Him—the living Christ—that is at stake. It is not just a matter of possessing correct content of what we believe about the person and work of Christ. And although we never have a legitimate cause to do so, we often break faith with and betray our faithful Bridegroom.
Francis Schaeffer talks about this in chapter seven of True Spirituality where we continue our journey with him this week. Citing the passage above, he notes that since we have been rescued from the tyranny of the devil and placed safely in the arms of the Lord Jesus Christ—we are now positioned to bring forth His fruit.
Schaeffer expands upon the simple, yet remarkably powerful word picture in Romans 7:1-4 to make the point plain:
"Imagine a married couple both of the one color of skin. Suddenly the wife brings forth a child clearly of another race [sic]. All the world would know that she has been unfaithful to her proper mate. So it is with us."
When we do not bring forth His fruit—love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (per Galatians 5:19)—but bring forth immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these (Galatians 5:19), it is because we have broken faith with Him and are in the state of infidelity of the highest order.
What generally causes us to distrust Christ and leads us to break faith with Him and run to the arms of another is the fact that we often think that we have a better way. We think that, somehow, God really doesn't have our best interests at heart. I know for me, personally, this happens mostly when I am "Law-minded" in a way that discounts or obscures the gospel. One writer, Milton Vincent, in his a gospel primer for christians provides a helpful counter to this erroneous and sinful way of thinking (p. 18):
"…when I begin my train of thought with the gospel, I realize that if God loved me enough to sacrifice His Son's life for me, then He must be guided by that same love when He speaks His commandments to me. Viewing God's commands and prohibitions in this light, I can see them for what they really are: friendly signposts from a heavenly Father who is seeking to love me through each directive, so that I might experience His very fullness forever." (see Deut. 5:29)
Not only are they friendly signposts, they are friendly love letters from our faithful Bridegroom who has done nothing to warrant our distrust. By His life-giving Spirit, He is actively seeking to love us and bring forth His fruit in us today. What is the state of your union with Him?
Intersecting Faith & Life: In light of today's devotional, contemplate afresh Schaeffer's summary of the life of faith: "The how of the Christian life is the power of the crucified and risen Lord, through the agency of the indwelling Holy Spirit, by faith moment by moment."
For Further Prayer & Study:
If repentance for spiritual infidelity is in order, reflect on Isaiah 30:15 "Thus the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel, has said, ‘In repentance and rest you will be saved, In quietness and trust is your strength.'" For further study, read Romans 6:1.