22. Fruit-bearers

Romans 1-8 Meditations No.22: Fruit-bearers

Rom 7:4“Christ …. him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God.”

Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised when we realise who the writer is – Paul, apostle, trained Pharisee (Phil 3:5), a man with a big mind – that there is such a sharp logic that flows through these pages of Romans. He’s actually moved on to talk about how we have been released from the Law but along the way he says this about Christ and us.

Paul says this is how it is because we “died to the law” (7:4) Okay, we need to read the whole verse: 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.” We’ve considered previously that we died when we saw Paul talking about us having been crucified with Christ (see studies 16 & 17) and now consider ourselves having died with him (study no.18) and so he now says we belong to God (which is important – owners have rights as well as concerns) and this ‘ownership is expressed through Christ, he’s the one who is Lord over us, leads, guides and directs us so now we ‘bear fruit’.

See the big picture. We realised ‘keeping the rules’ didn’t help but just confirmed what we knew deep down – we were failures getting it wrong – so when Christ was raised we saw there was another way, a Spirit-empowered way at the hands of the Father and when we let Him do that – bring us new life – we found there was a whole new source of goodness flowing – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. How wonderful!

But this talk of bearing fruit has some other wonderful aspects to it. We are no longer purposeless individuals. Originally, we had no purpose than to exist and survive – make money, have careers, to get us through life, comfortably if possible, to take us into a comfortable old age. Come on, be honest, that is what it is about for most people. But now, in this new Spirit-empowered, Jesus-directed, Father-glorifying life, we have both purpose and direction. Now, okay, to be real, we often don’t realise fully what that is, but in general terms it is simply to be available and obedient to his leading, his envisioning and his enabling. So, yes, we may still outwardly be on that ‘exist and survive’ track that I just described, but behind that, underpinning it and overshadowing it will be this greater purpose of being available and obedient to the one we call Lord, the one who moment by moment is saving us. Consider the outworking. You get to the end of life and instead of nothingness but a history of self-concern, when you get to heaven and He allows you to look back, you will see the fruit of changed lives, some in small ways, other bigger ways. You have changed the world! 

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