In Romans 6, Paul reveals that we are either “slaves of the sin” or “slaves of the righteousness,” and then says that he’s speaking this way because of “the weakness” of our “flesh.”
Something about our flesh keeps us from perceiving the true character of our Master.
As we preached last week, our Master is the Heart of our Father hanging on the tree.
And our Master is something or someone else as well—and so, he terrifies us, but will also thrill us, and set us free.
On the 6th day of creation, God breathed his Spirit into some clay, and the Adam became a living soul. And yet Genesis and Romans reveal that something was not good with the Adam even before the fall. “It’s not good that the Adam should be alone,” said God, who is Love and our “Helper.” Adam is alone in the presence of Love and cannot find his Helper. Adam is an “I” trapped in his “me.” That’s the problem with “the Flesh;” it only feels its own pleasure and pain.
Law tells me that I should love my neighbor as I love myself. It’s easy to love myself, “for every man nourishes and cherishes his own flesh,” as Paul puts it. Yet every man does not nourish and cherish the flesh of his neighbor—he could do that only if he were to become one flesh with his neighbor.
Law tells me that I should love, but I don’t love. And it doesn’t give me the power to love.
So, with law, I grow the “tupos”—an emptiness in me, that in some way is me—the awareness that I’m made for love, but don’t love. We sometimes call it “shame.”
Well, Adam had no faith in love. Then, Love said, “I will make a helper fit for him.” So, #1, God put Humanity into a deep sleep (Whether or not, we’ve yet awakened is highly debatable). And #2, He divided “the Adam” in two. Then Genesis reads, “They will become one flesh. And they were both naked and unashamed.”
And yet, you are ashamed. That’s why you wear clothes. Just this topic makes you want to shut down and hide yourself in fig leaves and fear. But don’t. Just consider that all your deepest joys and sorrows, longings and desires, aren’t about sex, or even people, but God.
It’s surprising, but there is a moment in which my flesh becomes one flesh with the flesh of my bride, and I think I experience her pleasure and pain. At that moment I lose my psyche and find it in her; I don’t need a law telling me to love, I just do love. And at that moment I’m not alone. . . Then I am alone again, longing to get the moment back.
According to Paul, even that moment, isn’t the thing for which I am truly longing. It’s a sign, built into my flesh from before the fall, pointing me, pointing us, toward home. “The two shall become one flesh,” writes Paul, “and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the Church.”
#1 He puts “the Adam” to sleep.
#2 He divides the Adam in two.
#3 He leaves the Adam, male and female, alone—apparently—in a garden with an evil talking snake and a terrifying, wonderful, and mysterious tree.
On the tree hangs the Life and the Good in flesh, our Righteousness, our Master, Fruit with Seed, our Husband, and Helper made fit for us—the eschatos Adam, which would make us the eschatos Eve.
Over the entire 6th day of creation, over all of human history, hangs the first commandment in all of Scripture, Genesis 1:28: “Be fruitful… .” As we stand at the base of the tree, we feel the commandment as a threat, a thrilling promise, and a vexing question, “How will I be fruitful?”
God left the Adam, where we find ourselves, right now.
But don’t fear, Scripture is clear: it’s still the 6th day of creation and the 7th is at hand, when “it is finished,” “everything is good,” and God will be “all in all.”
In Romans 6:20 Paul asks, “When you were slaves of the sin, you were free of the righteousness, but what fruit did you have then?”
The fruit of the Spirit is “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, the good, faith, and control of self.” That fruit is what everybody wants, and no one seems to possess; it’s not a commodity; you don’t ‘have it,’ as much as it has you. And the harder you try to make this fruit, the more you fake this fruit and make Pharisees and religion. With all our knowledge we cannot create one piece of fruit.
Fruit is fruit and where it comes from is rather counter-intuitive. You put a seed in broken, “crappy” soil, cover it up, and walk away as if you were walking away from a funeral.
Fruit is fruit and human fruit is called “babies.” And where babies come from is highly counterintuitive. So . . . how will I be fruitful?
Roman 7:4 “My brothers (Paul speaks to them as if they were all one woman), you were put to death to the law through the body of Christ, so that you may belong… to him who has been raised from the dead, in order that we may bear fruit for God.”
The Pharisees wanted to be fruitful; they were jealous of Jesus, and so wanted to be Jesus, but wouldn’t surrender to Jesus, and so took the life of Jesus on a tree in a garden. It’s just what Adam and Eve did. It’s just what we do every time we sin and every time we try to justify our sin, which is the most deceptive of all sins: human religion, or to use Paul’s terminology: “law.”
Law is like the dead body of Jesus, it’s a description of life, but not the Life.
We crucified the Life, who is also our Life, but Jesus delivered up his Life, like seed.
Well, you’re not married to law, a dead Jesus; You’re married to our living Lord Jesus, our Master.
When Adam and Eve took law, that is the Fruit of the knowledge of Good and evil, they immediately covered that place in their flesh where two become one. . . and sometimes produce fruit, that is babies.
This is weird, but I feel what my babies feel as if they were my own flesh and as if my family were one body. They hid that place that is a sign pointing to the Kingdom of Heaven. And we all hide our shame—our “tupos”—from the one who wants to fill us with himself. Perhaps he is attracted to your “tupos?”
And so, Bride of Christ, how will you be fruitful?
Religion, law, and common sense would suggest that you take control, get dressed, and cover your shame; go to church and be on your best behavior; get more knowledge for that is power; apply that knowledge to yourself; check it, judge it, make it happen; and get worried if it gets messy or starts to hurt. There is a word for that: “work.”
But to be fruitful, perhaps you must surrender control; go on a romantic date and get as vulnerable as you can; get undressed and expose your shame; it’s not knowledge but seed that you need; you receive it in broken dirty soil and let it “die,” so to speak; you don’t dig it up, you try not to worry; and you expect some mess, some pain, and some labor. And there is a word for this: “worship.”
It doesn’t matter what you feel ashamed of, as long as you surrender that place of shame to Jesus.
He is attracted to that place in you. And in that place, you will find a baby.
In the place of “Me-sus,” you will find “Jesus.”
Romans 6:22 “Now that you have become slaves of God, you have your Fruit and the End, Eternal Life.” You have Jesus.