“…we have had really only one problem since the fall of man, and that has been our vast delusion about ourselves–the lie of Satan concerning his own independence, which he has imparted to us concerning ourselves. As a consequence, even when we are sinners saved by grace and in the new birth of the Spirit, and even when we have been taken further in Romans 6 to know that through Christ’s death and resurrection the control of us by Satan in his sin nature has been replaced by the control of Christ, we still deludedly regard ourselves as independent persons responsible for living our new way of life and therefore as equally responsible for discarding the old.
The shock then comes when Paul says that old way of life will have no further control over us because we are ‘not under the Law but under grace.’ But our immediate reaction is, ‘Why, that is putting the cart before the horse! Don’t we need the Law to stop us from responding to the pulls of that old life? Take away the Law and we shall be caught out again.’ ‘Not so,’ says Paul. ‘The opposite is true. Your great basic deception is that you are self-managing selves. Therefore, what the Law will do while you are still under that delusion is to expose your helplessness and the fact that you never were created to manage yourselves. And your old sin-manager will take advantage of the Law to show you that you can’t obey it, but instead keep obeying him. However, because you are too blind to see this until you have been shocked into it, I will illustrate it for you.’
Then Paul drives the point home by three illustrations that certainly settle the matter, although still our eyes must be sufficiently opened by the necessary radical shock to us. First, we all are slaves, compelled to do what our owner demands of us, and there is no middle condition in which we are just independent free humans. Second, we are branches, bearing the fruit of the tree of which we are a part, and there is no such thing as us being independent and not a branch of either tree. Third, we are married wives under the marriage bond of our husbands and bearing His children. If our marriage is dissolved by the death of our first husband, then we are immediately married to the other husband. We never were just single and unmarried. These illustrations, of course, show that we were formerly slaves, branches, wives of Satan in his sin nature, but now we are the same to Christ in His holy nature, and there never has been a just ourselves in imaginary activities of our own.”