As the carriage comes to a halt, the Austrian ambassador announces they’ve arrived at the hand-over ceremony. Marie Antoinette exits the carriage with her dog held tightly to her chest and walks toward a well-decorated tent off the wooded path. There she’s met by a French countess who tells her it’s time to leave behind everything of her former life in Austria. The countess says she’ll be delivered to representatives of the French Court, and she is to embrace an entirely new life in France. Marie waves good-bye to the Austrian ambassador and ducks into the tent with the countess.
Once in the tent, the countess takes her dog away, asking an aide to return it to the Austrians. Marie is then stripped down. Her Austrian clothes are replaced with the finest in French fashion. “The bride must not keep anything from her prior court,” the countess says.
At that very moment, Marie is engaged to be married to the Dauphin of France, heir to the French throne. Marie is now French royalty, and there’s no place for former things in her life. Her upcoming marriage requires her to break free from all things Austria.
And there’s no returning.
Like Marie Antoinette, it’s through marriage that we make a clean break from the old way of religion. Prior to meeting Jesus, we were told that religion is a good thing and that we should do our best to abide by its rules. But now we’ve been married to Jesus Christ. Like Marie, we’ve become royalty (1 Pet. 2:9). This means our former affection for religion has no place in God’s kingdom:
“Therefore, my brethren, 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.” (Rom. 7:4 NASB)
Imagine if Marie Antoinette had asked the French Court for permission to wear her old Austrian clothes alongside her new French fashions. Imagine if she’d asked to incorporate her Austrian practices alongside the new ways of France. You can bet the French would have frowned on that idea! Well, the apostle Paul did more than frown on the idea of mixing the old with the new. He actually resorted to name-calling. He said, “You foolish Galatians” (Gal. 3:1) to those who tried to mix the old way of the law with their new life in Christ. Does it sound like God is interested in a mix of old and new?
Our marriage to Jesus means we crossed the border from death to life. As with Marie Antoinette, our border crossing requires a clean break from the old way. Our relationship with the law is over:
“Christ is the end of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes.” (Rom. 10:4)
(from Andrew’s bestselling book, “God Without Religion”)