Bible Study: Book of Ruth Chapter 4
Ruth Chapter 4: Fruits of Freedom
by I Gordon
Ruth 4:1-2 Now Boaz went up to the gate and sat down there, and behold, the close relative of whom Boaz spoke was passing by, so he said, 'Turn aside, friend, sit down here.' And he turned aside and sat down. And he took ten men of the elders of the city and said, 'Sit down here.' So they sat down.
Why so indecisive? 2nd thoughts from the closer relative
Ruth 4:11-13 And all the people who were in the court, and the elders, said, 'We are witnesses. May the Lord make the woman who is coming into your home like Rachel and Leah, both of whom built the house of Israel; and may you achieve wealth in Ephrathah and become famous in Bethlehem. 'Moreover, may your house be like the house of Perez whom Tamar bore to Judah, through the offspring which the Lord shall give you by this young woman.' So Boaz took Ruth, and she became his wife, and he went in to her. And the Lord enabled her to conceive, and she gave birth to a son.
Ruth 4:14-15 Then the women said to Naomi, 'Blessed is the Lord who has not left you without a redeemer today, and may his name become famous in Israel. 'May he also be to you a restorer of life and a sustainer of your old age; for your daughter-in-law, who loves you and is better to you than seven sons, has given birth to him.'
Normally rare...but not with God: A story with a happy ending!
 ↩ Here is a small clue if you're really not sure. Col 2:6.
 ↩ Romans Chapter 7 is obviously the best place to look at. It clearly shows that it's not the law that is wrong - but that we are. Paul wrote 'Is the Law sin? May it never be... the law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good.. For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am of the flesh, sold into bondage to sin.' So here he is, in bondage to sin. Who is going to redeem Paul? It's the same picture as Ruth. Read Romans 7 and you will see that he wants to be delivered and has tried being good and obeying the law but its not good enough. There has got to be another redeemer around here somewhere...
 ↩ At the end of Romans 7 Paul makes the discovery that he doesn't just have a problem - he is the problem! He finally says 'Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?' At this point he knew that no amount of trying harder or resisting more was going to cut it. He was the problem so he can't be the solution. He has to look elsewhere and having reached this point he immediately sees the answer 'Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord.'
 ↩ It's important to get the balance in all of this. Being free from the law doesn't mean that there is no right and wrong anymore or that God doesn't care how we live. Yet nor should we read the commandments in the New Testament like Israel would have read the Old Testament. Take John 15 for example. Verse 10 says 'If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love'. Taken from a legal mindset this means that I have to do everything in the word else Jesus won't love me. You could make that one verse just as bad as being under the Old Testament law if you took it on its own. But look at what Jesus also said a few verses before in the same chapter- 'I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me, and I in him, he bears much fruit; for apart from Me you can do nothing.' Apart from him you can do nothing and that includes all of the commandments that are stated in the New Testament! So being free from the law is not lawlessness or independence but dependence upon the only one who could ever live the life that is shown in the New Testament.
 ↩ The sandal coming off and given to another is quite symbolic. To walk over a property in a shoe meant that one had the right to possess it. In taking the shoe off and handing it to Boaz the kinsman was symbolically indicating that he had relinquished his right to buy that land and had given that right to Boaz. So for people who have placed their trust in Jesus and allowed Him to redeem them, the law has no more right to walk over (condemn) that person. There is a huge difference between the conviction of the Holy Spirit and the condemnation that Satan loves to place on us through the law. If we slip up, the Holy Spirit uses the word of God to draw us back to Jesus, while reminding us of God's grace and finished work on the cross. Satan uses the law to condemn us, planting thoughts in our mind that God is angry and far from us. Don't allow Satan to do this, remembering as Paul did when he was at his lowest 'Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.' Rom 8:1
 ↩ This is obviously the reason the law was given by God. To show man that he couldn't be holy apart from God's life. That stinking tree of the knowledge of good and evil had us thinking that we could live independent of God. Not so! God gave his law to correct this - so that 'every mouth may be closed and all the world may be accountable to God.' (Rom 3:19). If you understand this then it makes other verses make more sense like 'the law came in so that transgression would INCREASE.' At this point the Ten Commandments (witnesses) are yelling loud and clear that you had better find another way to be saved! Enter Jesus!
 ↩ Isn't the word of God awesome in that the types used by the Holy Spirit are consistent throughout scripture. Ruth had to be free from the closer relative so that she could marry Boaz. This is the same picture that is given in Romans 7 where it states 'you also were made to die to the Law through the body of Christ, that you might be joined to another, to Him who was raised from the dead, that we might bear fruit for God.' Being married to Christ is seen as the answer to our deliverance in Romans 7 just as it is here in Ruth!
 ↩ Is this right? Does freedom from the law lead to fruitfulness? Or does freedom lead to license and sin? Well, it can be both but one thing's for sure and that's keeping people under the law will NEVER lead to true holiness because the power of sin comes from the law! See 1 Cor 15:56. Rom 7:4 tells us that 'you also were made to die to the law... so that you may be joined to another (Jesus)... in order that you might bear fruit for God!' According to the word of God true freedom from the law is the VERY THING that allows fruit to be produced in our lives! But notice that it says that you are free from the law so that you may be joined to another. Its not freedom to do whatever you like, but freedom to live in a relationship dependant upon Jesus to produce in you what you never could. And that's why when it lists the fruit of Spirit in Galatians 5:22 it ends with 'against such things there is no law.' The fruit which a free yet dependant Christian produces is from the Spirit in him and could never be produced by some just trying to be good.
 ↩ I was speaking to a friend recently who spoke of her 'Christian' upbringing. All types of laws were piled on her to 'be a good Christian'. Little was mentioned of grace or the importance of her dependence upon Jesus. To her, while growing up, God was simply looking upon her efforts to see how well she did. So she tried. And she failed! She ended up giving 'Christianity' away for a few years. Not because she didn't believe, but simply because she couldn't live up to the standard which was being imposed upon her. Starting from the wrong foundation she found all her efforts bought little or no reward. She was building on sand! C.S Lewis once said, 'If, at the start of a mathematical equation, we get something wrong, no amount of just 'carrying on' will ever put it right.' So true! Get the foundation right and growth and fruit will result!
 ↩ Although his fame is like what Larry Norman sings in his song Readers Digest - 'they look at Jesus from afar, they call him a superstar!' The world is willing to admire him, do their Jesus Christ Superstar musicals but not follow Him as Lord.
 ↩ I used to read verses like this and just think that by 'life' it meant fulfilment and blessings or something. But that is way below what Jesus was saying. There are different forms of life within creation - plant, animal, human, angelic but this one is talking about the highest life, Gods life. That's what mankind needed right from the garden where the other tree, the one which they forgot to eat from, was the Tree of Life. I encourage you to do a study on the word 'life' from this perspective. It is the central truth to the New Testament that is usually forgotten. Summed up in Gal 2:20 and Col 1:26-29
 ↩ John wrote 'In Him (Jesus) was life and that life was the light of men.' (John 1:4) The light we have depends upon His life living through us. Since the beginning of creation God has given us a daily picture of this. The sun he created to govern the day, and the moon he created to rule the night. The moon (a picture of the church) has no light of its own. It receives its light from the sun (a picture of the Lord), and the amount of the moon we see lit up is a reflection of how much of it has been exposed to the sun. Two things get in the way. The earth can get between the sun and the moon so that no light shines on the moon. This is the effect of worldliness that gets between the believer and Jesus Christ. Or the moon can get between the sun and the earth blocking out the light of the sun. This is when the church preaches herself and not Jesus as the answer.