We learned in Romans 8:1 that there is NOW (an ever-present tense) NO condemnation. To me, an obvious conclusion is that this applies to my relationship with the Father through Jesus Christ.
So what does Romans 8:2 tell us?
For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus, has set you free from the law of sin and of death. (Romans 8:2 NASB)
As I sit with my friend, going through the book of Romans, I am reminded of how many times I have heard the phrase within the Christian community – we are free from the law. At moments like that, I turn to my friend and ask, is that an accurate statement?
Well, right there, in front of us, are words in opposition to that assertion. For the law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus.
Let’s tear this up for a moment. The word law is focused on the requirements that the Jews understand, the Torah. If you are a devout follower of Warren Wiersbe, then you are already looking for a way to fight with me because he leans heavily toward an exclusively Gentile audience.
The word Law, as included in Romans, is the Greek word nomos and means anything established; anything received by usage; a custom; a law, or a command. Yes, the Torah falls under these categories.
But, did the Jews, as Paul points out, know the Torah as something that brought life?
Hardly; all they could perceive was the word NO, just like impudent children. If you read my previous posts on Romans, then you would understand that these people, Moses led out of Egypt, were effectively Egyptians. I pointed out how Stephen, gave the Jewish council a history lesson, which none of them disputed, in which he accurately points out how “Israel” brought their Egyptian gods and the tent of Moloch out of Egypt. The “law” written in stone was at this point ten simple rules, and yet, we see the immediate death that the law brought, as the first rule was to love the Lord their God. The problem is, Jehovah was not their Lord.
Is there a law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus that we can turn to?
Absolutely, but we don’t call it a law; we call them the gospels, epistles, and letters to the church.
“Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. “For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished. “Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:17-19 NASB)
One more thing about the law.
Paul opened his letter to the church in Rome, a church primarily comprised of Jewish believers, who had an attitude problem with the Gentile believers, with this statement, “I Paul, a slave of Christ Jesus.”
If Paul, too, had found his freedom in Christ Jesus, then why the slave conversation?
- Because he knew that the Torah still holds reign over the Jewish community.
- Only with the new eyes, found in a relationship with the Father – through the Son, can we see that the Torah was meant for life.
- And, that this life we live is meant to be lived in the Spirit – the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus, not the letter of the law.
So, without calling it “the law,” do we have any constraint upon our lives?
Certainly, we do. We have the law written upon our hearts.
“But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.” (Jeremiah 31:33 KJV)
Spare me the arguments. I realize that contextually Jeremiah 31:33 is talking about the Jews, but God saw fit to add this addendum that makes it valid for anyone. You can find this in 2Timothy 3:16.
Saul, also known to us as Paul, and a self-proclaimed expert in the Torah, could hold his ground with anyone in a discussion about that law. So he knew the legalism the Torah represented well, and yet the Torah is the basis for the freedom we find in the New Testament. It kind of makes you wonder what Jesus might have said to Saul after He knocked him to the ground, although we should take into consideration that Saul/Paul spent three years in the Sinai peninsula, at the base of the mountain where Israel had camped, listening to the instructions from the Holy Spirit.
As a follower of Christ, there is no longer any condemnation toward me from Jesus, the one to whom all judgment has been given. Why that works has everything to do with the cross, including the life I now live because of and through Him.
Freedom from the law of sin and death.
For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, (Romans 8:2-3 NASB)
Let’s stop here for a minute. Verse two says, “For what the Law could not do, … God did:”
The Law only pointed out the necessity for a savior, although I admit that I still have a tough time seeing aspect of the law. The law was not the savior, nor could it be the sacrifice for our redemption, that had to be achieved by the blood heir, Christ Jesus. By the way, if you have ever seen the movie version of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by CS Lewis, you are seeing Azlan play out that role when he gives himself over to the witch as payment for young Edmund’s treasonous act.
So what did God do?
“sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin.”
God sent His Son. Since humanity has an embedded/genetic desire to lust/sin, God had to bypass all that by creating His own egg and having it fertilized. One of Islam’s arguments against the God we serve is what they deem, the disgusting idea that God would have sex. Well, no one said He did. If you cannot handle the idea that the creator of all things, could make a fertilized egg and place that egg inside of Mary, then you need a bigger God.
Now, this is where the statement, in the likeness of sinful flesh comes into play. Yahshua looked just like every other broken human that walked the earth, there was nothing special about Him. (In case you don’t realize, Jesus still maintains that human form.)
The word likeness is the Greek word homoiōma and means a form; abstractly resemblance:
So, when we say, the likeness, He was every bit human, but without the built-in sin. Haven’t you ever wondered, how Jesus, could think through the process of making a whip out of cords, build it, and then use it against the sellers and money changers in the outer courts of the temple that day? What He did was premeditated. I can guarantee you, that if I did it I would be sinning or missing the mark; and yet, in everything Jesus did, He did not sin. I have yet to completely sort that out. Suffice it to say, that sin that lies within me longs to erupt on people at times, but sin was not there with Jesus pushing Him.
Romans 8:3b from the Message.
” In his Son, Jesus, he personally took on the human condition, entered the disordered mess of struggling humanity in order to set it right once and for all. The law code weakened as it always was by fractured human nature, could never have done that. The law always ended up being used as a Band-Aid on sin instead of a deep healing of it.”
And so he condemned sin in the flesh,
Romans 8:4 NIV in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.
So, he condemned sin in the flesh, but who is the “he” referring to? Jesus. I know, God sent His Son to pay the price, so why can’t the “he” refer to God? Alright, let’s look at the context once again.
Romans 8:3-4 NIV For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in the flesh, (4) in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.
Plainly you can see, that God sent His own Son to be the sin offering.
The law demanded sacrifices.
Bluntly, blood had to be spilled, but the blood of animals was never enough to redeem back the population of a planet that had been taken captive. And so God gave Himself, in the form of His Son, and the exchange was made, life for life. Satan apparently was not aware of the sinless state of the Son could never trap Him in deception – although he thought he had. What glee he must have felt seeing Jesus hanging on that cross. What a failure this Messiah had proven to be, or so he thought. Satan, it seems, had taken Jesus captive. What a shock when Jesus ripped the doors off the prison gates of Hell. It seems that a forerunner, Samson, had demonstrated how to do it when he ripped out the gates of the city.
The NLT tells us,
Romans 8:3b, 4 “He sent his own Son in a body like the bodies we sinners have. And in that body, God declared an end to sin’s control over us by giving his Son as a sacrifice for our sins. He did this so that the just requirement of the law would be fully satisfied for us, who no longer follow our sinful nature but instead follow the Spirit.”
Having watched people repeatedly go to the altar to be saved, you have to wonder, do they not understand this?
“He (Jesus) did this so that the just requirement of the law would be fully satisfied for US, who no longer follow our sinful nature but instead follow the Spirit.” This is a present-tense statement. There is nothing about it, in which we have to maintain some status of righteousness; it was done, once, for all. I will admit, that if we could maintain this righteousness, life here on earth would be a more peaceful place, but it is not, and you know that.
1 Peter 3:18 NLT Christ suffered for our sins once for all time. He never sinned, but he died for sinners to bring you safely home to God. He suffered physical death, but he was raised to life in the Spirit.
I suggest you read Hebrews chapter 9, for it speaks of this very thing.
Hebrews 9:24-28 NLT For Christ did not enter into a holy place made with human hands, which was only a copy of the true one in heaven. He entered into heaven itself to appear now before God on our behalf. (25) And he did not enter heaven to offer himself again and again, like the high priest here on earth who enters the Most Holy Place year after year with the blood of an animal. (26) If that had been necessary, Christ would have had to die again and again, ever since the world began. But now, once for all time, he has appeared at the end of the age to remove sin by his own death as a sacrifice. (27) And just as each person is destined to die once and after that comes judgment, (28) so also Christ was offered once for all time as a sacrifice to take away the sins of many people. He will come again, not to deal with our sins, but to bring salvation to all who are eagerly waiting for him.
Romans 8:4 ends like this,
“who no longer follow our sinful nature but instead follow the Spirit.”
This is not a conditional statement, like the one I perceived in Romans 8:1, but a description; as Paul, like God, looked to the future and saw you acting like the King you were meant to be.
The Contemporary English Version does an excellent job of clarifying what is going on here.
Romans 8:4 CEV He did this so that we would do what the Law commands by obeying the Spirit instead of our own desires.