Last week I began looking at Roman 8:1-11, and in those 11 versus I found nine obvious topics that I wanted to explore. This week I am looking at topic number two – the Law.
There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. 3 For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, 4 in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. 5 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. 6 For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. 7 For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God's law; indeed, it cannot. 8 Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
9 You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. 10 But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11 If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.
The Jewish Law was burdensome for the most desperate, and stifling against the genuine worship of God by the people. The religion of the Law knew nothing of individual worship and relationship with God, but rather was more about a corporate fellowship through a regulated priesthood. By the time Jesus began his public ministry the teachers and leaders of the Law had created a religion that was dominated by and for the elite; not necessarily about God or the people.
The Law is basically the 10 Commandments. You know, the thou shall nots? Thou shall have no other Gods, take the Lord’s name in vain, commit murder, adultery, thievery, lie, or covet. All in all, someone counted and there were 613 total commands that people under the Law had to live by. No, those were not all God’s doing, many of them were created and put into practice by the leaders of the Jewish religion, but that’s what they had to live by as Jews. The idea of the Law was that if they obeyed the regulations then God was honored and they would be accepted by Him. The problem was that nobody could obey the rules because the flesh was not able. Paul speaks of this impossibility in Romans 7.
It worked sort of like this. When I was about seven or eight, I was at my grandmother’s house. I decided to go out to swing at the pear tree and maybe eat a ripe pear. I asked my grandmother if I could go outside and she said “yes” but added that I was not to go by the road. Seriously? I wasn’t even thinking about the road but once she said not to I had a strange attraction to go out and see what the fuss was about. This is how it was for people who lived under the Law, for the Law told people not to covet their neighbor’s wife and guess what? They couldn’t help themselves and coveted their neighbor’s wife anyway.
“…I would not have known what sin was had it not been for the law. For I would not have known what coveting really was if the law had not said, “You shall not covet.”
And so, since the people were not able to actually obey the Law that was to make them righteous in the sight of God, God sent Jesus, in the flesh, to show them the way to true relationship with God. By living a sinless life and dying the death required by the Law Jesus secured a righteousness that He now offers to men that we might be found righteous in the sight of God.
Just as we saw last week that there was a caveat in the decree that there is now therefore no condemnation, there also is a caveat in the decree that the righteous requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us. That caveat is that we must be walking according to the law of the Spirit of Christ and not the Law of the flesh.
To repent is to be traveling in one direction and then to turn immediately around and travel in the other. When the Israelites who followed the Law of Moses were called to repent, they were being called to stop walking in the Law of the flesh but to turn around and begin walking in the law of the Spirit.
For us gentiles who never walked in the Law of Moses, we do walk according to something of our flesh. Generally it’s some form of self-focused misguided philosophy or religiosity but whatever it is, we need to repent from that Law of flesh and begin walking in the Law of the Spirit of Jesus.
And for those of us who do, Paul assures that there is now therefore no condemnation.
I pray that you will go this week and confidently walk in by the Spirit of the Christ who secured such a great salvation for us. Be blessed my friends.