Tuesday, January 12, 2016

The Law of the Spirit of Life

8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. [1] 2 For the law of the Spirit of life has set you [2] 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, [3] 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. (Romans 8:1-8 (ESV)
Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. Another way of saying this would be that those who are under the law of sin and death cannot please God. Thankfully, God has given us baptism through which he puts to death our flesh by burying it in the death of Christ that we would walk in the newness of life. We who believe in Jesus, who trust in the promises he has attached to baptism and therefore have been baptized, we are no longer in the flesh. We have been given the Spirit, and the law of the Spirit of life has set you free.
This law of the Spirit of life, as Bo Giertz says in his commentary is the law that says, He who believes in the Son shall not perish. It is faith in the one who has fulfilled God’s law that now fulfills the law of God in us. This is true repentance, repentance that is given of God, this is true sanctification that is worked by the Holy Spirit who calls us by the gospel. And the result is freedom, joy, life and peace. The result is a disposition that pleases God for the mere intent despite the failure and regardless of the success on the part of the believer to do what the Father has commanded.

Sin still remains in us, death still hounds us, but neither have any command over us. They no longer rule us. This may not be apparent to us in our everyday life, when before we even realize what has happened we have said something to a loved one we wish we could take back, or a coworker that has revealed the depth of our frustration with them. Perhaps we read then what James says about bridling the tongue, and shudder with the demons that know God is one, but do not trust in his salvation. Perhaps we begin to wonder if we truly believe or not. But this is a concern a non-believer would not have. Just as the sane are the ones to question their sanity, it is believers that questions their faith. But if you find yourself questioning your faith, then you are in fact a believer, you have faith to question. Sin and death are toying with you, trying to play you for a fool, like a dog seeing it’s reflection at the pool. The law is always a mirror showing us our sin. Our faith, and even the fruits of our faith are hidden, and will never be seen in that mirror. So we look to Christ who is our salvation, who died for sinners, who gives us the Spirit of life that we would not walk according to the flesh and what the flesh sees, but by the spirit and what the Spirit gives, the forgiveness of sins.  

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