1/6/17 The New Freedom II

Thursday, January 5, 2017


(Part 2)

Rom. 8:2-4

Morning Meditation 1/6/17

Verse 2-4 says, “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”

In verse one we learned the believer is free from condemnation in Christ Jesus. Paul emphasizes that this freedom is NOW. It is not pie in the sky by and by. It is eternal life entered in the here and now. We come now to verse two where Paul begins a declaration of the freedom and an explanation of the ground of it. There are four new points that Paul makes in these verses. First, he speaks of,

THE NEW LAW OF THE SPIRIT. This is the first mention of the “law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus.” This is a new concept. It is not a law to obey like the Ten Commandments. It is a law like the law of gravity. It is a principle which remains in operation without any conditions being met by man. It has a sphere in which it applies: “in Christ Jesus.” The law of the Spirit of life applies to anyone in Christ. The Spirit of life is the Spirit that gives life. Death cannot exist in it’s presence. The Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has integrated the believer with the life of God. It is a quality of BEING not just existence. To exist is what a lost man will do in hell. To have this life given by God through faith in the gospel is to enter a realm of BEING about which the mind can hardly think. We must bow our heads and worship at the infinite wisdom of God at the thought. Bishop H. C. G. Moule says on this phrase “the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus,” in his commentary on Romans, “that we see (1) that we are in Christ—where there is no condemnation, and (2) that we are there by the Holy Spirit, who brought us to saving faith. Now we are to learn (3) what that Spirit has done also for us in giving us union with Christ.” That brings us to the next thought. Paul tells us of,

THE NEW FREEDOM IN THE SPIRIT. “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.” This is my new Spirit given freedom in Christ. There words “hath made free” translate “eleutheroo” which means “to set at liberty: from the dominion of sin.” This word comes from a word that means “freeborn, one freed, exempt, unrestrained, not bound by an obligation.” It is an aorist active indicative verb. The aorist tense refers to a point of time in which this took place. That point of time is set forth in 1 Cor. 12:13: “For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.” Here is where the law of the Spirit of life operates. The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus frees (active voice) the believer from the law of sin and death. The law of sin and death no longer applies to me. It did, but now I am free.

Someone comes along and tries to put me under the law, and make me conform to it, and threaten me with its penalty, and I say, “I am sorry. That law does not apply to me.” Can you imagine the frustration an officer who has been given the responsibility of enforcing the law trying to arrest a person and have that person tell him, “I have diplomatic immunity and your law does not apply to me.” This is exactly what happened in the Churches of Galatia. There were false teachers who were teaching that one must not only have faith in Christ but also keep the law. Paul told them to, “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.” The word “liberty” translates the same word that is translated “made me free” in Romans 8:2. Something else about Galatians 5:1 is the word “again,” i.e., “and be not entangled again.” These people to whom Paul is speaking were at one time under the cruel bondage of the law. Jesus had set them free. Paul is telling them not to allow anyone through false teaching to take them back under the bondage of the law. We are to enjoy our freedom in Christ. It is a shame to have a person FREE IN BEING and in bondage in experience. This is not a goal to be obtained. The verb is an aorist active indicative which means it has taken place in a once for all act. It would be good to give the definition of the aorist tense at this point. It is a point of time divorced from time and perpetuated forever. He set us free at a point of time and that point of time was divorced from time and what he did for us is perpetuated forever. Hallelujah! Someone hold my mules! Next we see,

THE NEW EXPLANATION OF THE GOSPEL. Paul explains, “For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh.” The words “law could not do” means that the law had no power. The words “could not” translates “adunatos” and means “without strength, impotent, powerless, weakly, disabled.” The law had power to condemn. It had the power to sentence one to death. When they brought the woman caught in the act of adultery in John 8 they said, “Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou?” This is what the law had the power to do. But the law is powerless to give life. It can condemn to death but it cannot give life. Wherein is the law weak? It is “weak through the flesh . . .” The word “weak” translates “astheneo and means “to be weak, feeble, to be without strength, powerless.” This verb is an imperfect active indicative. The imperfect tense refers to a continuing action in the past. The flesh kept on being weak. The law was in effect over millions of Jews over a fourteen or fifteen hundred year period. The flesh of everyone over whom the law reigned kept on being weak, kept on being feeble, and kept on being without strength. Not one Jew ever kept the law. The law could command men to fly but could not give them wings.

The words “ . . . God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin condemned sin in the flesh” explain the action God took on man’s behalf. God in His holiness could not lower the standard. So He came in the person of His Son, was made in the LIKENESS of sinful flesh, and in man’s stead condemned sin in the flesh. This is the gospel. It is good news for bad people. The word “sending” is an aorist active participle. The aorist tense refers to the whole event of His coming and to the particular event of His incarnation. God became a man, and that by choice, motivated by love (John 3:16), with a strategy to redeem fallen man. He lived the life man couldn’t live, died the death man couldn’t survive, and lives to pardon the repentant believer on the grounds that He fulfilled the law’s demands in that He died in the sinner’s place, and lives to justify the believer by faith alone. Bishop Moule says of the words, “and condemned sin in the flesh,” “ . . . not pardoned it, observe, but sentenced it. He ordered it to execution; He killed its claim and its power for all who are in Christ. And this, ‘in the flesh,’ making man’s earthly conditions the scene of sin’s defeat, for our everlasting encouragement in our ‘life in the flesh.’”

The word “condemned” means “to damn, to execute a sentence.” It is an aorist active indicative verb. So God did at a point of time on the cross execute His sentence against the flesh in the person of Jesus so that now His holy nature is satisfied with the penalty that He carried out. This is how a loving God takes care of man’s sins and sets him free by faith alone. Sin does not go free or unpunished. We go free because SOMEONE ELSE took our place, paid the debt we owed, and ever lives to make intercession for us. Then next we see,

THE NEW FULFILLMENT OF THE LAW. Paul said all this happened, “That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” First, the “walking after the Spirit” is not speaking of a condition to salvation. It is a liberty that we have been given by our deliverance from bondage. When we were in bondage to sin, the only way we could ATTEMPT to fulfil the law was to walk in it’s precepts. But it is not long, if one attempts to do this, in his heart of hearts, knows that he is “coming short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23). To walk in the Spirit is to walk in dependence by faith in the finished work of Christ as is described in verses one and two. Spiritually, and this is the way God looks at it, the law is fulfilled in us who believe. Faith is reckoned for righteousness (Rom. 4:5). We do not only have a Saviour who died as our Substitute, we have an INTERCESSOR who lives and keeps His righteousness before God as our righteousness. Paul says in 1 Cor. 1:30-31, “But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.” The believer has only ONE to glory in. “Unto HIM BE GLORY IN THE CHURCH by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.”

There is the new life entered, the new freedom in the Spirit, the new explanation of the gospel and the new fulfillment of the law. It is hard to imagine the experience the Christians at Rome had as their pastor read Paul’s epistle and explained this passage of Scripture to them.

May the Lord bless these words to our hearts.

In Christ

Bro. White

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