Now, dear brothers and sisters—you who are familiar with the law—don’t you know that the law applies only while a person is living? For example, when a woman marries, the law binds her to her husband as long as he is alive. But if he dies, the laws of marriage no longer apply to her. So while her husband is alive, she would be committing adultery if she married another man. But if her husband dies, she is free from that law and does not commit adultery when she remarries. – Romans 7:1-3.
Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set youfree from the law of sin and death. – Romans 8:1-2
Paul used marriage as an illustration of being dead to sin and free from the law’s condemning power. Christians can serve God freely by His Spirit. Still, the law makes us aware of our sinfulness and guides us to Christ. Paul concluding by focusing on the power and presence of Jesus Christ in his life in contrast to his own struggle with sin. Through Christ, the Spirit’s power enables us to live in ways that honour God. The Spirit helps us resist sin and provides guidance in making decisions.
Furthermore, the Spirit confirms that we are God’s children. We are adopted into God’s family and can go to God as Father. Because of this, nothing we face can be compared to the glory the awaits us. Our hope in Christ is certain. Though we often feel discouraged, we have a limitless source of hope. Our challenge is to patiently persevere in the face of any present difficulty.
Paul closed Romans 8 by affirming God is at work in all things.
Sin is more than an act. It is a power that controls us and leads us to death. We learn to sin when we rebel against God’s laws that set limits for our lives. The limits are good and necessary for us. Without them society could not exist.
God’s laws shows the limits people are to accept to be His people. We do not receive the law that way. We rebel against limits. We reverse the laws purpose. Instead of letting law lead us to life with God and away from the danger zone of death, we let law rouse our selfishness and jealousy. We do exactly what the law forbids. We sin in not trusting God to show us the nature of true life. We sin in doing what God forbids. We sin in letting sin control life rather than God. We cannot blame God for giving us the lawyer, nor can we blame the law. God was good to show us the nature of true life.
The law is good in outlining for us the proper limits to life. Sin as a power ruling over our lives turns the good law into an instrument to serve evil purposes by using it to arouse our selfish desires to be god.
We cannot overcome the power of sin. Rather we serve sin, letting it be our Master. Even though we know what is right, we do not have the power in ourselves to do it. Life is a war between our desires to do good and our enslavement to sin, with sin more powerful and winning the war. The outlook brings total despair until we turn to Jesus. He has won the victory over sin. His Spirit gives us power to defeat sin and serve Christ. Life is meant to be lived in the freedom of the Spirit, not in legalism under the law and sin.
Obeying God is not a dreaded, impossible duty but a natural result of the Spirit in us. The Spirit is actively at work in all believers to transform us into the kind of person God wants us to be. The Spirit is not given for our enjoyment but to change us so we will be of service to Christ.
The Holy Spirit is not a possession we hold on to but a person we love and obey. We must choose between the way of the flesh or sinful nature and the way of the Spirit. The Holy Spirit assures us that we are in fact God’s children, and that, even though we pass through much suffering, we will eventually share in the glory of Christ. We must choose to follow the Spirit, to live according to the Spirit, to set our minds on what the Spirit desires, to be controlled by the Spirit, to put the old way of life, and to be led by the Spirit.
Obeying the Holy Spirit means a personal loyalty and obedience to Christ that expresses itself by following the leadership of the Spirit in all life’s decisions.
Life is dominated either by sin or by God’s Spirit. Christ gave the death sentence to sin, which had given us the death sentence. He gave us a choice. Center life on Him or no sin. Choose life or death. Be at peace with God or at war with Him. Live in the Spirit to please God, or live in sin to please death.
I HEAR THY WELCOME VOICE – MHB 351
1 I hear Thy welcome voice,
That calls me, Lord, to Thee
For cleansing in Thy precious blood
That flowed on Calvary.
I am coming, Lord!
Coming now to Thee!
Wash me, cleanse me in the blood
That flowed on Calvary.
2 Though coming weak and vile,
Thou dost my strength assure;
Thou dost my vileness fully cleanse,
Till spotless all and pure.
3 ‘Tis Jesus calls me on
To perfect faith and love,
To perfect hope, and peace, and trust,
For earth and heaven above.
4 ‘Tis Jesus who confirms
The blessèd work within,
By adding grace to welcomed grace,
Where reigned the power of sin.
5 All hail! atoning blood!
All hail! redeeming grace!
All hail! the gift of Christ our Lord,
Our Strength and Righteousness.
Lewis Hartsough (1828-1919)
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