“You may go free, not guilty!” What would these words mean to you if you were on death row?
The reality is, we are all on death row because we have broken God’s holy Law multiple times. But thankfully, God has made a way to clear our record, declare us not guilty, through faith in His Son, Jesus Christ.
Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.” – Romans 8:12
This verse, along with the rest of this chapter, is one of my favorite passages. In a world of condemning voices and pointing fingers, this verse gives reason to celebrate. Jesus liberates the believer from the old bondage to sin and death!
Two laws are cited in this passage:
- The Law of Sin and Death. It lurks around every corner, challenging every good motive, enslaving the one who strives to fulfill the Law through self-determination. Romans 7:14-25 describes its havoc.
- The Law of the Spirit. Through Jesus Christ, this law defeats the old law’s grip on sin and death, setting people free. Shepherd’s Notes observes: “Twenty-one times in Romans 8 the Greek word for Spirit or spirit occurs. At least 18 of these are references to the Holy Spirit . . . . We have in Romans 8 Paul’s fullest discussion of the new life of the Spirit.” (For more information on our sinful nature vs. our new life in Christ, see 6:6-8; Ephesians 4:22-24; Colossians 3:3-15.)
Verse 3 not only explains how the Law of the Spirit sets people free, but also contains the following two doctrines:
God’s Son, Jesus Christ, became one of us. Paul describes Christ’s coming as “in the likeness of sinful man.”
God achieved our freedom from captivity to sin through Jesus’ sacrificial death (“sin offering”) on the cross. Jesus bore the brunt of the world’s sins. The NIV Study Bible notes: “In Old Testament times, animal sacrifices were continually offered at the temple. The sacrifices showed the Israelites the seriousness of sin: blood had to be shed before sins could be pardoned (see Leviticus 17:11). But animal blood could not really remove sins (Hebrews 10:4). The sacrifices could only point to Jesus’ sacrifice, which paid the penalty for all sins.”
In verse 9, Paul tells his readers that they are not controlled by their sinful nature, but their lives are guided by the indwelling Spirit (Holy Spirit). The Holy Spirit is also God’s guarantee of eternal life for the believer.
Christians can rise above sin and experience life through the empowerment of the indwelling Holy Spirit.
A Christian is anyone who has the Spirit of God (Holy Spirit) living in him/her. Jesus promised His Spirit to anyone who sincerely trusts Him for salvation and acknowledges Him as Lord.
Although our feelings come and go, we can stand confidently on God’s promises of living forever with Him. (See also Romans 8:23; 1 Corinthians 6:14; 2 Corinthians 4:14; 1 Thessalonians 4:14.)
Have you placed your complete trust in Christ?