Freed to Walk According to the Spirit (Romans 8:1-4)

After recognizing at the end of chapter 7 that God through Jesus Christ is the answer to his struggle within, Paul begins chapter 8 with a very strong statement. He emphatically declares that there is no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus. F.F. Bruce writes in his commentary that the Greek word katakrima describes the condition of penal servitude, and thus we should not continue to live as if we deserve this punishment. We indeed have been set free from this imprisonment.  The reason (verse 2) is because we have been set free from the law of sin and of death by the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus. Verse 3 states that it was impossible for the law to free us, so God sent His Son. Jesus thus became the “sin offering” in order to perfectly fulfill once for all the requirement of the law.

Our freedom is completely dependent on our restored relationship to God through Christ. Paul has previously established the meaning of “in Christ Jesus” with his discussion of baptism and being united with Christ. That is how the requirement of the law may be fulfilled in us (verse 4). Now we are those who walk not according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. This fulfills prophecies in Jeremiah and in Ezekiel that speak of a new spirit within us. F.F. Bruce comments:

“The New Testament writers recognize in the gospel the fulfillment of these ancient prophecies. Christian holiness is not a matter of painstaking conformity to the individual precepts of an external law-code; it is rather a question of the Holy Spirit producing His fruit in the life, reproducing those graces which were seen in perfection in the life of Christ.”

next: continue with Romans 8:5-11



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