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Volume 25 - Page 131 of 190 Index | Zoom | |
"But if her husband be dead, she is free from that law" (Rom. 7: 3).
"The law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and
death" (Rom. 8: 2).
"Because the creature itself also shall be set free from the bondage of corruption into
the freedom of the glory of the children of God" (Rom. 8: 21).
Each of these passages illuminates 8: 2, but perhaps 7: 3 is most to the point.
Nothing that a wife could do, could save her from being called an adulteress should she
marry another man, except one thing, and that beyond her control--the death of her
husband, and with him, the death of the law to her. Nothing that we can do or that can be
done in us, can ever set us free from condemnation, except the death of the law to us, and
our death to it. This, as we rejoice to know, is what has actually taken place. We are
called upon to reckon as God has reckoned. By virtue of our union with Christ, when He
died, we died with Him; when He arose, we arose with Him; and we are free.
This, however, does not contradict the fact that in our flesh dwelleth no good thing.
Our freedom from condemnation and the dominion of sin, does not mean sinless
perfection in the flesh. Experimental sanctification and unqualified acquittal must not be
confused. Full freedom still awaits the glory, when mortality shall be swallowed up and
the spirit of adoption, which is the earnest we now possess, gives place to the adoption
itself, the redemption of the body. We live in the power of the risen life, but not yet in its
actuality. The law, however, could not give this freedom. It spoke only of complete
obedience or death. God's remedy was the gift of His Son, Who took upon Himself flesh
and blood, was made like unto His brethren, and was made sin for us, Who knew no sin.
Hence the remarkable words used in Rom. 8: 3: "God sending His own Son in the
likeness of sin's flesh." The flesh was real, but it was "in the likeness of sin's flesh"; for
He knew no sin. In that flesh, God condemned sin. "In the body of His flesh through
death" we find our freedom, our justification, our newness of life.
There is one further point that demands attention, and we must ask the reader's
patience a little longer, as the subject is so vital:--
"That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the
flesh, but after the spirit" (Rom. 8: 4).
Most commentators see in this verse the resulting sanctification of the believer, now
set free by the death of Christ. It is true that the whole law is summed up in "love" (see
Rom. 13: 8; Gal. 5: 13, 14), and that the believer can now begin to obey that law which
previously proved too much for his weak and sinful nature. All this is true, but we
believe it is not the primary truth set forth here. The primary truth is not that we are set
free from the law that we might fulfil the law, but rather that we are set free from the law
to stand upon a higher plane altogether. Our justification is by "a righteousness of God
apart from law". We learn that sin shall have no more dominion over us, for we "are not
under the law, but under grace". Christ is "the end of the law for righteousness to every
one that believeth". Let us, therefore, not be too eager to fasten the yoke of the law upon
the liberated children of God.