The Berean Expositor
Volume 25 - Page 127 of 190
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The Law of the Spirit of Life (8: 1-4).
pp. 117 - 124
In the preceding study we surveyed the whole of chapter 8:, and discovered its
sevenfold division of theme, based upon the emphasis given to the idea of "sonship".
Sonship is the antithesis in Scripture of slavery. The coming in of sin and death and their
subsequent dominion over man, robbed Adam and his seed of their "place as sons".
There are some of God's children who do not speak of Adam as a "son of God", for
fear lest some unscriptural deductions should follow. While we must emulate their desire
to preserve the truth of God, we must not "put out our hand to stay the ark of God" by
veiling any portion of His truth.  Luke 3: 23-38 gives the genealogy of Christ, and
traces it back through David, "which was the son of Jesse", Abraham, which was the
son of Terah", Shem, "which was the son of Noah", and Adam, "which was the son of
God". Adam was made in the image of God, though that image was subsequently marred
through sin. It is yet to be restored in resurrection, as Rom. 8: 29 reveals: "For whom
He did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son."
The creation, when Adam sinned, became subjected to vanity (Rom. 8: 20), and the
redeemed share its groaning until the day of redemption. Spiritual powers intervened in
Eden to separate man from his Maker, but his position "in Christ" is far more secure than
that of unfallen Adam could ever have been, and "neither death, nor life, nor
principalities, nor powers" shall be able to separate from the love of God those who are
restored in Christ. The alternating references to "flesh" and "spirit" that occupy so large
a place in the first half of Rom. 8: deal with these two spheres; the spirit of bondage
being that of the flesh, and the spirit of adoption whereby we cry "Abba, Father", being
the sonship spirit of resurrection, which is the dominant note of this section.
The section before us is that covered by Rom. 8: 1-4, and there we meet the first
and most wonderful definition of the spirit in which we live, move and have our renewed
being. Most editors of the Greek Text agree that the words of Rom. 8: 1: "Who walk
not after the flesh but after the spirit" are an interpolation introduced into the text from
verse 4. It may be that some felt that the statement of Rom. 8: 1 needed some
modifying, that freedom from condemnation, if proclaimed without some limits and
qualifications, would be harmful. This is exactly the opposition to free grace that the
apostle anticipated and met in Rom. 6: 1 and 15. Bloomfield expresses this uneasiness
by rendering the words "Who walk" by "If they do walk"; and he quotes other writers
who suggest "So that they do but walk", "showing that justification through Christ's
death can only be made effectual by sanctification through His Spirit". With all due
regard to this wholesome association of "doctrine" and "manner of life", the introduction
of conditions and qualifying terms here is unscriptural and subversive. Freedom from
condemnation is not conditional upon the walk of the believer; it is entirely conditional
upon the work of God's Son. We must be free, before we can think of walking according
to the spirit. While we were in slavery, we were in the flesh, and could not please God.