There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit[a] of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do: by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and to deal with sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, so that the just requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. To set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For this reason the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law—indeed it cannot, and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
Although these verses are full of release they may cause us inner conflict, perhaps even feeling like a bit of a damper at times; bringing us into the sense of condemnation, which we are told we are no longer subject to. They can come across as being very different to a lot of things that are commonplace in the places of worship of which we are a part, and where we seek to serve our Lord. It does however reflect in clear terms the immensity of just HOW greatly Jesus has set us free in a way in which nobody else has been able to.
We no longer live under the Law with its restrictions, dictates and stranglehold sense of needing to adhere to the “straight and narrow.” The difference is that we are meant to live the life of the Spirit, and not be shackled to those things from the past which may well have dogged our steps. Very clearly we are told to walk in the Spirit, and not according to the flesh.
There needs to be a full realisation of the extent of such freedom into which Jesus has so wonderfully released us. Perhaps something that only the Holy Spirit can truly liberate us into, in His way and timing ridding us of the sense of condemnation. Jesus Himself reminds us that if we know the truth in Him we shall be free (John 8), and that is freedom with great emphasis, and eternal effect. However, such is only as good as the amount of freedom which we allow ourselves to enter into, and appropriate. It is not holding back, but embracing the fullness and the releasing effect of the life of the Spirit which Jesus, in His love for each one of us, longs for us to lay hold of and enjoy.
Gracious Father! What a gift you have given us! Freedom from the confines of the law, and all of its heaviness. Freedom from the condemnation which at times was too unwieldy to bear. Freedom to walk according to the way which Jesus has prepared for us. Freedom to set us free to be truly the people you ask us to be.
Freedom to be walking day by day, in your life and peace. Amen.
Verena Walder, Lay Preacher and Elder, Tabernacle URC, Mumbles
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