For the law of the Spirit of life in Yeshua HaMashiach set me free from the law of sin and death. Romans 8:2
Law – Sometimes it seems like Sha’ul could have written about Alice in Wonderland. One pill makes you bigger (one law gives you life) and the other pill makes you small (one law gives you death). Of course, Sha’ul isn’t speaking like Alice or singing like Grace Slick. He’s talking about two different principles; two types of nomos (rules). One lets you live; the other kills you. The principal difference between these two is life and death. One held us captive to inevitable death. The other set us free to live. These two are the most important governing rules of human existence. But if we don’t know what they really are, we will flounder around trying to come up with our own principles for living, and that is almost always disastrous.
Sha’ul sets these two principles in opposition: freedom and life on one hand; sin and death on the other. We know Sha’ul’s thinking about the sin and death principle. It’s the attempt to operate on our own terms. It’s being disobedient to God’s revealed instructions. It’s turning away from the source of life. Of course, with all the activity in the world it certainly doesn’t appear as though the law of sin and death holds so many hostage. It looks like they are just doing the best they can, accumulating what fulfills their desires and trying to be happy. The reality of sin and death is disguised as an angelic expression of light. Only God can remove the blinders and when He does the world looks like a very tragic place.
On the other hand, Sha’ul rejoices in the law of the Spirit of life in Yeshua. This law sets me free. It has the power to transform my tragic existence into a journey with Yeshua and peace with God. But did you notice that it does not set me free from rules? It sets me free from the rules that kill me, but it doesn’t set me free from every rule. I still am under the law of the Spirit of life. And what is that law? It should be obvious what Sha’ul has in mind. He is a Pharisee of the Pharisees, a Torah-observant follower of the Messiah, a scholar of the Tanakh, a sinner saved by grace, a citizen of the commonwealth of Israel. What law provides life to his community? It is Torah, of course. That’s what God said it would do, and that’s what it does. When we live according to Torah, God uses us to fulfill His purposes and we are filled with the Spirit – all because Yeshua redeemed us.
Sha’ul does not say the law of sin and death is removed because all law is removed. He does not say that the principle of “love one another” has replaced all of God’s previous instructions. He does not say the Torah was deficient and needed to be replaced, or it was temporary and has now been superseded. He says Yeshua got us out from under a rule that was killing us so we could live according to a rule that will fulfill us. How does the saying go? “If it’s good enough for Paul, it’s good enough for me.” Apparently, the law of the Spirit of life in Yeshua HaMashiach was pretty good for Sha’ul. Keeping the rules results in life. That’s what you think too, right?
Topical Index: law, principle, nomos, Torah, life, death, Romans 8:2
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