Romans 8:1-2 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.
This is a justly famous, vitally important passage with which I am naturally very familiar. However, the Japanese translation I use gives me fresh insight. In English we only have one word, “law,” to express what are actually various different things, but Japanese has three terms that I’m aware of. There is judicial law, as in a human court, there is God’s law, as in the 10 Commandments, and there is the term used for fundamental principles, as in laws of nature such as gravity. Interestingly, that is the word used here. You can’t annul gravity by executive decree, legislative action, or judicial judgment! However, things like the “laws” of aerodynamics counter gravity all the time, as witness all the airplanes flying around. That’s the sort of thing Paul is talking about here. The law of sin and death doesn’t disappear, but it’s more than countered by the law of the Spirit of life. That’s why we need to be careful to walk in the Spirit at all times, as we are admonished to do several times in the New Testament. Otherwise, the law of sin and death takes over, as when the engine quits in an airplane. That’s why Paul wrote, “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” (Galatians 5:1) If we fail to walk in the Spirit of Life, it’s as though He doesn’t exist for us. The good news is, repentance is always available!
This naturally applies to me as much as it does to everyone else. I’m certainly not immune to gravity! I’m back to the vital importance of applying the truth I know. James hit the nail on the head when he wrote, “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” (James 1:22) Mere lip service doesn’t free us from anything. As I am reminded rather often, as someone actively involved in telling others what God says to do, I’ve got to be careful that I’m doing it too! However the glorious truths of Scripture, like this passage, are just as true for me as they are for anyone else, so I am to rest, relax, and rejoice in my Lord, just as He has told me to do.
Father, thank You for this reminder, and for the very clear illustration You gave me of how this works. Guide me in when and how I am to share that with others. Thank You for all You did yesterday, and all You have planned for today. May I indeed walk in Your Spirit each moment, so that Your life through me may touch all I encounter, for their blessing and Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!