In heaven we will be finally free from sin and death. But now, even though sin and death surround us and are still a part of our who we are, now in Christ and by His Spirit, we can actually begin living life more and more in step with what heaven will be like! Praise God for such freedom and power.
“For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.” – Romans 8:2
As we move from the great declaration of verse 1, that “there is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” we now begin to see in verse 2 the reason, or the grounds, for why Paul can say this. We know Paul is giving us the reason because he begins verse 2 with that little, but very important word, for. It’s a word connecting verse 1 to verse 2 and it indicates to us why verse 1 is true. So, when Paul tells us that there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, we can ask the question why and see the answer in verse 2: Because the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus.
Reading verse 1 and verse 2 together like this we see immediately an important emphasis in the way Paul repeats (in both verses) the phrase “in Christ Jesus”. Do you see that? Here again is that crucial doctrine so important in Paul’s thinking and so essential to our understanding of the Gospel, namely, that our spiritual union in Christ is alone the grounds for our justification, sanctification, and unending peace with God. As D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones put it, “There is nothing more foolish than the notion that you can be ‘in Christ’ at one moment; then when you sin you are ‘out of’ Christ, then when you repent you are ‘in Christ’ again! … The very idea is ludicrous! No, if you are in Him, you are in Him for ever, you are in Him for all eternity. It is God who has put you ‘in Him’, and no one and nothing can take you out – neither hell, nor Satan, nor any other power. If you are in, you are in. It is absolute.”
That is not only very encouraging, friends, but it is ultimately freeing. And that’s exactly the point Paul makes in verse 2. “The law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.” Now, when we read Paul’s use of the word law in this passage it is probably best to understand that word as meaning “power,” or “binding authority” or “motivating principle.” So, a good reading of this text is how New Testament scholar, Douglas Moo, renders it as “the binding authority (or power) of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the binding power of sin and death.” In other words, when we are in Christ, and Christ is in us (by His Spirit), there is a new power at work, a power and authority which frees us from that old power of sin, sin which led to death and condemnation.