I can remember many of the phrases we used growing up…No duh!, wicked!, sick! that’s hot!, that’s rad!, or even pscych! One I remember quite well, because a little girl down the street used it quite frequently, “It’s the law!” Now, this didn’t necessarily mean that something was, “the law,” but it did mean the conversation was over…unless…one of us followed it up with, “you can’t tell me what to do. This is a free country…” I’m sure those of you who grew up in the late 80′s and early 90′s remember talking this way.
It’s the law…even today I here this phrase used at times. Not in the way we used it as kids, but with a more literal meaning. There are some things you can’t or shouldn’t do because their is a law against these actions. You can flip this argument as well to say that there are things we should do to meet the requirements of the law. Laws are typically quite black and white in nature. We know when we are breaking them. We even know when we are breaking the speed limit; although many of us choose to ignore that one to some degree. I had a friend in college who liked to call it the “speed suggestion.” Try explaining that to the officer who pulls you over, and you’ll be reminded very quickly that he doesn’t think of it as a suggestion. No, the law is the law.
Which brings us to the first four verses in Romans 8…
Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, 2 because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. 3 For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in the flesh, 4 in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.
Law requires that those who break it pay a penalty. God gave the Jews many laws to follow. Most of those in some form or another are passed on to us. Take for example, the ten commandments. There are additional commandments in the Old Testament, and quite a few in the New Testament as well. The ten commandments were often referred to as the law; actually the first five books of the Bible were also spoken of in this way. But…there is a law that supersedes all of these, basically this: those who break a law, must be punished. Paul calls this, in verse 4, “the righteous requirement of the law,”…that had to be met.
And the penalty of breaking one of God’s laws? The wages of sin…death. Plain and simple. However, verse one says this, “there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” How can that be? Here’s the kicker…a lot more died on the cross 2,000 years ago than the physical body of Jesus Christ. For the Christian, the power of sin died that day as well! The requirement of the law died (or at least was fulfilled) that day! Satans ownership of all those who had turned their backs on God died that day! Paul says, “NO CONDEMNATION for those who are in CHRIST!” Let me leave you with the words from a chorus of a song by Hillsong…
“You are stronger, you are stronger. Sin is broken, you have saved me. It is written, Christ is risen. Jesus you, are Lord of all!”