Romans 8:1-14 – Set Free From The Law Of Sin And Death

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Set Free From The Law Of Sin And Death; The Law Of The Spirit Who Gives Life; Messiah Became Our Sin Offering; We Must Live According To The Spirit, Not The Flesh; We Must Set Our Minds On What The Spirit Desires; We are Obligated To Serve God The Way He Wants To Be Served

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Messiah Yeshua, because through Messiah Yeshua the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.

The Rabbi mentions the law of sin and death. That law describes how sin and death work. Here’s how: Humanity is a fallen race. We are a fallen species. We come into this fallen, demonically controlled world that is in rebellion against God and under a curse with a fallen nature that is subject to sin. Sin is more than just an act of doing something wrong. Sin is like a living, powerful, evil force that seeks to dominates and destroy humanity. And sin does dominate and destroy humanity.

Human beings are under the control of sin; under the authority of sin; under the dominion of sin. And sin leads to death, since sin is unacceptable to the righteous and holy God, and eventually the Holy One will reject sin and everyone who is under its control. We desperately need to be set free from the law of sin and death. And we can be set free from the law of sin and death because there is another law, another principle that God has put into operation: the law of the Spirit who gives life.

Here’s how that principle works: when God graces a person with faith, and that person understands that God is Three and yet One; that Yeshua is the Messiah and the Son of the Father; that Yeshua died to atone for our sins, and the Father raised Him from the dead so that Yeshua is alive now, the living Lord and Savior and risen Messiah – when a person knows these things and makes a commitment to give his loyalties to the Father, Son and Spirit – that person is “in Messiah.”

He is united to the Son of God who is united to the Father. And the Father and the Son send their Spirit to live in that person. The Spirit gives that person a new nature. The Spirit begins to transform that person from within; the Spirit gives that person new understanding; that person starts to believe the right things; the Spirit gives him new desires to serve God; the Spirit empowers him to do what is right and not do what is wrong.

When a person is joined to Messiah and receives the Spirit, he is set free from the law of sin and death. He is released from the authority of sin. He is no longer subject to death. He is acceptable to God. He will not be rejected by God. He will not be condemned on the day of judgment and sent to Hell to experience the second death. There is no condemnation for those who are joined to the Messiah and in whom the Spirit of God is living!

The only way to be set free from the law of sin and death is by being joined to the Messiah by faith and having the Spirit of the Father and the Son living in us and giving us new life. As good as the law is, we can’t be set free from the law of sin and death by the law or by law-keeping. And if the law, which comes from God and is righteous and good and holy, can’t set us free from the law of sin and death, do you think that other religions, other ideologies, which are a mixture of truth and deadly error can set us free? Do you think that trying to be a good person can set us free from the law of sin and death? Absolutely not!

Having faith in the Father and the Son, and being united to the Son who is united to the Father and receiving the Holy Spirit and a new nature is the only way to be freed from the law of sin and death. 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, 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.

The problem is not the law. The law is good and right and holy. The problem is people. We are not good, right and holy. Our flesh (and the flesh is not limited to the body. The flesh is another way of referring to our old nature, the sinful nature, which includes the body, but also includes the mind, the will and the emotions) – our old nature is corrupt and it is weak.

When the sinful nature encounters the law, something in that nature wants to disobey the law. The law interacting with the sinful nature stirs up sin within us. The law is good and holy, but the combination of the law and our sinful nature is unable to free us from the law of sin and death. The problem is we are too weak. We are too sinful – even members of the Chosen People who are under the law and are committed to observe the law.

God knew our weakness and made another way for us to overcome the law of sin and death. 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. God the Father sent His Son from Heaven to Earth. The Son of God became a human being. He became a man in order to identify with man so He could redeem man. The Perfect Man redeemed us by becoming the ultimate sin offering, taking on Himself the sins of the world.

The exchange of life principle that is at the heart of the sacrificial system was fulfilled. Yeshua took our sins and died, because the consequence of sin is death. And His pure and eternal life was given to us, who were now free from our sins. That is how the law of sin and death is overcome. That is the only way that the law of sin and death is overcome.

And having faith in Yeshua and receiving His exchange of life and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit is the only way to live a life that is pleasing to God. And so he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh (the old nature) but according to the Spirit. Only those who are set free from the law of sin and death and have the Spirit of God living in them and empowering them are able to live according to the righteous requirement of the law. That does not mean that Christians need to observe all 613 of the commandments which are part of the law. They don’t. Rather, their focus is the righteous requirements of the law like: end your part in the great rebellion against God. Be loyal to God. Be devoted to Him above all else. Walk humbly with your God. Come to God on His terms. Stay close to Him. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. Love your neighbor as you love yourself.

There are only two ways of living. You are either living according to the flesh (the sinful nature) or you are living according to the Spirit. Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.

Things go with things. The flesh, and again, the flesh is not limited to the body – the flesh includes the entire old nature – the mind, body, emotions and will – the flesh is sinful. It is corrupt. It is weak. It is in rebellion against God. The flesh is dominated by wicked and rebellious desires. Those wicked and rebellious desires are not limited to desires like engaging in sexual immorality or drug or alcohol abuse. Those wicked and rebellious desires include the mind; refusing to believe what the Three-In-One God has revealed is true and what we must believe. The wicked and rebellious desires include the will – refusing to submit to the will of the Three-In-One God; refusing to submit to the righteous standards of the Three-In-One God. Those wicked and rebellious desires include the emotions – like giving into anger and hatred. Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires.

But those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The Spirit is the invisible, all-aware, all-present presence of the Father and the Son. The Spirit has no body, but He is a person. The Spirit has desires. He desires what the Father and the Son desire. If we are joined to the Messiah and have His Spirit living in us, we will set our minds on what the Spirit desires – holy living, Messiah-centered living, Messiah’s Community-centered living, Gospel-sharing living.

There is a way to live in accordance with what the Spirit desires; to know what He desires; to set our mind on what He desires; to be empowered to do what He desires so that we are able to live in accordance with what the Spirit desires. How? By transferring our loyalties to the Father and the Son, who send us Their Spirit. The Spirit living in us gives a new nature and helps us be renewed by the transforming of our minds. The Spirit helps us understand the Word of God. The Spirit uses our brothers and sisters in Messiah’s Community to help us. He uses our experiences, including our victories and our failures, to help us. These things help us live in accordance with what the Spirit desires.

When we are tempted to sin, the Spirit helps us live according to His desires by helping us resist temptation. He helps us by reminding us that what we are considering is wrong.

He reminds us that if we yield to the temptation, it will hurt God, it will hurt ourselves. It will hurt others.

The Spirit helps us live according to His desires by reminding us that we don’t need to yield to temptation; that for us, sin is a choice. We have a new ability to resist sin.

The Spirit helps us live according to His desires by reminding us of our calling, that we are the sons and daughters of a holy and righteous God and King, who expects us to live as His holy and righteous sons and daughters – now, in the present.

When we are tempted to sin, the Holy Spirit helps us live in accordance His desires, by helping us pray for God’s help to resist temptation, so that we are not led into further temptation and we are delivered from evil.

There are two ways of living – living according to the old nature, or living according to the Spirit, and each leads to a very different outcome. The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God. If your mind is controlled by the old nature, you are in a state of rebellion against God. You are opposing Him. You are hostile to Him. No matter how hard you try, you won’t be able to please God because you will not believe the right things and you will not be able to consistently live the right way. You will not be able to submit to His law or His righteous requirements the way you need to. The outcome of such an existence is death.

But, if your mind is controlled by the Spirit, you will be able please God. You will be able to believe what you need to believe; know what you need to know; be able to live the way you need to; resist sin the way you need to resist sin. You will experience life and peace in this world, followed by greater life and greater peace in the World To Come. The mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. Therefore if you do not want to die; if you want to experience life and peace in this world followed by greater life and greater peace in the World To Come, you need to make sure your mind is controlled by the Spirit.

And the way for your mind to be controlled by the Spirit is to have the Spirit of God living in you and then by setting your mind on what the Spirit desires – holy living, Messiah-centered living, Messiah’s Community-centered living, Gospel-sharing living. We set our mind on what the Spirit desires when we first are united to Messiah. And we continue to set our mind on what the Spirit desires every day, and if necessary, more than once a day.

You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. We must go from the realm of the old nature to the realm of the Spirit. We must go from a mind controlled by the old nature to a mind controlled by the Spirit.

Because this is so important, the rabbi reinforces it. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Messiah, they do not belong to Messiah. Each individual must have the Spirit of the Messiah living in him. If anyone does not have the Spirit of the Messiah living in him, he does not belong to Yeshua. He is not in Messiah. He is outside of Messiah. He is not saved. He is not born-again. He might be a member of a church or Messianic synagogue. He might think he is going to Heaven – but the reality is that he isn’t.

You must make sure that you belong to Messiah and have the Spirit of God living in you. You must understand that Yeshua is the Messiah and the Son of the Father; that He died to atone for our sins; that the Father raised Him from the dead; that Yeshua is alive now, the risen and living and powerful Lord and Savior. You must give your allegiance to the Father, Son and Spirit. Then the Father and the Son will send their Spirit to live in you. You will belong to Messiah.

Tremendous blessings come to those in whom the Spirit lives. But if Messiah is in you (and He is in you by means of His Spirit living in you), then even though your body is subject to death because of sin, the Spirit gives life because of righteousness. The law of sin and death affects our body. Our body will die because it has been affected by sin, which results in death. But the opposite is true. If sin leads to death, and it does, then the opposite of sin – righteousness leads to life – and it does. So our body will die, but the Spirit living in us produces righteousness – right relationship to God, right living – and that leads to life. Who wouldn’t want the Spirit help them to be righteous and give them life?

Even though our body will die, because it has been affected by sin, God will restore our body and it back to life – and a better quality of life. And if the Spirit of him who raised Yeshua from the dead (that is God the Father) is living in you, he who raised Messiah from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you. Remember, if we are joined to Yeshua because of our faith, not only are we united to Yeshua, we are also united to the great things that happened to Him. We are united to His death. We are united to His resurrection and His new life. So, if the Spirit of God is living in us, that means He is producing righteousness in us and life in us; and if the Spirit of God is living in us it means that we are united to the Son, and we are united to His death and to His resurrection, and God will do for us what He did for His Son – He will resurrect us and give resurrection life to our dead bodies. Baruch HaShem! Praise the Lord!

God has done so much for us; is doing so much for us; will do so much for us. He has saved us. He has redeemed us. He has forgiven all of our sins. He has killed our old nature. He has removed us from the control of our old, horrible master, sin. He has freed us from the law of sin and death. He has given us a new nature. He has give us new life. He has given us His Spirit who lives in us, who does so many good things for us. God has promised to resurrect our bodies and give us eternal life and a great inheritance. He has done all of this by His grace, which means that we deserved none of it. We earned none of it by our efforts.

When someone has done, is doing and will do so many good things for you that you don’t deserve; when someone saves your life and enriches your life to such an amazing degree – you owe him. You are indebted to him. In our case, we have an obligation to serve God the way He wants to be served. Therefore, brothers and sisters, we have an obligation – but it is not to the flesh, to live according to it. For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live. We have an obligation to serve God the way He wants to be served, and the way He wants to be served is by us not living according to the flesh, the old, sinful nature, which is characterized by wrong beliefs, evil desires and actions. And God wants to meet our obligation to Him by living according to the Spirit -which is characterized by right beliefs, right thinking, right actions – holy living.

Talk is cheap. Even action can be cheap. It’s easy to “pray a prayer of salvation.” It’s easy to go to church or synagogue, sing some songs, listen to a sermon and give some money. Talk is cheap. Actions can be cheap. If we are true sons and daughters of the King of Kings, a very specific action must accompany our prayers and actions. We must be led by the Spirit of God. For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. I used to think that being led by the Spirit meant that I needed to be sensitive to the Spirit, so that I could sense what He wanted me to do, and He could direct me to do this or that; go this way or that way; engage in a conversation with this person or that. While that is part of being led by the Spirit, I now know that being led by the Spirit also means to be led into righteous living, holy living; to be led away from unrighteous living, unholy living; to be led so that my life is characterized by serving God; to be led so that I am not serving self and sin.

Those who are led by the Spirit of God – into holy living, righteous living, avoiding-sin-kind-of-living, living-to-serve-God kind of living are true children of God. Those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God.

Let’s pray:

Lord, thank You for this amazing truth: there is now no condemnation for those who are in Messiah Yeshua, because through Messiah the law of the Spirit who gives life has set us free from the law of sin and death.

Thank You for freeing us from the law of sin and death.

Thank You Father for connecting us to Messiah Yeshua, so that we are in Messiah and He is in us – by means of His Spirit, who is also Your Spirit.

Thank You for the law of the Spirit who gives life.

Father, thank You that You knew that the law was powerless to save human beings us because it was weakened by the flesh, and so You sent Your Son to be a sin offering.

Thank You for the exchange of life principle – that Yeshua took our sins and died, because the consequence of sin is death. And His pure and eternal life was given to us, and we are now free from our sins and from death.

Help us live according to the Spirit by daily setting our minds are what the Spirit desires – holy living, Messiah-centered living, Messiah’s Community-centered living, Gospel-sharing living.

Father, You have done, are doing, will do so much for us – freely, by Your grace. We deserve none of it. We have earned none of it. Help us realize how indebted we are to You and give ourselves to serve You the way You want to be served, which is characterized by right beliefs, right thinking, right actions – holy living.

Help us continually, constantly be led by Your Spirit.

By | 2017-01-30T21:40:56+00:00 October 1st, 2016|Categories: Commentaries by Rabbi Loren, Sermons by Rabbi Loren|Tags: , |Comments Off on Romans 8:1-14 – Set Free From The Law Of Sin And Death

About the Author:

Rabbi Loren Jacobs is the senior rabbi and founder of “Congregation Shema Yisrael” (which means “Hear O Israel”). Congregation Shema Yisrael is a Messianic synagogue which was started in 1986 when Rabbi Loren and his wife Martha moved to Michigan to proclaim the Good News about the Messiah to the Jewish people living in the metro Detroit area. Rabbi Loren was raised in a Jewish home in the Chicago area, and became a Messianic Jew in 1975. He graduated from Moody Bible Institute’s Jewish Studies program in 1979 and received a Bachelor’s degree in Biblical Literature from Northeastern Bible College in New Jersey in 1986. His wife Martha is a fifth generation Messianic Jew, which is quite unusual. They have two adult children and two grandchildren.