Further Meditation on the Law of Life vs. the Law of Sin and Death
. Condemnation is the main way that sin has its hold on us. We are not talking about condemnation from the wrath of God (that was taken care of by the blood of Jesus in the heavens in Romans 3). Condemnation in Romans 8 is weakness and a sense of death inside of you, because you’re such a “failure.” Even though we were redeemed, we still have our flesh. If we walk in the flesh, we experience condemnation because our conscience agrees with the law. We can’t “disagree” with the law. It condemns us when we are walking in the flesh. But God doesn’t condemn us! He crucified us with Christ and put us out of the way so that now Christ can be our life. He condemned us at the cross, so He doesn’t have to condemn us anymore. But we still feel condemned, and because of that, we need to be set free from this condemnation. Sin reigns through the weakness produced by condemnation, which is the opposite of the boldness, access, and confidence to the Father that we have been granted in the spirit of sonship.
You have to understand that condemnation is not just a logical issue where you agree with the law and therefore you condemn yourself. It is a weight of condemnation. It is an atmosphere of death gripping you. “The mind set on the flesh is death” (Rom 8:6). You can feel it, and you can taste it. It can bring you into such oppression when you are under condemnation that you need a resurrection in your being to exalt you above all the condemnation and transcend it. You need a resurrection to bring you into the heavens where you really belong and to drive out that atmosphere of darkness in your mind and heart.
This is the purpose of the law of the Spirit of life that is operating in you. It is to bring the atmosphere of resurrection and sonship into you and drive out the atmosphere of slavery, condemnation, fear, and death native to your flesh. The way to participate in that law is to walk according to the spirit and not the flesh, which has to do with the mind. The mind set on the spirit is life and peace (Rom 8:6). The law of the Spirit of life is in your spirit, but by walking according to the spirit and minding the things of the spirit, the “atmosphere” of liberty and confidence that is yours by right as a son of God can penetrate your mind so that you are walking in life and not death.
Minding the Things of the Spirit
Remember that the flesh here is not just sinful flesh. The flesh is the totality of “me” trying to please God and trying to be righteous, and trying to satisfy my conscience apart from faith in the blood of Christ. To walk according to the flesh is to “mind the things of the flesh.” To walk in the Spirit is to set my mind on the things of the Spirit.
What are the things of the Spirit? They’re all the things that God has done for you in Christ and all the things He has given you as an inheritance. All of what Christ is for you is a present reality in the Spirit, and yet He wants you to have a mind set on the Spirit. That means your mind is being renewed with spiritual truth. You are exercising your faith to believe what God has said about you in Christ. We live by faith in the gospel of Jesus Christ. We believe everything that God has told us He’s accomplished in Christ.
In Romans, there are so many facts related to what Christ has accomplished. He has shed His blood for us. He has made peace with God on our behalf (Romans 5:1). He has saved us, even though we were sinners…while we were ungodly (Rom 5:6). He justified us even though we “worked not” because we believed in Him (Rom 4:5). He manifested and vindicated the righteousness of God upon those of us who believe in Jesus Christ (Rom 3:20). Then He transferred us out of Adam and delivered us out of sin and death. He put us in Christ who is the source of righteousness, grace, and life. He did this so He could cause us to reign in life (Rom 5:17).
When we were in Adam, sin reigned. We lost our dominion and sin and death reigned over us. But now in Christ, Christ’s grace and His life is saving us. How much more shall we be saved in His life (Rom 5:10)! We are delivered from the wrath of God, and now we are being saved, which means He causes us to reign in life. He serves us by putting us in the position of kingship and authority and dominion in life. We reign over that which used to reign over us, which is sin and death. Sin no longer lords it over us because we are not under the law, but under grace. He affected this transfer by crucifying us with Christ, by burying us with Him in baptism into His death, so that we died to sin. The old man was crucified and put off. The body of sin was destroyed (Rom 6:3-4). We are technically no longer slaves to sin. It can’t lord it over us because He also delivered us from the law in that death. We died to sin and we died to the law, which means God is finished looking to us as the source of any good (Rom 7:4). He wants us to be finished with it too!
These are the things we need to learn about and grow accustomed to. We let them impact our view of our position before God, apart from our condition and performance. These are things that Christ accomplished, not things He’s left for us to do! We need to stop looking at ourselves obsessively and learn to acknowledge what God has said about what He has accomplished.