For the law of the Spirit of life - The Gospel of the grace of Christ, which is not only a law or rule of life, but affords that sovereign energy by which guilt is removed from the conscience, the power of sin broken, and its polluting influence removed from the heart. The law was a spirit of death, by which those who were under it were bound down, because of their sin, to condemnation and death. The Gospel proclaims Jesus the Savior; and what the law bound unto death, It looses unto life eternal. And thus the apostle says, whether of himself or the man whom he is still personating, the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. Most people allow that St. Paul is here speaking of his own state; and this state is so totally different from that described in the preceding chapter, that it is absolutely impossible that they should have been the state of the same being, at one and the same time. No creature could possibly be carnal, sold under sin, brought into captivity to the law of sin and death; and at the same time be made free from that law of sin and death, by the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus! Until the most palpable absurdities and contradictions can be reconciled, these two opposite states can never exist in the same person at the same time.
For the law - The word “law” here means that “rule, command, or influence” which “the Spirit of life” produces. That exerts a control which is here called a law, for a law often means anything by which we are ruled or governed; see the notes at Romans 7:21, Romans 7:23. Of the Spirit. I see no reason to doubt here that this refers to the Holy Spirit. Evidently, at the close of Romans 8:1, the word has this reference. The phrase “the Spirit of life” then means the Holy Spirit producing or giving life; that is, giving peace, joy, activity, salvation; in opposition to the law spoken of in John 16:7-14. The Spirit is sent by Christ; his influence is a part of the Christian scheme; and his power accomplishes what the Law could not do.
Hath made me free - That is, has delivered me from the predominating influence and control of sin. He cannot mean that he was perfect, for the whole tenor of his reasoning is opposed to that. But the design, the tendency, and the spirit of the gospel was to produce this freedom from what the Law could not deliver; and he was now brought under the general power of this scheme. In the former state he was under a most bitter and galling bondage; Romans 7:7-11. Now, he was brought under the influence of a scheme which contemplated freedom, and which produced it.
The law of sin and death - The controlling influence of sin, leading to death and condemnation; Romans 7:5-11.
In the Word of God the honest seeker for truth will find the rule for genuine sanctification. The apostle says: “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.... For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh; that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you” (Romans 8:1-9). FW 97.2Read in context »
Israel had chosen their own ways. They had not builded according to the pattern; but Christ, the true temple for God's indwelling, molded every detail of His earthly life in harmony with God's ideal. He said, “I delight to do Thy will, O My God: yea, Thy law is within My heart.” Psalm 40:8. So our characters are to be builded “for an habitation of God through the Spirit.” Ephesians 2:22. And we are to “make all things according to the pattern,” even Him who “suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow His steps.” Hebrews 8:5; 1 Peter 2:21. DA 209.1
The words of Christ teach that we should regard ourselves as inseparably bound to our Father in heaven. Whatever our position, we are dependent upon God, who holds all destinies in His hands. He has appointed us our work, and has endowed us with faculties and means for that work. So long as we surrender the will to God, and trust in His strength and wisdom, we shall be guided in safe paths, to fulfill our appointed part in His great plan. But the one who depends upon his own wisdom and power is separating himself from God. Instead of working in unison with Christ, he is fulfilling the purpose of the enemy of God and man. DA 209.2
The Saviour continued: “What things soever He [the Father] doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise.... As the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth them; even so the Son quickeneth whom He will.” The Sadducees held that there would be no resurrection of the body; but Jesus tells them that one of the greatest works of His Father is raising the dead, and that He Himself has power to do the same work. “The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live.” The Pharisees believed in the resurrection of the dead. Christ declares that even now the power which gives life to the dead is among them, and they are to behold its manifestation. This same resurrection power is that which gives life to the soul “dead in trespasses and sins.” Ephesians 2:1. That spirit of life in Christ Jesus, “the power of His resurrection,” sets men “free from the law of sin and death.” Philippians 3:10; Romans 8:2. The dominion of evil is broken, and through faith the soul is kept from sin. He who opens his heart to the Spirit of Christ becomes a partaker of that mighty power which shall bring forth his body from the grave. DA 209.3Read in context »
Among His hearers many were drawn to Him in faith, and to them He said, “If ye continue in My word, then are ye My disciples indeed; and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” DA 466.1
These words offended the Pharisees. The nation's long subjection to a foreign yoke, they disregarded, and angrily exclaimed, “We be Abraham's seed, and were never in bondage to any man: how sayest Thou, Ye shall be made free?” Jesus looked upon these men, the slaves of malice, whose thoughts were bent upon revenge, and sadly answered, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin.” They were in the worst kind of bondage,—ruled by the spirit of evil. DA 466.2
Every soul that refuses to give himself to God is under the control of another power. He is not his own. He may talk of freedom, but he is in the most abject slavery. He is not allowed to see the beauty of truth, for his mind is under the control of Satan. While he flatters himself that he is following the dictates of his own judgment, he obeys the will of the prince of darkness. Christ came to break the shackles of sin-slavery from the soul. “If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.” “The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus” sets us “free from the law of sin and death.” Romans 8:2. DA 466.3
In the work of redemption there is no compulsion. No external force is employed. Under the influence of the Spirit of God, man is left free to choose whom he will serve. In the change that takes place when the soul surrenders to Christ, there is the highest sense of freedom. The expulsion of sin is the act of the soul itself. True, we have no power to free ourselves from Satan's control; but when we desire to be set free from sin, and in our great need cry out for a power out of and above ourselves, the powers of the soul are imbued with the divine energy of the Holy Spirit, and they obey the dictates of the will in fulfilling the will of God. DA 466.4
The only condition upon which the freedom of man is possible is that of becoming one with Christ. “The truth shall make you free;” and Christ is the truth. Sin can triumph only by enfeebling the mind, and destroying the liberty of the soul. Subjection to God is restoration to one's self,—to the true glory and dignity of man. The divine law, to which we are brought into subjection, is “the law of liberty.” James 2:12. DA 466.5
The Pharisees had declared themselves the children of Abraham. Jesus told them that this claim could be established only by doing the works of Abraham. The true children of Abraham would live, as he did, a life of obedience to God. They would not try to kill One who was speaking the truth that was given Him from God. In plotting against Christ, the rabbis were not doing the works of Abraham. A mere lineal descent from Abraham was of no value. Without a spiritual connection with him, which would be manifested in possessing the same spirit, and doing the same works, they were not his children. DA 466.6Read in context »
But in no case did He come to lessen the obligation of men to be perfectly obedient. He did not destroy the validity of the Old Testament Scriptures. He fulfilled that which was predicted by God Himself. He came, not to set men free from that law, but to open a way whereby they might obey that law and teach others to do the same.—The Review and Herald, November 15, 1898. 2MCP 565.1Read in context »
Is there not occasion for humility? Is there not need of feeling our utter dependence upon Christ every day and hour? ... He took on Him our nature, and became sin for us, that we might have “remission of sins that are past” (Romans 3:25), and through His divine strength and grace might fulfill the righteous requirements of the law. Whoever takes the position that it makes no difference whether or not we keep the commandments of God is not acquainted with Christ. Jesus says, “I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love” (John 15:10), and those who follow Jesus will do as He has done.... TMK 125.3Read in context »