This reading picks up at the end of a long section in which Paul describes his desperate state under the Law of Moses. He wanted to do right, but sin had taken over. He had become a slave. “For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?”(Rom 7:22-24). When we sin, we become slaves to sin, unable to save ourselves. The more Paul tried to do right, the more frustrated he became. Who can deliver? “Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!”(Rom 7:25). Jesus brings freedom.
He explains a little about life under the Spirit rather than the Law. “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death”(Rom 8:1-2). The overriding characteristic is freedom. Where there was condemnation (from the Law’s accusations), now there is none. Where there was slavery (to sin because the Law could not liberate), now there is freedom. There is also this: “For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit”(Rom 8:5). Our minds are no longer enslaved to fleshly, sinful thinking. Our cleansing involves body, soul, and mind.
Americans love our freedom. What Jesus gives us is freedom not from an external force, but from sin that has infiltrated our bodies and minds. It is a new kind of life. Unbound by the power of guilt, liberated to truly make changes in our lives, we set our minds on better things.
------------- One Thing to Think About: What has Jesus set me free from?
One Thing to Pray For: The freedom of Christ to permeate every area of my life
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