The word spirit is used TWENTY TIMES in this single eighth chapter of
Romans, and yet only a total of eight other times in the entire book!
The reason for such emphasis carries some very encouraging and
comforting truth, truth that God REALLY wants us to know and experience!
The correct understanding of the word “spirit” and how it is most
predominantly used throughout the eighth chapter of Romans is vital;
therefore, let us briefly examine this before moving into the title
topic of this hub (“the law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus has
made me free").
1) Defining the way "spirit" is most predominantly used in Romans Chapter 8:
Let’s start with an accurate definition of the word “spirit:” The English word "spirit" comes from the Latin spiritus, meaning "breath," from a root word peis- (to blow). In the Vulgate (the Latin translation of the Bible from late in the 4th century), the Latin word spiritus is from the Greek word pneuma,
also meaning a current of air, breath (blast) or a breeze, and by
implication it means “vital principle” (to understand what is meant by
“vital principle” just try to whistle without blowing in or out). The
idea of spirit being the "vital principle" of certain effects can be
seen from the Bible in many ways, but these next four points offer some
simple and clear logic for seeing how this idea is communicated therein:
John 4:24 tells us that "God is Spirit". This is a very significant point to remember.
Genesis 2:7 states that Adam became a living soul when God (who is
Spirit) breathed life into him. I'd say this is a pretty good example of
spirit being a vital principle, wouldn't you?
The manuscripts behind 2Timothy 3:16-17 all literally state “all
Scripture is God-breathed." Again, we know from John 4:24 that God is
Spirit. Here we see spirit as being the vital principle concerning God's
In Acts 2:2 and 3 there was a sound as "a rushing mighty wind” that
ushered in the gift of holy spirit, and they all spoke in tongues.
In1Corithinthians 12 we discover that speaking in tongues is a
"manifestation of the spirit". This can be thought of much in the same
way as a whistle sound is the manifestation of wind being blown though a
source capable of producing such a sound.
of spirit can be experienced by the five senses, but spirit itself,
being the vital principle, does not have any physical properties, it is
invisible, it cannot be seen, nor can it be tasted, heard, smelled or
touched. It is like wind, you can't see it but you can feel it and see
the effects. These basic concepts of air movement are used figuratively
throughout the Scriptures, as in the verses above, to help us understand
that spirit is similar to wind, in that it is invisible, yet the
effects of its movement can be experienced.
There are other ideas associated with the word spirit; ideas that can
be gleaned from the verses and context wherein the word spirit is used,
and also by comparing passages wherein the word is used in the same way
to communicate the same ideas (scriptural build-up). The correct
interpretation for the word spirit and how it is used in the Bible is
given by God’s Written Word itself: Peter 1:20: "Knowing this first,
that no prophecy [foretelling and/or forth-telling] of the scripture is
of any private interpretation." The Scripture in of no private
interpretation [literally, "of no one's own opinion"] because it
interprets itself. Romans Chapter 8 is no exception as to the ideas
about "spirit" that are being communicated.
So just what is being emphasized by TWENTY uses of the word spirit in
this one short section of Scripture alone? There are many private
interpretations about this, but as always, the Bible interprets itself.
In this instance it does so both in the immediate context and in other
records clearly relating to the same subject; for example, let's compare
Romans 8:4-6 to John 6:63-64:
That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk
not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. 5 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. 6 For to be carnally minded is death;
but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.
63 It is
the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that
I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life. 64 But there are
some of you that believe not. For Jesus knew from the beginning who they
were that believed not, and who should betray him.
Did you see how the word spirit
is used the same way in both sections of Scripture? In John 6:63 Jesus
clearly states "the words that I speak are SPIRIT and they are LIFE." It
is also helpful to note that John 8:28, 12:49 and 12:50 inform us that
the words Jesus thought and taught were those which God gave him to
think and speak. We have also been given words from God to think and
speak. In Romans 8:6 where we read "spiritual minded is LIFE and PEACE"
we need to bear in mind that the previous 7 chapters of the book of
Romans had already defined what it is that we are to be spiritually
minded about (most pointedly in 3:21 - 5-21). Romans 1-7 describe this
"LIFE" and this "PEACE".
The primary concern of both passages from our chart above (Romans
8:4-6 and John 6:63, 64) is a matter of assuring us that God's Word does
indeed produce results, that God can be trusted, that what He says
produces life and peace.
God’s word is a living, powerful, moving and effective force
that is absolutely and unequivocally evidenced in a faith produced walk.
THE Gospel produces tremendous results when believed!
Hebrew 4:12: "For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and
sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder
of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of
the thoughts and intents of the heart."
God could have used several words other than spirit for the
majority of occurrences in Romans 8; words such as truth, gospel,
thoughts, attitude, frame of mind, etc., but He didn’t, He repeatedly
uses the word spirit to emphasize the living and moving power and effectiveness of His word in the walk of His believing children:
1Thessalonians 2:13: "For this cause also thank we God
without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye
heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in
truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that
1Corinthians 1:17, 18: "For Christ sent me not to baptize, but
to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ
should be made of none effect. 18 For the preaching of the cross is to
them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the
power of God."
Hebrews 4:2, 3: "2 For unto us was the gospel preached, as well
as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed
with faith in them that heard it. 3 For we which have believed do enter
into rest, as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter
into my rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of
Romans 1:16: "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for
it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to
the Jew [the nation of Israel] first, and also to the Greek [all other nations].
book of Romans explains our position in Christ, with the potential
power of God latent within each of us, and our authority in Christ to
use it, and the incredible eighth chapter of Romans emphatically
communicates the VERY active and EFFECTIVE presence of the living God in
the walk of His spiritually minded children-- the gospel minded saints-- US!
Romans 8 uses the word spirit to communicate and emphasize
that we can trust that the gospel is indeed the power of God (as He
Himself declares it to be) and therefore encourages us to invest our
efforts into knowing the gospel and thinking accordingly, for this
Colossians 1:5, 6: "5 For the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, whereof ye heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel; 6 Which is come unto you, as it is in all the world; and bringeth forth fruit, as it doth also in you, since the day ye heard of it, and knew the grace of God in truth ["the grace of God in truth" is simply another way to say "the gospel"- further emphasizing the nature of the message.]."
2Corinthians 2:14: "Now thanks be unto God, Who always causes us
to triumph in Christ, and makes manifest the savor of his knowledge by
us in every place."
Philemon 1:6: "That the communication of thy faith may become
effectual by the acknowledging of every good thing which is in you in
Romans 7:4: "Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to
the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another,
even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth
fruit unto God."
2) "THE LAW OF THE SPIRIT OF LIFE IN CHRIST JESUS HATH MADE ME FREE"
Romans 8:2: "For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death."
Again, we see the words "SPIRIT" and "LIFE" as we did from the table above.
It is also important to understand the phrase “hath made me free”.
This phrase is one word in the Greek, and it is grammatically used to
tell us that ‘the law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus’ is that
which our freedom is based upon. This passage is similar in many ways to
the Emancipation Proclamation issued by United States President Abraham
Lincoln back in 1862 during the American Civil War. Lincoln issued the
"Executive Order" by his authority as "Commander in Chief of the Army
and Navy" under under Article II, section 2 of the United States Constitution.
When Abraham Lincoln and the U.S. government freed the slaves, they
became free, but they now had to do five things in order to take
advantage of their freedom:
They had to know about the proclamation (Romans 8:2: "For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.")
They had to believe it was true (Romans 6:11: "Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.")
They had to claim their freedom: pack their bags, etc. (Galatians 5:13: "For,
brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an
occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.")
They had to refuse to be a slave--live as a free person (Galatians 5:1: "Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.")
They had to count on all the power of the legislature of the U.S. to stand behind them. (John 8:36: "If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.")
law of the spirit of Life in Christ Jesus has freed us from the law of
sin and death - we are free! Free for how long? Forever! Moreover, our
freedom is not just about the destruction of bonds, it is also about the
restoration of God’s order wherein we are free to fulfill the full
range of potentialities inherent in that order: to love God and to love
one another. Conversely, to use one’s freedom for an opportunity for the
flesh is just a different form of slavery.
Our unification with Christ is intended to be experienced and shared;
our newness of life in Christ is intended to be living inward and
outward “by the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armor of
righteousness on the right hand and on the left” (2Corinthians 6:7)!
As Romans Chapter 8 unfolds we see more and more clearly that
believing God regarding our unification with Christ and each other is
central to walking in demonstration of God’s Love and Power, inseparable
from God at work within us, and inseparable from the Lordship of Jesus
Christ over us.
As we perceive what a distinct progression God’s Word makes in Romans
8 upon the previous chapters, as we see how much of this chapter deals
with believers living and walking in unity with God and each another by
way of believing the wonderful revelation of Life in Christ Jesus (The Genuine Gospel), we will see that Matthew 9:29 is very true of us indeed: “According to your faith be it unto you;” When
we submit to all that is true of us in Christ, then all that is true of
us in Christ becomes that which dominates our present experience. We
learn that as divinely perfect is the Life of Liberty in Christ Jesus,
so also is the truth that reveals that life.
2Peter 3:18: "But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen."
As we become Christ minded we become Christ manifested. This is "the law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus".
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