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Romans 8 2 mms 11 13 and 20 22011


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  • 1. Romans 8 verse 2 ROMANS CHAPTER EIGHT AND VERSE TWO Charles e Whisnant, Pastor-Teacher “THE LAW OF THE SPIRIT OF LIFE IN CHRIST JESUS HATH MADE YOU FREE” November 13th and Novbember 20th 2011Expository preaching is preaching whose subject matter emerges directly and demonstrably from a passage or from some passages of Scripture. In other words, its content and structure demonstrably reflect what Scripture says, and honestly seek to illuminate it/ But one non-negotiable characteristic of expository preaching is that its subject emerges directly and demonstrably from Scripture As the word of God, the text of Scripture has the right to establish both the substance and the structure of the sermon. Genuine exposition takes place when the preacher sets forth 1 the meaning and message of the biblical text and makes clear how the word of God Page establishes the identity and worldview of the church as the people of God.
  • 2. Romans 8 verse 2Paul’s theme in this chapter eight is the assurance of salvation, as ans Lloyd-Jones says it:“The final certainty of the ultimate glorification and entire deliverance in every respect ofthose who are in Christ Jesus.”FOR THE LAW OF THE SPIRIT OF LIFE IN Christ Jesus hath made me free fromthe law of sin and death.”As a pastor-teacher (and Charity tells me I am a better teacher than a pastor, andothers say I am a better teacher than a preacher. And maybe both are correct.Nevertheless, I sense my responsibility is to teach you what the Scriptures aresaying. If I am going to teach the scripture book by book, chapter by chapter andeven verse by verse, and then I am going to have to go word by word.In order to have a full understanding of what Paul is saying in this chapter, its going to take sometime to make an investigation of the chapter. I realize I generally am trying to help youunderstand the meaning of each verse one at a time, and yet at the same time trying to keep theflow of the chapter at hand. 2I am hoping when I give understanding of the words that I can help us understand Page
  • 3. Romans 8 verse 2the whole verse, and how it fits into Paul‟s overall thinking and the point that whathe is trying to make.In order to produce a good interpretation we are going look at the words as Paul said them. Paulin verse two is going to give us reasons for his statement in verse one is true. HO GARFOR:The purpose of verse two is to give us a reason for verse one. And FOR reminds us that verse one isnot a detached statement. There is a reason for, an explanation of, what has just been said.You could use the word “BECAUSE.” We are going to learn the reason that there is “no condemnation to the one in Christ.‖ Or and because are small words that is often overlooked, but which are frequently used in Scripture at the beginning of a passage or in the middle of a passage. Although listed under the category Terms of Conclusion, these words are more accurately classified as terms of explanation. In these occurrences for (because) often functions as a connective word which seeks to make something clear and/or understandable. In other words, for (because) functions like a marker which shows the cause or reason for something, specifically expressing the reason for what has been stated before... thus the logic for designating them as a "term of explanation". Be aware that for may sometimes be used to introduce a detailed description of something as alluded to earlier, so you will always need to examine the context to determine if it is being used as a "term of explanation". In many (if not most) of the uses of for as a conjunction one can substitute the synonym because which in my opinion is somewhat easier to understand. And because there as so many occurrences of "for" in the Bible, the diligent inductive student will have many opportunities to pause and ponder passages. A FOOTNOTE Train you eyes to observe the text carefully for words or phrases like the ones listed below and mark them by highlighting them. These are words that are used to identify a summary, a conclusion or a result. 3Therefore: For: So : Because or For: So that: So them: Page
  • 4. Romans 8 verse 2For this reason Note the number of times ―FOR‖ is used in chapter 8! I know most of you would rather read a novel or go to the picture shows than study. Few really want to give the mental attention the text demand. And I would say a chapter with 17 ―fors‖ in it is closely knit, and must be patiently followed.Now I want to address the reading of the second verse.KJV reads “hath made me free” . What the Apostle Paul wrote: “The law of the Spirit oflife in Christ Jesus freed me,‟ or „made me free.‟ Which Paul was meaning here was ―ithappened ―once and for ever‘.“The rule, the life-giving Spirit, in Christ Jesus has “set free” me from the law ofsin and death.” The point here is the law of the Spirit freed me‘ – made me free. It is not hath made‖ but ‗made‘. It has already happened ‗once and for ever‘ it is completed; it belongs to the past. And again the word “me” should be “you” Paul is writing about the Christian generally, and not about himself. That anyone who is a Christian. THE LAW OF THE SPIRIT OF LIFE IN CHRIST JESUSWhich means: The work of the Holy Spirit in the Believer. Romans 8:10-11; John 4:10,14; 6:63; I Corinthians 15:45; 2 Corinthians 3:6; Revelation 11:11; 22:1;Let me give you what I believe (Lloyd-Jones) this does not mean:False teaching of sanctification and the life of the Holy Spirit in the believer.1A The teaching of the “second blessing.” Or a “second experience”. 42A The teaching of “entire sanctification.” Page
  • 5. Romans 8 verse 2Some want to teach verse two our use this verse that our being set “free from condemnation” isthe result of our sanctification, in fact that it depends upon it. “There is now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, for (because) the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath freed me from the law of sin and death.‖ There is no condemnation facing us because the Holy Spirit working in us has delivered us from that ―law of sin and death,‖ that was in our members, that was getting us down, and keeping us in a state of defeat. In other words. We are no longer in a state of condemnation, because we are sanctified. (which would be against what Paul has said, ―There is no condemnation because we have been justified.‖ We have been set free from the Law of sin and death because we have been justified, not sanctified. FIRST Sanctification does not bring justification. We are not set free from sin and death by sanctification but only through justification. SECOND: Paul is NOT saying here in this chapter. He is not describing what can or may happen to a Christian. He is not describing what happens only to certain Christians, in Christ Jesus who seek and receive a further blessing. What he is saying, Because you are Christians, in Christ Jesus, this has already happen to you. He is not saying, “you have believed in Christ, you are justified and forgiven; but there is another blessing possible for you. BUT there is another blessing possible for you. You are having a struggle, and are failing and being defeated; but listen, there is a further experience open to you which will deliver you and turn defeat into victory. HERE IS WHAT PAUL AGAIN SAYS: If you are in Christ Jesus at all, if you are a Christian at all, this has already happen to you. “You have been freed from the law of sin and death.”  THIRD: Some want to say that this verse two is the introduction of the Holy Spirit in to the life of the Christian believer. Romans 5:5 tells us when the Holy Spirit entered into the believer. 7:6 also. In other words it would be incorrect to say that a person is ―saved‖ here at this time, and at another time he receives the Holy Spirit. (I may be finally getting this point,.) FOURTH: Some want to use this verse two to teach the doctrine of “entire sanctification”. Some on to interpret this verse as: ―Since the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus freed you from the law of sin and death, (and if you believe that refers to sin remaining in the Christian believer AND to that law in my members that wars against the law of my mind, and which brings me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.) then you could say Paul was saying or means, 5 ―that I am no longer in captivity to the law of sin which is in my members, I have been Page
  • 6. Romans 8 verse 2 entirely delivered from it.‖ The point that is made: If this has happen to me, it is not progressively happening; it has happened and if that therefore has happened to me, if sin has been taken entirely out of me, then I am entirely sanctified. SO CAN WE SAY WE ARE ENTIRELY FREE FROM ANY SIN IN OUR MEMBERS?God‟s word is a living, powerful, moving and effective force that is absolutely and unequivocallyevidenced 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." 712-88  Look at what Paul says in 8:12-13 read. If the above is right this would be wrong to say.SO WHAT IS THE INTEDRPRETATION OF THE PHRASE „THE LAW OF SIN ANDDEATH?”And now we will try to interpret the rest of this verse. Paul is telling us the principle of the spiritual life. As the law of gravity is, it is. Well in the life of theBeliever, the life of Christ Jesus is its natural function. Its like our heart beating, so is Christ in us. Inother words we don‘t have to tell the heart to beat, it will any way. We do not have to say ―heartbeat.‖ Wit will anyway. Therefore in the same way the law of the Spirit of life‘ works constantly and will ultimately accomplish His goal of conforming each believer to the image of God‘s Son.As Genesis 28:15 tells us. 6 Page
  • 7. Romans 8 verse 2 "And behold, I am with you, and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised youSo too the "law of the Spirit" will accomplish what God has promised. There is a new law for thenew life. It is here the breathing principle by which the Holy Spirit acts as the Imparter of life.Vine notes that The phrase “the Spirit of life,” is not subjective, ―the Spirit who has life,‖ but objective, ―the Spirit who gives life.‖ ―It is the Spirit who quickeneth‖ (John 6:63 "It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life."). ( (3551) (nomos) ho gar nomos tou pneumatos tes zoes en Christo Iesou: (LAWanything established, anything received by usage, a custom, a law, a command a. of any law whatsoever 1. a law or rule producing a state approved of God 1a b. by the observance of which is approved of God 1. a precept or injunction 2. the rule of action prescribed by reason c. of the Mosaic law, and referring, acc. to the context. either to the volume of the law or to its contents d. the Christian religion: the law demanding faith, the moral instruction given by Christ, esp. the precept concerning love e. the name of the more important part (the Pentateuch), is put for the entire collection of the sacred books of the OT Is used in this context to stand for the regulative (control something) principle which exercises a control over one. It is analogous to the phrase, the "law" of gravity. Law in this use is not a reference to the Mosaic law or to other divine commandments or requirements. Law is a general "principle" or rule, norm and/or standard of judging or acting. It is the principle by which something else operates (see note) The law of the Spirit is higher and more powerful than the law of sin and death.Here the law of the Spirit exercises a control over the life of the believer. . The regulative (will bring and control the activity of the believer) over a believers life is exercised by the Holy Spirit (although He can be resisted, quenched, grieved, etc which thwarts the efficacy of His supernatural power and work in ones life!). This control is in the form of the "supernatural energy" given the believer both to desire and to do God‟s will (Ezekiel 36:27 and Philippians 2:13), this energy coming from the life that God is, which IN the believer is given him by reason of his position in Christ Jesus.The "principle" of the sin and its association with death is abundantly clear from Romans 7, where 7 Pagewe saw the power of sin which brings death as demonstrated by every sin we commit and every
  • 8. Romans 8 verse 2cemetery we see. But now in the Risen Christ, Paul instructs us that the "operating principle" of the Spirit of life is stronger than that associated with Sin, and in fact has the inherent power to free us from the operating principle of sin and death, which controls all those who are still "in Adam" and which can still exert its deleterious effects upon those are now "in Christ".But Paul knows that the truth about these two principles has the potential to set his believing readersfree to be all they have the potential to be "in Christ."In short, the power of this new life is the Holy Spirit Who becomes the Almighty Agent within thebeliever, securing him wholly, making effectual in experience the deliverance which Paul saw whenhe cried in Romans 7:24-25: Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free (rhuomai = rescue by drawing or snatching another to oneself and invariably from danger, evil or an enemy) from the body of this death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, on the one hand I myself with my mind am serving the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh the law of sin. Of course, the deliverance is through Christ, for it is Christs Own risen life which every believer now shares ("Christ our life" –Colossians 3:4. But it is the blessed Holy Spirit as "the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus", Who makes the deliverance a reality in our everyday experience. It is the Spirit Who is constantly at work in us to make effectual the deliverance from the "law of sin and of death". OF THE SPIRIT OF LIFE How does this life come into us? By the Holy Spirit. The Spirit that was in Christ is the same spirit that is in us. 1 Corinthians 12:13 The "law (principle) of the Spirit" is equivalent to the "law (principle) of aerodynamics" and its effect on lifting a plane off the ground thus "countering" effects of the "law (principle) of gravity" (see F B Meyers note). The Spirit similarly lifts believers lives to a new plane, to "fly" at a new altitude that 8 heretofore was not possible under the "law of sin and of death" when they tried to attain Page
  • 9. Romans 8 verse 2 righteousness in their own power and/or by keeping the Law (or religious rules - anything that we do with the intent to try to make us more pleasing to God. God does not desire our fleshly works or sacrifices but obedience, a broken spirit, a broken heart). We were not justified by faith and we cannot be sanctified by faith (Galatians 3:3) is a supernatural work of grace of the Holy Spirit of God (Galatians 5:1,7). Watch that prior to Romans 8 the Spirit was only mentioned for four times in this letter, but in Romans 8 He is mentioned 19 times making Him clearly a "keyword"!In the process of salvation, God implants in us a new law for a new life. “The spirit oflife.” Here is given the believer upon the New Birth, a “Spirit who quickeneth” John 6:63 andit is the Spirit who gives life.Here is what Paul is saying, as a Christian we now have a new controlling principle in us.The principle of the Holy Spirit. “Why do I do what I do?” Here is what I am learning, I wantSpirit to energize me and you.SO THE LAW OF SIN AND DEATH means “the Law of God.” We have been set entirelyfree from our old relationship to the Law of God. 6:4, and 7:4, 6.OKAY Paul says “WE HAVE BEEN SET FREE FROM THE LAW.” So what is it that hasset me free from the Law?The answer: THE LAW OF THE SPIRIT OF LIFE IN CHRIST JESUS.”WHAT HAS HAPPEN TO THE PERSON WHO HAS BEEN LOSTED, NOT SAVED, ANDNOW IS A PERSON WHO NOW HAS BECOME A CHRISITAN, SAVED, BORN AGAIN?The SAVED person is no longer in the same POSITION as he was in his LOST state.What was the position before salvation? He was ―under the rule and the reign and the power of theLAW.BUT NOW AS A BELIEVER, he is under a new and different position. Which is? THE LAW OF 9 Page
  • 10. Romans 8 verse 2THE SPIRIT OF LIFE IN CHRIST JESUS.‖ WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?  It is another way of describing the GOSPEL, the good news of salvation.So why does Paul use the term “LAW”?” How can we use the term “law” possibly mean that he is talking about the gospel, or the way ofsalvation by faith, as over against an attempt to justify ourselves by works under the law? 10Well the answer is found in Romans 3:26-27: Page
  • 11. Romans 8 verse 2 26  To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus. 27Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith.‖ What is the meaning of ―the law of faith?‖ It is the new way of salvation in Christ mentioned in 3:23 ―it is the righteousness of God which is by faith.‖ So Paul uses the term ―LAW‖ in the very context of the gospel, and he not only uses it there, but also in Romans 5:20 and 21 20  Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: 21That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord. Notice the ―reign unto death‖ and the ―reign through righteousness‖. So Paul uses ―reign‖ both for sin and grace. So he uses the term ―law‖ the same way. 2 Corinthians 3:5, 6 and 8 5 Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God; 6Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life. 8How shall not the ministration of the spirit be rather glorious?SO THEN PAUL IS SAYING THIS:  We are under a new covenant now, under a new testament; there is a new principle or power reigning over us and in us. The gospel has set us free, we are under ―the law of liberty‘. Instead of calling it ―the law of faith‖ as in Romans 3:27; or ―the reign of grace as in Romans 5:20-21, he calls it here in Romans 8:2 ―the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus.‖The work of salvation planned by God the Father (in eternity past) and carried out by the Son (the lifeand death and resurrection of Jesus Christ) and is applied to us by the Holy Spirit. "The "law of the Spirit of life" has invaded and opposed "the law of sin which is in my members" thus freeing us from its bondage We cannot obey Gods law in the strength of the flesh, but as we reckon (that is, deliberately acknowledge) ourselves to be dead to sin and "alive unto God this doctrinal truth increasingly becomes practical truth in our lives." (Defenders Study Bible)HAS SET YOU FREE 11 Page
  • 12. Romans 8 verse 2 (1659) (eleutheroo = the ending " -oo"Has set you free  Means not only will it be set free but it will be seen as set free) .  Means to cause someone to be freed from domination.  The picture is that of the emancipation of slaves.  The idea is that the one set free is at liberty, capable of movement, exempt from obligation or liability, and unfettered.  Although the act of setting free results in freedom and liberty we must understand that this new freedom is not a license to sin. In fact true liberty for the believer is now living as we should and not as we please.In short, the Spirit, Who brought the life of God Himself into us, has set us free from the power of ourflesh and free to be the person God wants us to be. In Romans 7:24 Paul asked "Who shall deliver me?" The answer given in this verse is that: "Christ has already delivered me!" The last part of Romans chapter 7 was a description of a believers struggling, failing condition. In Romans 8 Paul encourages the believer to focus upon his perfect, unfailing position in Christ Jesus! The more we believe God‘s facts about our position the more this will affect our actual condition! 12 Page
  • 13. Romans 8 verse 2FROM THE LAW OF (the) SIN AND OF (THE) DEATHI have been delivered and set free from the law of sin and death. If I were still under the law of sin anddeath then I would be under God‘s condemnation because sin demands judgment, death andcondemnation -- the penalty for sin must be paid! The law of sin is that principle in us that pulls us downward into death and that used to control and condemn us. Now, it can only operate when it is put under law by our own foolish choices. It commands us to work "in the energy of our flesh," and then condemns all that we do. It has no control over us unless we foolishly fall into the trap of performance and law, which is the beachhead for this principle to operate.This is Romans 6 in a nutshell. Paul presents two opposite laws or principles. The characteristicprinciple of the Holy Spirit is to empower believers for holy living. The characteristic principle ofindwelling sin is to drag a person down to death. It is like the law of gravity. When you throw a ballinto the air, it comes back down because it is heavier than the air it displaces. A living bird is alsoheavier than the air it displaces, but when you toss it up in the air, it flies away. The law of life in thebird overcomes the law of gravity. So the Holy Spirit supplies the risen life of the Lord Jesus, makingthe believer free from the law of sin and death. 13 Page
  • 14. Romans 8 verse 2The law of the sin and death reigns both strong and secure (as demonstrated by every sin we commitand every cemetery we see); but the law of the Spirit of life in Christ is stronger still, and frees us fromthe law of sin and death. We are free from the law of death; death no longer has any sting in it for thebeliever. But we are also free from the law of sin; the Christian does not have to sin (though heinevitably does) because we are freed from sin‘s dominion.Romans 8:1 speaks of being free from the Guilt of sinRomans 8:2 speaks of being free from the Power of sin The contrasting principle or "law" is that of "SIN & OF DEATH" which "pulls us" downward into death, whereas the Spirit of Christ works to pull us upward toward God. When we were in Adam we had no choice but to be pulled by the "law of sin and of death". Now that we are in Christ this "law" has no control over a believer unless we foolishly fall into the trap of performance under the Law which creates the "beachhead" from which SIN is able to operate in our mortal bodies (see Romans 7:8-note "Sin"… takes… "OPPORTUNITY through the commandment" where "opportunity" was a Greek military term describing the base camp, in this case, the base camp from which sin launches its deadly assaults.). So there is a law or principle working (like gravity) and if I choose to ever try to live by the flesh again, this "law" is going to pull me downward and away from the "Godward" life that the Spirit is seeking to pull me toward. The law of the Spirit is higher and more powerful than the law of sin and of death and it has set your free. "Set you free" is the verb free - The "-oo" means it not just simply gives you freedom but proves you to be free (it puts your freedom on display). Jesus used eleutheroo in John 8:32 "you shall know the truth, and the truth shall MAKE YOU FREE." The Spirit works according to law,--"the taw of the Spirit of Life." Do not grieve Him by any act of insincerity or hatred. If you are aware of the subsidence of His energy, go back till you have discovered where you dropped the thread of obedience to His gentle promptings. Pick it up by confession and restitution, and again you will become conscious of His mediation to you of a Law of Life that laughs at sin and death! Yours will be the wings of an eagles flight, the soaring of a lark, sunward, heavenward, Godward! But you must take time to be holy--in meditation, in prayer, and especially in the use of the Bible. 14 Page
  • 15. Romans 8 verse 2―The first and principal duty of a pastor is to feed the flock by diligent preaching of the Word…Thisfeeding is of the essence of the office of a pastor, as unto the exercise of it, so that he who doth not, orcan not, or will not, feed the flock is no pastor whatever outward call or work he may have in thechurch.‖John Owen 15 Page
  • 16. Romans 8 verse 2 „THY FREE SPIRIT‟‗The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.‘—ROMANS viii. 2.We have to distinguish two meanings of law. In the stricter sense, it signifies the authoritativeexpressions of the will of a ruler proposed for the obedience of man; in the wider, almost figurativesense, it means nothing more than the generalised expression of constant similar facts. For instance,objects attract one another in certain circumstances with a force which in the same circumstances isalways the same. When that fact is stated generally, we get the law of gravitation. Thus the word comesto mean little more than a regular process. In our text the word is used in a sense much nearer the latterthan the former of these two. ‗The law of sin and of death‘ cannot mean a series of commandments; itcertainly does not mean the Mosaic law. It must either be entirely figurative, taking sin and death as twogreat tyrants who domineer over men; or it must mean the continuous action of these powers, theprocess by which they work. These two come substantially to the same idea. The law of sin and of deathdescribes a certain constancy of operation, uniform and fixed, under the dominion of which men arestruggling. But there is another constancy of operation, uniform and fixed too, a mighty antagonisticpower, which frees from the dominion of the former: it is ‗the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus.‘I. The bondage.The Apostle is speaking about himself as he was, and we have our own consciousness to verify histranscript of his own personal experience. Paul had found that, by an inexorable iron sequence, sinworked in himself the true death of the soul, in separation from God, in the extinction of good and noblecapacities, in the atrophying of all that was best in himself, in the death of joy and peace. And this ironsequence he, with an eloquent paradox, calls a ‗law,‘ though its very characteristic is that it is lawlesstransgression of the true law of humanity. He so describes it, partly, because he would place emphasison its dominion over us. Sin rules with iron sway; men madly obey it, and even when they thinkthemselves free, are under a bitter tyranny. Further, he desires to emphasise the fact that sin and deathare parts of one process which operates constantly and uniformly. This dark anarchy and wild chaos ofdisobedience and transgression has its laws. All happens there according to rule. Rigid and inevitable asthe courses of the stars, or the fall of the leaf from the tree, is sin hurrying on to its natural goal in death.In this fatal dance, sin leads in death; the one fair spoken and full of dazzling promises, the other in theend throws off the mask, and slays. It is true of all who listen to the tempting voice, and the deludedvictim ‗knows not that the dead are there, and that her guests are in the depth of hell.‘II. The method of deliverance.The previous chapter sounded the depths of human impotence, and showed the tragic impossibility ofhuman efforts to strip off the poisoned garment. Here the Apostle tells the wonderful story of how hehimself was delivered, in the full rejoicing confidence that what availed for his emancipation wouldequally avail for every captived soul. Because he himself has experienced a divine power which breaksthe dreadful sequence of sin and of death, he knows that every soul may share in the experience. Nomere outward means will be sufficient to emancipate a spirit; no merely intellectual methods will availto set free the passions and desires which have been captured by sin. It is vain to seek deliverance from aperverted will by any republication, however emphatic, of a law of duty. Nothing can touch thenecessities of the case but a gift of power which becomes an abiding influence in us, and develops a 16mightier energy to overcome the evil tendencies of a sinful soul. Page
  • 17. Romans 8 verse 2That communicated power must impart life. Nothing short of a Spirit of life, quick and powerful, withan immortal and intense energy, will avail to meet the need. Such a Spirit must give the life which itpossesses, must quicken and bring into action dormant powers in the spirit that it would free. It mustimplant new energies and directions, new motives, desires, tastes, and tendencies. It must bring into playmightier attractions to neutralise and deaden existing ones; as when to some chemical compound asubstance is added which has a stronger affinity for one of the elements, a new thing is made.Paul‘s experience, which he had a right to cast into general terms and potentially to extend to allmankind, had taught him that such a new life for such a spirit had come to him by union with JesusChrist. Such a union, deep and mystical as it is, is, thank God, an experience universal in all trueChristians, and constitutes the very heart of the Gospel which Paul rejoiced to believe was entrusted tohis hands for the world. His great message of ‗Christ in us‘ has been wofully curtailed and mangledwhen his other message of ‗Christ for us‘ has been taken, as it too often has been, to be the whole of hisGospel. They who take either of these inseparable elements to be the whole, rend into two imperfecthalves the perfect oneness of the Gospel of Christ.We are often told that Paul was the true author of Christian doctrine, and are bidden to go back from himto Jesus. If we do so, we hear His grave sweet voice uttering in the upper-room the deep words, ‗I amthe Vine, ye are the branches‘; and, surely, Paul is but repeating, without metaphor, what Christ, oncefor all, set forth in that lovely emblem, when he says that ‗the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesusmade me free from the law of sin and of death.‘ The branches in their multitude make the Vine in itsunity, and the sap which rises from the deep root through the brown stem, passes to every tremulousleaf, and brings bloom and savour into every cluster. Jesus drew His emblem from the noblest form ofvegetative life; Paul, in other places, draws his from the highest form of bodily life, when he points tothe many members in one body, and the Head which governs all, and says, ‗So also is Christ.‘ In anotherplace he points to the noblest form of earthly love and unity. The blessed fellowship and sacred onenessof husband and wife are an emblem sweet, though inadequate, of the fellowship in love and unity ofspirit between Christ and His Church.And all this mysterious oneness of life has an intensely practical side. In Jesus, and by union with Him,we receive a power that delivers from sin and arrests the stealthy progress of sin‘s follower, death. Loveto Him, the result of fellowship with Him, and the consequence of life received from Him, becomes themotive which makes the redeemed heart delight to do His will, and takes all the power out of everytemptation. We are in Him, and He in us, on condition, and by means, of our humble faith; and becausemy faith thus knits me to Him it is ‗the victory that overcomes the world‘ and breaks the chains of manysins. So this communion with Jesus Christ is the way by which we shall increase that triumphantspiritual life, which is the only victorious antagonist of the else inevitable consequence which declaresthat the ‗soul that sinneth it shall die,‘ and die even in sinning.III. The process of the deliverance.Following the R. V. we read ‗made me free,‘ not ‗hath made me.‘ The reference is obviously, as theGreek more clearly shows, to a single historical event, which some would take to be the Apostle‘sbaptism, but which is more properly supposed to be his conversion. His strong bold language here doesnot mean that he claims to be sinless. The emancipation is effected, although it is but begun. He holdsthat at that moment when Jesus appeared to him on the road to Damascus, and he yielded to Him asLord, his deliverance was real, though not complete. He was conscious of a real change of position inreference to that law of sin and of death. Paul distinguishes between the true self and the accumulation 17of selfish and sensual habits which make up so much of ourselves. The deeper and purer self may bevitalised in will and heart, and set free even while the emancipation is not worked out in the life. The Pageparable of the leaven applies in the individual renewal; and there is no fanaticism, and no harm, in Paul‘s
  • 18. Romans 8 verse 2point of view, if only it be remembered that sins by which passion and externals overbear my better selfare mine in responsibility and in consequences. Thus guarded, we may be wholly right in thinking of allthe evils which still cleave to the renewed Christian soul as not being part of it, but destined to dropaway.And this bold declaration is to be vindicated as a prophetic confidence in the supremacy and ultimatedominion of the new power which works even through much antagonism in an imperfect Christian.Paul, too, calls ‗things that are not as though they were.‘ If my spirit of life is the ‗Spirit of life inChrist,‘ it will go on to perfection. It is Spirit, therefore it is informing and conquering the material; it isa divine Spirit, therefore it is omnipotent; it is the Spirit of life, leading in and imparting life like itself,which is kindred with it and is its source; it is the Spirit of life in Christ, therefore leading to life likeHis, bringing us to conformity with Him because the same causes produce the same effects; it is a life inChrist having a law and regular orderly course of development. So, just as if we have the germ we mayhope for fruit, and can see the infantile oak in the tightly-shut acorn, or in the egg the creature whichshall afterwards grow there, we have in this gift of the Spirit, the victory. If we have the cause, we havethe effects implicitly folded in it; and we have but to wait further development.The Christian life is to be one long effort, partial, and gradual, to unfold the freedom possessed. Paulknew full well that his emancipation was not perfect. It was, probably, after this triumphant expressionof confidence that he wrote, ‗Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect.‘ The firststage is the gift of power, the appropriation and development of that power is the work of a life; and itought to pass through a well-marked series and cycle of growing changes. The way to develop it is byconstant application to the source of all freedom, the life-giving Spirit, and by constant effort to conquersins and temptations. There is no such thing in the Christian conflict as a painless development. Wemust mortify the deeds of the body if we are to live in the Spirit. The Christian progress has in it thenature of a crucifixion. It is to be effort, steadily directed for the sake of Christ, and in the joy of HisSpirit, to destroy sin, and to win practical holiness. Homely moralities are the outcome and the test of allpretensions to spiritual communion.We are, further, to perfect holiness in the fear of the Lord, by ‗waiting for the Redemption,‘ which is notmerely passive waiting, but active expectation, as of one who stretches out a welcoming hand to anapproaching friend. Nor must we forget that this accomplished deliverance is but partial whilst uponearth. ‗The body is dead because of sin, but the spirit is life because of righteousness.‘ But there may beindefinite approximation to complete deliverance. The metaphors in Scripture under which Christianprogress is described, whether drawn from a conflict or a race, or from a building, or from the growth ofa tree, all suggest the idea of constant advance against hindrances, which yet, constant though it is, doesnot reach the goal here. And this is our noblest earthly condition—not to be pure, but to be tendingtowards it and conscious of impurity. Hence our tempers should be those of humility, strenuous effort,firm hope. We are as slaves who have escaped, but are still in the wilderness, with the enemies‘ dogsbaying at our feet; but we shall come to the land of freedom, on whose sacred soil sin and death cannever tread. 18 Page
  • 19. Romans 8 verse 2 The Roman Catholic HermeneuticIt‘s important to understand, when Catholics and Protestants approach a given topic in Scripture or inhistory, they approach things in different ways. And it‘s this difference, often unspoken, that oftenrenders the subsequent discussions so maddening. You‘ll hear things like ―You have your interpretation,I have mine‖. But what are these ―interpretations‖ based upon?This blog post describes what I‘ve called ―the Roman Catholic Hermeneutic,‖ and once you understandhow this principle works, you can locate it anywhere. Any time you‘re discussing Scripture with RomanCatholics, look for this method.For Protestants, understanding begins with exegesis, and exegesis begins with a patient and humblelistening to the text, with the willingness to hear an alien word,‖ according to Thomas Schreiner (citing―Romans,‖ from the Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament‖ series, pg. 2). ―We are allprone to read our own conceptions into the text. Thus our first task is simply to see what the textactually says.” The Protestant seeks to understand what God is genuinely saying, through hisRevelation in Scripture, from start to finish. The Protestant is concerned to track ―what God‘s peopleknew, and when they knew it,‖ and in the process, to understand what God revealed of himself overtime, and finally in His Son, as is witnessed by the New Testament.The Roman Catholic approaches Scriptures in a different way. Rather than trying to understandthe text, and then allowing it to speak its word, the Roman Catholic starts with modern Romandoctrine, and then uses Biblical texts in such a way that they can seemingly provide support forthose doctrines. We can and do call it ―proof-texting‖ – pouring Roman Catholic ―interpretations‖ backinto ―proof-texts‖. In many cases, this means taking a verse that has nothing at all to do with RomanCatholicism, but nevertheless hijacking it, frequently contrary to its original meaning, and using it tosupport Roman Catholicism.I‘ve already outlined, in my post on The righteousness of God, how, early in church history, Augustine,who did not understand the Hebrew concepts of the Old Testament, substituted for those concepts a―popular culture‖ understanding of ―righteousness‖. Subsequently, the ―infallible Church‖ wroteAugustine‘s lack of understanding into an ―infallible‖ dogma of ―justification‖ at Trent.That was a seminal example of how Roman Catholicism simply misunderstands something, dogmatizesit, and then looks for further support of its errors. One might call it a ―twisting‖ of the Scriptures. Doyou think I‘m being overly harsh with this? Look at what some leading Roman Catholics have to sayabout this ―method‖.Joseph Ratzinger, before he was pope, in his 1990 work Called to Communion invokes ―the internalcontinuity of the Church‘s memory‖ as ―the standard for judging what is to be considered historicallyand objectively accurate‖.This Roman Catholic hermeneutical method – ―the mind of the church‖ – is well described by popes andscholars. It is, in fact, a blatant form of revisionism.Pius IX‘s articulated this method in his Letter, ―Gravissimas inter,‖ to the Archbishop of Munich-Freising, Dec. 11, 1862. Pius XII cited and reiterated this in his statement in Humani Generis:“theologians must always return to the sources of divine revelation: for it belongs to them to point 19out how the doctrine of the living Teaching Authority is to be found either explicitly or implicitly Pagein the Scriptures and in Tradition.”
  • 20. Romans 8 verse 2This is further explained in a variety of sources. One Roman Catholic theologian wrote, “We think firstof developed forms for which we need to find historical justification. The developed forms comefirst and the historical justification comes second.” (―Ways of Validating Ministry,‖ KilianMcDonnell, Journal of Ecumenical Studies (7), pg. 213, cited in Carlos Alfredo Steger, ―ApostolicSuccession in the Writings of Yves Congar and Oscar Cullmann, pg. 322.) Steger calls this type ofhistorical revisionism ―highly questionable if not inadmissible.‖Aiden Nichols, ―The Shape of Catholic Theology‖ (253) notes that for the last several hundred years,according to these popes, “the theologian‟s highest task lies in proving the present teachings of themagisterium from the evidence of the ancient sources.” One internet writer called this method―Dogma Appreciation 101‖ (related in a discussion of his studies in a Catholic seminary.) Nichols callsthis, ―the so-called regressive method,‖ and notes that Walter Kasper (now a Cardinal) has traced theorigins of this method to the 18th century.Roman Catholicism is a ―big tent‖, and you‘ll find all kinds of nonsense in it. But in this feature that Icall ―the Roman Catholic Hermeneutic‖, the method outlined here of revisionism, of ―reading back in‖something that is not there, is major.Next time I‘ll describe a particular example of this from comments that appeared below.Labels: Aiden Nichols, John Bugay, Joseph Ratzinger, The Roman Catholic Hermeneutic, The Romanmindset Justification by Faith Alone: A Plea for Understanding by Dr. C. Matthew McMahonMost of the 21st century church despises doctrine. They simply hate to learn. They would much rather―feel‖ their way through a church service than listen to sound preaching. It may not necessarily be thatthey hate to learn, as if everyone hated such a thing (something they engage in every moment of everyday) but surely their disability to think properly lends to their incapability to sit through a preachingservice of two hours. (And such a length of time was not uncommon in the puritan era – as a matter offact, many were just getting started at that point.) I suppose that it would be politically correct to say they are ―mentally challenged.‖ We often use thisphrase as a joke, but when it concerns the everlasting abode of the never dying soul and the theologythey believe, then it is no laughing matter. This is not something profound or new. Far be it for a moderncongregation to heartily cling to sound doctrine and teaching in this day and age of relative thought andits strategy towards the dissolution of absolute truth. If you are among the remnant of God who has beenso blessed to find a biblically sound church, peace be unto to, and happiness be granted to your soul bythe Lord Jesus! But for the rest of the church, they are steeped in false doctrine taught by false―prophets.‖ Ignorance is not bliss here. Most of the time the church has lent itself to this rejection oftruth because they have not learned how to think. People simply do not have the skills to think rightly.Ask them what the law of non-contradiction is and they could not tell you, though they follow it all daylong. But their long settled ignorance affords no excuse to beginning anew even now. The saying ―you 20can‘t teach an old dog new tricks‖ is not true for the Christian walk. The Christian should be learningabout the Lord Jesus and the doctrines of the Bible every day. Page
  • 21. Romans 8 verse 2In this plethora of sound doctrine to learn throughout the Bible, there are some doctrines which arecertainly more important than others. For instance, the teachings concerning the genealogical lines of theOld Testament are not as important as the New Testament doctrine of adoption. I hope you agree withme that the genealogies are very important, and should be studied and read (yet most skip them in theirdaily Bible reading!). There are jewels to be found there in the book of Numbers, and Chronicles, andthe like. But I think you would also agree that genealogies are not as important as the doctrine ofAdoption. I would certainly teach the doctrine of Adoption much earlier before I would engage thechurch to listen to a sermon on the genealogies listed in Numbers or Chronicles.However, in the sea of doctrine which we are all to be familiar with throughout the Word of God, theremay be a doctrine which is more important than any other; one which is the most important of all. Somemay vouchsafe for the atonement. I must admit, the atonement is crucial, critical and the crux of savinggrace for the believer. But, the importance of a doctrine does not simply fall on the kind of doctrine orthe content of the doctrine, but also on the need of the doctrine as well. Eschatology is very important,but not as important as the need to understand the atonement. Today, I believe, as it was in the sixteenthcentury, the need to regain lost ground in understanding the doctrine of Justification by faith alone hascome to the forefront. Most people, even those in Reformed circles, those who claim Luther as a hero,have little to say about justification. I have been a member of solid reformed churches for quite a longtime. Yet, I have heard very little about justification by faith alone. I cannot remember a sermondedicated to the subject. It has been neglected in the school setting, in the home study groups, and in thepulpit. It is a vital doctrine that we cannot do without. Its urgency dictates the difference between onegoing to heaven and one going to hell. It is of crucial significance and should be rightly understood bythose who claim Christ as their banner. If justification is misunderstood, being the pillar upon which thechurch stands or falls, then what will the rest of our doctrine look like? Will it be a nominal Christianity?Would it be works righteousness? I think it would. To understand that we must be clothed in therighteousness of Christ for safety in the Day of Judgment is of vital import.As I believe the doctrine of seeking is all but lost in our day, I also believe the doctrine of justification isslowly being forgotten. Friends, without it we are lost. Without understanding it we will not trulyperceive the great wonder of the grace of God in Christ. It is my hope that in this section of the websitesuch a glorious truth may be exalted beyond measure, that it may bring a great amount of glory to theone true and living God of the Ages. Let us think rightly about one of the most, if not the most importantdoctrine in the entire bible, the Doctrine of Justification by Faith alone.C. Matthew McMahonMay 1, 2002 21 Page