FREEDOM FROM THE PENALTY OF BROKEN LAW
There are three great facts affirmed in the Bible concerning sin and forgiveness; (1) "We have all sinned and come short of the glory of God," (2)
"Jesus is the propitiation for our sins : and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world," and (3) "God can be just and yet the justifier of him who believes in Jesus." From these passages we get the three vital facts: that we are all sinners and deserving God's reprobation, that Jesus stands in the room and stead of the sinner; that God can
forgive our sins in harmony with the principles of eternal justice, the moment we accept of Christ as our Savior. But these three facts can never be fully understood until a man gives himself up to God, and then, "The Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus makes him free from the law of sin and death" in which he has been held in bondage.
There is a large number of persons -who are still "In the bonds of iniquity and the gall of bitterness," "Without Christ and without hope in the world," whose consciousness attests that fact, and yet who would give the world to realize it fully, so that they could have a more powerful incentive to lead a Christian life.
The law of sin and death is so operating upon them that their feelings refuse to be governed by their judgment and while reason and conscience tell them of their danger, and say they ought to be Christians, yet their feelings and will power are so benumbed, or dead, that they can take no step toward Christ and a Christian life. Intellectually they would like to be Christians and they give assent to the truth but they are held In the grip of an unyielding law. This is no new experience for it has been the same for years with many of them.
One asks as a representative of the rest, "What can be done to bring about a change of feeling and quicken me into life?" I answer, "There is only one thing you can do, my brother, and that, is indicated in the passage quoted; put yourself under " The law of the Spirit of Life " and that will free you from " The law of sin and death" in which you are now held. Just give yourself up to God as you now are, talk to Him as you would to any other person, tell Him of your indifference, of your lack of feeling, tell Him about the hardness of your heart and ask Him for His Holy Spirit to operate upon your nature, to show yourself to yourself, to show you your sins and then to reveal Jesus to you. Jesus said, when He was promising the disciples to send the Holy Spirit and take His place, "When He is come He shall convince the world of sin"; and Paul says, "No man can say that Jesus is the Lord but by the Holy Ghost." The Holy Spirit will show you your real sinful self, and then He will introduce you to Jesus as your Savior, and then He will quicken you into newness of life, and make you a new creature; then you will become a fellow-citizen with the saints, then He will teach you to live well pleasing to God, and you will have the exultant experience that "The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death." But this freedom implies more than freedom from condemnation on account of a broken law.
It is also freedom from the law itself. All natural men are under the law, and they make vain attempts to keep it. There are, I think, but few men who do not try more or less to keep God's law. They know "The law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just and good.” "Was then that which is good made death unto me? God forbid. But sin that it might appear sin working death in me by that which is good; that sin by the commandment might appear exceeding sinful." Hence they find their inability to keep the law, "And the commandment which was ordained to life is found to be unto death." Now Paul clearly
calls God's good law, "The law of sin and death," and from this law of sin and death we are to be made free.
Paul in the seventh chapter of Romans, likens the law to a woman's husband, to whom she is bound as long as the husband liveth. But when the husband is dead she is free to marry another. And hence Paul reasons, "Wherefore, any 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. For when we were in the flesh (that is our natural state) the motions of sins, which were by the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death." "But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter." Now this makes Paul's meaning clear in the statement; " For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth."
Christ abolished every other law but the law of the Spirit when He. established His Kingdom. He says Himself in Luke the
sixteenth chapter and sixteenth verse, "The law and the prophets were until John : since that time the Kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it." It follows then, that the Christian is under no other law but that of faith, love and obedience to Jesus Christ, which is the law of the Spirit written upon all regenerate hearts.
Moses and the prophets are no longer our ultimate teachers, nor must their laws necessarily bind our conscience; all we know is loyalty to Jesus, both to His spoken words, and His communications to us by His Holy Spirit, called by Paul "The Spirit of life." Jesus summed up all the commandments in the word love, love to God and love to man, and he who really loves God and loves his brother, lives a life well pleasing to God. In the Old Testament laws, there is almost endless detail, and God then demanded implicit obedience; but under the reign of the Holy Spirit there is but one thing to do, and that is to abandon ourselves to His leading, taking His will, having faith in His management, and thus we shall be "Free from the law of sin and death."