Romans 8:2 For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death
Before covering Chapters 6, 7 and 8 of ‘Romans’ it’s recommended that you first click this link and read ‘Subject to the Power of the Law’. That study reviews the context of chapter 5 and the first half of chapter 6, and will greatly aid in the continuity of the following chapters.
Let’s take a look at what the apostle Paul says, in context, about our former ‘bondage’ and ‘slavery’, and what we’ve been ‘set free from in Christ’.
What does the text say?
Romans 6:6 so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin.
Romans 6:12 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions.
Romans 6:16 Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness?
John 8:34 Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin.”
Romans 6:17 But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin…
Romans 6:18 and, having been “set free” from sin…
Romans 6:19 For just as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness leading to more lawlessness…
Romans 6:20 For when you were slaves of sin.
Romans 6:22 But now that you have been “set free” from sin AND have become slaves of God…
- Revelation 1:5 Jesus Christ the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of kings on earth. To him who loves us and “has freed us” from our sins by his blood.
Paul said it was from our bondage to sin that we’ve been freed; it was sin that held us in servitude, in slavery.
According to Romans 6:16 above, the apostle Paul claimed there are only two types of slaves on earth. One is the person who serves the Creator, God Almighty, and is a slave of obedience which leads to righteousness. The other is the person who is a slave to sin, which leads to death (v.16). Those are the only two options available to us in our lifetime, at least according to the apostle Paul!
Paul clearly stated, we were slaves of sin, with sin having dominion over us. We were in bondage to our sin, and subject to the power of the Law to condemn us guilty of our sin; separating us from God (again, please read the study ‘Subject to the Power of the Law’). However, IF we have confessed our sins AND repented, THEN by the redeeming blood of the Messiah we have forgiveness for those past sins, and now subject to the ‘power of the grace’ of God. THEN, we can have reconciliation with the Almighty, and the opportunity of serving Him (v.22) without condemnation.
What did Paul say in verse 22 above? He said, we “have been “set free” from sin”; he did not say ‘set free from the Law’, as so many errantly teach. There is NOT one verse in the entirety of the Scriptures that says ‘we have been freed from the Law of God given through Moses’; not one!
In fact, Paul stated ~
Romans 7:7 What then shall we say? That the law is sin? By no means!
We have been, and still are being taught wrong doctrine by mainstream theology!
Read Romans 6:22 again, out loud ~
Romans 6:22 But now that you have been “set free” from SIN and have become slaves of God…
We are no longer under the dominion, captivity, bondage of ‘our sin’. We also are no longer condemned for those past sins. We are now pardoned, and in Messiah we are “set free” from the dominion of sin in our lives! “THAT“, is what we’ve been “saved” from by the blood of Messiah! He ransomed us, He bought our freedom, and “delivered” us from the slavery and captivity to our sin.
However, we are not “set free” to continue in that sin, as Paul repeatedly reminded us ~
Romans 6:1-2 1What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? 2Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?
Should we continue in the sin that created the need for Jesus to die? Should we go back and continue in that sin now that we’ve been freed/delivered/saved from its dominion over us? The apostle Paul just said, ‘NO WAY’!
In context, the two verses right before Romans 6:1-2 is as follows ~
Romans 5:20-21 20Now, the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, 21so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Paul said the law of God came in to “increase/augment” sin, to define for us what sin is, and ‘to show’ us how terrible it is. When Jesus died on the cross bearing the sins of the world, “sinning” was breaking the law of God given through Moses. That is “the sinning” that Paul rhetorically asks in Romans 6:1, “shall we continue in sin?” Paul said that we should not continue in the sin he just mentioned two verses earlier in 5:20. He stated we should not continue in the sin “increased/augmented” by the law.
The word “continue” in the Greek is G1961 ἐπιμένωμεν/epimenōmen which Thayer’s Greek lexicon states to mean: ‘to persevere’, ‘continue’; with the dative of the thing continued in.
By using the word “epimenomen” Paul is stating that the sin of Romans 5:20 (breaking the law of God given through Moses) is the exact sin that we are not to “continue” in. This is basic grammar, as well as continuity of context.
Think logically, not emotionally.
The “Sin“ that the law of Moses “increased/augmented” from Romans 5:20, is the “Sin“ we are “not to continue in” from Romans 6:1; Period. Therefore, Paul unequivocally instructed us to not continue breaking the law of God given through Moses, which he defined as sinning in the prior sentence!
How did Paul know what sin was?
What does the text say?
Romans 3:20 for by the law is the knowledge of sin.
Romans 7:7 I would not have known sin except through the law.
1 John 3:4 Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness.
The ‘sins’ that Jesus bore for everyone on the cross did not magically change. Jesus did not die carrying ‘Mosaic-Law-sins’ for King David, and ‘non-Mosaic-Law-sins’ for you and me. That is completely un-Scriptural and illogical. There is not one Scripture that changes God’s definition of sin. The mainstream fallacy of “ceremonial-Laws” & “moral-Laws” is man-made-dogma, and those “terms” are found nowhere in any verse, anywhere in the Scriptures. The sins that they/we were in bondage to, are the same sins that there has always been; the sins defined by God’s Instructions/Laws that He gave through Moses. Otherwise, God Almighty is a respecter of persons AND He changes.
So, if we’ve been “set free” from the dominion of sin, what did Paul say that we should do now?
Romans 6:18-19,22 18And having been “set free” from sin, you became slaves of righteousness. 19I speak in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you presented your members as slaves of uncleanness, and of lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so NOW present your members as slaves of righteousness for holiness.… 22But now having been “set free” from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life.
Here in verses 18, 19 and 22 Paul told us that we are to now be righteous, which leads to our holiness/sanctification, that is, our being set apart as God’s people. Do you see how he contrasted ‘righteousness’ with ‘lawlessness’, as well as, ‘slavery-to-sin’ with ‘slavery-to-righteousness’? Righteousness is the opposite of lawlessness, therefore righteousness is equal to being lawful!
Again, logic, not emotion.
If we are ‘slaves-to-righteousness’, we are obedient to the Law of God. As bond-servants of God, we show our love, allegiance and faithfulness by obeying His instructions, right rulings and just decrees. It has nothing to do with trying to be “justified”, but everything to do with us ‘presenting ourselves’ to God as slaves to righteousness; at least according to the apostle Paul.
In verse 19 above, the word “present” in the Greek G3936 is παραστήσατε/parastēsate and is an Accusative Verb that Thayer’s Greek Lexicon states to mean: ‘to present or show’, with an accusative of the quality which the person or thing exhibits.
Now that we have been set free from our slavery to sin (which is lawlessness), Paul commanded us to ‘exhibit ourselves‘, to present ourselves obedient slaves to righteousness (lawfulness). This is an ‘action of demonstration’ that Paul stated that we must do “if“ we are in Christ; not for justification, but for righteousness (please click this link and read “Justification vs. Righteousness” to understand the difference between the two).
This ‘demonstration of righteousness‘, Paul called it our ‘fruit’ (of righteousness), and he said it leads to our sanctification/holiness, which in turn leads to our eternal life, Romans 6:22 above (also, please read the study, ‘Salvation vs. Eternal Life‘ to understand the difference).
Paul is consistently taken out of context, misquoted and misinterpreted regarding this topic of “bondage”, “captivity” and “slavery”. We have been misled and/or misinformed for a very long time. Paul never said that we were set free from the Law of God given through Moses. Paul never maligned or denigrated the Law of Moses; that dogma was conceived and created by the Christian System!
In fact, Paul showed pride for, and devotion towards the Law ~
What does the text say?
Romans 2:20 having in the law the embodiment of knowledge and truth
Romans 2:23 You who boast in the law dishonor God by breaking the law
Romans 3:31 Do we then overthrow the law by this faith? By no means! On the contrary, we uphold the law
Romans 7:12 So the law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good
Romans 7:22 For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being
Romans 7:25 So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind
Romans 8:7-8 7For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. 8Those who are in the flesh cannot please God
There’s only ever been, or ever will be, “one” Law of God. God is the same yesterday, today and forever; “For I the LORD do not change” | Malachi 3:6
Paul exhibited an adamantly ‘Pro-Law’ stance in all of those verses. Paul never showed any disdain for the Law; he never profaned the Law.
The much-heralded watch words of today’s mainstream theology, such as “legalism”, “moral-law” and “ceremonial-law” are NOT in your Bible ever, much less in Paul’s writings. They are man-made terms created to try to legitimize not obeying God Almighty’s Commands, Laws and Right Rulings.
Now let’s take a look at Paul’s understanding of righteousness?
Romans 2:13 for not the hearers of the law are righteous before God, but the doers of the law shall be declared righteous.
Romans 7:12 So the law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good.
As the most eminent scholar of his day, where would Paul get this doctrine?
Deuteronomy 4:8 And what great nation is there, that has statutes and rules so righteous as all this law that I set before you today?
Deuteronomy 6:25 And it will be righteousness for us, if we are careful to do all this commandment before the LORD our God, as he has commanded us.
Isaiah 51:7 “Listen to me, you who know righteousness, the people in whose heart is my law.
Again, please click this link and read “Justification vs. Righteousness”, they are not the same thing as so many errantly teach.
Paul not only told us to be righteous, but he also demanded that we are not to return to the bondage and slavery of our sin ~
Galatians 4:3 In the same way we also, when we were children, were enslaved to the elementary principles of the world…
Galatians 4:8-9 8Formerly, when you did not know God, you were enslaved to those that by nature are not gods. 9But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how can you turn back again to the weak and worthless elementary principles of the world, whose slaves you want to be once more?…
Galatians 5:1 For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery. (Please read ‘Freedom or Bondage‘)
Ephesians 2:1-2 1And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 2in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience-
Colossians 2:8 See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.
Titus 3:3 For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient [disobedient to what?], led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another.
Titus 2:14 who gave himself for us to redeem/ransom us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.
Psalm 130:7-8 O Israel, hope in the LORD! For with the LORD there is steadfast love, and with him is plentiful redemption. And he will redeem Israel from all his iniquities.
Hosea 13:14 I shall ransom them from the power of Sheol; I shall redeem them from Death. O Death, where are your plagues? O Sheol, where is your sting? Compassion is hidden from my eyes.
Next, let’s take the time to read Paul in context regarding the ‘law of sin and death’. The Mainstream System teaches that the ‘Law of God given through Moses’ is the same as the ‘law of sin and death’, so let’s see if that’s what the text actually says.
Paul himself fought against ‘the flesh’ in order to try and keep from sinning. He called this “another law“, different from the Law of God, which is the Law that he delights in! These are 2 completely different “laws” that Paul himself explains if we read the verses ‘in context’.
In same sentence that Paul tells us that he ‘delights’ in the Law of God given through Moses, he calls the ‘law of sin’ “another law” and this law ‘dwells in his members‘, his flesh; proving they are not the same thing.
What does the text say?
Romans 7:22-23,25 22For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, 23but 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… 25So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.
The “Law” that Paul mentioned throughout ‘Romans’ (and all of his letters), as coming from God Almighty has only, ever been the ‘Law of Moses’. The ‘law of sin and death’ that dwells in his members is a completely different law. For the very first time, ever, Paul introduced in chapter 7 of his ‘Romans’ commentary another law in order to show us that it’s our ‘obedience to sin that leads to our death‘.
How did the apostle Paul know about this ‘other law’? Having studied at the feet of Gamaliel, he knew the Word of God, “the Scriptures”, better than anyone.
What does the text say? ~
Ezekiel 18:4 Behold, all lives are mine; the life of the father as well as the life of the son is mine: the living being who sins shall die.
‘Cause and Effect’ defined by God; the being who sins shall die = “the law of sin and death“.
What about Paul’s contemporary, the head of the Jerusalem Council and brother of the Messiah; what did James have to say on this subject?
James 1:14 -15 14But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. 15Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.
Sin brings forth death = “the law of sin and death“.
Let’s take a quick step back to see what Paul said about the Law of God given through Moses, and its requirements?
What does the text say?
Romans 2:14-15 14For when gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. 15They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts
Paul states that those who do “what the law requires” show/present/prove that the law is written on their hearts. This is a direct quote from Jeremiah and the prophecy about the “new” covenant ~
Jeremiah 31:31,33 31“Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the “house of Israel” and the “house of Judah”… 33For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people.”
Paul then told us that the law is not sin, but that it defines what sin is. Paul is informing us that “the Law” is how he knows what sin is ~
Romans 7:7a What then shall we say? That the law is sin? By no means! Yet if it had not been for the law, I would not have known sin.
Then Paul claimed that the Law of God is Holy, Righteous and Good. Pretty self-explanatory ~
Romans 7:12 So the law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good.
The law can never be unholy or unrighteous or bad, or Paul would be a liar and a hypocrite.
Next Paul says that the law of God is Spiritual, meaning divinely inspired, emanating from the Divine Spirit (as per Thayer’s Greek Lexicon) ~
Romans 7:14 For we know that the law is G4152spiritual, but I am of the flesh, sold under sin.
The ‘Law being Spiritual‘ does not mean that the Law of Moses was somehow transformed into an intangible, esoteric apparition that’s magically endowed upon us. In the context of all of chapter 7, Paul was comparing the ‘Law‘ to the ‘Flesh‘. One is Godly, one is Carnal; one is Divinely-Inspired and the other one is sold-under-sin.
The Greek for ‘spiritual‘ that Paul used is G4152 πνευματικός/pneumatikos, which Thayer’s Greek Lexicon states as: divinely inspired, and so redolent (reminiscent) of the Holy Spirit; emanating from the Divine Spirit, or exhibiting its effects and so its character.
The Law being “Spiritual” is not something new to the ‘New’ Testament, as the mainstream system errantly teaches. Paul was just explaining the difference between the Divinely-Inspired Law of God and the carnal flesh; that they are at enmity with each other. Please click this link and read the study, ‘Why is the Flesh Enmity with God? | Romans 8:7‘.
Paul also stated, in his Present Tense, that the Law of God is his delight, in his inner-being, his inward man; and that he serves the Law of God with his mind ~
Romans 7:22,25 22For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being… 25So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind
Next, we see the ‘law of sin’ contrasted to the ‘Law of God’, which Paul delights in and serves ~
Romans 7:13 Did that which is good [the Law of God v.12], then, bring death to me? By no means! It was sin producing death in me through what is good, in order that sin might be shown to be sin
It is “sin” that brought death, not the Law, so says the apostle Paul. The Law gives us the ‘definition‘ of sin and shows how bad it really is (Romans 5:20 above), but it is “sin” that kills us. The two verses prior to Romans 7:13 reveal this ~
Romans 7:11-12 11For sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment, deceived me and through it killed me. 12So the law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good.
According to Paul, sin, which is defined by the commandment, seized him. Sins dominion over him, killed him. ‘Sin leads to death’; ‘THAT FACT‘ is the “law of sin and death”.
‘Sin leads to death’, that is “a law” unto itself. Period.
Paul stated that his flesh was sold under sin and that he often did what he didn’t want to do ~
Romans 7:15 For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.
Here it is again, the second different law…
Romans 7:21-23 21So I find it to be ‘a law‘ that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. 22For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, 23but 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.
Did you catch that? Paul professed that he delighted in the Law of God with his inner-being, but “another” law lies close at hand in his members “waging war with the Law of God in his mind“. That other law, the one that’s at war with the Law of God, Paul called that “the law of sin”. These two laws are not the same law, at least according to the apostle Paul.
What Law did Paul serve with his inner-being and his mind?
What different law did his flesh serve?
What does the text say?
Romans 7:25 Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.
Two different laws, one good and one evil.
The ‘law of sin and death’ is not the ‘Law of God’ as so many tragically teach.
Paul then deliberately reminds these Roman believers (and us) that those who live by the flesh, and thereby obey the ‘law of the sin and death’, those people are hostile to God ‘because’ they do not submit to the Law of God. Paul blatantly stated in his Present Tense that those who do not submit to the Law of God cannot please God. ~
What does the text say in the Present Tense in the Greek?
Romans 8:7-8 7For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God‘s law; indeed, it cannot. 8Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
Those that live in the flesh, in sin, are hostile to God ‘because’ that person does not submit to God’s Law. That person, the one that does not submit to the Law of God, cannot please God! So says Paul… Again, please click this link and read the study, ‘Why is the Flesh Enmity with God? | Romans 8:7‘.
Final Thought: We have been “set free” from our slavery to sin; we’ve been “saved” from our prior bondage to sin, which leads to death. We are no longer under sins dominion, separated from God. Now we all have to choose; we either submit to God’s Law or go back to our submission to sin. Choose this day whom you will serve…
- For further study of Paul’s teachings, as well as the original Greek, see the ‘Links’ at the top of this page or blog posts at the bottom. Be like the Bereans, and test Paul’s doctrines to the “Scriptures”; look up for yourself more than 60 of the “forever verses” listed directly below. Please ‘share’ this study. Thank you for your time!