Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered outside the gate. Therefore, let us go forth to him outside the camp, bearing his reproach. For we have no continuing city here, but we seek one to come.
Select a thought to read by choosing a collection, the month, and then the day:
“For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.”
Every person on earth is under one of these two laws that Paul mentioned. “Under these laws” means that every person on earth is being controlled by one of two powerful forces. No one is controlled by both of them at the same moment, and no one is ever free from both of them at the same moment. Everyone is a subject of one of these laws all the time.
The first law, the “law of sin and death”, is the law with which you were born into this world. It is the law that is in your flesh. It rules absolutely over all humans because it is human nature itself. In other places, human nature is called “the carnal nature” or the “nature of the flesh”. Everyone who has ever been born on earth has served under this law from the moment of their first breath because everyone born on earth is covered with flesh. This law requires that we sin; that is, it is the nature of man to sin, and therefore, we are by nature condemned to die. That is “the law of sin and death” under which we all have lived. When Paul penned his famous line, “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God”, he was referring to this complete dominion of the flesh over people, this inescapable human nature that covers us.
By the grace of God, we have escaped the cruel dominion of the flesh. We have been liberated by responding to the Master who rules over people by “the law of the Spirit of life”. Just as “the law of sin and death” is a phrase referring to the sinful human nature, this phrase, “the law of the Spirit of life”, is a phrase referring to God’s holy nature. It was Peter who said that believers in Christ have been made “partakers of the divine nature” (2Pet. 1:4), and this divine nature is a law, just as human nature is a law. It is as normal and natural for someone with God’s nature to commit righteousness as it is normal and natural for a sinner to commit sin. For someone with the Spirit of life within him, righteousness is a law; it is his inward nature now. It reigns over his thoughts and feelings and deeds if he is normal.
Of course, one who is under “the law of sin and death” can rebel against its tyranny and escape its influence. Jesus suffered and died to make that escape possible. Likewise, when God calls us out of sin, we can rebel against our old sinful nature and go to Him to be born all over again, this time with a new and holy nature. However, it is also true that once a man is born again and receives that new, holy nature, he can rebel against it and return to “the law of sin and death”. As long as we are in this fleshly body, such a rebellion is an option that we all have. We are not imprisoned by the new nature; we are liberated by it to make holy choices, even to make the awful choice not to live according to the divine nature that we have received. It is a foolish option to take, one that will lead to eternal damnation, but according to one of Jesus’ parables, about half of God’s people will make that choice and be cast into the Lake of Fire with all the wicked. Speaking of such a member of this foolish half of the children of God, Jesus said, “He will be given his portion with the hypocrites and unbelievers.”
“The kingdom of God”, said Jesus, “is likened unto ten virgins. Five were wise and five were foolish.” The “five wise virgins” are they who continue under “the law of the Spirit of life” once they received that new nature, while the “five foolish virgins” are they who forsake that wonderful law and return to their former ways, the ways of “the law of sin and death”.