“For the law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.”
Romans 8:2 KJV
THE MAN AT THE THRESHOLD OF DELIVERANCE
The apostle Paul is a man who has tried to obey the law of God. He has loved it, he wept over his sins, he has tried to conquer, he tried to overcome fault after fault, but every time he has ended in utter failure.
What did he mean by “the body of this death?” Did he mean my body when I die? Absolutely not! In the 8th chapter you have the answer to this question in verse 13b: “If ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.” That is the body of death from which he is seeking deliverance.
And now he is a man at the threshold of deliverance! In the 23rd verse of the 7th chapter we have these words: “I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.” It is a captive that cries: “O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” Here is a man who feels himself bound.
But look to the contrast in the 2nd verse of the 8th chapter: “The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.” That is the deliverance through Jesus Christ our Lord; the liberty to the captive, which the Holy Spirit brings.
Can you keep captive any longer a man made free by the “law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus?”
Nevertheless, you say, the regenerate man, had not he the Spirit of Jesus when he spoke in the 6th chapter? Yes, but he did not know what the Holy Spirit could do for him.
God does not work by His Spirit as He works by a blind force in nature. He leads His people on as reasonable, intelligent beings, and therefore when He wants to give us the Holy Spirit whom He has promised, He brings us first to the end of self, to the conviction that though we have been striving to obey the law, we have failed.
When we have come to the end of that, then He shows us that in the Holy Spirit we have the power of genuine holiness.
God works to will and He is ready to work to do, but alas! Many Christians misunderstand this. They think that just because they have the will, it is enough, and that now they are able to do. This is not so!
The new will is a permanent gift, an attribute of the new man. The power to do is not a permanent gift, but must be each moment received from the Holy Spirit. It is the man who is conscious of his own powerlessness as a believer who will learn that by the Holy Spirit he can live a holy life that is pleasing to God.
This is the man who is at the threshold of deliverance, the way of which has been prepared for the glorious 8th chapter. I now ask this solemn question:
“Where are you living? Is it with you, O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me? With now and then a little experience of the Holy Spirit? Or is it, “I thank God through Jesus Christ! The law of the Spirit hath set me free from the law of sin and death?”
What the Holy Spirit does is to give victory:
“If ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.”
It is the Holy Spirit who does this—the third person of the Godhead. It is He, who, when the heart is opened wide to receive Him, comes in and reigns there, and mortifies the deeds of the body, day by day, hour by hour, and moment by moment.