Romans 8:2 – “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and death.”
There’s nothing more freeing than a life without law!
By “a life without law,” I don’t mean a life lived lawlessly. Jesus condemned hypocrites by saying, “I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.” (Matthew 7:23). The apostle John wrote, “Everyone who practices sin also practices lawlessness.” (1 John 3:4).
Just ask criminals if there’s any freedom in lawless living. Those who get caught go to jail for breaking the law. Those who don’t are paranoid they will! We all know what it’s like to be trapped in the spiritual prison of guilt, shame and regret from breaking God’s laws.
No, by “a life without law,” I mean the freedom of a life that needs no law.
The only people who need laws are lawbreakers. Paul told Timothy, “…law is not made for a righteous person, but for those who are lawless and rebellious…” (1 Timothy 1:9). The purpose of law is to rein in rebellious people and discourage wrongdoing. Righteous people, however, don’t need laws because they do what’s right.
For instance, in America we make laws against theft to discourage thieves from stealing. The only ones who feel burdened or trapped by those laws are thieves because they want to steal but can’t! If you asked a non-thief, “Do you feel pressure or burdened in any way by the laws against theft?” they’d say, “Nope!” Non-thieves live in freedom from fear or punishment from laws against theft!
How about another example closer to home? Let’s say you have two children. One child has a problem talking back, but the other child never does. So you make a rule/law, “In this family, when we ask you to do something and you talk back or argue, you’ll be given extra chores.”
Who’s that law for? Technically it’s for both since it equally applies to both children, but who was it originally made for? The one talking back. And who feels restricted and trapped by that rule? The one who talks back.
The child who never talks back is living a life free from that law! He doesn’t walk on egg-shells afraid he’ll be given more chores for talking back because talking back isn’t a problem for him! The back-talker, on the other hand, feels the weight of that law on him constantly!
Likewise, God gives us laws in His Word that apply to us all, but only those who want to disobey Him feel burdened by them. One of the amazing blessings of having the gift of the Holy Spirit in baptism (Acts 2:38; 5:32) is that our hearts are changed to want to do what’s right! (Not miraculously against our will, but by our choice in response to the cross.)
Certainly our flesh is still tempted, but with God’s Spirit in us, we no longer want to carry out the desires of our flesh (Galatians 5:16). Now we choose to be led by His Spirit, not our lustful passions, which means it feels like we’re living without need for law! Since we don’t want to disobey God, we don’t feel pressured or trapped by His laws, so we can join with John in saying, “God’s commandments are not burdensome.” (1 John 5:3)
One last point.
When Paul described the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 3:23-24, he said, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”
When we live by the Spirit, there is no law against the way we’re living. Parents, have you ever made a law against or scolded your children for being too kind, gentle, or faithful? Of course not! There are no laws against these things!
When we live a Spirit-led life of righteousness and purity, we’re living lives without need for law and lives against which there are no laws.
There’s nothing more freeing, and praise be to God who gives us that freedom in Christ!
[Note: I realize we aren’t perfect as Christians. Despite being filled with the Holy Spirit, we’ll still stumble, give in to the flesh, and break God’s laws at times. But another aspect of our freedom from law is that we’re free from the penalty of death under God’s law and we can find forgiveness in Christ. “Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” (Rom. 8:1). Free again!]