“Or do you not know, brothers—for I am speaking to those who know the law—that the law is binding on a person only as long as he lives?” And Paul is right. By your birth, you are under the law. You are bound by it. It has a claim on you. You are subject to its accusations and condemnation.
“Likewise, my brothers, you also have died to the law through the body of Christ, so that you may belong to another, to him who has been raised from the dead, in order that we may bear fruit for God.” You have died. You have been buried with Christ in Baptism. You live free in Christ, free for your neighbor. Christ now works through you for others. He who began this good work in you now works fruit in you.
“But now we are released from the law, having died to that which held us captive, so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit and not in the old way of the written code.” Slave no more to your flesh, to the devil, to this world and all its empty promises and idols, you now have received the world back as gift, not in the old way of the written code, but to live and serve in the new way of the Spirit.
It’s hard to come to terms with this. We are quick to turn back to the old way, prone to think as though we were still captive, all too eager to submit to the written code for what it cannot give. The law is necessary. The law is good. It curbs our old Adam. It exposes our sin. It deflates the inflated importance we give the old works of bondage and describes for us, given as we are to self-made works, what is actually beneficial for our neighbor and pleasing to God. We need the law, but we are no longer under it. We have died to it. We need the law, but our works, if they are Christian works, are no longer of the law. They are the fruit of the Spirit.
You have died. You have died to live. Live in Christ. Live free, free even for your neighbor. Your captivity is over. You are now a servant of Christ who came to serve you. The old way is done. The new Way is ours. You have been released from the law. You have been bound to Christ, who was bound to the tree of the cross to give you this life through His resurrection. This is the Christian faith. This is the Christian life.
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