“… through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.”Romans 8:2
Today’s reading undergirds Martin Luther’s gospel logic. That is, it is only when we have been driven into the arms of Christ by the law, as Luther would say, that we experience the freedom and joy of living the Spirit-filled life, willing and even able to live a life pleasing to the Lord. Paul calls it our “obligation” (8:12). But it’s not an obligation motivated by the threat of God’s law. It’s an obligation motivated by God’s grace through Jesus and our heartfelt gratitude.
The law that said “do this and live”—what Paul calls the law of sin and death—is replaced with “it’s done!” And now that it’s done, we’re in the new realm of the Spirit where our gratitude and joy in salvation set our minds on what the Spirit wants us to be about.
The Spirit tells us we are God’s children (8:16) and teaches us to live like children, forever loved by their Father. By the Spirit, we’ve been given a new family name. By the Spirit, we learn to live out that new family identity, forever safe in Jesus’ welcoming, loving, open arms.
“The law is abolished as far as I’m concerned, when it has driven me into the arms of Christ.” (Martin Luther, 1535)