Life-Study of Romansby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
In 8:1 Paul says, “There is now then no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus.” In verse 2 Paul goes on to explain why there is no condemnation: “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has freed me from the law of sin and of death.” Here Paul speaks of the law of the Spirit of life. It is important that we learn how this law works, how it frees us from the law of sin.
All that Paul covers in the remainder of chapter eight is related to the working of the law of the Spirit of life. If we read this chapter carefully, we shall see that its subject is not actually the Spirit, but the law of the Spirit of life.
Many Christian teachers say that the Spirit is the subject of Romans 8. This understanding is too shallow. Actually, Romans 8 talks about the law of the Spirit of life. This will become clear to us if we read Romans 8 carefully in the light of what Paul says concerning the law in chapters five, six, and seven. It would also be helpful to trace Paul’s thought concerning this matter backward from chapter eight to chapter five. The revelation in these chapters is marvelous. It is crucial for us to see that the subject, the topic, of Romans 8 is not merely the Spirit, but the law of the Spirit of life.
At this point we need to ask what the law of the Spirit of life is. We must even go on to ask this crucial question: Who is this law? If we read chapter eight carefully and compare it with chapters five, six, and seven, we shall see that the law of the Spirit of life is the processed Triune God becoming the life-giving Spirit to dwell in us. This means that the processed Triune God is Himself the law of the Spirit of life. Just as sin is a person—Satan—so this law is also a Person—the Triune God.
Romans 8 speaks of the process, even the processes, through which the Triune God has passed to become the life-giving Spirit dwelling in our spirit. In verse 3 Paul refers to incarnation and crucifixion: “God sending His own Son in the likeness of the flesh of sin and concerning sin, condemned sin in the flesh.” The phrase, “God sending His own Son in the likeness of the flesh of sin,” is related to incarnation. God’s sending His Son concerning sin and condemning sin in the flesh point to Christ’s crucifixion. Furthermore, verse 11 also implies crucifixion, for it speaks of the Lord Jesus being raised from among the dead. However, what this verse clearly reveals is the process of resurrection: “But if the Spirit of Him Who raised Jesus from among the dead dwells in you, He Who raised Christ Jesus from among the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit Who indwells you.” In verse 34 Paul refers to the ascension when he tells us that Christ is at the right hand of God interceding for us. Therefore, in this chapter we have four processes through which the Triune God has passed: incarnation, crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension.
Romans 8 also reveals the Triune God. In verse 2 we have the Spirit of life. In verse 3 we have God, the Father, sending His Son. Thus, in verses 2 and 3 we have the Spirit, the Father, and the Son. Verses 9 and 10 speak of the Spirit of God, the Spirit of Christ, and Christ. Verse 11 mentions all three of the Triune God: the Spirit, He (the Father) who raised Christ Jesus, and Christ, the Son. Therefore, Romans 8 is a chapter concerning the processed Triune God.
In 8:1-11 we see that, after having passed through the various processes, the Triune God became a life-giving Spirit, the Spirit who gives life. In verse 11 Paul clearly says that the One who raised Christ from among the dead gives life to our mortal bodies “through His Spirit Who indwells you.” This Spirit now dwells in our spirit.
As the life-giving Spirit, the processed Triune God dwells in us to give us life in a threefold way. The first aspect of this giving of life is found in verse 10: “And if Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, yet the spirit is life because of righteousness.” This verse says that if Christ is in us, our spirit is life. Christ here is the very Triune God who has become the indwelling Spirit. Because this Christ is in us, our spirit is life, for as the life-giving Spirit, Christ dwells in our spirit, and His indwelling makes our spirit life. This is the first aspect of the giving of life revealed in Romans 8.
The second aspect is found in verse 6: “For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the spirit is life and peace.” The mind is the leading part of our soul. As such, it represents our soul. This means that when the mind becomes life, our soul becomes life. First our spirit is life, and then our soul also becomes life.
Finally, life is imparted to our mortal bodies. According to verse 11, He who raised Christ Jesus from among the dead gives life to our mortal bodies through the indwelling Spirit. Therefore, life is imparted to us in a threefold way: Our spirit becomes life, our mind becomes life, and life is imparted to our mortal bodies. For this reason we can say that, according to Romans 8, the Triune God is dispensed into the tripartite man and gives life to man’s spirit, soul, and body.
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