Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. (Rom. 8:1)
TWO WORDS THAT SHOW UP over and over in Romans are sarx and ruach. Paul pitted these two ideas—flesh and Spirit—against each other as opposites that sit in tension. Paul explained that the flesh is our weakness and vulnerability to the “law of sin and death,” and the Spirit is that surging power of the third person of the Trinity that allows us to live holy, victorious lives.
Have you ever felt defeated and frustrated, at the mercy of your own sinful human nature? This is the law of sin and death at work in our lives brought on by sarx. But with an excitement and urgency that can barely be contained, Paul explained the path that gets us from sarx to ruach . . . a path “through Christ Jesus” that sets us free. Because of what Jesus has done, it is possible to live a life dominated not by the flesh, but by the Spirit of God.
When confronted, my son shamefully admitted to hitting his younger brother. He knew he was guilty and he knew he deserved the punishment he was sure would come. In a moment of compassion, I gave him the news that he wouldn’t be punished this time. Relief and gratitude flooded his little face. And in that moment I felt a similar and unexpected relief and gratitude flood my soul, remembering that the judgment and condemnation that I fully deserve has been removed and replaced with power and freedom.
Live a free life . . . dominated by the Spirit through Christ Jesus.
Andrea Summers is an ordained minister and has served on staff in her local church for five years. She is the director of Women’s Ministry for The Wesleyan Church.