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 "The Law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus" by G.W. North

THE SPIRIT OF LIFE IN CHRIST JESUS
By G.W. North

'... THE LAW OF THE SPIRIT OF LIFE IN CHRIST JESUS HATH MADE ME FREE FROM THE LAW OF SIN AND DEATH." Romans 8:2


No Condemnation — in Christ Jesus.
This text is the glorious introduction to a whole chapter of glorious truth about the Holy Spirit which has no parallel anywhere else in scripture. It would be altogether too great a task to undertake to attempt an exposition of the whole chapter, but we will touch on it here and there, finding the truth we seek for our purposes. Paul has just concluded a lengthy passage, in which he describes himself as he discovered himself to be under the law of Moses. What the law did for him was to show him the laws that controlled him; he discovered himself to be a slave of sin, bound by chains of habit to death. Even the laws of mind and memory, which brought him joy and delight in the law of God, could not liberate him from the law of sin which worked in his members. It overpowered his will. Strong determination of mind and fixity of purpose were together powerless to liberate him; although he loathed and lamented his sin, he could not rid himself of it. It was not so much what he did that troubled him, it was what was working in his members that distressed him so much. It was against him, against his desires, his mind, his will, his beliefs, his prayers, his better knowledge, against his God; it was sinful, exceedingly sinful, and he hated himself for it. At last the battle was too great for him and he cried out to God for deliverance and found it through Jesus Christ.





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Roger P.

 2004/3/30 7:25Profile
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 Re: "The Law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus" by G.W. North


2. From that time onwards this was his testimony, 'there is therefore now no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus (who walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit) for the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death'. It is intensely personal. He was not setting down teaching, he was recounting his experience; 'this is what I have found', he is saying, and O how precious it was to him. We are told that the words in parenthesis above are not in the most ancient and more reliable manuscripts, from which we may infer that they were not in the original epistle. They are an exact copy of Paul's words in verse four, and so the scribes, whoever they were that copied out the sacred text, are not to be thought guilty of inserting thoughts of their own, even if it was their idea to put the phrase higher up in the text. May we not infer that by doing so those people have revealed to us that they too had discovered the reason for Paul's rejoicing? He found he could walk after the Spirit and not after the flesh, and so had they.







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 Re: "The Law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus" by G.W. North


3. How wonderful this experience is, and how glorious it is to every man who similarly discovers that the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made him free from the law of sin and death. What light in darkness, especially when it is coupled, as it is here, with the fact that there is therefore no condemnation to him because he really and recognizably is in Christ Jesus. Whenever Paul's doctrine touches upon human experience of salvation it is always based on his own experience, and what glorious doctrine it is; because of this it is the gospel indeed, God's good news and man's good news in one. If the note of personal testimony is missing from gospel preaching it is a vain hope, for what at first is an enlightening message and liberating hope will die away into darkness and condemnation. That is why Paul spoke about walking not after the flesh but after the Spirit; unless a man can do that, he has no testimony that his beliefs are right, no proof that his doctrine is correct; he is just believing in unworkable theories. The walk in the Spirit is the sole proof that the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has indeed set a person free from the law of sin and death. For if there is one thing that is absolutely certain, it is that dead men cannot walk; legs and feet they may have, but life they have not.




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 Re: 'The Law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus' by G.W. North

4. Therefore the copyists' gloss may not be a bad thing, for it emphasizes the important practical part, namely walking after the Spirit, without which all is theoretical belief. Because he was walking after the Spirit, Paul knew he was free from the law of sin and death; if this had not been so he would have walked after the flesh, because he could not have done otherwise; the walk is the test. It is entirely impossible to be free from sin and death unless the law governing it, by which it works, is nullified or countermanded in us. It is not possible to nullify or countermand spiritual and moral law unless it is replaced by another, which works in the very same elements and by the same principles as the one it replaces did. Only the working of' the new law can prevent the old one from reasserting itself and regaining power over us; in the spirit as in nature there cannot be a vacuum. The new law does not break the power of the old one — that is not its function — but it does prevent it from reasserting itself. The power of the old law of sin is broken experimentally in every believer who knows the experience outlined in (Romans) chapter six.


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 Re: 'The Law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus' by G.W. North

5. Essentially, originally and eventually man is spirit. He is not flesh, neither is he a body; he has a body of flesh in which he dwells on the earth in this world. All the time he dwells in his body man is both spirit and soul; man, by God's choice, is a spirit/soul. God is not spirit/soul, He is Spirit. God acquired a soul when the Son took a body. In God He is now the Spirit/Soul of God, the prototype and forerunner of every spirit/soul son of God by redemption and regeneration. The Lord Jesus became a soul when He was incarnated. Until then He was not a soul. To be a soul a person has to be born in a human body. He had appeared in bodily form prior to being incarnate, but He was not a soul then, for He had not been born man. He was spirit manifesting Himself in human or angelic form for the purpose in hand at that time only. Spirit was breathed into human form by God. God does not make spirits, He generates them. God is the father of spirits, not of bodies. He formed or made body, He did not generate it; He generated or gave birth to man when He breathed spirit into it. Until then the shapely dust was not man. God did not breathe spirit into man; He breathed it into a form of dust which He intended to be a man, and thus created man. Man is a manifestation of God, as well as a creation of God. God made man in His own image after His own likeness. Animals and all the lower forms of being are not a manifestation of God, they are a creation of God only. They do not bear His image, they were not patterned upon God's being; their original breath was not directly from God, therefore they are not after His likeness; they were only the work of His hands made to breathe atmospheric air.



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 Re: 'The Law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus' by G.W. North



6. Man Became a Living Soul.
Original man was created by direct original breath from the Spirit of God. Animals' breath was gaseous, man's was spiritous. Man, to be man, must be spirit; to be human he must be soul; to have existence on the earth he must have body. Man is spiritual, sensual, physical in being; to be man he cannot be any other, for that is how God made him; God delighted in that original creation, but since then man has undergone a tragic change in spirit and soul. Physically he is the same, but in spirit and soul he is utterly different, so God, when communicating truth to us about ourselves, has found it necessary to change His form of address. When God created man he was spiritual, that is, his spirit was in a condition of pristine purity, without sin, so was his body; he was fully conscious of his originator, in all its senses the soul alive unto Him; His body also, in all its members and motions, its desires and appetites, its laws and functions, was of one accord with it. Man was entirely spiritual. In every realm of his being man was attuned to God. Nothing in him was out of touch or out of gear. The mind of his spirit, and the operation of the laws of his entire being, in accordance with it, were all directed to do God's will — he was spiritual. Man knew no other than that until he sinned, and when he did so he ceased to be spiritual. He was still basically spirit, but he was no longer spiritual, he was only spiritous, and because his sin was directed to the satisfying of his flesh in both its appetites and desires, its affections and attractions, he became a carnal soul — man was no longer spiritual but carnal, that is, dead. He was not alive with the life of God and therefore was not alive to God. Being no longer spiritual, that is, no longer able to live in the condition in which he was created, he was no longer allowed to live in the conditions which God had created for him — he was turned out of paradise.




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 Re: 'The Law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus' by G.W. North



7. This then is the background to Paul's approach to his teachings about man's life in the Spirit: man must be restored to his original native state. Adam fell from his native state, that is, the condition of his nature, what it was, how it was, where it was, and found himself in another condition, another nature. His native state of spirit had become death, his native condition of soul became sin, his native state of body became carnal. Paul found out all these things about himself and he was devastated. But he also found out that Christ Jesus lived a life that was exactly what God originally intended for man; He was spiritual. If a man wishes to be spiritual he must have and live the life of Jesus Christ. The section commences on that note, 'the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus'. The life that Jesus lived and the way He lived it are the law for all God's sons. He lived by the Spirit and developed His own spirit from and in that Spirit. His spirit and mind had control over all His being; He was spiritually-minded. He minded the Spirit and therefore His own spirit, and thereby had life and peace. There was no conflict in Him. There was no sin in Him, not in any realm or member of Him; nothing warred against the law of His mind; what He thought and willed He was able to do. He did not live in or walk after the flesh but in and after the Spirit. He was subject to the law of God, thoroughly dead to sin and alive unto God, therefore all the righteousness of the law was fulfilled in Him. It is into this life that the baptism in the Spirit is designed to bring us. This baptism is obligatory because it is absolutely necessary, for only thereby are our spirits baptized into Jesus Christ. He is now as He was then in Spirit, and the purpose of God is that, by this baptism we shall receive and for ever have the spirit of Christ, the spiritual man.







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 Re: 'The Law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus' by G.W. North



8. It is quite impossible for any man to know the working of the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus in himself unless he is in Christ Jesus. Life in Christ Jesus is exclusive to Him, and if we are to know His life we must be in Him; we cannot be without Him and expect to have His personal life in us. Therefore every person who would know the reality of Christ's own life within his or her own self must be in Him, otherwise there can be no end to the life of sin. Condemnation and frustration is the common state of all enlightened men who wish to live Christ's life and find themselves unable to do so. They truly desire to do His will and can never accomplish it. As Paul explains, he was in that state himself once; despite all his prayers and efforts he languished in defeat and wretchedness until the Spirit showed him the way and took him out of himself and his sin into Christ. There and then he discovered the law of the Spirit of life and how it worked. When he went this way he found the dominion of sin was broken in him, for like Christ he died to it.



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 Re: 'The Law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus' by G.W. North



9. BAPTIZED INTO CHRIST
It was a marvellous and totally unexpected thing, as undeserved as it was unexpected — he was baptized into Christ. No-one had told him what would happen to him and that is why so much of this man's a teaching was so personal. He was not a product of the Church; he had persecuted it. He did not learn the way of salvation from it, nor from the apostles of Christ (he had hated them also); quite the opposite from that, the Church has learned from him. What happened to him, that is to say, what Christ did to him at Damascus first of all and then revealed to him afterwards, became the substance of all Paul's ministry. Quite simply, the Christ he had first met on the Damascus road baptized him in the Spirit in that city three days later. He baptized him into His death and into His resurrection, and via these into Himself, into His nature, His life and self.




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 Re: 'The Law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus' by G.W. North



10..That day Saul of Tarsus passed from death unto life for the first time, and from that moment he was conscious of being kept alive in Christ in whom the law of the Spirit of life is constantly in operation. This is how it must be with everyone. Eternal life is not possible to a man otherwise; it is no use a man trying to walk according to the Spirit unless he is first baptized into Christ. Until this happens to a man the law of sin and death continues to operate, working condemnation in him. No number or manner of assurances to the contrary will ever persuade him that it is not so. To be free from condemnation and guilt a man must be baptized into Christ. There and nowhere else does the law of the Spirit of life make a man free from the law of sin and death so that he can walk after the Spirit. Doing so he does not then need assuring that he is not under condemnation, because he has the assurance of the Spirit within himself and he knows he is not condemned. Moreover, by his walk he proves this both to himself and also to all other knowledgeable persons who observe him.



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