Romans 8:1-2. There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.
As if no condemnation were not enough (v 1) there’s more good news (v 2). You are not only free from condemnation you are free from the taskmaster that is the Law. In Christ you are free from having to figure your own life out. You are free from having to self-motivate, and self-inspire. For example:
I saw Dante Colley for the first time on Good Morning America today. Now I had no idea who Mr. Colley is, and I have absolutely nothing against him personally. He’s obviously a likeable guy, and his message of positivity is one that clearly strikes a cord. “You can do anything.” “Never give up on your dreams.” “Keep pushing.” But is there a point where this kind of positivity just becomes the very law that we are all trying to escape? What if I can’t do anything? What if my dreams change? Or are actually unrealistic? What if I’ve got absolutely no strength left to push?
If my only source of life is my own life, where does that leave me?
You may remember that at the end of Romans 7 Paul described 3 laws: the law of God, the law of the mind, and the law of sin. These three laws produced an epic battle in Paul’s life (and yours and mine) – I know what is right. I want to do right. But I also don’t want to do right. The result was Paul crying out for deliverance.
Romans 7:24. Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?
That deliverance is here! And it’s not in the form of inspiration dance videos on Instagram. It’s not a salvation of our own making at all. The last thing we need is daily inspiration that stirs up the flesh. “You can do anything.” “Never give up on yourself.” I know this sounds motivating, but it’s actually a law that leads to death. Death by disappointment. A slow death by one failed dream after another.
The great plot twist here is that we are saved from this law by a new law. We are saved from the law of sin and death, by the law of the Spirit of life. The Fourth Law.
For Paul, the law of sin and death is the law of God. The Torah. The Old Testament commandments. Which of course are perfect, and righteous, and good (7:12). But because of the law of sin in me (my natural inability to keep the law), the law of God becomes a law of sin and death. It produces all kinds of sin in me and sin produces death. Now if the law of God becomes the law of sin and death then what do you think happens with all the laws we make up for ourselves in the form of “positivity?”
Romans 8:2 calls our deliverance the law of the Spirit of life. There is a freedom from all the standards that seek to bury us, whether they are God’s standards or our own. It is the life of God himself. The life of the Spirit. The life of Christ. “To live is Christ.” The truth is that “Christ in you” means that all the standards are already met. You no longer have to measure up. You no longer have to self motivate or self inspire. Christ is our inspiration. He is our motivation. He is our life. He makes us want to dance.
Where does your motivation come from? Is it your union with Christ?