“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.”
SET UP FOR A WIN
Hope can pose a complicated picture, because our culture aligns it with wishy-washy, sentimental, or wishful thinking. But true, Christian hope is so much more, and so far better than the wishful hoping with which we are most familiar.
Hope begins with a declaration: “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” If we are in Christ, we live in a condemnation-free zone. Inside of Christ, we cannot find condemnation, for He has none in His heart toward us. He won’t even look at a pattern of failure and say, “well, you’re just doomed to repeat that again, so you are a lost cause.” Nope, that is condemnation, and Jesus doesn’t think like that. Rather, no matter how messed up our lives have gotten, He joyfully declares, “I can help you with that! Let Me help!” because that’s all that is in His heart—the desire to help the ones He loves.
That hope—the hope that Christ has no condemnation in His heart, and that we live now inside of Him—is the basis for what Paul writes in verse two: “For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.” Where condemnation works like a law against us, saying that our failures transform us into a failure, Paul here says there’s a different law at work for those in Christ, and it is a law that sets us up to succeed at living the life of Christ. We are free to become something, free to change, free to grow more Christlike, free to live out the very life and culture of Christ’s own life.
The Christian life is not a series of rules set against us, which set us up for failure; that is a hopeless life. No! The life of Christ at work within us has one law: the Law of Life, which sets us up to live the full life of Christ Himself. And the object of that Law of Life is a simple one: learn to love God with all of our hearts, learn to love others as ourselves.
The Law of Life sets us up to “get it,” to understand that this is our new life; it sets us up to see ourselves as Christ sees us: with every cause to hope that we will grow ever more Christlike. It sets us up for victory after victory, even if we’ve had failure after failure, because there is a constancy and reliable declaration in Christ’s heart toward us, in every situation: “I can help you with that!”
We have every cause to hope. His Law of Life sets us up to know the plans He has for us: plans to give us a hope and a future (see Jeremiah 29:11).