A Higher Plane

Bible Reading: Romans 8

Romans 8:2, “For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.”

Tom had a vibrant and encouraging personality, formed no doubt in part from his diverse life experiences, but mostly because of his relationship with Jesus.  Long before his long career as a dentist—in which he would provide free dental care to pastors and missionaries—Tom had served in WW2 as a fighter pilot in the Army Air Corps.  Perhaps that’s why he had no fear of heights.  Once a year or so, he’d bravely climb the tall steep roof of our church building with one of our deacons to clean the green moss off the steeple.  He owned a biplane and would frequently take it up for flights over the scenic north coast.  One day, Tom was up in a tree at his home trimming branches when he fell and landed flat on his back.  Tom was subsequently paralyzed from the waist down, and that led to bouts of depression and suicidal thoughts.  But Tom had Jesus, and he was not a man who could be held down for long.  Physical therapy worked to restore some use of his legs, so much so he could get around with a walker.  He and his wife eventually moved into assisted living, from which you’d sometimes see Tom buzzing around Astoria, not in a fighter plane, but in his motorized wheelchair.  Then one day Tom’s wife flew away to heaven.  And then a little later Tom made that flight too.  What a wonderful man!

Our text speaks of two laws, the law of the Spirit of life and the law of sin and death.  It is not The Law which is spoken of here, but rather two divergent guiding principles.  Let me try to illustrate.  We know of the law of gravity.  Simply stated, one component of the law of gravity is the axiom that what goes up must come down.  Every human on this planet is subject to this law and if you doubt me, go jump in the air!  My friend Tom had little a fear of heights, yet he experienced the harsh reality of gravity’s demands when he fell to the ground out of that tree!  There is a spiritual law which governs all humans on this planet, which is called the law of sin and death.  No one is exempt from its influence.  We are all born sinners (Romans 3:23).  Because of that, we are all deserving of death (Romans 6:23). 

There are ways to escape or overcome the law of gravity.  There are laws associated with aerodynamics which will allow for that.  Tom managed that both in WW2, as a fighter pilot and whenever he flew that old biplane.  You’ve probably flown, so you know how that works.  As a plane builds momentum, the law of aerodynamics works to lift a plane upward, overcoming the law of gravity.  Just like that, there is a law by which a person can be set free from the law of sin and death.  That law is called the law of the Spirit of life.  In ourselves, we’d never be able to overcome the law of spiritual gravity, which works to doom us in sin to its tragic consequences.  But the law of the Spirit of life works to do what we can’t!  As a believer in Christ, that law is now working within you.  You are no longer devil-bound to the domain of darkness and helpless when it comes to sin. Christ has worked to set you free!

It is as Ray Pritchard has explained: “You don’t have to sin anymore. You don’t have to live in defeat anymore. You don’t have to be down anymore. You don’t have to go years and years and years committing the same old dumb sins over and over again. Why? Because the law of the spirit of life of Jesus Christ has set you free. Because of this, if you choose to dwell in sin, if you choose to be defeated, it’s because you’ve chosen to live that way, not because you must live that way.”

When I was new at Western Seminary, I joined the school choir.  We were learning a new Steve Green song, a song which sticks in my mind to this day.  It speaks to how we’ve been set free in the law of the spirit of life to soar in the blessings of living for Jesus:


To all who are tortured and ravaged by sin
The frail and the wounded about to give in
There’s news of release and captivity’s end
We’ve been set free, come and see
Oh sleeper awake, come out of the night
Throw open the door and step into the light
For sin is undone and the wrong is made light
We’ve been set free, come and see

Chorus: Come and see, the power of sin has been broken
The gates of your prisons stand open, come and see
Arise, believe, for the power at work both to rescue and save
Is the power that raised Jesus Christ from the grave
We’ve been set free, come and see

I, too, lived in slavery, unmercifully bound
Battered and broken I finally knelt down
And there in obedience freedom was found, I’ve been set free
And now through the dungeons of darkness and night
I run in the freedom of liberty’s light
And shout to the captives, “Oh prisoner take flight
We’ve been set free, come and see” [Chorus]

If the enemy’s holding a knife to your chest
Demanding you give up or die
In Christ crucified you’ve already died
And now you are free [Chorus]

c Birdsong Music. Words and music by: Jon Mohr, Steve Green, David Huntsinger, Bonnie Huntsinger

Author: looking2jesus13

Having served as pastor at Lewis and Clark Bible Church, in Astoria, Oregon, for almost three decades, my wife’s cancer diagnosis led to my retirement and subsequent move to Heppner to be near our two grandchildren. I divide my time between caring for Laura and working as a part time hospice chaplain and spending time with family and spoiling my chocolate lab.

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