The first thing I noticed when I began reading this passage was that it started with, "Therefore,...." One thing I've been told is that indicates that there is a continuation of what was being written before when that appears. Because of that, I like to turn to the passage immediately before the "therefore" to see what the conclusion is being made from. Before this passage, Paul talks about his fleshly desires and how they can keep him from doing what the Spirit desires. There seem to be two conflicting laws that Paul talks about that are present within him.
We pick up in chapter 8 where Paul says that those who are in Christ Jesus have been set free from the law of sin and death because the law of the Spirit sets us free. Not only have we been set free, but there is also no condemnation that we are under. When we give ourselves over to the "law of the Spirit" the battle between the two laws at conflict has been won. The Spirit always defeats the law of sin and death. We have been given access to victory and freedom through the Spirit to overcome sin and any death it produces.
The law was not able to set us free. In fact, it exposed how far from righteousness we were. The law could not free us from any bondage that sin caused in our lives. The good news is that Jesus was given to fulfill the righteous requirement of the law that we could not. Because Jesus was a sin offering, we can live by the Spirit and have life. Even better news is that we are not only given eternal life, but that life starts now. We don't have to wait until our physical bodies die for us to gain life. We have life in our current state because of God's Spirit at work within us. May the Spirit of God living inside of us determine our walk.
God, thank you that I don't have to live under any condemnation. Thank you for Jesus and what his life, death, and resurrection means for me. I pray that I would come to a full understanding of what it means to be able to have life here and now. Show me how to live by the Spirit. Amen.
- Daniel Bailey