What does Romans 8:2 mean?
ESV: For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.
NIV: because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.
NASB: For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.
CSB: because the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and death.
NLT: And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death.
KJV: For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.
NKJV: For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.
Verse Commentary:
Paul wrote in the previous verse that there is absolutely no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. This verse begins to describe why that is true, and it has much to do with the Holy Spirit. This is only the second mention of the Holy Spirit in Romans, but merely the first of about 19 mentions of the Spirit in chapter 8!

Why is there no condemnation from God for those in Christ Jesus? The law—or principle—of the Spirit of life has set us free in Christ Jesus from the law—or principle—of sin and death. The word used twice as "law" in this verse does not refer to the law of Moses, about which Paul has written so much in Romans. Instead, it describes the idea of a universal truth.

The first truth or principle is the Spirit of life. Put another way, the Spirit of God always gives or brings life. That notion has set Christians free only in Christ Jesus. Without faith in Christ, we will not be justified by God (Romans 5:1), and if we are not justified we will not receive the Spirit who brings life. Put positively, because we have faith in Christ, God has given to us His Spirit that brings life. That has set us free from the law or principle of sin and death.

That second law is just that sin always, always leads to death. It is the reason we were all condemned to eternal death and separation from God in the first place (Romans 3:23; 6:23). The only way to escape from the law of sin and death is to access the law of the Spirit of life through faith in Christ.
Verse Context:
Romans 8:1–11 begins with an enormous declaration about the grace of God: There is no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus. After describing how this is possible, thanks to the life and death of Jesus, Paul compares two kinds of life. One is life in the Holy Spirit, for those who are in Christ, the other is a life lived according to the flesh. Those in the flesh, meaning non-Christians, are hostile to God. Christians have the Spirit; those who do not are not Christians. Because the Spirit is in us, we will be resurrected from the dead as Jesus was.
Chapter Summary:
Romans 8 begins and ends with declarations of the Christian's absolute security before God. There is no condemnation for those in Christ, and nothing will ever be able to separate us from His love. Having believed the gospel, we now live in the Spirit of God. That allows us to call God Abba Father. We suffer with Christ, and we suffer along with all creation while we wait for God to reveal us as His sons. With the help of the Spirit, we are confident that God is for us and loves us in Christ.
Chapter Context:
In Romans 7, Paul revealed his frustration of trying to do good only to be thwarted by his sin. He begins Romans 8, though, with the triumphant statement that there is no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus. We live in the Spirit, and we relate to God as a child does to a father. The Spirit helps us in this season of suffering along with all of creation while we wait for our adoption to be complete with the redemption of our bodies. We are confident, though, that God is for us and nothing can separate us from His love.
Book Summary:
The book of Romans is the New Testament's longest, most structured, and most detailed description of Christian theology. Paul lays out the core of the gospel message: salvation by grace alone through faith alone. His intent is to explain the good news of Jesus Christ in accurate and clear terms. As part of this effort, Paul addresses the conflicts between law and grace, between Jews and Gentiles, and between sin and righteousness. As is common in his writing, Paul closes out his letter with a series of practical applications.
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