Death vs Life

“For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.” (Ro 8:2)


The Law of Sin and Death: Obedience

Faith is directed to the law and obedience

The Law of the Spirit of Life: Faith

Faith is directed to Christ and His shed blood

1.       Substance:

Requires man to love God totally and his neighbor as himself

Requires man to love God totally and his neighbor as himself

2.       Author

The Triune God

The Triune God

3.       Original Institution

In Creation

By Promise after the fall.

4.       Formally Instituted

By Moses at Sinai

By Christ at His Resurrection

5.       Reference

The commandment and obedience.   Cursed is he that does not continue in all things written in the book of the law to do them.

The Gospel: access by faith into the righteousness of Christ: the righteousness of God: “ Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.” (Ro 4:7-8 AV)

6.       Designation

The Old Testament in the letter written on tables of stone.

The New Testament in the blood of Christ written on the fleshly tables of the heart

7.       Formal Mediator

Aaron and his sons.  Heb. 7:11,12

The Lord Jesus:  Heb. 7:11,12

8.       Established Institution

Israel under the law of Moses  Heb. 10:28-30

The church of Jesus Christ.   Eph. 4:8-16

9.       Sacraments

Passover, circumcision, animal sacrifices, etc.

The Lord’s Supper; Baptism

10.   Character

Good and righteous all together but ineffective because of sin and guilt.

Good and righteous all together, but effective by the blood of Christ taking away guilt.

11.   Strength

Activates the sin nature, bringing conscious guilt and spiritual death.

Activates the new nature, bringing peace and joy

12.   Directed to:

The flesh and natural ability

The “spirit” which is the new man in Christ.

13.   Fruit

Because of sin: Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envying, murders, drunkenness, reveling, and such like.

Because of a quickening Spirit: love, joy,  peace,  longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

14.   Use to the lost

To make sin exceedingly sinful and leave men without excuse; to restrain sin.

To justify God in punishing the ingratitude and unbelief of men.  To restrain sin.

15.   Use to the elect

To make sin exceedingly sinful, to give definition to love, to expose hypocrisy and convince of sin.

To bring many sons to glory, revealing God’s perfect reconciliation of justice and mercy in the Gospel of faith.

16.   Duration of substance

Forever: in man’s innocence, after the fall, in Israel, through the ages of history, and throughout eternity, it is always man’s duty to love the Lord his God with all his heart, soul, mind and strength and his neighbor as himself.

Forever: Jesus Christ is the only mediator between God and man: in man’s innocence He delighted in man; after the fall He is the subject of promise and type; after His incarnation His glory shines in the redemption of sins; in eternity we praise Him forever and ever, world without end, Amen.

17.   Summary:

“For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” (Ro 8:3-4 AV)


Notes:  This chart is to be studied in connection with the chart on 2Cor. 3:  “The Ministry of Death and the Ministry of Life.”

The numbers below correspond with the numbers on the chart above.

  1. It cannot be that the Holy and Triune God could ever deny Himself:  He must require man to love Him with all his heart, soul, mind, and strength
  2. The author of both laws is the Triune God.  He spoke to Moses and the prophets, and He sent His Son as the only Mediator between God and man.  Heb. 1:1,2.
  3. The Law of Sin and Death was first given to Adam and Eve in the perfection of the Garden of Eden.  The prohibition of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil carried the  warning: “In the day you eat thereof thou shalt surely die.”  Gen. 2

The law of Life in Christ Jesus was first introduced by promise after the Fall:  “And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” (Ge 3:15 AV)


  1. The formal establishment of the law of sin and death was through Moses at Sinai.  See following notes.  The formal establishment of the law of life in Christ was established at the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.  Roman 1:1-5
  2. The substance of the law of sin and death:  blessing for obedience; cursing for disobedience.  The substance of the law of life in Christ that Abraham found: blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.
  3. The law of sin and death is the old testament written on stones.  The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus is the new testament in the blood of Jesus Christ.
  4. Aaron and his sons were head over Aaron’s house;  Christ is head over His own house.  When the mediator was changed, the law was changed.  Heb. 7;11,12
  5. Under the figure of the two sons of Abraham, Paul describes the people of God under the law of sin and death [Ishmael, those born of the flesh, earthly Jerusalem] and the people of God under the law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus [Isaac, born of the promise and Spirit, heavenly Jerusalem.  That which is born of the flesh is flesh; that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.  The flesh cannot inherit the kingdom of God.
  6. Sacraments: The people of God are forbidden to keep Jewish ceremonies because Christ has come.  Colossians 2.8 ff.
  7. The law was good and holy, but weak because of the power of sin.  In fact, some things were included in the law specifically because of the hardness of their hearts and ought not be duplicated in the church:  divorce laws, slavery, the kingdom that He allowed, though He was their king, etc.  Matt. 19:8;
  8. The law of sin and death gives strength to sin and guilt; the law of the Spirit of Life because Gospel bring regeneration and newness of life, softening the heart and renewing the mind.  “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” (2Ti 1:7 AV)
  9. The law of sin and death is directed to the hard unregenerated heart:  “Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers,” 1Ti 1:9

There is no law against the fruit of the Spirit:  “But as God is true, our word toward you was not yea and nay. For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us, even by me and Silvanus and Timotheus, was not yea and nay, but in him was yea. For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us.” (2Co 1:18-20 ) 

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.” (Ga 5:22-25 AV)


  1. see above
  2. The law of Moses could not give life, because that would be an abrogation of God’s decree at the Garden of Eden.  There are no “mulligans” in the work of God, no “do overs.”  Adam’s transgression must be put away if any of his seed were to be saved.  This took another mediator.  Therefore the law must have had another purpose, or two.  We are told what these were: to make sin exceedingly sinful, and to restrain and discipline the chosen people until the coming of Christ.

The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus is to access the mercy in Christ, be counted righteous before God because of Christ’s righteousness, receive the gift of life from the Spirit of God, and to be given a new heart and mind, so we could live lives of thankfulness before Him.

The Law was not given to save; and Christ was not given to condemn.  Luke 9:56.  John 12:47

The accidental effect of Christ’s coming, of course, was to intensify the guilt of man’s ingratitude and hardness of unbelief.

The law of sin and death continues to serve the believer in giving sin definition, giving definition to love, exposing hypocrisy and convince of sin, driving us more and more to the face of Jesus Christ that we might be transformed into His image, according to 2Cor. 3

  1. See 14
  2. The law continues in the very makeup of man until the end of the world, for it will always be true that we must love the Lord our God with all our hearts, souls, minds, and strength.  There is no condemnation to those in Christ, because of His blood and righteousness;  the ungodly have an eternal sentence of damnation because of the perpetual nature of God’s requirement.
  3. Christ does what the law cannot do; put away sin forever with its guilt and death.

Amen and Amen.