One literary device that Biblical writers use is parallel construction. Words or ideas are repeated either to contrast them or to show similarities. It lends itself to building a logical argument or even a legal case. Let’s look at how Paul uses parallel construction in the opening verses of Romans 8.
There is, therefore, now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.
For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.
For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh.
Here are some of the parallels I found.
Condemned: It’s a contrast. We are not condemned. Sin is condemned.
Law: Two laws and their results are contrasted. The law of the Spirit brings life. The law of sin brings death.
In: This is an interesting contrast. We are in Christ. Christ came in the likeness of sinful flesh.
Walk: The flesh is weak, sinful and condemned. We don’t walk according to it anymore. We walk in the Spirit. If we keep reading, we’ll find out more about what walking in the Spirit means.
Saving us: Here’s a contrast of inability and ability. What the law could not do (save us), God did through Jesus.
Timing: Sin was condemned in the past. We were made free in the past. The law failed in the past. The walking and living without condemnation are present tense. Paul even says NOW to emphasize that.
Pronouns: There is a switch from the broad theological idea that THOSE who are in Christ are not condemned to the very personal, made ME free. It’s a reminder that good theology has a very personal dimension.
There are some other interesting points, too.
Look at all God does in these verses. God sent Jesus. God makes us free. God removes the condemnation.
“Made free” is different from “am free.” This keeps with the judicial tone in the verses. We are declared free.
As you finish Romans 8 and in your other studies, look for these parallel constructions. See what you learn from them.