Sorry for the late post, but part of being a Pastoral Intern is attending long meetings…. Which I did from 9 until Noon today.
Later today I will make a list of all the posts from this series that have been done with their links attached. I will also include the posts that we have left and attach links to them as I post them. But, for now, if you missed yesterday’s post: Who Am I? I Am Secure.
Romans 8:1 (ESV)
8 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
When you look at this verse and if you are like me, then you realize that Romans is full of these type of verses. Verses that if read without context could still speak the truth of Paul’s words. I admit that we need context to understand a verse/sentence on its own, but this verse is pretty straight forward. If you are in Christ you are no longer under judgment but under grace. God’s grace. Marvelous grace. Infinite grace. Grace that is greater than all your sin!
Let me recall for you what parts of Romans 6 and 7 say for us to truly grasp why we can now say that we are no longer condemned.
Dead to Sin, Alive to God
Romans 6:1–6 (ESV)
6 What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? 2 By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? 3 Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.
5 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. 6 We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin.
I have posted about this passage before so I won’t break it down as much as I have in the past. In Christ, we must reckon ourselves (consider ourselves) dead to sin and alive to God. This means that when we have trusted in Christ our old self was crucified with him. In the resurrection, our new self has been raised with him. We are no longer slaves to sin, but sons/daughters of God. We should therefore not let sin run rampant in our lives in order that grace may abound. Paul says by no means should you let this happen! You are free from that life, so live a new one conforming to Christ!
The Law and Sin
Romans 7:13–25 (ESV)
13 Did that which is good, then, bring death to me? By no means! It was sin, producing death in me through what is good, in order that sin might be shown to be sin, and through the commandment might become sinful beyond measure. 14 For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am of the flesh, sold under sin. 15 For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. 16 Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. 17 So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. 18 For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me.
21 So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. 22 For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, 23 but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. 24 Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? 25 Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.
Remember trying to memorize parts of this as a kid? I sure do! “For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me.” Oh Boy! I remember stumbling over that for weeks trying to get that down in order to get a prize at church. Even now that I am older I understand the concept, but still cannot memorize it that well! Paul had a beautiful way with words. This is an example of it and his logic in two confusing verses.
What we should see from chapter 6 is that we are dead to sin and alive in Christ. In chapter 7 we should see that there is still a battle going on in our flesh over what we should do. We have surely been freed from all sin, but our flesh wants what it wants. That is a good way to define sin. I do what I do because I want what I want. Oh wretched people that we are! Who will save us from our flesh?! Paul answers that question for us. It is Christ Jesus. And Chapter 8 will “flesh out” (pardon the pun….) the battle that is waging in our mortal bodies. A battle between the flesh and the Spirit.
Life in the Spirit
Even when we do what we do because we want what we want we have an advocate to pardon us from guilt. The man, Christ Jesus the righteous. Not only is he fully man, but fully God! What a wonderful mystery! He that knew no sin became sin for us! He died on the cross in our place. He bore the punishment we rightly deserve and saved us! This was done once and for all! No more sacrifices to appease God. No more high priests to intercede for us. We have the true sacrifice of sacrifices to appease God. We have the High Priest of high priests interceding for us! We are justified in him! We are declared not guilty! We are declared righteous! We are no longer under condemnation.
This means that we must now live a certain way. If you have been pardoned from all your sins how should you then live? You should live a life that pleases the One who pardoned you! Paul says that this is living life in the Spirit.
Romans 8:1–14 (ESV)
8 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. 3 For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, 4 in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. 5 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. 6 For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. 7 For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. 8 Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
9 You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. 10 But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11 If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.
12 So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. 13 For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. 14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.
No longer should you be setting your thoughts, minds, and hearts on the things of the flesh. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. But, if you are in the Spirit you have been given new life. Your identity is not found in the sin that once claimed you, but by the Spirit who has given you newness of life. So, by the Spirit put to death the deeds of the body and you will live!
There is much more that can be said on this topic, but I have a busy week with a Good Friday service to plan a small message, Easter Sunday to sing, read Scripture, and pray during, and a Wednesday night service to plan for next week! You can expect more posts on this topic in the not so distant future.