NO More Condemnation: Romans 8:1-11

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1 NO More Condemnation: Romans 8:1-11 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, 2 because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you[a]free from the law of sin and death. 3 For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh,[b] God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering.[c] And so he condemned sin in the flesh, 4 in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. 5 Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. 6 The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. 7 The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God s law, nor can it do so. 8 Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God. 9 You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ. 10 But if Christ is in you, then even though your body is subject to death because of sin, the Spirit gives life[d] because of righteousness. 11 And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of[e] his Spirit who lives in you. Study Guide: PRAY that the Spirit of Live will inspire your study: READ: Romans 8: 1-11 Which verses stand out to you as 1) difficult? 2) important Have a brief discussion on them as a group and then read the passage again slowly twice through. Peter in his talk below describes the law of sin and death as being like gravity. In what ways have you found that to be true? The law in verse 3 is the law of Moses : as a recap on previous passages why did that law fail? What is the flesh (also know as sinful nature / self )? What power does it have? look at vv.3,5,6,7,8. 1

2 What does it mean that Jesus came in the flesh? How has he dealt with our flesh! According to vv.9-11 are you as a Christian believer still in the flesh? Why/why not? What does it mean then to live in the spirit? How powerful is that Spirit? 28 days of prayer: Spend time praying for each other to receive the Holy Spirit afresh, and especially the power to put to death any lingering tendency to operate in the flesh (like the Romans 7 man) rather than the Spirit like the Romans 8 man. NO MORE CONDEMNATION Which version? There are so many to choose from. Try verse 2 in different translations. NIV: because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. A bit cumbersome. That extra parenthesis ( who gives life ) makes the sentence more convoluted than necessary. (Actually, older NIV has law of the Spirit of life ) Living Bible: This is good v 2 For the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed me from the vicious circle of sin and death. Fresh and conveys the meaning well. But I don t want to get away from the idea of a law of sin and death. The Passion Translation (TPT) is a very good paraphrase if you want to understand the passage 1. But I want to get down to the text, and in order to do so, I m going to stay with the one I grew up with the RSV.: 1 So now the case is closed. There remains no accusing voice of condemnation against those who are joined in life-union with Jesus, the Anointed One. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life flowing through the anointing of Jesus has liberated us from the law of sin and death. 3 For God achieved what the law was unable to accomplish, because the law was limited by the weakness of human nature. Yet God sent us his Son in human form to identify with human weakness. Clothed with humanity, God s Son gave his body to be the sin-offering so that God could once and for all condemn the guilt and power of sin. 4 So now every righteous requirement of the law can be fulfilled through the Anointed One living his life in us. And we are free to live, not according to our flesh, but by the dynamic power of the Holy Spirit! 5 Those who are motivated by the flesh only pursue what benefits themselves. But those who live by the impulses of the Holy Spirit are motivated to pursue spiritual realities. 6 For the mind-set of the flesh is death, but the mind-set controlled by the Spirit finds life and peace. 7 In fact, the mind-set focused on the flesh fights God s plan and refuses to submit to his direction, because it cannot! 8 For no matter how hard they try, God finds no pleasure with those who are controlled by the flesh. 9 But when the Spirit of Christ empowers your life, you are not dominated by the flesh but by the Spirit. And if you are not joined to the Spirit of the Anointed One, you are not of him. 2

3 8 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set me free from the law of sin and death. 3 For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do: sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, 4 in order that the just 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 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; it does not submit to God s law, indeed it cannot; 8 and those who are in the flesh cannot please God. What is the argument here? 1 Chap 8 follows on from chap 7 and is linked by the word therefore. As someone once said, when you see the word therefore in a passage, you should ask what it s there for. 2 Last week we considered chap 7 which, I think we would all say, resonates with our experiences. 7.15: I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. Paul states a paradox no matter how hard I try, I end by screwing up. Some people even think this is the normal Christian life: trying our best but failing repeatedly and continuously. 3 Friends, if that s what you think, you haven t experienced Romans 8. You see, Romans 8 is the complete answer to Romans 7. Paul could hardly make it clearer: Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life has set me free from the law of sin and death. Let s unpack this a bit further. 4 Condemnation does not mean judicial sentencing guilty as charged, and therefore deserving of punishment. Paul has already dealt with that issue in chapter 5 when he begins with the wonderful passage that converted Martin Luther: Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. No, the argument has moved on, over three chapters. 5 In chapter 6, Paul discusses the illogicality of living in sin when, through Christ, we have died to sin. In chapter 7, he deals with the problem of fulfilling the law [ie the righteousness of God] when our human nature, inherited from Adam, is pointing the other way. He then discusses a different kind of law not of commandments, but an empirical experience, like the laws of physics by which, whenever I try to do the right thing, my human nature is prompting me to do the opposite. Paul calls this the law of sin and death because despite my best intentions, it is always dragging me down, and down, and down, and down. 6 This is the condemnation to which chap 8 refers. It s not judicial sentencing, but self-condemnation. We all know about that. Not just a guilty conscience when do I something wrong (everyone has that), but a feeling that however hard I try, I just don t make the grade with God. Now this is a sensation particularly experienced by 3

4 Christians. I m not talking there about lawless people that have no interest in keeping the laws of God. I m talking about believers people who have repented of sin and don t want to fall into it again. It is these who are most conscious of failure. And it s that which creates the paradox: if I ve been saved from sin by Jesus Christ, only to discover that I m even more of a failure than I thought, what is the point of being a Christian? I am riddled with guilt and self-condemnation; my head is a war zone. As any psychotherapist will tell you, this ain t a good way to live. 7 We know from chap 7 that Paul went through this experience at some point. Probably he was more diligent than any of us in trying to live a holy life. But he came up against a brick wall: his corrupt human nature (for which he uses several expressions, including flesh and body of sin ). This seemed such an inexplicable and insuperable problem that at the end of chap 7 he cries: O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? 8 It is this question to which chap 8 provides the perfect and complete answer: Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life has set me free from the law of sin and death. 9 So to the question: Who will deliver me from this body of death? comes the answer at 7.25: Thanks be to God, through Jesus Christ our Lord! 10 I want you to memorise this extraordinary verse, v 2: Because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life has set me free from the law of sin and death. I feel like shouting that verse all over London. It is no exaggeration to say that for the last fortnight or so, that verse has crashed into my consciousness, day after day: as I go on the train to work, walk across Waterloo Bridge, sit at my desk, come home and relax in the evenings, or wake up at night. Why? 11 Think of it like a law of physics an observable principle or invariable rule. The law of sin and death is like the law of gravity. Even though I have woken up to God and have a tender conscience, sin is so powerful that it drags me down, and down, and down, and down. But when God gives me his Spirit, a different rule comes into play let s call this the law of aerodynamics. It says that even though gravity is always present and wanting to drag us down, I can rise above it, and stay aloft, taking flight in the Spirit. The law of the Spirit of life is as much a law as the law of sin and death. In fact, much more so: because the law of the Spirit of life has not merely patched the law of sin and death until I fall next time, but has set me free from that law, so utterly and completely that I can rise above it, any time and all the time. So whereas the effect of sin was to drag me down and down, the effect of the Spirit of life is to lift me up and up and up. Isn t that exactly what God promised in the Old Testament? Psa : The Lord upholds all who fall, and raises up all who are bowed down. Isaiah 40: Every valley shall be exalted. 12 How does this work? That is the main them of my talk today. 4

5 13 I m going to show you two keys in this passage. The first is to be in Christ. In the NT this was simple. Acts 2: Repent and be baptised, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. So there were three steps to being in Christ : repentance, baptism and receiving the H.S. Today we slightly reverse the order by baptising infants, before they are of an age where they understand repentance. I m going to avoid a theological debate about the merits infant baptism by simply saying that in the NT and in most parts of the world today, baptism is about going public as a believer. Do you need to make a public confession of your faith? Do people at work know you are a Christian? Does your family? Your spouse? Your children? Friends, let s be in Christ before anything else. Don t let today pass before you know you are in Christ, enjoying the full blessings of the gift of the Spirit. Three things: repent, publicly acknowledge, and receive. [Pray?] 14 The second key is to walk in the spirit. Verse 4: who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. Some of the older versions, including KJV, put this in v 1 as well. Verse 4 says in order that the just requirement [or righteousness] of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. 15 Get this: you and I can do, will do, and can always do, what God requires of us as human beings, by simply walking in the Spirit. 16 What does this entail? Here are a few things: a. Walking in obedience. Stella Ikiriko, in her book An angel on my shoulder (recommended reading) says When I started doing what God was prompting me to do, instead of fighting against it and doing the very opposite, suddenly everything started falling into place. Is your life one of saying yes to God sometimes but no for most of the time? Are you holding up a fist of rebellion to God? We need to love God and respond to his tender urgings. He will not boss you around. We are privileged to be his servants. He wants us to know our job so well that we will respond to the least inclination of his head. b. Walking in good works. Eph Each day, God has pre-arranged good works for you to step into. The wonderful thing is that, when you do so, God opens your eyes to see you were in just the right place at the right time. This is one of the most exciting things imaginable. It is the secret of eternal youth. Jesus said: You are the light of the world. So let your light shine before people, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven. Good works aren t about how good I am; they are designed to let people see how great God is. They are a little bit of heaven on earth. [Recount story of meeting a stranger in Waterstone s café in West End couple of days ago, and ending by telling her We have a loving Heavenly Father who wants the best for us all the time ] [And/or the story of Anoushka Jory s lost purse in Acton Green few weeks back] c. Witnessing. Is your mouth a fountain of praise? Do people get to hear what makes you tick? Do they get to know God loves them? Are they blessed by 5

6 your presence? This can be done in a secular environment; in fact, that is its proper place. [Story of Stuart Ward praying for a colleague at work] d. Having the light of the H.S. John 15: When the H.S. comes, he will lead you into all truth. He will take of the things of myself and reveal them to you. e. Fellowshipping with other Christians. David says in Ps 16: As for the saints in the land, they are the noble ones, in whom is all my delight. I sometimes meet people who have issues with their church. They say, Oh, the teaching was not much good, or We tried this or that church, but the welcome was not very warm. And so they church-hop in the hope of finding something that meets their tastes. Pretty soon, they may stop going altogether. Let me be clear: church is not what you get out of it, but what you bring to it. Even if people are flawed, we have the clear command of Jesus Christ (it could hardly be any clearer) that we are to love one another. The Apostle Peter says: Love one another deeply from a pure heart. In Romans 16, Paul says Greet one another with a holy kiss. For me, that s about giving people a hug. Today as in Paul s time, social kissing was prevalent, but hugging is today almost a universal language. I do it to my neighbours, sometimes to complete strangers; I want to do it to anyone God touches through me, so that they know I love them and God loves them. f. Blessing people. Do you know that you have been given a rich treasure to share with people? The first blessing you can give is conversation. People are starved of ordinary conversation, of having someone who will listen to them. (Read John 4 and see how Jesus did it). God wants to have a conversation with everyone on earth, and he will use us to do it. Often, this will lead on to people sharing a need, at which point you can offer prayer. I ve never known anyone refuse prayer in this situation. It can be a quick one sentence uttered with eyes open, or something fuller. We aim to bring the name of the Lord into the situation. That s what changes people s lives. The second blessing is healing. Often your words alone will start to bring healing. Secondly if you touch them while speaking the words God gives you, that s powerful. [Recount case of the sick mother in Grove Park last week] g. Enjoying the blessings of the gospel. All things are yours (as Paul says in 1 Corinthians); you will inherit the earth (as Jesus says in the Sermon on the Mount); and you will have hundreds of houses, brothers and sisters and mothers and fields, along with persecutions (as Jesus says in Mark s gospel immediately after the incident of the rich young ruler). h. Maintenance of our bodies through the life-giving Spirit: v These things are so exciting that they will keep you awake at night marvelling at all God has done and will do in your life. You see, in Rom 7.4 Paul says: So, my brothers, you died to the law through the body of Christ, that you might belong to another, to him who was raised from the dead in order that we might bear fruit for God. Fruit is not escaping from sin by the skin of our teeth; it is building the kingdom 6

7 of God on earth, by the power of the Spirit, in the lives of people with whom he has allowed us to become acquainted. 18 Friends, this stuff is so exciting that it makes you want not to sin. Who would want to sin, when they can have these things? So my prayer every day is, Lord, give me opportunities today for witnessing and good works. And then I keep a prayer journal to note down answers to prayer. As anyone knows who has been on the Works of God course, we insist on this. The Bible is also a daily source of wonder, because like David in Ps 119, I want to say: Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee. 19 I won t pretend that every day is great. Sometimes I m too overborne with pressures to talk to people. But I m learning that even in that situation, it s possible to have a secret place with God where, regardless of circumstances, evil can t touch you. And I also find that, whether I feel up to it or not, I can pray a prayer of obedience: Let me see people with your eyes, and feel your promptings. Then sometimes the very fact of acting out obedience and seeing God at work pulls you right out of any depression and sets you praising again. 7

you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live,

you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, Why there is now no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus January 17, 2010 1 Romans 8:1-11 - NIV 1 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, 2 because through Christ Jesus

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