No condemnation – Redeemed
We are free from God’s just judgment because Christ paid the price of death for us.
This is the most important chapter of Romans if not in the entire Bible for believers to understand and know. We are free from God’s just judgment because Christ paid the price of death for us. Why would we subsequently want to try to pay for our salvation ourselves by insisting to try to be good, go to church, or any variety of ways to self improve. This reminds me of the story of the person who was in line to buy an item from the store when the person in front of him told the clerk to put the man’s item on his own bill and paid for it. When that person got to the clerk at the checkout stand, he was told that the item was already paid for by the man who just left the store in front of him. In his pride, rather than go on his merry way with gratitude thanking the individual, he insisted to the clerk on paying for the item himself again.
It is our pride which won’t accept God’s mercy and grace by admitting we need God’s help. It is our intellect which says that there are no free lunches in life. It is our stubborn will which chooses not to take God up on his offer of forgiveness. For these reasons, I like the illustration that a drowning man must be allowed to come to the end of his strength to where he will accept the fact that he needs another’s help before he can be successfully rescued. Life savers will tell you that when there are no more struggles left in a drowning person is when it is safest to approach them. Only then will that person appreciate and allow the rescue attempt. This is the sentiment we must come to grips with in Romans 7 before we can appreciate Romans 8. Rom 7:24 says: “What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? 25 Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!” When we still have hope in ourselves, we are lost. Only when all our hope in self effort is lost, can we then be saved. Remember this when you are flat on your back in despair. This is what makes Romans 8:1 so powerful to us who truly believe.
Life Through the Spirit
Rom 8:1-17 Use this link for the NIV or use your favorite version. Highlight vs 1- 4, 5b, 6b, 7, 8, 12, 14-16
As we ponder God’s character from the above passage, I wonder if God would answer our signature question below in the following way…
Who are you Lord?
I AM the God of love. Many of you rebut me by saying; “How can a God of love send someone to Hell?” I do because I went there myself in Christ Jesus on your behalf so that you won’t have to if you would allow it and receive my salvation by faith. Nobody has to go to hell if they would accept my sacrifice in their stead. I have been saying this for the last two thousand years through the New Testament. I have provided a way by faith for man to avoid that fate since the days of the first man, Adam. This is why I have commanded my people from the days of Abraham till today to take this message around the world offering it to anyone who would listen and believe. I love you so much that I paid the sin debt for you so that you do not have to try to earn your way to heaven because I knew that you cannot and will not.
I AM your Father if my Spirit is in you. If you believe this message, then I will put you positionally in my Son, and I will put my Holy Spirit within you. Only then can you live with me for eternity. Only then can you have my Divine nature in you to live this life as I would. Only then do you have the righteous requirements of the law fulfilled in you. Only then will you be acceptable before my holy righteous judgment, saved from death. Only then can you have power over sin in your daily life. Only then can you call on me as your Daddy, and as your Daddy, I will hear you and we can fellowship together. As my sons and daughters, you are my princes and princesses and will reign with me as children of the King of Kings. Only then can you come home to heaven to live with me forever, not as a reward but as a gift.
He forgave, saved, indwells, controls and empowers us to be righteous by faith
Vs 4 says that God’s Spirit works into us God’s righteousness (as revealed in the Old Testament Law) not by human effort, but by his Spirit, which then becomes evident in our lives to others as described by Gal 5. God condemned sin in us so that as we now live free from sin’s power and penalty, we have a choice to live by the spirit and not just bound to the letter of the Law (which has no power to help us but points out everything we do wrong). Thus, now God is free to work his righteousness (as demanded by the Law) into our beings by faith as we are controlled by his Spirit. Now our choice and responsibility is to let our new nature control our thinking and is a moment by moment choice. Our flesh is so ingrained in us that this is a constant struggle. This is why this passage today is so important to us believers, and we can take heart that there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Our constant realization must focus on His mercy of us unworthy sinners so that he might receive the glory for our salvation. And His Spirit draws and empowers us to walk controlled by his Spirit as we realize the incapability of our fleshly efforts to be righteous on our own.
One thing that is sure from this passage in verses 9-11 is that Having Christ in us is the same thing as having the Holy Spirit in us. When we are saved, Christ takes up residence and he dwells in us by his Spirit. Whether we let him control our mindset and actions is a choice we must make daily which is being “controlled by” or “filled with” the Spirit as commanded by Eph 5:18. But we can thank God that he has given us the Spirit when we were included in Christ when we first believed. Eph 1:13, 14.
Church is not meant for unbelievers
Many unbelieving people go to church to try to make God happy with them or because they think that they are OK the way they are. There is a story in Luke 4:33 which illustrate this concept perfectly. It tells us of a man who came to the synagogue while being possessed by an evil spirit who shrieked upon seeing Jesus. Now either this man did not know that he was possessed (being convinced by that spirit that he was OK the way he was), or to give him the benefit of the doubt, he was there to elicit God’s help to get rid of the evil spirit. The point is that today many unbelievers go to church often, thinking that is how you make God happy with man. But they do not realize that without a person being made new (2 Cor 5:17, Gal 2:20), they still have the sinful mindset and cannot please God as vs 7, 8 says in today’s passage. Even Ps 66:18 says “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me.” We can come to church with all the prayers, giving and singing we want, but the Lord will not hear us. The only thing that God hears from unbelievers is the prayer of a contrite person in confession, repentance and reception of Christ’s gift of salvation. Only then will God give them the new life and put the Spirit in them and with it, the new mindset. Only then is God pleased with their faith in Christ’s work on their behalf. Only then is there now no condemnation for them. Unfortunately across the Christian world, there will be many church goers kneeling before the Divine Judge with down cast eyes as God tells them; “depart from me, I knew you not.” Please do not let happen to you. As the saying goes, “Going to church does not make you Christian any more than going to ‘McDonalds’ makes you a hamburger.” – source unknown
More to come,