Lesson 24


The Epistle to the Romans

World English Bible translation

 Today's Scripture

8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who donít walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. 8:2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus made me free from the law of sin and of death. 8:3 For what the law couldnít 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; 8:4 that the ordinance of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.


 Today's Lesson 

Here are my favorite verses in the Bible. Here is the power of the gospel of God's grace set to human words. There is nothing especially poetic in the way that Paul expresses himself, but the thoughts and the concepts that he places in these four verses transform these words to high art!

 

"There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus." Before Christ we stood condemned in our sin and transgressions. But, having been baptized into His death and raised by the power of His resurrection, we stand in a completely new fashion before God. There is "no condemnation," we are without fault, without guilt before the holy and righteous God. This is accomplished because we are "in Christ." God has made us to be part of the Body of His Son whom he declares to be His beloved. We are made whole in Christ.

 

"..Who don't walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit." This clause is not a condition that is put on the first but is further description of those that are "in Christ." One cannot be in Christ and walk according to the flesh. Paul is contrasting flesh and Spirit throughout this section. Verse 9 will state, "But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if it is so that the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if any man doesnít have the Spirit of Christ, he is not his." To be "in Christ" and to "walk by the Spirit" are two ways of saying the same thing.

 

"For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus made me free from the law of sin and of death." We are free from sin and death because Christ is free from sin and death. We are given Spirit and life because we are in Christ. He is the creative power of God that gives life to creation and we are of the new creation.

 

"For what the law couldn't 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." The law could not free us from the flesh and from sin. The law revived sin and gave it even more power over us. But God condemned sin in the flesh through the crucifixion of Jesus of Nazareth. He bore our sin on the cross and His death was the punishment for our sin. Christ not only came "in the likeness of sinful flesh", but he came "for sin." One of His purposes was to bear sin. It was in the plan of God from the foundation of the world that Jesus Christ would one day bear the sin of the entire world upon the cross. This was God's plan from the beginning.

 

".. That the ordinance of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit." We do not have to struggle and slave to obey the law. God has declared "the ordinance of the law" is fulfilled in us already. The law has been fulfilled already! Righteousness has been satisfied already! The judge of the world has declared our freedom and our victory. In regard to judgment and righteousness God has declared that it is finished.

 

Let us rejoice in the victory that Christ has gained for us. The battle is won. Sin is vanquished. The flesh has been condemned. Death is defeated utterly. "There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus."

 

When I understood these words for the first time it was as though a great burden was lifted from my heart. I finally realized that I did not have to struggle to please God. God had already accepted me with all of my faults and imperfections. I know that God is still working with me and working on me even now but He works on me as a loving parent continues to encourage his child to grow and mature. I realized that a threshold had already been met. God had fully committed Himself to our relationship. God had made a promise, a covenant; there is NO CONDEMNATION for those who are in Christ Jesus.

 

Are you concerned about how God thinks about you? Does the righteous judgment of God frighten you? There is only one place in the whole world that is safe from God's wrath against sin. There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

 

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