There is no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus
This scripture would have to be one of the most quoted verses amongst Christians in the bible. And yet it is also one of the least understood. But when we understand the power of these words and the blessing that the Lord has bestowed upon us in the unselfish and obedient act of Jesus who died for us, then the wonder of the power of God becomes even more astounding.
Every person at some time in their life has done something of which they are ashamed and they wish they had never done. As a result they suffer from pangs of guilt whenever they think about this thing, whatever it was, and they suffer from self-condemnation.
Now there are plenty of people who will condemn others on the basis of their own standards, and for the most part they can be ignored. But we struggle to ignore the condemnation we heap on ourselves for what we recognise as our own shortcomings. And too often we ignore or forget the condemnation that comes from God when we fall short of His glory and fall into sin.
But these first few verses of Romans 8 change all of that for they are powerful words of transformation, specifically the transformation that now only becomes possible in and through Jesus Christ. Continue reading
Thank You Jesus
The challenge that faces all of humanity is their inability to exercise self control in all things. Oh sure, people can exercise self control over many things, but everyone has a weakness or two that will take hold of them when they least expect it and do not want it to happen and …boom! They fall apart and do the very thing they hate.
In my last post I wrote about how Paul suffered in this way from covetousness in his early walk with the Lord and before coming to Jesus. And he is not alone for every person has their own personal set of weaknesses to which they have and will succumb if the conditions are right and they are at a weak point. Let’s face it, even Superman had kryptonite! Only Jesus was able to exercise self control in ALL things and only Jesus conquered the passions and desires of the flesh and lived a life without sin.
But Jesus did all of that for a reason, which we need to take notice of. Jesus suffered in the flesh and died so that through His death we could come to God and be set free from sin and the law. But he did much more than that in the sacrifice he made for us and we need to take this lesson to heart. Continue reading
They abolished slavery several hundred years ago. At least they did in most western civilisations and those civilisations where rulers had compassion for their people. And this is a good thing.
Sold under sin
But despite that fact we are all slaves. Every person on this earth is in the bondage of a slavery like no other, for we were all sold under sin many, many years ago and there is nothing we can do about it.
There is no payment we can make, work we can do, gift we can offer or anything else on this earth that can buy back our freedom from this slavery. We were born slaves and because of this slavery we will die slaves. The slavery I speak of is the bondage to sin and we are very fortunate to live in this time and age for although we cannot do or pay anything to buy back our freedom, Jesus has done it for us.
Apart from the law, sin lies dead
No this post is not about the song of the same title by Britney Spears, although she too has succumbed in this human problem as well. She has had a few epic fails that have been splashed all over the media and I feel really sorry for what she has been through.
What this post is about though is a failing that all Christians suffer as they walk with Christ. It is the issue of when you try to do what is right and you really, really want to do the right thing…and then you mess up and do what is wrong.
Everybody has done it. The road to life is paved with good intentions and nobody ever wants to slip up, falter and fail. But we do. It’s how we deal with it that matters, not that it occurred. And I will look at how we deal with it in an upcoming post, but not today.
Today we look at what Paul is writing about in this section, which is why we do this, especially why Christians do it, but it also applies to the rest of the world as well.
The knowledge of sin comes through the law
In previous posts I have looked at sin, freedom from sin and freedom from law. Here we see a further section of scriptures that look at the matter of the knowledge of sin.
The understanding of the knowledge of sin is important for all Christians, even after they are set apart from the law and have had their sins removed.
It is important to understand these things because sin is a problem for all of mankind and it is not something easily escaped. Even though the scripture tells us we are set free from sin and have been removed from the law, it is the fact of sin that sneaks up on us and has the power to tear us down and pull us apart…if we allow it.
So understanding sin and the power of sin under the law becomes critical so that we do not allow it to overcome us.
Who do you serve? The law or the living God?
In my recent posts I have discussed the purposes and processes for freedom from law and freedom from sin that we receive by the grace of God in Jesus Christ.
These two scriptures continue and expand this issue of law or freedom from law as they drive to the heart of the two covenants. To paraphrase the question contained in these two verses, they ask whom do you serve? Specifically it talks to the service of a Christian and who or what they serve.
And this is important. It is important because we must understand who we serve and how we worship if we are to serve God according to His will.
There are many who seek to serve and worship God but not according to the way God seeks. They want to serve and worship according to how they choose or how they feel rather than the way The Lord seeks them to serve. So let us look at this aspect of service in these words and see what they tell us.
How freedom from law works
In my last post we saw why it is necessary that we are set free from the law to negate and remove the power of sin so that God can help us to grow mature in Jesus Christ.
In these next few verses of Romans 7 we see how this works and we learn how God enabled this to take place. You can’t just say that sin and the law does not apply to you because sin applies to everyone because all of mankind dies for their sins. So if we are to escape sin and law, which is the power of sin, there needs to be a process by which we can be separated from the law.
God made sure that there is a way for us to be set free from the law and sin and He established a process and a path that we must follow to get there. God established the process in the law and then when Jesus came He set the path in motion. So let us look at how freedom from law works and how we enter into it.
There is no law after death
The title of this post may seem to be blindingly obvious because who can possibly break the law after they have died? It’s impossible to even consider such a thing isn’t it?
Absolutely! Once a person dies they can’t do anything, say anything, act or behave in any way at all. So how can they break the law? Well, they can’t. It’s as simple as that. A dead person cannot break the law and so, as the title says, the law ends at death.
Now believe it or not, even though this sounds blatantly obvious, there is a message that is crucial for Christians to learn and understand about this very matter. It is written in this first verse of Romans 7 and it is crucial that all Christians “get it” because it drives to the very core of the workings and power of the new covenant.
There are a few scriptures in the bible that are so well known that they have moved into common usage amongst both Christians and non-Christians alike. This verse is one of those which says,
The wages of sin
For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Now like many scriptures that are taken into common usage, it is often not taken fully or correctly. Too many people look at the first seven words and forget the rest. Even more, the meaning of the words is often not fully understood. So let us look at this verse to consider some of the shades of meaning that we can draw from these words and especially the hope that this verse offers.
Whom do you obey? Sin or righteousness?
In my last few posts I have looked at the prime focus of the death of Jesus and the purpose of His shed blood. That purpose was to set man free from sin and to release man from the power of sin, which is bondage to the law. It is by baptism into Jesus’ death that we receive the free gifts of freedom from sin, freedom from law and righteousness by faith. And these are given by the grace of God to those who have faith.
But this is not the end of the process. It is only the beginning and only the start of the power of the death of Jesus and what He did for us in this act of obedience to His Father.
What we see in this section of scripture is an appeal to go beyond these first steps. Paul is appealing to those who come to Jesus in faith to move forward and not remain captive slaves of sin but obedient to God.