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 “No Condemnation”
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.
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.
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.
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.
A few posts back I wrote a post titled “You are NOT a Sinner.” The underlying reason for that post is that God has set you free from sin and taken your sins away through the saving and cleansing blood of Jesus Christ.
The principles for the release from sin was established in the old law where the blood sacrifices of animals were used to cleanse sinners from sins they had committed. This was also the basis for the acceptable sacrifice that Jesus offered to the Father in His own blood that we could take through faith and be free from past sins.
But His sacrifice did not stop there. The animal sacrifices could only provide forgiveness for past sins and the sins were not removed, only forgiven. But the blood of Jesus is more powerful for in the grace of god by Jesus’ blood our past sins are not just forgiven, they are removed and forgotten. Even more than that though, through Jesus’ sacrifice, God has dealt with FUTURE sin. And this was done through the way God dealt with the law.
A few posts ago I wrote about the nature of sin in a post titled “What Is Sin.” In that post I looked at sin and identified that it is a very broad concept but at the root sin is the state of disobedience to and rejection of the will of God.
In these verses we see a further insight into the nature of sin and also the basis of how The Lord has overcome sin for us. Here we see one of the keys for overcoming sin and also a glimpse of what we must must believe and hold onto by faith to be able to stand freed from sin in Jesus Christ.
This matter of overcoming sin is covered in many parts of the bible by different writers and from that we can see how important it is to overcome it. Man cannot do this by himself but it is only by the grace of God that we are able to stand freed from sin and to complete that process of freedom we must be set free from the law.
One of the most difficult aspects of Christianity for people to come to grips with is how they stand in relation to the laws given by Moses. Part of the reason for this confusion is contained in this scripture which says in verse 31:
Do we then overthrow the law by this faith? By no means! On the contrary, we uphold the law.
We are set free from the law of sin and death by the death of Jesus Christ. But this verse tells us we must uphold the law. So the challenge for all Christians is to understand how we now relate to the law and that is what I will look at in this post.
Paul and Silas were thrown into prison and beaten wrongfully for their testimony and casting out the demon that had bound the life of a slave girl. This was a vindictive, spiteful and hateful act against these two men who had done good. And why was it done? Because the owners of the slave girl knew now that they had lost their source of income from using the bondage of this girl for profit from divination.
Money. Filthy gain from evil work and workers of evil. That is why these two men of God were beaten and thrown into prison.
But Paul and Silas were Christians. And in Christ they had been set free from the bondages to sin and the law that falls upon all of mankind until they turn to Christ. And because they were free, no prison could bind them. No prison could hold them. No prison could break them, all of which becomes evident in this section of scripture.
Here we see one of the stark contrasts between the teachings of the old covenant and the new covenant and as it says in verse 2 of this chapter, it caused a great argument and “No small dissension” between the two opposed groups.
There were some men, and I must point out here for it is important, these men were believers, who came down from Judaea to the places where Paul and Barnabas were teaching and preaching the word. These men who came were now saying to the people, “Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved.” (Vs 1)
Then again when they along with Paul and Barnabas took this matter to the council of the apostles and elders in Jerusalem, we see they again said the same in verse 5. “But some believers who belonged to the party of the Pharisees rose up and said, “It is necessary to circumcise them and to order them to keep the law of Moses.”
Before going into the deliberations of the council and how a decision was made, let us consider why this caused a great dissension and argument. Why was it that Paul, who had been a Pharisee and administrator of the law of Moses, was so strongly opposed to this view that he decided to go to the council in the first place.
There are a lot of really good scriptures in the Bible…well ALL of them are actually! But, every now and then you come across something so profound, yet so simple, that it will just blow your mind.
These few scriptures are one of those sections.
These few words include a statement that is so powerful it drives to the core of why Jesus came, what Christianity and the new covenant is all about. It tells us why he came, what the purpose of His coming was for and the promise that only He is able to deliver.
Get this and you get it all. Understand these most important words and everything in the bible falls into place.