Romans: Not Condemned

Think about life before the iPhone. Would you go back? As things evolve, society changes. Just like the emergence of smartphones, social media has also shaped our culture over time. It’s changed our language, the way we live, interactions, and communication with others. And just as technology has shaped our culture, Jesus has shaped our lives.

Romans 8
1 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,

This is one of the most profound verses in the Bible. All of Romans leading up to this verse considers the reality of condemnation. We are all guilty of sin, and so we are all condemned by it. That’s true regardless of whether you’re a rule follower or a rule breaker.

Paul takes a sharp turn here, heading away from the penalty of sin and obedience to the law towards what a new life in Christ is all about. Verse 8 opens up a new world where we can start thinking and speaking in a new way.

If you have placed your faith in Jesus, you are not condemned. You have been set free.

Romans 8
2 because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. 3 For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. 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.

Freedom in the Spirit
There is a lot of technical language here, but what exactly is Paul talking about when he says “flesh?” Flesh is both sin and everything that sin touches. It represents everything that is broken because of sin, starting from the Garden of Eden and onward. It’s everything that undermines God’s holiness and His perfect plan. Flesh is human nature and everything that human nature leads us toward.

The law was good and just on its own. It set God’s people apart from every other people and culture on earth—not to alienate them but to reveal that God demanded righteous requirements of them.

Laws don’t make us better people; they set boundaries and tell us what acceptable behavior is, and no matter how hard we try, we can never keep them perfectly.

The speed limit is a perfect example of this. Do we all drive the speed limit all of the time?

The law of God reveals who we are and what we are. It reveals to us that we can never meet the righteous requirement of the law on our own. The rules show us that we can’t keep the rules.

So, while we still live in the flesh – in our physical bodies and subjected to every temptation and sinful lust known to man – we are not controlled by the flesh.

Romans 8
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.

The Spirit Gives us a New Mindset
The Spirit does the work of putting an end to our sinful lifestyles and then manifests Christlikeness within us. He’s like a pair of glasses for our souls. Before Him, we have a distorted view of ourselves and the world around us. After Him, we see things as God sees them. It’s an entirely new lens through which we perceive the world. The more access we give the Spirit in our souls, the more clearly we see things as they really are.

The Spirit working in us is not completely involuntary. God stands at the door of our hearts and knocks, but He won’t break it down and barge in. We have to open the door for Him, and Paul makes that distinction here.

The mind governed by sinful desires brings a spiritual death – an eternal separation from God. This is what it means to be condemned, and it’s our sin that condemns us. The mind governed by the Spirit is eternal life with God.

Romans 8
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 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 his Spirit who lives in you.

A New Life through the Spirit
Jesus restores everything that sin corrupts. So not only does the Spirit give new life with a new view of the way we live now in our flesh, but it guarantees that even though we still die, we have been promised that our bodies will be given life—resurrected again. Death is a consequence of committing sin, but resurrection is a consequence of being justified.

Romans 8
12 Therefore, brothers and sisters, we have an obligation—but it is not to the flesh, to live according to it. 13 For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live.

A New Way to Live Because of the Spirit 
Not many will admit if they are a bad person. This is the problem of the “flesh.” We convince ourselves that everything we do is ok as long as we’re not hurting anyone else. But what Jesus told us was that it’s what’s in our hearts that makes us sinners. Adultery is not just the physical act, it’s simply the desire for someone else. Coveting is not just limited to jealousy, it’s the yearning for the thing someone else has.

We are responsible for living for God, not only in what we say and do but also in what we think and feel. It is our responsibility, yes, but it’s impossible to do without the Holy Spirit.

Romans 8
14 For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. 15 The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” 16 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. 17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.

Through the Holy Spirit, Jesus gives us:
  • The gift of freedom from a relationship defined by rules.
  • The gift of a new mind.
  • The gift of eternal life.
  • The gift of a new way to live.
  • The gift of a new identity as an adopted member of His family.

Don’t take the gifts for granted. Be wise in this life. Use them. Enjoy them.
How can we do that?
  • Listen to the Holy Spirit – Pray, read the Bible, and let others who live by the Spirit speak into your life.
  • Surrender to the Holy Spirit – Your goals, wisdom, strengths, interests, and will.
  • Follow the Holy Spirit – Live each day intentionally leaning in His direction.

Take it one step further and pursue the Holy Spirit so that you can live a life marked by His presence.

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