Summary: An inductive study that attempts to answer the question, "How much good is good enough?"
How much good is good enough? Have you ever asked yourself that question? It’s often a question we ask when we begin to contemplate death. At the root of the question is this. When life ends are we okay? Do we have a good enough standing in the afterlife to reach heaven? How much good is good enough. It’s a question that every religion in the world tries to answer. From the idea of karma, to deeds, to the animal sacrifice. It’s the question I want to explore today
In Romans 8 Paul is wrestling with this same question. In Romans 7 he talks about how he wants to do good but he can’t. The good he knows he ought to do he doesn’t and the bad he knows he shouldn’t do he does. Laments in Romans 7:24 (NASB) 24 Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death?
Is there any rescue from the question?
Romans 8:1-17 (NASB)
1 Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.
It’s the story of two laws : the Law of the Spirit and the Law of sin and death. And Paul tells us that we all at one time are under the law of sin and death. That law is carried out in the flesh. I’ve heard people say that things like AIDS are the law of sin and death being carried out in homosexuality”, but folks, it is carried out in every persons life. We are all slaves to it. We see evidence that the law is carried out in the weakness of our own flesh.
When I went to Central Christian College, I attended as a non traditional student. I was 36 years old. My first semester, I signed up to play I.M. flag football. It was BIG Mistake! What was I thinking – 36 year old competing with 18-22 year olds. I was so sore, after half the season, 2 games, I had to quit. I experienced very real evidence of weakness of the flesh. We all have. The older we get the more we can appreciate the weakness of the flesh . The flesh IS weak; life is fragile.
And Paul tells us that we cannot escape the law of sin and death through the flesh. Flesh alone is not good enough. We are sold as slaves into the bondage of sin leading to death. We are under the influence of the law of sin and death in the flesh. We all face the consequence of sin; we all owe the price of death. So our bodies begin to deteriorate – we age – and we die. In our own flesh, we are unable to find freedom from the law of sin and death
But through the events of the cross, we’ve been set free from the law of sin and death carried out in the flesh. This has been carried out by the spirit of life through Jesus Christ.
Listen to what Paul writes in Romans 4:3
3 For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, 4 so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.
Do you hear the claim of Paul? Christ came in the flesh and he paid the price for our sin; sin in the flesh has been condemned and we make a move; in Christ our walk is no longer motivated by our flesh and it’s weakness, but by the Spirit of life. We have a new freedom in Christ.
Freedom in Christ means …
We have new life
Jesus has removed the weakness of the flesh; he has done away with the burden of death brought about by sin. We are moved from death to life based on the events of the cross.
An atheist organization recently got into hot water when it put up a billboard that crossed over onto church property. The message on the billboard read, “I can be good without God.” What do you think? The funny thing is I agree, I think they are right!
They have hit something on the surface; I believe to some extent that we can be good without God; we can behave ourselves; we can have some sense of ethics.
But the atheist organization has missed the point of Jesus; they’ve answered the wrong question; they don’t go any deeper than behavior. Being a follower of Jesus is not about being good but about being ALIVE! There is no life without JESUS!