Summary: Although there are some who make light of their struggle with sin, those of us who take our walk with Christ seriously are keenly aware of the reality of that struggle. It is real. And sometimes it is overwhelming.
Free At Last
Text: Romans 8:1-4
Introduction: Everytime scientists come up with a cure for a physical ailment that has been plaguing humankind, an air of excitement is felt. We anticipate the day when a cure for cancer, the common cold, or AIDS is found. Any time a cure is discovered it is a wonderful thing. A cure for the struggle against sin would also be a wonderful thing. It would be nice to be able to take a pill which would instantly free us from any sort of struggle with sin. To be instantly freed from sin’s influence would be a marvelous thing.
Although there are some who make light of their struggle with sin, those of us who take our walk with Christ seriously are keenly aware of the reality of that struggle. It is real. And sometimes it is overwhelming. For some, this struggle is so discouraging that they become depressed and thoroughly frustrated. It becomes very easy for Satan to ride in on these feelings and destroy the self-image of the Christian engaged in the struggle.
You see, we want to please God. When we were born again, God implanted within us a new nature. This new nature desires to live in accordance with God’s Word and His will. But the old sinful nature, called the flesh, constantly seeks to reassert itself in our lives. What generally results is a sense of exasperation and confusion. What is going on? Why am I struggling? Why can’t I seem to get the victory? Why is this happening to me? Have I failed God? Am I missing something? Is there a way to be free?
Looking back at Romans 7:15-21, we find that Paul also experienced this struggle. He says: "For I do not understand what I am doing, because I do not practice what I want to do, but I do what I hate. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree with the law that it is good. So now I am no longer the one doing it, but it is sin living in me. For I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my flesh. For the desire to do what is good is with me, but there is no ability to do it. For I do not do the good that I want to do, but I practice the evil that I do not want to do. Now if I do what I do not want, I am no longer the one doing it, but it is the sin that lives in me. So I discover this principle: when I want to do good, evil is with me."
Paul experienced a constant struggle with the same conflict you and I experience. It was the struggle of his attempt to live for Jesus. And here he openly shares that struggle with us. By being transparent, he seeks to be an encouragement to us. By sharing his struggle, he hopes to free us from our struggle. He had come to the end of his rope. He says in verse 24, “What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?” It is apparent that Paul had come to see his own self-effort for what it was. And it was not enough! As we move into chapter 8, Paul begins to share with us the key to being free at last.
1. Sin Cannot Claim You
- vv. 1-2 - "Therefore, no condemnation now exists for those in Christ Jesus, because the Spirit’s law of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death."
A. Sin cannot claim us.
1. We are sinners; therefore, we are under condemnation.
2. Because we are under condemnation, we deserve judgment.
3. But when we come to Christ, we are forgiven.
4. Once we are forgiven, the guilt of sin is lifted.
5. Once sin’s guilt is lifted, we find complete freedom.
B. Walking in that freedom is difficult as we must deal with the old nature.
1. This is the struggle.
2. This struggle brings feelings of condemnation.
a. The word translated condemnation in this verse is interesting.
b. Not only does it have to do with judgment,
c. It also refers to a piece of land on which a prior claim has been made. - - Sometimes we feel like that. We feel that perhaps the title search was not thorough enough in our lives when we committed ourselves to Jesus. We feel there may still be a lien pending somewhere in our lives.
C. This inner struggle and inner pull is exactly what Paul is talking about.
1. Sin cannot claim us because Christ has set us free.
2. The law no longer has any jurisdiction.