Summary: There is no condemnation for the Christ-follower.
How to Do What God Wants You to Do
Rev. Brian Bill
Three ministers went fishing one day, all friends who pastored different churches in the same town. While they were fishing they began confessing their sins to one another. The first pastor said, “Do you know what my big sin is? It’s drinking. I know it’s wrong, but every Friday night I drive to a city where no one knows me and go to a bar and get drunk.” The second pastor said, “Well fellas, to be honest with you, I’ve got a big sin too…mine is gambling.” Finally it was the third pastor’s turn: “Guys, I probably should have gone first because my big sin is gossip…and I can’t wait to get back to town!”
As we’ve been roaming through the first seven chapters of the Book of Romans, God has used his Word to expose each of us as desperately depraved sinners. At the risk of over-promising and under-delivering, our text today from Romans 8 could be the most life-changing section of Scripture you will ever encounter. I’m going to ask you to lock in like never before, to listen attentively, and to allow God’s Word to go down deep within you because this is truly great news.
Romans 8 is Great!
Many people have said that Romans 8 is their favorite chapter in the Bible. Commentators describe this chapter as the “mountain peak” of Scripture and as a triumphant “hymn of hope.” Douglas Moo refers to it as “The inner sanctuary within the cathedral of Christian faith.” Let me list some reasons why I think so many people have benefited so much from these verses.
1. Assurance is emphasized. In what has been called “a rhapsody on assurance,” this chapter begins with “Therefore there is now no condemnation…” and ends with “nothing will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” It starts with no condemnation and closes with no separation, and in between you find no defeat. The believer’s standing is safe, secure and settled.
2. The Holy Spirit is prominent. The third member of the Trinity is mentioned no less than 19 times in this chapter, almost once every two verses. Having said that, this chapter is not so much about the Holy Spirit, as it is on what the Spirit does on behalf of the believer. The Holy Spirit is involved in our salvation (8:1-2) and in our sanctification (8:3-4). He gives life and peace, guides us, empowers us, helps us, prays for us and assures us of our adoption into God’s family. It’s interesting to notice that the personal pronoun “I” that is so prominent in chapter 7 largely disappears in Romans 8 because the Holy Spirit becomes the dominant person. He is not a possession to hold on to but a Person to love and obey. As we will learn the coming weeks, God never intended for us to live the Christian life on our own but through the power of the Spirit.
3. This chapter contains the essence of Christianity. Because of what Christ did on the cross, taking the condemnation that is rightfully ours, those who have put their faith in Him will never be condemned. Jesus completely and permanently paid the debt of sin and the penalty of the law. Look with me at the words of Jesus in John 3:17-18: “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.”
The gospel of “no condemnation” is being spread in 5-Day-Clubs in Livingston County to over 130 children so far this summer – approximately 35 have indicated they’ve made a decision for Christ, in Miami through Kyle Robson, in the Dominican Republic through Emily Bill, in Uganda in a couple weeks through Lindsay Carley, in Kenya right now through Kathy Marley, Linda Carley and Katie Vietti – the latest report is that over 1,000 people have come to Christ and already five new churches have been started! And, beginning this next weekend, our students will be sharing about the Savior in New York City.
4. This chapter is astounding and overwhelming. The truths here are both attractive and yet elusive for many of us. We want this to be true and yet for many of us we don’t really believe it because we know how unworthy we are. Some of you are convinced that God has condemned you and that you are spiritually disqualified because of what you’ve done.
Breaking it Down
I heard this week that some new words have been added to the Merriam-Webster dictionary. One of my favorites is ginormous, which combines the words “gigantic” with “enormous.” Without a doubt, Romans 8:1 is “ginormous.” We’re going to repeat this verse several times this morning so that by the time we’re done, we’ll have it memorized. Some of you have shut down already because you think you have a mental memorization block. Our new members learn five verses so we can learn one together this morning. You can do it. We must do it because if we can get this verse into our heads, into our hearts and then live it out through our hands, we will never be the same! Once we have it memorized we will be able to draw on it for the rest of our lives.