Summary: Role of the Spirit
The Roman church Paul wrote to was started by people who had witnessed the Day of Pentecost referenced in Acts. It was not led nor founded by any of the Disciples. Paul had hoped to meet with this church long before he was able to, & when he finally did, it was as a Roman prisoner. Peter did not start the Roman church. He arrived in Rome about the exact same time Paul did. Without going too far down river, Peter became “a” Pope retroactively a few centuries later under Emperor Constantine. The current title of “the” Pope didn't begin until the 11th century.
So, this is the reason Paul spends so much time with doctrinal issues. The old saying is All Roads Lead to Rome, & this was true. At the time of writing, Jerusalem was the flag-ship Christian church. Antioch was second, but Rome would soon overtake both as the church center. Paul wanted a strong belief system ingrained into the Roman church. We see in other letters by Paul, John, James, & Jude that false doctrines had already been introduced into the church.
Have any of you heard of the gnostic gospels? Two of the most known are the gospels of Thomas & of Judas. They are part of the Nag Hammadi library discovered in 1945. If you've read or seen the movie “DaVinci Code”, you are familiar with these gnostic teachings. The idea that Jesus did not die on the cross is also found in the Koran. Paul knew that if the Roman church did not have the correct doctrine, many false churches would spread like wild-fire as Rome dominated Europe, North Africa, & the Middle East for another 400 years.
It is not by mistake, then. that the Protestant Reformation began after the careful study of the book of Romans. Martin Luther & John Wesley both cite this letter as the basis for their beliefs. A careful study of this book will reveal most of the doctrinal ideals shared by traditional Protestant churches. Its been slow going, but Paul builds on the foundation he started. This morning, we will see the role the Spirit plays in a Christians life. The Spirit, GODs Spirit, Holy Spirit & Holy Ghost refer to the same thing in different translation.
As a Christian, can you imagine having Jesus greet you with the phrase “Well done, thou good & faithful servant”? (Mt 25:23) That is our goal, is it not? The first 2 verses of chapter 8 says something just as important. “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus... 2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.
Lets do a quick comparison with another of Pauls “therefore” statements, Rom 3:20 which said Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: This is a 180* turn-around between the two statements, isn't it? Mankind went from “No flesh justified” to “now no condemnation”. Jesus is the difference between these two fates of man.
Continuing in chapter 8, verses 4-11. 4 That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. 5 For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. 6 For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. 7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. 8 So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. 9 But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. 10 And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11 But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.
“There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus.” This is a pretty simple statement, but it means so very much. Lets look first at what it doesn't say. It doesn't say no condemnation only for those who don't sin, does it? It doesn't say no condemnation only for those who live perfect lives. It doesn't say no condemnation only for those who have not failed? We have only one condition that must be met.... “to them which are in Christ Jesus.”