Summary: This is the fifth message in a series over Romans 6-11. The series examine how we now life under God's grace. This message looks at the life we now have in Jesus Christ.
A couple who had been married for twenty years went to a wedding of a close friend’s daughter. During the ring exchange ceremony, the husband started to cry. The wife, surprised by her husband’s emotional outburst, said, “I didn’t realize that you had such a sentimental heart." He replied, "Twenty years ago, your father threatened that if I didn’t marry you, he would put me behind bars for twenty years. The husband said, "If I had just gone to jail, I would’ve been a free man by now.” Freedom, sweet freedom what a wonderful thought. We want to be free from stress, conflict and pressure that comes from simply living life. Most of us would readily admit that we would like to be free from guilt and our past. Unfortunately, this seems much more like a dream than reality. We want to have a more balanced life and a spiritual walk where we can actually see measurable progress. If you are like me you are simply sick and tired of the frustration and pain that accompanies life in this world. We want to be truly free! Is that even possible? As we raise the curtain on Romans 8, we discover that God’s answer is a resounding yes. However, it will never be achieved by our own feeble efforts, it takes much more than what we have to give. This new life is a direct result of our new position in Jesus Christ. As a Christian you are now in Christ and the Holy Spirit is at work in your life. As the Spirit works we begin to see changes in our attitudes and behaviors. In fact many of these changes are not possible from a human standpoint. Today our goal is to discover the changes that come into our lives as a result of being in Christ.
I. Our new position in Christ.
A. In Christ you no longer stand condemned of your sin.
1. The construction of verse one in the Greek shows that Paul is forming a conclusion based on the material he has just presented.
2. The life that was dominated by the attitudes and behaviors of the world no longer dominates the life of the believer.
3. The prospect of going down in defeat that Paul presented in chapter seven has been totally reversed in chapter eight.
4. Jesus has literally snatched His people out of the hands of sin and death and guaranteed that the victory has been won.
5. Why is there no more condemnation? Jesus Christ has paid the penalty of our sin with His blood on the cross.
B. In Christ you are free from the grip of sin and death.
1. There is no reason to fret over whether or not our sins are really forgiven, Jesus secured this for us on the cross.
2. Too many times we live looking over our shoulders in fear because we question if Christ’s victory really applies to us. However, Paul should remove any doubts here in chapter eight.
3. Bruce Shields describes the situation this way in his commentary on Romans. “Being a Christian is not dependent on feeling like a Christian, since one becomes a Christian by the Lord’s initiative and one remains a Christian by that same power and authority.”
4. Our forgiveness and ability to live the new life we are called to is not dependent upon our effort. Jesus has provided the forgiveness and the Holy Spirit empowers us to live this life.
5. Even though we still live in this sinful world and are prone to sinful behavior, we are not under sin’s power and penalty because Christ has set us free.
C. In Christ you are declared righteous before God.
1. We are well aware of all the sins we have committed in our lives and with Satan’s help we feel guilty and regularly beat ourselves up over them.
2. The Law could not make us righteous in God’s sight, but because of Jesus paying the penalty for our sins we can now be declared righteous before God.
3. How can this be? Paul shows that the demands of the Law have been satisfied because Jesus offered obedience and paid the penalty on our behalf.
4. A transformation has taken place, the Holy Spirit has now moved in and taken up residence where sin once lived.
II. Contrasting the old and new lives.
A. The character traits of a life lived without Christ.
1. To live according to something literally means to be under its control. So Paul will contrast life according to the flesh and life according to the Spirit.
2. The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit. (1 Corinthians 2:14—NIV 2011)