God Upgrades Our System
1. This is a transcript of an actual support call to a computer support number:
Me: Thank you for calling —- my name is —- how may I help you?
customer: My new laptop won’t turn on.
Me: Is it plugged in?
Me: Did you plug it in? The battery is probably dead.
Customer: It’s a WIRELESS laptop.
Me: Ma’am, that means the form of internet connectivity is wireless. [notalwaysright.com]
2. When I was working on my Associate’s degree in EET, before I went to Moody, ours was the first class that did not learn slide rule. Calculators were getting advanced enough. We learned a circuit analysis program, ECAP.. component values… key punch cards… mini-computer (basic language)…..Dawsons donated an ealy PC (had to load DOS)….in 1006, Doug got us a 386 and we went online…. Many upgrades since then.
3. The idea of an upgrade, however, is quite Biblical.
4. We might argue that, at the New Birth, God upgrades us to become His family, places us in Christ and Christ in us by His Holy Spirit. We become new creatures in Christ.
5. These is a lot to learn and study about this, but we always need to stand back.
Main Idea: The big picture of the Christian life helps us to recalibrate our bearings as we study the details and fine points.
I. The BOTTOM LINE: No Condemnation for Those in Christ Jesus (1)
A. Therefore summarizes Paul’s teaching about sin, the fruitlessness of law-keeping as meritorious, and Jesus’ ATONEMENT.
Griffith Thomas writes, “"The importance of these verses [1-4] lies in the fact that they provide a summary of chs. v. to viii., and indicate in brief but sufficient form the secrets of Christian holiness."
B. No condemnation means we need not fear HELL or God’s rejection.
Have you ever been accused of wrong doing? Court case? At work? Or maybe just falsely accused by a friend? Then, upon closer examination, you are cleared of the accusation.
But, in this instance, suppose you were guilty, and the evidence was obvious. But you are declared not guilty because someone else took the wrap.
C. For those who are IN Christ Jesus
“The reason is not that the believer has been forgiven, which he has, but because he or she is ‘in Christ Jesus.’ The Savior has suffered the consequences of our sins as our Substitute. He will experience no condemnation, and we, as those He represents, will not either” [Dr. Thomas Constable].
Knowing Christ died and rose again is history. Understanding that He died to atone for our sins and rose to declare we can be justified before God is theology. Coming to God in repentance and depending upon what Jesus did to make us right with God, that is salvations, forgiveness, and eternal life.
II. The Law (Principle) of the Spirit of Life Has Set Us Free from the Law (Trap) of Sin and DEATH (2).
A. The trap of sin and death DRAGS us down (like gravity).
Paul does not teach that our battle with sin is over, or that we will not continue to sin. Although sin may still grasp at us, its stronghold is broken. Our life has taken another direction, a God-oriented one.
B. The principle of the Spirit animating us enables us to SOAR.
1. John Stott wrote, “Thus the Christian life is essentially life in the Spirit, that is to say, a life which is animated, sustained, directed and enriched by the Holy Spirit.”
2. One day, walking out the back door and I could move no further. Somehow the pocket of my jacket had gotten stuck on the door handle. I called Marylu to help unhook me. I could have unhooked myself, but I wanted to share laugh with her.
3. In a way, regeneration and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit unhooks us from the vicious cycle of sin and death so we are free to move on.
4. Paul will elaborate on this later, urging us to walk in the Spirit by setting our mind on the things of the Spirit.
III. What We Could Not Do, God DID through His SON (3).
A. This is why Jesus is a SAVIOR; He saves; He does not merely help us to save ourselves.
Isaiah 59:16-17 is a prophecy of the incarnation and deliverance Jesus would provide: “He saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no one to intercede; then his own arm brought him salvation, and his righteousness upheld him.
“He put on righteousness as a breastplate, and a helmet of salvation on his head; he put on garments of vengeance for clothing, and wrapped himself in zeal as a cloak.”
B. Jesus was condemned to die for our sin and cannot DIE again.
C. If we are in Christ, we need not FEAR condemnation.
Warren Wiersbe wrote, “"The 'law of double jeopardy' states that a man cannot be tried twice for the same crime. Since Jesus Christ paid the penalty for your sins, and since you are 'in Christ,' God will not condemn you."
IV. The Result of God’s Gracious Work Is that Believers Obey Him, for the SPIRIT Energizes Us (4).
A. God’s Spirit works WITHIN us, creating a desire to serve Him.
1. "To run and work the law commands/ Yet gives me neither feet nor hands;But better news the gospel brings/It bids me fly, and gives me wings."
2. Philippians 2:13, “for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure…”
B. The idea that a true believer can have no interest in serving God is FOREIGN to the Bible.
1. As John Calvin put it, ““it is faith alone which justifies, but the faith which justifies can never be alone.”
2. People fall into sin, fail God, and sometimes do not walk with Him – for a time. But genuine believers return and continue on.
3. The Christian life is a supernaturally motivated life, something that those without Christ do not understand.
4. Same pattern as Ephesians 2:1-10
C. True believers bear FRUIT, evidence of God’s work within them.
Some believers struggle with assurance of salvation, and they shouldn’t. Others who profess faith do not struggle with assurance, and they should!
If you have come to Christ, God has upgraded you. Your sins are legally gone because Jesus atoned for them, you are in Christ, you are not condemned, and you are indwelt by the Holy Spirit. That’s the big picture.