Summary: Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
September 26, 2010
It’s been said that if the Bible is a ring, then the book of Romans is its precious stone and that chapter 8 is the sparkling point of the jewel.
The first several chapters take a dim view of man and describe him as wicked and worthless (3:10-12). Chapter seven asks in exasperation, “Who will rescue me from this body of death?”
The answer: “Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!”
Now, in chapter eight, the implications of our new relationship with God are laid out. We begin with:
Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
You should take a minute to let that soak in.
At one time you were everything described in chapter three; you were a rebel whose only future was judgment and condemnation. Now, however, because of Christ, there is no condemnation!
Later Paul will ask, “Who is he that condemns?” (Rom. 8:34). The answer is that Christ Jesus died for our sins and was raised and intercedes so that now there is no condemnation whatsoever.
To be in Christ is to be free of condemnation!
It also needs to be pointed out that absolution is only for those who are “in Christ Jesus.” There are some who teach that people of different faiths or different understandings will be saved, but that’s not the case. It’s only those who are “in Christ Jesus” who receive this blessing.
The reason for this is given in verse two:
2For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.
We were at one time under the law which was used by sin to entice our flesh causing us to rebel against God. But now we’re free from the law and we’re under what Paul calls “the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus.”
3For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, 4so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.
The Law was given to result in life, but all it ended up doing was bringing judgment because it only acted as an x-ray; it showed our sickness but couldn’t fix it. But what the Law couldn’t do, God did!
When sin entered, forgiveness was necessary, but forgiveness couldn’t be given without the shedding of blood (Heb. 9:22). There had to be an offering which could satisfy the justice of God, but sinful man had nothing to offer which could actually remove sin “for it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to remove sin” (Heb. 10:4).
Therefore, God sent His Son to be the propitiation. He came in the flesh, the Word incarnate, and bore our sins so that the Law could be fulfilled! Where the Law required blood for forgiveness, Jesus provided blood so that those who are in Him are literally clothed with His righteousness and share in His suffering so that as He died, so we died to the Law and to sin so that we might be forgiven!
This is why we don’t walk “according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.” Someone might mistake this phrase for a command when it’s really a statement of fact about the believer. It’s not that we try harder to walk according to the Spirit; if we’re in Christ, then our sin debt is paid and we’re dead to sin because we now walk according to the Spirit by faith.
5For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. 6For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, 7because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so, 8and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
This verse blows a big hole in the theory that a man can come to Christ apart from God’s calling and before regeneration. Those who are of the flesh have their minds set on the flesh. The sinful inner man is their only foundation. They might attempt to set their minds on understanding God, but God is incomprehensible!
And yet there are those who say that a man of the flesh will, under his own initiative, begin to seek out God until he finds Him. This verse shows us that not only will he never desire to begin the search, but that he can’t even if he wants to! His mind is hostile to God, and like that of Cain, his attitude is hateful!