Summary: Forgiveness, the Law, grace, freedom
SET FREE FROM THE LAW
Romans 8: 1-4 (p 800) Jan. 13, 2013
In the middle of Oreo’s is a delicious crème filling…in the middle of the Super bowl is an extravagance known as “ the half-time “ show…In the middle of a hurricane is the “eye”
A time of calm before the back wall hits.
By the way…I like Oreo’s more than hurricanes!
But in the Middle of the N. T. is a book called “Romans”…its sixteen chapters long…and right square in the middle of the letter to the Romans if chapter 8.
This letter was written by Paul, the apostle in about A.D. 56 or 57 as he was finishing up his 3rd missionary journey…the theme of the entire letter is “righteousness!
The apostle Paul introduces himself as a servant of Jesus…Deacon of Jesus, set apart for the gospel of God, and then he gets right down to business…the first 3 chapters shout…”No one---not one person is righteous…whether you are a Jew with Israel’s heritage or a gentile whose never heard of the 10 commandments you have sinned, you have dirtied up your life…and the only way you can become a righteous man or woman is through faith…
Martin Luther, the great reformer of the church, the one who nailed his 95 thesis’ on the door of the Cathedral in Wittenberg…each of the thesis dealing with just this subject in rejection of “working or paying your way to heaven” took his theme from these early chapters.
“The Righteous shall live by faith!”
The apostle Paul shouts this theme as he gives a history lesson of Man’s deteriorations, God’s faithfulness…The example set by Abraham, the father of the faithful, how the law teaches us what is wrong…but cannot do anything about its consequences.
He says the only answer for each of us who live with Adams’ sinful heart is a Savior, a perfect Savior named Jesus…There is an absolute truth for every human being..We live in a body that desires to be pleased…it lusts, it hungers…it desires…It is selfish and self-centered…and each of us, through God’s law can understand what is right and what is good…and a part of us longs to be right…to be good…it’s like 2 hungry wolves wanting to be feed inside us..which one gets stronger…”the one we feed…:” So Paul introduces the crème filling of the Oreo, Romans chapter 8 with these words… Romans 7: 21-25 (p 800)
How does Romans 8 introduce us to a new life…well it begins with this truth…
I IN CHRIST WE ARE SET FREE
[I swore I wasn’t going to tell this story but it fit to well here not to embarrass myself for your sakes…very early one morning, this last deer season I was hunting with George Powell, Ralph Pickering, and my son-in-law Rodney...I’d already got two deer, and I had an extra doe tag, but it wasn’t really all the important to me to get another deer, so I decided to go to a place I’d never been to in the dark…at 5:00 a.m. and it’s dark I promise…I’d been to this stand in the daytime, there were some tracks to follow…but I’d never been there in the dark of the morning…so I followed the trial…thought I turned left at the correct tack on the tree walk about 30 yards and then ended up squarely in the middle of a thorn thicket…thorns behind me, each side, and in front of me…and I fell…I was caught in every way possible, by the head, my arms, my legs….I couldn’t just lay there until the sun same up and screaming for help, but I could not imagine how hard George, Ralph and Rodney would laugh when they found me…
I believe that’s exactly how Paul viewed trying to live a righteous life by the law…every time he tried to do it on his own and in his own power he just kept getting caught deeper and deeper in the thorns of his own sins…I eventually cut myself out…it was light by then, and when Paul begins Romans 8…for the first time in his life he’s been cut free by the knife of god’s Holy Spirit.]
Now he says “There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus”…
The word that’s used in Greek for “condemnation” is “Katakrino” It means “to pass judgment against” like a judge “who passes sentence upon a convict.”
Paul has stood in the role of condemner…the one who passes judgment…listen to these words. “While they were stoning Stephen, he prayed “Lord Jews receive my Spirit…Lord do not hold this sin against them”
And Acts 8: 1 says “And Saul (Paul’s old name) was there, giving approval to his death” Giving approval passing judgment...condemning Stephen…Saul at one time had put himself in God’s place of Judgment and condemnation…”I’ve met a few that have done that themselves.”