Summary: Romans 8:1-4
STRAIGHT FROM ROMANS 8 - Set Free
July 7, 2019
Romans 8:1-4 (p. 786)
In the middle of Oreos is a delicious creme 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 brick wall hits.
By the way…I like Oreos more than hurricanes!
But, in the middle of the NT is a book called “Romans.” It’s sixteen chapters long…and right square in the middle of the letter to the Romans is Chapter 8.
This letter was written by Paul, the apostle in about AD 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 who’s 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 Adam’s 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 fed inside us. Which one gets stronger…“the one we feed.”
So Paul shoots straight as he introduces Romans 8 with these words:
ROMANS 7:21-25 (p. 786)
How does Romans 8 introduce us to our new life in Christ? Well, it begins with this truth:
I. IN CHRIST WE ARE SET FREE!
“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.”
The law (the Mosaic law) was given by God to the Israelites…it was a written code concerning what God required…It made clear what God viewed as sin. We all know the 10 commandments…but it went even deeper…A Holy God was telling His people what He expected from a Holy people. The problem was…they broke His laws…accidentally…on purpose…and continually.
The word Paul uses in the Greek for condemnation is the word “katakrino” and it means “to pass judgment,” like a judge who sentences a convicted criminal.
Living under the law made you feel like a convicted criminal continually…God was always passing judgment…you felt condemned…you felt like a slave.
[I swore I’d never tell this story, but I believe I have to here…it fits too well…
Very early one morning during deer season I was hunting with George Powell and Ralph Pickering. I’d already got two deer, and I had an extra doe tag, but it wasn’t really all that important to me to get another deer, so I decided to go to a place I’d never been to in the dark…at 5am…and it’s dark I promise…I’d been to this stand in the daytime, there were some tacks to follow…but I’d never been there in the dark of the morning…so I followed the trail…thought I turned left at the correct tack on the tree, walked 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 could just lay there until the sun came up and scream for help, but I could not imagine how hard George and Ralph 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.]