Summary: Flesh, Law, or Holy Spirit... Choose your weapon against sin. God’s amazing provision for all who are in Christ is Holy Spirit power over sin.
Flesh, Law, or Spirit: Chose your weapon against sin.
What does man burdened by sin gain from the law? More burden! The Law shows man just how serious his problem really is! But man can do nothing to change who he is. And the Law doesn’t help him. Oh, we can alter a few of our behaviors, but basically we are still the same. We are still sinners. The Bible calls us a slave to sin. Condemned by the law a man goes to face the Holy God. Is there any hope?
What are we to do? What if we could die and be raised as new creatures, be adopted into God’s family with power to live free from sin and death! Is this possible? Can sinners become saints? Can legally condemned people be justified and set free? God’s word answers “Absolutely!”
God teaches us in Romans 6-7 to embrace death… Not our death, but the death of Jesus. God calls us by the gospel to enter the death of Christ so that this slavery to sin and condemnation of the law may end for us. We embrace the cross and the death of Jesus becomes our death. This actually, spiritually happens when we believe that Jesus paid the price for us and repent of our sins and are baptized into the death of Jesus and raised into his life.
It is here that the Spirit of life sets us free! Here we find “no condemnation in Christ,” no slavery to sin in Christ, because we have been baptized into Christ. Our bodies are dead because of sin but our spirits are alive and God will eventually give eternal life even to this body, when he raises us from the dead. But he starts giving new life to it even now! More on that to come, but first…
Let me take just a minute to talk about our resurrected body. Job said, though worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God. How? In a glorified immortal body like Jesus has. This body will be changed into his likeness, in a moment, in a twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. The dead in Christ will rise and we shall all be changed. Those still living and in Christ will also be changed and receive a glorified body, like Christ’s too. Do you believe this?
Is this just some fairy tale we talk about here at church to pass time and amuse ourselves with? No!!!
The Christian faith and New Testament teaching is not that this body will be forever gone and just our soul, or disembodied spirit will live. No! We will be raised and glorified bodily. Just like Jesus was raised. Bodily. Do you believe Jesus was raised from the dead? Was his body raised? Yours will be too. “Sown in weakness, raised in power.” Sown a natural body, raised a spiritual body. Like him thou shalt be. To deny that is to deny an integral part of the faith.
We have a living hope! We have a future! This world is not my home, I’m just a passing through, my treasures are laid up somewhere beyond the blue! It’s true!
How do you know, though, if the resurrection will work for you when Jesus comes? What I mean is, how can you have evidence and assurance that what happened to Jesus when he rose from the grave to eternal life will also happen to you? How can you be sure of that? Well, of course the first thing is that the Bible tells us so. We believe the Bible is God’s word of truth. But I would like to suggest another plain and clear evidence: The Holy Spirit is working in you right now! Is he or is he not?
Paul said to the Philippians, “I am confident of this very thing, that he who has begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.” (1:6) He also said, “Continue to work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.” (2:12-13)
The point is this: can you see God working in your life now? If your faith isn’t working for you now, what makes you think it will work for you on judgment day? If there is no spiritual victory in your life now, how do you expect to have it then?
Here and now we live in the in between time of the struggle between the spirit and the flesh. Gal. 5 is probably the best commentary on Romans 7-8.
But for the Christian there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ! The law of the Spirit of life has set us free from the law of sin and death. That law of sin and death is what was so crushing in chapter 7 to Paul as he describes living by his own power under the law. But today we turn to chapter 8 and discover the power of life to live for God in freedom through the Holy Spirit!