by PastorErick | 4/4/17, 10:09 AM
There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.
First and foremost, before we go on, I need to explain the reason for why these verses are here (after all there is a “therefore” in these verses which means we need to know what was written before). What this passage comes on the heels of is Romans 7. That chapter is probably the most famous example of the description of the Christian’s struggle with sin.
Paul says in that chapter in 7:14
For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am of the flesh, sold under sin.  For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.” He goes on, “ For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out.  For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing.
It really is a chapter of lament about the reality of ongoing sin in the Christians’ life. It’s a chapter all about what Martin Luther referred to as Christians being “Simul Jusus Et Peccator” (simultaneously saint and sinner). After this sorrowful description of his struggles with sin, in 7:24-25 the Apostle Paul writes, “Romans 7:24:
Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?  Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.
It is in light of these words that we then hear the astoundingly good news of Romans 8:1-2: That despite your struggles with sin and disobedience, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
Here’s the point of application: When you’re feeling condemned because of your sin, the answer Paul gives is to remember who you’re in. Remember, if you're a Christian, you were baptized into His name. There you were freed by the Spirit from the law of sin and death (in other words you were freed from being saved by your works).
Now, how did God make this true for us?
vs. 3: For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, lcould not do. By sending his own Son nin the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh,
Because of our sinful nature, i.e. “flesh” the law is unable to bring freedom, rather the law brings a sense of deeper bondage and enslavement. In fact, the more one tries to get no condemnation through obeying enough, the more (if you’re honest) will you see your stubborn sin.
So instead of us trying to earn our salvation, God earns it for us in the person of His son. How? By sending His son in the likeness of sinful flesh (notice it says likeness, not that he was actually sinful) and for sin He condemned sin in the flesh. How did he do it? On the cross of Christ. Do you see the exchange language? We are not condemned but He is. We are given freedom, He is imprisoned.
Why did God do this?
Vs. 4: in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.
In other words, God saves you, declares you free and totally righteous in His sight through faith in Jesus Christ. But that is not all He is doing. He is still working in you. Now, because we’re so prone to wanting some skin in the salvation game, we immediately find ourselves reading this verse as something like “God saves us so we can get to work on our righteousness….FALSE. The text says the Spirit inhabits you so that HE CAN WORK IN YOU. After all, the words the righteous requirement of the law "might be fulfilled" is a passive verb. It is God doing the verbs through us. Many other passages in the Bible tell us this is the way it will be:
Ephesians 2:10- God has prepared works in advance for us to walk in…..
Phil. 2:13- for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.
So, here's the point of it all: When you're feeling condemned because of your struggles with sin, remember who you're in. Remember what He's done to make you His on the cross. Remember that His Spirit is working in you and He is not finished....
Grace and Peace,
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