Memphis Belle

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United in Christ
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The Old Man Is Dead
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Romans 8:1-17
Romans 8:18-27
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Romans 8:1-17

 

Romans 8:1-17, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.  For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set me free from the law of sin and death.  For God has done what the law, weakened through flesh, could not do: sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin [margin: as a sin offering], he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the just requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.  For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit.  To set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.  For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, indeed it cannot; and those who are in the flesh cannot please God. 

          But you are not in the flesh, you are in the Spirit, if the Spirit of God really dwells in you.  Any one who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.  But if Christ is in you, although your bodies are dead because of sin, your spirits are alive because of righteousness.  If the Spirit of him who raised up Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also through the Spirit which dwells in you.

          So then, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh—for if you life according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body you will live.  For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.  For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of sonship [King James: Spirit of adoption].  When we cry, “Abba! Father!” it is the Spirit himself bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.” [Revised Standard]

          “Romans chapter 8 brings us to a crescendo, as Paul is building these ideas, from the first chapter, that all have sinned, what sin is, what God’s wrath is, that God is just, that no one seeks after God, no not one, everyone’s gone to his own way, he says.  And he says, ‘By the works of the law shall no flesh be justified before God.’  That brings us to where we are saved by grace through faith, and that in doing it that way, God can both be just and the justifier of the ungodly.  Because that’s true, we’re no longer bound by sin, we’re no longer bound by a life of sin.  Where sin abounds, grace doth much more abound.  Should we then sin that grace should abound?  God forbid, that’s not the point.  The point is, because God’s grace is at work in our life, we don’t need to yield ourselves to the carnal nature.  Well, what does that mean then?  Then we should just do religious things?  No, chapter 7, you don’t have the ability of yourself to do that either.  You find this law, when you want to do good, evil is close at hand, with your heart you serve the law of God, but in your flesh, your fallen nature, you serve the law of sin.  There is the part of you that is consistently, unerringly attracted to sin and the world, that nature.  [as we saw in Romans 6, our sin nature is dead, but we still have the flesh, Satan’s pager—cell-phone inside of us]  Not the physical frame, but the nature that’s attached to it that finds its way through the physical frame.  [i.e. that cell-phone connection via the spirit-in-man within each of us.]  “Who’s going to deliver us from this body of death?  Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 7:24-25)  And because we’re in Christ, positionally—if you’re saved this evening, you are in Christ.  As God looks down from heaven, and he looks on you, he’s the God who calls things that are not as though they were, he sees you finished, justified, sanctified and glorified.  Because positionally you’re in Christ.  He sees Christ’s work effective in your life in regards to what he’s done on Calvary.  He sees Christ’s work effective in your life as to what he is today, and he sees Christ’s work effective in your life as to what he will complete, so justified, sanctified, glorified—the One who was, the One who is, the One who is to come—God sees it that way.  And because of that now, he comes to this point, and he says, “There is therefore no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus”, verse 1, “who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”  Great news, there is no condemnation to those who are in Christ.  It doesn’t say “there is no weakness”.  It doesn’t say “there are no mess-ups”.  It doesn’t say “there are no failures”.  It doesn’t say “there are no difficulties, there are no failings, there are no short-comings, there are no manifestations of our fallen nature under pressure.”  What he says is “There is no condemnation”, which means to judge downward, which means to have a sentence passed that no one can make an appeal to.  “That there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”   We’re still in progress, we are growing, not into sanctification, we are growing in sanctification.  Not into it, we’re already in it, it’s effective in our lives, and Christ is being formed in us, we’re going from glory to glory.  But because we are in Christ [in Messiah for our Messianic believers], the sentence of damnation, eternal, present, finds no place in us.  There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.  I like that.  We could stay here for awhile.  Donald Gray Barnhouse says, “Hey, if we lift our voices and jump up and down and scream when our favorite football team wins, if we would scream when our candidate gets elected, if we would let out a cheer when we find out our lottery ticket just hit, if we would celebrate when our mother-in-law goes back home, whatever, you know there’s all kinds of things in life that make us jump up and down and scream.”  He says this is jumpin’ up and down screaming stuff—there’s no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.  I like that.   [applause]  Now you have to be in Christ Jesus [Yeshua haMeshiach] to appreciate it.  If you’re here tonight and you’re not in Christ Jesus, you’re probably already thinking we’re much crazier than we really are.  [chuckles]  But if you’re in Christ there’s no condemnation.  Now he says, “to them which walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”  Now there’s a lot of people in the media that’s going to say ‘That’s not in the best manuscripts, that’s not in the best texts.’  It’s in some.  It’s in verse 4.  So it isn’t like it doesn’t exist.  It says the exact same thing.  And as we look into this passage and begin to understand it, that won’t bother you, you’ll understand it’s a good thing [that last part of verse 1].  Because one of the mistakes that people make is they look at this passage in chapter 8, they begin to think ‘Well this is a comparison between carnal Christians and spiritual Christians—that carnal Christians are carnally minded and that means death, and spiritual Christians are spiritually minded—no, no, that’s not where we’re going and that’s not what he’s saying, and none of the language and none of the grammar lends itself to that.  Are there carnal Christians?  Of course there are.  You could probably stand up and point at one tonight.  And if you did, you’d be one too.  [laughter]  Yes there are.  Corinthians tells us that.  But our comparison here is between those that are in Adam [totally non-believers, not indwelt by the Holy Spirit] and those that are in Christ—those that are in the Spirit, of the Spirit, possessed with the Spirit, and those that are not.  The comparison that he will set up is between those that are carnal [not born-again in the Spirit] and those that are spiritual, those that are saved, and those that are unsaved.  That’s where he’s going.  So when he says here, “There is therefore now no condemnation to them that are in”—positionally—“Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit”—that’s good news for us, because we are not those who walk habitually after the flesh.  We are those, as a habit, who walk after the Spirit.  Does that mean we never get mad in traffic?  No, I know that by experience.  No, it doesn’t mean that.  Does it mean that we never wrestle with wrong thoughts?  No it doesn’t mean that.  What it means is, there’s been a change in us—because the living Christ has indwelled us, his Spirit has moved in.  Therefore we are people who walk after, are inclined to, are led by God’s Holy Spirit.  That is the direction of our life, that is the inclination of our life.  It’s something that’s happened within us by a supernatural work of God.  And as we were, before we were saved, at that time inclined only to the flesh, to the fallen nature, to the things that appeal to the flesh—that’s changed.  So there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, who walk not according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit—that’s us, those that are saved.  It’s good news.  “For the law”—and he’s going to say now, I’m only going to take note of something here.  In chapter 7, we didn’t have the Holy Spirit mentioned one time.  We had “I”, “me”, “mine” forty-seven times.  We had “the law” mentioned, I think, twenty-three times.  But here in chapter 8, the Holy Spirit is mentioned nineteen times.  Also, Paul’s building the word “for” is mentioned seventeen times.  Look, in verse 2 it says “for”.  In verse 3 it says “for”, in verse 5 it says “for”, in verse 6 it says “for”, verse 7 is “because”, verse 8 is “so”.  Verse 9 is “but”, verse 10 is “And”, “but”.  And if you look down, “for”, “for”, “for”, he just continues to build this idea.  So there’s no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, who walk not according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit, for”, reason being, “the law of the Spirit of life”—notice—“in Christ Jesus”—not in you—“in Christ Jesus”—positionally—“hath made me free from the law of sin and of death.”  The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus, he’s going to tell us, is a higher, more superior, more overriding, more powerful law than the law of sin and death.  The law of sin and death governed our lives before we came to Christ.  [He’s talking about our carnal nature, which acted like a law within our being.  He’s not calling the law of sin and death the law of God.  He’s properly interpreted this according to context from Romans 7.]  Now, in Christ, the law of the Spirit of life is superior to the law of sin and death, is the dominating force in our life.  The other law of sin and death [our flesh cf. Romans 6] is subject to it.  So there’s a higher law at work within us now.  He’s going to develop that as he goes on.  “The law of the Spirit of life, in Christ Jesus, has set us free from the law of sin and death.”  Now they’re both beckoning.  It doesn’t say it [the law of sin] doesn’t exist in our consciousness anymore, it doesn’t say that it doesn’t appeal to us, the law of sin and death.  We have the effects of it in our physical body.  When we go through these passages and Paul talks about “the flesh”, here’s he talking about the nature, not just the muscle tissue, but the fallen nature [what he really means is the fleshly signal we all are subject to through the spirit-in-man, or spirit of man, directly in tune with Satan’s wavelength, evil broadcast, talked about in Romans 6].  In fact, when he talks about “the mind of the Spirit”, he’s not talking about the brain.  It’s interesting to study it.  The mind of something is much broader than the brain.  The brain is the piece of meat inside the bone, that’s the brain.  [Some carnally minded people are referred to as “meat-heads” and some more dense types as “bone-heads”.]  The mind is something different, more undefined.  Because we’re all born with a piece of meat and bone, and somehow we develop mind.  [Read 1 Corinthians 2:9-11.]  “The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death, for what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son”—or—‘God, did or accomplished by sending his own Son’—“in the likeness”—notice, it’s not ‘in sinful flesh—“in the likeness of sinful flesh, and”—King James says “for”—and the idea is “a sacrifice for sin”—“in that he condemned sin in the flesh.” (verses 2-3)  Now he’s taking us back.  We’re all sitting here this evening with Adam’s genes and chromosomes.  Whether you like it or not, look around, we’re all one family—all got the same great grandparents [going back to many ‘great, great, greats’].  We all got off the boat together in Noah.  And beyond that Adam and Eve, we’re all the same family, we all have the same genes and chromosomes, DNA.  It’s never been monkey DNA, and it never will.  And we all have the same fallen nature, inherited from Grandpa Adam.  Jesus, Yeshua, came in the likeness, looked, like, it was a human body, but the sin nature was not driving it.  [i.e. Jesus had the indwelling Holy Spirit from birth.]  He was sinless.  So he came in the likeness of sinful flesh.  And God, what he couldn’t do through the law, because of the weakness that human beings have, of the flesh, of the fallen nature, God did accomplish by sending his Son as a sacrifice for sin, and in that, God condemned, once and for all, sin in the flesh—the same flesh we’re wearing—the same sentence we face has been settled, God condemned sin in the flesh, he says, “that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled”—isn’t this wonderful?—not ‘by us’, that would put us right back to chapter 1 and  bomb us out again—“that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit” (verse 4).  Now it’s very interesting, because it says “the righteousness of the law is fulfilled”—that’s passive in the grammar, it means you don’t do it, it ain’t you, it’s something that God has done through the plan of salvation that was enacted before the foundation of the world.  Christ died according to predeterminate counsel and foreknowledge of God, and in that act, sin was condemned in the flesh.  And because you and I have been born of the same Spirit, we’re going to get there, that raised Christ from the dead, we are no longer subject to the law of sin and death.  ‘But because we are in Christ, we are now bound by living in, committed to, not by ourselves but by God, the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus, that the righteous requirements of the law might be fulfilled—by God—in us who walk not after the flesh’—the tense is who walk, who don’t habitually walk after the flesh—‘but who walk habitually after the Spirit.’  Now he’s going to tell us why.  Verse 5, begins with the word “for”, and from 5 to 8 he’s going to set up a comparison between those that are saved and those that are unsaved.  That is important for you to understand that.  Verse 5, he says this, “For they that are after the flesh”—obsessed with the things of the flesh—“they do mind the things of the flesh but they that are after”—or according to, in keeping with—“the Spirit the things of the Spirit.”  The first comparison it makes between believers and unbelievers is this.  Unbelievers continually mind, and live their lives according to the lustful passions of the flesh.  That’s all they think about.  They may come to church on—Christmas and Easter—they may say the Lord’s prayer…they may work at the orphanage, but if there is no change in them, even though they came forward at the altar call—they’re still living in sexual sin, they’re still taking drugs, there’s been no change—Paul says, “they’re not in the Spirit.”  In another place he says “Let a man or woman examine themselves, to see whether they’re genuinely in the faith” (2 Corinthians 13:5).  Charles Spurgeon said, “If the grace that we talk about is not enough to change us and transform us, it won’t be enough to take us to heaven either.”  [cf. Galatians 5:19-21, read it.]  If the Holy Spirit we tell people about is not powerful enough to change us from our sinful ways to righteous ways, then we don’t have the Spirit who is going to raise us from the dead and take us to heaven either.  If you say you’re a Christian, live like a Christian.  If you ain’t saved, get saved.  But don’t walk around, and it’s very vogue in our society today to say ‘Oh, I read the Bible, but I live in this lifestyle.’  ‘I read the Bible, but it’s OK for me to have a harem.’  ‘Oh, I read the Bible, but it’s OK for me to stay stoned on LSD or marijuana, that’s fine because it’s natural, and I get parked with God and daaah…’ you know.  Cut me a break.  If you’re saved, your life gets changed because the Spirit of God sets you free from the law of sin and death, and interjects into you with all the power of heaven—the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus—and that’s transforming.  [applause]  So the first comparison is, there’s change.  If you are just carnally minded, continually, you’re not saved.  Because even a backslider, even when you run into a backslider—‘Oh but I’m not, oh I know I shouldn’t be livin’ like this’-- and you see that wrestling going on, and you pray, ‘Lord, just keep this person miserable, don’t let them off the burner until they get their feet back on the path again.’  It’s the person who says they’re a Christian and lives in habitual sin without any show in their conscience at all, has deceived themselves and is probably deceiving others too.  And this sends a signal to the world and to our kids that it’s OK to live in a condition where there’s no change at all and call yourself a Christian.  It is not.  First comparison: Those who are saved, are habitually mindful of the things of the Spirit.  Those that constantly mind the things of the flesh are unsaved.  Because to be carnally minded, continually, is death, unto death, looking into the face of death.   But to be spiritually minded is life and peace, now and forever. 

          The second comparison:  The unsaved person, who is constantly carnally minded and indulging in the things of the flesh, is facing death—now in the consequence of it in your physical frame, and then eternally.  And they may try to inebriate themselves with all of the things the world holds out—and sin is pleasurable, the Bible tells us that, for a season—but to live that way is to live facing death.  And that unsaved person has no hope, tortured constantly by that ultimate issue that no one escapes.  To be spiritually minded is life and peace.  Hey, this ain’t heaven, we remember that.  There’s pain here.  There is wrestling here, there is difficulty here, there is tears here.  But this is earth.  This ain’t heaven.  To be spiritually minded is life, and peace.  What’s the worst thing that can happen?  You can die and go to heaven.  [laughter]  Is that the worst thing or the best thing?—I’ve never been sure.  The second comparison is destinies.  Carnally minded—death.  Spiritually minded—life, peace.  “…because the carnal mind is enmity against God”—it’s antagonistic to the things of God—“it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can it be.” (verse7)  So you know what it’s like to talk to somebody who’s unsaved.  They’re antagonistic at you, they’re antagonistic at the words you say, because they’re antagonistic at any sense of righteousness.  Jesus says that they love—agape—darkness more than light.  There’s actually a devotion in an unsaved person to darkness more than light.  And he says they don’t come to the light because their deeds are evil and they don’t want to bring, to come to Jesus Christ means that you’re bringing your deeds out into the light and saying ‘I’m a sinner and need forgiveness.’  But the carnal mind wants nothing to do with that.  It’s at enmity, it’s antagonistic to God, it has no ability to be subject to the law of God.

 

“He who believes in him is not condemned; he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.  And this is the judgment, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.  For every one who does evil hates the light, and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed.  But he who does what is true comes to the light, that it may be clearly seen that his deeds have been wrought in God” (John 3:18-21).

 

 

[Whereas, Christians, just as David did, love God’s law, and have a deep reverence for it.  Just read Psalms.  David was not at enmity with God or his law, no way, man.]  And you know that.  You go out street witnessing.  You tell people about UFO’s.  They’re going to listen.  Tell people about the new protein diet, or no protein diet, or carbohydrate diet, tell people about the new face-lift, getting nipped and tucked and all this stuff, you know, stretched—tell people about some meditation, realization, that makes them something, tell people all this kind of stuff and people will listen.  You go out and say “Jesus”—they’re walking away.  Because it means Savior. [Yeshua means Yahweh-shua, meaning the Lord God saves.  Yeshua is the actual Hebrew name for Jesus].  And Savior means sin [i.e. one who comes to save you from your sins].  And they don’t want to hear the “S” word.  Because they know after the S word you’re going to say the D word, and after that you’re going to say the H word.  [Saved, or if not, Damned, and then Hell]  Yeah, that’s right.  [laughter]  But they have no capacity [to love God and his law, the things of God].  You can’t be mad at them in that sense.  You can’t be mad at a blind man because he doesn’t appreciate the sunset—‘Hey buddy, how to do you like that, those purples and those reds?’  You know, you can’t be mad at him, he doesn’t see.  But you have to understand what he’s telling us is that their mind, which is more than their brain, the mind of that person is antagonistic to the things of God, has no ability to be subject to the laws of God, or desire [to be].  “Neither indeed can they be.”  Verse 8,  “So then, they that are in the flesh cannot please God.”  No matter how many trees they hug, no matter how many spotted owls they save, no matter how many hospitals they build—if they’re attempting to get to God and to heaven [gain entry into the kingdom of heaven] by the energy of the flesh, they can’t please Him.  Because, ultimately, what they’re saying is “I don’t need the sacrifice of your Son Jesus Christ, I can do this myself through my religious activity or whatever—through Oooming on my belly-button.”  That’s far enough in that direction, isn’t it.  [laughter] 

          Now look in verse 9, “But ye”—in contrast to them—“are not in [the sphere of] the flesh, but in [the sphere of] the Spirit…”  King James says”…if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you.”  i.e. You are not positionally in the sphere of the flesh, you are positionally in the sphere of the Spirit, since the Spirit of God dwells in you, or because the Spirit of God dwells in you.  You’re no longer in the sphere of the flesh, positionally, you’re in the sphere of the Spirit, because the very Spirit of God dwells in you.  That’s a remarkable thing.  [cf. John 3]  “Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his” (verse 9b).  You know, we have this idea, and sometimes I think it’s been used too loosely today, born-again.  “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, that which is born of the Spirit is Spirit” (John 3:6).  And we use that jargon and we know what we’re talking about when we say that, but it’s become rather easily applied to lot of different circumstances.  Hasn’t it?  What Paul is going to tell us here, is you can see the change in the person’s life when they’re born from above.  Because “if you have not the Spirit of Christ, you are none of his.”  You and I, in contrast, are not in the sphere of the flesh but in the sphere of the Spirit, because, or since the Spirit of God is dwelling in us.  “And if Christ be in you”—you know, through the Spirit, he just told us that—“if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.”  (verse 10)  “But if the Spirit of him who raised up Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.” (verse 11)  So he’s told us “that there is therefore no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit, for the law of the Spirit of life in Christ has set us free from the law of sin and death.” (verses 1-2)  Now that’s what he’s saying down here.  ‘If the Spirit of him who raised up Christ from the dead dwells in you, he’ll raise up your physical frame too, your body, from the dead if the Spirit of Christ dwells in you.  [Although I don’t think our bodies will be physical any longer after the 1st resurrection to immortality.  In other places in the Bible it says we’ll glow like the sun and stars after that resurrection back to life, eternal life.  Like John said in 1 John 3:1-2, we’ll just have to wait and see.  But Jesus did say we’d be like the angels in heaven, and they’re composed of spirit.]  The body is dead because of sin.  Now you’ve noticed that, the falling apart…now OK, maybe if you’re a teenager you’re thinking ‘Get it over with, we want to go to Friendly’s’, but I know at 50 what all that ice cream is going to do to you.  [laughter]  There is working in your physical frame this body of death, and we start to have to get help.  See here, I get help seeing these days [he’s holding up his glasses].  I laid in the dentist’s office for two and a half hours yesterday, my favorite thing to do—root canals.  Oh, I know, getting help with my teeth so I can keep chewing.  I find myself saying ‘Huh?’ more than I ever have.  ‘Huh?’  I find myself getting lost in the middle of a sentence more than I ever have.  I say something, and then go comatose.  I’m in the chair and there is drilling, and you have all this stuff in your mouth holding your mouth open.  After you get past the needles, there’s more pain in the jaw than there is in what they’re doing, you know…I’m thinking, ‘If you drill any deeper, you’re coming through the bottom of my chin, would you please stop.’  I hate it when that happens, I mean, I can’t talk to this guy.  I’m laying there thinking ‘Oh Lord, why am I here?  Was there something you wanted me to learn, I can learn this on one tooth, we don’t have to do this many times, just speak to my heart Lord.’  And finally this gracious lady that’s been there helping the whole time says ‘Are you Pastor Joe?’  [loud laughter]  ‘Aha…’  ‘I come to that church sometimes.’  Now I have two people talking to me.  The body is dead because of sin [what he means, is our bodies are on the way there, from the moment of birth, death starts working in us, the aging process.]  That’s just what’s happening.  You know that you’re heading in that direction when part of your fellowship is around specialists.  [I’m going to a back specialist real soon for ‘degenerative back disease.’]  ‘Oh really, I have a specialist, I have someone who can take…Oh really, I have a great doctor for that.’  You know, you’re there, you’re maintaining at that point, patching up and trying to get a few more miles out of the ‘model.’  But the great news is, if the same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead dwells in us, that Spirit can never be subject to death, Christ has already gone there—it’s the Spirit of life, the law of the Spirit of life in Christ—and if the same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead dwells in you, one day he’s going to do the same thing to your body that he did to the body of Jesus—blow it out of the ground, blow it out of the ground, a great thing.  [To learn more about the first resurrection to immortality log onto http://www.unityinchrist.com/corinthians/cor15-16_2.htm If you’re not fully aware of this exciting event, be sure to log on and read through this study of 1 Corinthians 15.] 

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