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.
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.
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
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.]