I truly want you to be happy and to find satisfaction in life, but I must be honest: many of you are looking in all of the wrong places. I know too many people who go from one hobby to the next, one job to the next, one partner to the next. God has blessed us with all sorts of things in which we can find pleasure. There is nothing wrong with involving ourselves in fun and entertaining activities, but we know that they are not lasting. I would you to find your ultimate satisfaction in Christ Jesus. I want you to fully understand that Christ’s work of reconciliation is not only for the age to come, but to be enjoyed now. Eternal life begins now and will be enhanced in the age to come. I want you to live abundantly and free under the influence of the Holy Spirit and in the power of the resurrection of Christ.
I want you to be attracted to the Lord Jesus Christ, to love Him, treasure Him, spend time with Him, and trust Him. Many of you have believed on Him, but you are not living according to the Spirit. You are too close to the path of sinners. Romans 8 is about life, life now and life eternal. This chapter is special in the revelation of God. It declares what it means to be a Christian from “no condemnation” at the beginning of the chapter to “no separation” at the end. In talking about the Christian’s life and confidence, the Spirit is mentioned 19 times! Maybe you remember the passage in Ephesians one that we looked at a few weeks ago. The apostolic doctrine of the New Testament concerning life now and forever involves the Holy Spirit as its focal point. Ephesians 1:13-14 says, “In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.”
This section in the epistle to the Romans begins in chapter 6 verse 14 which says, “For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace.” Today’s sermon text is part of one flow of thought that runs through verse 13 and concerns the subject of “life.” We will talk about the Christian life in the here and now. We are looking forward to heaven, but how do we live in the meantime? We will also attempt to answer questions such as, how did we pass from law to grace, and what is the significance of doing so?
Read Scripture- This is the Word of God
Justification and Sanctification
In the first two verses of this chapter both justification and sanctification are declares. God has reversed the guilty verdict that we all were given. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Yet now, God declares us justified (not guilty) because we are “in Christ Jesus.” Of course, there are existing consequences for our sins now, but what the Scripture is teaching us that there are no eternal ramifications for our sins if we are in Christ. “Condemnation” refers to the state of lostness, separation from God. We are free from condemnation not because we are sinless, but because we have put our faith in Christ Jesus who was but laid His life down for us. You see, Christ took our place of condemnation and He bore the full burden of it that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
The Holy Spirit has taken those accomplishments of Christ in our behalf and made us free. 2 Cor 3:17 says, “Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.”
We follow the law of the Spirit which is liberty, and in this liberty we are called to serve one another. Gal 5:13 says, “For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.” We no longer operate under the law of sin and death, but under the law of the Spirit of life in Christ.
The Law’s Weakness
The Scripture says that the law was weak through the flesh. The law itself was not weak. It is not sinful, wrong, or weak in and of itself, but its weakness is the flesh (the influence of sin). It can name your sin, it can diagnose your problem, it can declare you guilty, but it cannot save you.
The law could/can name one’s sin and could pronounce judgment on it, but nothing else. If the law could not fix sin nor put it to death then all it was doing was adding up one’s transgressions and sins and trespasses and failures. Though the chief weakness of the law was and is the FLESH. The Law cannot be criticized for its weakness- only the participants.
It is the work of Christ, and Christ alone, that has set us free. We can live in this resurrection power because of what He has already done. Christ Jesus shared in the essential human nature- flesh and blood, bones and marrow. Jesus was in fact God as a physical human being, but only in the “likeness of sinful flesh.” “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us.” “(Our High Priest) was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.” It was God who did something. “While we were still sinners Christ died for us.” It took a mighty act of God to save us. It took a mighty act of God to reverse the guilty verdict. “What the law could not do: GOD DID.” The Spirit can liberate us because of the situation that Christ has caused.
What was it that God intervened to do? Condemn sin. The just requirement of the law was fulfilled in God’s condemnation of sin. The “just requirement of the law” is surely perfect obedience and submission to God the Father. Christ has fulfilled the just requirement of the law and it is applied to us when we believe in Him, put our faith in Him, and when we treasure Him.
Conclusions and Applications
Verse 5 may serve as an appropriate conclusion. Let us set our minds on the things of the Spirit.
We do not strive to be justified or sanctified by the works of the flesh, but by the fruit of the Spirit. A vine does not produce grapes by any demand that is made. It produces fruit that comes out of its own life. When we participate in the divine nature and we are in Christ then fruit will be produced out of Christ’s own life not by any demand. Until we are in Christ Jesus and setting our minds on the things of the Spirit, we…are…dying. If all we do is read secular novels, watch tv, and talk to unbelievers, we “are never going to form the mind-set of the Spirit” (Moo, 257). We need to spend time with God. We need to talk to Him in prayer, enjoy His company as we encounter Him in His word, we need to ponder the things of Christ, be with His people, communicate with them about these things, sings songs and hymns, and many other things.
The question we are left with is this: Are you in Christ Jesus?