Thought for the Week 14 - 21st June 2020 by Rev Peter Baxandall

(14)   21st June          Romans 8:1-17         No condemnation

Welcome to this week’s ‘Thought for the week’ as we focus our thoughts on the Bible passage of Romans 8:1-17, where we read, ‘Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.’

Before we launch into this week’s study, first of all, I would like to make a few background comments.

These ‘Thought for the week’ notes are assembled from a variety of sources.

Obviously, we begin with the Bible passage that forms our focus for the weekTo that I add both my own thoughts and notes from a variety of different Bible commentaries that make the points I want to make.

 

To that I add the Intercessions which are also taken from a variety of different sources

As I put the whole of this together, sometimes I do not ‘edit’ the notes as well as I might and from time to time there are some phrases that are clumsy, to say the least.

On occasions, the editing is so poor that I might even appear to be saying something that is the opposite of what I want to say.

Take for example the editing of the Intercessions last week.

As we prayed for those who are bereaved – I even allowed the notes to appear to pray for those who have died, which is contrary to Scripture.

With this week’s notes I also want to make a comment because within this study there are so many headings and sub-headings that I am trying to make that the whole thing could become confusing to read.

So let me give you an outline of the various thoughts and headings that we are going to find in this study this week.

They are as follows:

(A)    Freedom from Judgment - No Condemnation (Rom. 8:1–4)

          1       The Law cannot claim you (v. 2).

          2       The Law cannot condemn you (v. 3).

          3       The Law cannot control you (v. 4).

(B)    Freedom from Defeat - No Obligation (Rom. 8:5–17)

          1       “Those who do not have the Spirit” (vv. 5–8).

                            (a)     In the flesh – in the Spirit

                            (b)     Death

                            (c)     War with God – Peace with God

                            (d)     Pleasing self – Pleasing God

          2       “Those who do have the Spirit” (vv. 9–11).

          3       “Those who are controlled by the Spirit!” (vv. 12–17)

I hope you find this ‘outline’ helpful as you work through this time together.

This thought of ‘No Condemnation’ is an incredible one and we need to be willing to pray for an openness to what God has to say to us from His word.

However, before we look together at that passage we are going to sing a Hymn and have a prayer together.

We are going to sing, ‘To be in Your presence’, which is one of those that we included in the ‘Mid-week extra’ last week.

It is good to remind ourselves of the value to ‘rest in’ God’s presence as we spend time looking at the ‘Thought for the week’ – and so let’s sing together:

To be in Your presence,

to sit at Your feet,

where Your love surrounds me,

and makes me complete.

     This is my desire,

     O Lord, this is my desire.

     This is my desire,

     O Lord, this is my desire.

To rest in Your presence,

not rushing away,

to cherish each moment,

here I would stay.

     Chorus

Following that Hymn we turn to a prayer together:

God our Father, you have welcomed each one of us in Jesus Christ and called us to be your body in this place.

Send us your Holy Spirit, at this time of uncertainty and change, to fill us with vision, energy and faithfulness during this Interregnum, that we may be true to our calling to bring new life to our community.

Help us as we share the ‘Thought for the week’ and in our prayerful concern for our fellow believers.

We pray especially for any who might be feeling a bit low at this time, and may be facing a real sense of sadness – we pray that God will surround them with His love and sustain them.

Help us to encourage each other in whatever way we can

Guide with your heavenly wisdom those who in your name are to choose a new incumbent for this benefice.

We pray that our new incumbent may be a wise and gentle shepherd of your people: ready to serve among us with joy, to build us up in faith and to lead us by example in loving obedience to your Son, our Saviour, Jesus Christ. Amen

And so, we turn to our ‘Thought for the week’ for this week as we consider together Romans 8:1-17.

You will recall that last week when we looked together at Romans 5:1-11 we spoke about the use of the word ‘therefore’ in this letter of Paul to the Romans.

Within our notes we were reminded that in this letter we have the “therefore” of:

  • condemnation in Romans 3:20,
  • the promise of faith in Romans 4:16
  • justification in Romans 5:1,
  • no condemnation in Romans 8:1, and
  • dedication in Romans 12:1.

Last week we looked at the ‘therefore’ of Justification by faith in Romans 5:1-11

Today, as we look at Romans 8:1-17, we can see that as result of what we were discovering last week there is now a ‘therefore’ of ‘No Condemnation’.

Recognising what Jesus did on the cross for us as individuals and as we accept Him into our lives as Saviour and Lord we see how it changes our whole standing before God.

Faith in Jesus and what He has done for us on the cross means that we are declared ‘just as if I’d never sinned’ and as a result eternal life is ours as a free gift from God.

Once we accept Jesus as Saviour in this way we pass beyond ‘condemnation’ and come that place spoken of in Romans 8:1 ‘Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus’.

So, let’s look at this incredible fact of ‘no condemnation’ in more detail, and to do so we will use 2 major headings, each with some sub-headings.

(A)    Freedom from Judgment - No Condemnation (Rom. 8:1–4)

Romans 3:20 shows the “therefore” of condemnation; but Romans 8:1 gives the “therefore” of no condemnation - a tremendous truth and the conclusion of a marvelous argument.

The basis for this wonderful assurance is the phrase “in Christ Jesus.”

In Adam, we were condemned.

In Christ, there is no condemnation!

These verses do not say that in the believer’s life there are “no mistakes” or “no failures,” or even “no sins.”

Believer’s do fail and make mistakes, and they do sin.

Abraham lied about his wife; David committed adultery; Peter tried to kill a man with his sword.

To be sure, they suffered consequences because of their sins, but they did not suffer condemnation.

The Law condemns; but the believer is a person with a new relationship with Jesus and as a result has a new relationship to the Law, and therefore he cannot be condemned.

Under this heading of Freedom from Judgement – no condemnation, Paul made three statements about the believer and the Law, and together they add up to ‘no condemnation’.

1       The Law cannot claim you (v. 2)

  • You have been made free from the law of sin and death.
  • You now have life in the Spirit.
  • You have moved into a whole new sphere of life in Christ.

“The law of sin and death” is what Paul described in Romans 7:7–25.

“The law of the Spirit of life” is described in Romans 8.

The Law no longer has any jurisdiction over you: you are dead to the Law (Rom. 7:4) and free from the Law (Rom. 8:2).

2       The Law cannot condemn you (v. 3)

Why? Because Christ has already suffered that condemnation for you on the cross.

The Law could not save; it can only condemn - but God sent His Son to save us and do what the Law could not do.

Jesus did not come as an angel; He came as a man.

He did not come “in sinful flesh,” for that would have made Him a sinner.

He came in the likeness of sinful flesh, as a man.

He bore our sins in His body on the cross.

The “law of double jeopardy” states that a man cannot be tried twice for the same crime.

Since Jesus Christ paid the penalty for your sins, and since you are “in Christ,” the Law cannot condemn you and God will not condemn you.

3       The Law cannot control you (v. 4)

The believer lives a righteous life, not in the power of the Law, but in the power of the Holy Spirit.

The Law does not have the power to produce holiness; it can only reveal and condemn sin.

But the indwelling Holy Spirit enables you to walk in obedience to God’s will.

The righteousness that God demands is fulfilled in you through the Spirit’s power.

In the Holy Spirit, you have life and liberty (Rom. 8:2) and “the pursuit of happiness” (Rom. 8:4).

The legalist tries to obey God in his own strength and fails to measure up to the righteousness that God demands.

The Spirit-led Christian, as he yields to the Lord, experiences the sanctifying work of the Spirit in his life.

“For it is God that works in you, both to will and to do of His good pleasure” (Phil. 2:13).

It is this fact that leads to the second freedom we enjoy as Christians – and as a result we turn to the second heading:

(B)    Freedom from Defeat - No Obligation (Rom. 8:5–17)

“Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh” (Rom. 8:12).

There is no obligation to the old nature.

The believer can live in victory.

In this section, Paul described life on three different levels; and he encouraged his readers to live on the highest level.

1       “Those who do not have the Spirit” (vv. 5–8)

Paul is not describing two kinds of Christians, one carnal and one spiritual.

He is contrasting the saved and the unsaved.

There are four contrasts.

a)      In the flesh - in the Spirit (v. 5)

The unsaved person does not have the Spirit of God (Rom. 8:9) and lives in the flesh and for the flesh.

His mind is centered on the things that satisfy the flesh.

But the Christian has the Spirit of God within and lives in an entirely new and different sphere.

His mind is fixed on the things of the Spirit.

This does not mean that the unsaved person never does anything good, or that the believer never does anything bad.

It means that the whole focus of their lives is different - one lives for the flesh, the other lives for the Spirit.

b)      Death - life (v. 6)

The unsaved person is alive physically, but dead spiritually.

The inner man is dead toward God and does not respond to the things of the Spirit.

He may be moral, and even religious; but he lacks spiritual life - he needs “the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 8:2).

c)      War with God - peace with God (vv. 6–7)

In Romans 7, we have seen that the old nature rebels against God and will not submit to God’s Law.

Those who have trusted Christ enjoy “peace with God” (Rom. 5:1), while the unsaved are at war with God.

d)      Pleasing self - pleasing God (v. 8)

To be “in the flesh” means to be lost, outside Christ.

The unsaved person lives to please himself and rarely if ever thinks about pleasing God.

The root of sin is selfishness - “I will” and not “Your will.”

To be unsaved and not have the Spirit is the lowest level of life.

But a person need not stay on that level - by faith in Christ he can move to the second level.

2       “Those who do have the Spirit” (vv. 9–11)

“But you are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if the Spirit of God dwell in you” (Rom. 8:9).

The evidence of conversion is the presence of the Holy Spirit within, witnessing that you are a child of God (Rom. 8:16).

Your body becomes the very temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 6:19–20).

Even though the body is destined to die because of sin the Spirit gives life to that body today so that we may serve God.

If we should die, the body will one day be raised from the dead, because the Holy Spirit has sealed each believer (Eph. 1:13–14).

What a difference it makes in your body when the Holy Spirit lives within.

You experience new life, and even your physical faculties take on a new dimension of experience - life in Christ is abundant life.

But there is a third level of experience for which the other two are preparation.

3       “Those who are controlled by the Spirit!” (vv. 12–17)

It is not enough for us to have the Spirit; the Spirit must have us!

Only then can He share with us the abundant, victorious life that can be ours in Christ.

We have no obligation to the flesh, because the flesh has only brought trouble into our lives.

We do have an obligation to the Holy Spirit, for it is the Spirit who convicted us, revealed Christ to us, and imparted eternal life to us when we trusted Christ.

Because He is “the Spirit of Life,” He can empower us to obey Christ, and He can enable us to be more like Christ.

He can enable us to “put to death” the sinful deeds of the body.

As we yield the members of our body to the Spirit (Rom. 6:12–17), He applies within us and to us the death and resurrection of Christ.

He puts to death the things of the flesh, and He reproduces the things of the Spirit.

The Holy Spirit is also “the Spirit of adoption” (Rom. 8:14–17).

The word adoption in the New Testament means “being placed in the family as an adult son.”

We come into God’s family by Spiritual re-birth.

But the instant we are born into the family, God adopts us and gives us the position of an adult son.

A baby cannot walk, speak, make decisions, or draw on the family wealth.

But the believer can do all of these the instant he is born again.

He can walk and be “led of the Spirit” (Rom. 8:14) and the verb here means “willingly led.”

We yield to the Spirit, and He guides us by His Word day by day.

We are not under bondage to Law and afraid to act.

We have the liberty of the Spirit and are free to follow Christ.

The believer can also speak: “We cry, Abba, Father” (Rom. 8:15).

A child of God can by faith draw on his spiritual wealth because he is an heir of God and a joint-heir with Christ (Rom. 8:17).

The Spirit teaches us from the Word, and then we receive God’s wealth by faith.

What a thrilling thing it is to have “the Spirit of adoption” at work in our lives!

There is no need for the believer to be defeated.

  • He can yield his body to the Spirit and by faith overcome the old nature.
  • The Spirit of life will empower him and enable him to overcome the flesh.
  • And the Spirit of adoption will enrich him and lead him into the will of God.

And so we conclude this ‘Thought for the week’ by turning to a time of Prayer as we lift one another before God:

Heavenly Father, we pray for Your church throughout the world and in particular that part of it to which You have called us to belong here in Hopton, Corton and Gunton.

You gave to the first Disciples the gift of faith in Jesus Your Son and through their proclamations the church grew as many came to faith and trusted Christ as Saviour.

Give us a burning zeal in our day to see Your church grow – help us to reach out into our community to proclaim that same Gospel message

Lord in your Mercy:  Hear our Prayer

We pray for our Parishes in these difficult days and ask You to heal our divisions and bring loving unity to our church community. 

Touch our hearts afresh with Your love and grace that we may show Your care and concern for one another.

We pray for our bishops, that they may be guided by Your word and lead us by the grace of the Holy Spirit in way that brings glory to Your name.

Lord in your Mercy:  Hear our Prayer

Heavenly Father we pray for all who, like the apostles, are persecuted for their faith and we ask You to surround them with Your love and support.

Help us, that we might be faithful when we are ridiculed or insulted for declaring our faith.

Lord in your Mercy:  Hear our Prayer

Heavenly Father we pray for the sick and the suffering, especially those undergoing treatments and surgery and those who have contracted the Corona Virus. 

We pray for all doctors, nurses and other front-line workers at this time and pray for them a strength and courage beyond their natural abilities – to bring help and care to those among whom they work.

Lord in your Mercy:  Hear our Prayer

Heavenly Father we pray for our government and the Prime Minister as they continue to make decisions that affect the lives of so many people.

Give them wisdom, strength and courage as they seek the best for our country in this difficult time.

Lord in your Mercy:  Hear our Prayer

Heavenly Father we rejoice in the call to belong to Your Son, to believe in the Gospel, and to proclaim Your love.

Merciful Father: Accept these prayers for the sake of your Son our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen

Our closing song is a simple but profound song as we take up that cry of ‘Abba, Father’

Song:

Abba Father, let me be

Yours and Yours alone.

May Your will for ever be

evermore Your own.

Never let my heart grow cold,

never let me go,

Abba Father, let me be

Yours and Yours alone.


This church website is powered by Church Edit