Monday, June 11, 2007

Walking Through Romans pt 11: Romans 8: 1-25

Walking Through Romans pt 11: Romans 8: 1-25

8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 8:2 For the law of the life-giving Spirit in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and death. 8:3 For God achieved what the law could not do because it was weakened through the flesh. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and concerning sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, 8:4 so that the righteous requirement of the law may be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

8:5 For those who live according to the flesh have their outlook shaped by the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit have their outlook shaped by the things of the Spirit. 8:6 For the outlook of the flesh is death, but the outlook of the Spirit is life and peace, 8:7 because the outlook of the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to the law of God, nor is it able to do so. 8:8 Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. 8:9 You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, this person does not belong to him. 8:10 But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is your life because of righteousness. 8:11 Moreover if the Spirit of the one who raised Jesus from the dead lives in you, the one who raised Christ from the dead will also make your mortal bodies alive through his Spirit who lives in you.

8:12 So then, brothers and sisters, we are under obligation, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh 8:13 (for if you live according to the flesh, you will die), but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body you will live. 8:14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are the sons of God. 8:15 For you did not receive the spirit of slavery leading again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption, by whom we cry, “Abba, Father.” 8:16 The Spirit himself bears witness to our spirit that we are God’s children. 8:17 And if children, then heirs (namely, heirs of God and also fellow heirs with Christ) – if indeed we suffer with him so we may also be glorified with him.

8:18 For I consider that our present sufferings cannot even be compared to the glory that will be revealed to us. 8:19 For the creation eagerly waits for the revelation of the sons of God. 8:20 For the creation was subjected to futility – not willingly but because of God who subjected it – in hope 8:21 that the creation itself will also be set free from the bondage of decay into the glorious freedom of God’s children. 8:22 For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers together until now. 8:23 Not only this, but we ourselves also, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we eagerly await our adoption, the redemption of our bodies8:24 For in hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope, because who hopes for what he sees? 8:25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with endurance.


There is a lot to cover here in this chapter... so I will be cutting it in half. We ended in chapter 7 with this thought:

“Romans 7:24 Wretched man that I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? 7:25 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.”

The main purpose of chapter seven was to bring us to the end of our “self”. We come to the point of recognizing that we are doomed sinners… and though we thought the Law would save us, we found it only revealed more of our sin!!!! We are caught in a “body of death”. This is the same “covenant with death” that Isaiah talked about in Isaiah 28: 15 – 18:

“You boast, "We have entered into a covenant with death, with the grave we have made an agreement. When an overwhelming scourge sweeps by, it cannot touch us, for we have made a lie our refuge and falsehood our hiding place."
So this is what the Sovereign LORD says: "See, I lay a stone in Zion, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone for a sure foundation; the one who trusts will never be dismayed.

I will make justice the measuring line and righteousness the plumb line; hail will sweep away your refuge, the lie, and water will overflow your hiding place.
Your covenant with death will be annulled; your agreement with the grave will not stand. When the overwhelming scourge sweeps by, you will be beaten down by it.”

We are dead… that is the wages we pay for sin… our own death. Yet, the Good News is Jesus Christ! Now we serve the Law of God with our mind and serve the law of sin with our bodies. This does not mean we go out and just enjoy sin with our bodies, but that before our bodies ruled our minds… pleasure is the greatest thing the body desires. It is an incredible pleasure seeking machine!

Now in chapter eight Paul begins to explain the “how” we are no longer a slave to sin! Though he stated it in Romans seven clearly, he is breaking it down more for us here.

Here we are trapped in a body of flesh… this earth suit that we walk in on earth. God designed in beautifully and as David says in the Psalm, “fearfully made”. Yet, it is that we in our minds can see “good and evil” and even desire to do “good” we still cannot keep a sustained “good” as we fail and fall into the evil.

Once one realizes that when we are not in Christ there is no condemnation one is free of sin!!! This allows a new focus and direction moving from “self” to the “other” or more so now, a focus on the Eternal One. This is actually more than just a focus as that implies that “we” are the center. Jesus Christ now has become the center if one comes to Him and then enters Him and He in them.

Many talk as if we must master the flesh… in a sense we must, yet it is in the how of that where many miss the main point. They will run to “self help books” or counselors, (both which are fine, but don’t think they are the “answer”) they will go to pastors or friends or TV or radio talk shows… all In hope to see if they can become better people… but that is like putting turtle wax on a dead man’s bones… we just get a shiny dead thing. It might look pretty, smell better or whatever but it is dead.

In Christ we have New Life. This Life is not originating from us but from God Himself through Jesus. You see, God condemned and killed the flesh in Jesus at the Cross. Our flesh still fights against God in that it is corrupt and is condemned so that the Law is fulfilled... That means my dear Brothers and Sisters that we still will die… and yet even some teach that Christ will return and we will rise in our bodies, yet we will be transformed in a twinkling of an eye! (1 Cor 15:52) So, at the moment our corrupt perishing bodies will be changed to glorious new ones! The perishable changed to the imperishable!

The flesh is condemned in its fallen state, yet we live in Christ Jesus!

Yet, here we are now… learning to live as New Creations still trapped within these corrupt bodies. In that we must learn to live by the Spirit and not by the flesh. I see that this can only be learned as there is still a contrast between the fallen nature we have in the flesh and the redeemed nature we share in Jesus so what we think about is the important think… Do we still think of how to fulfill the desires of this corrupt body or do we now seek something much richer? As we walk in the flesh we come to know only death, yet as we walk in the Spirit we find Life. The flesh seeks its own so cannot seek the things of God.

Now, be careful that we do not fall into the trap of Gnosticism where we see the flesh as evil and that we must kill it… or tame it or whatever… the flesh is already judged and condemned. Yet, God made these bodies. We are redeemed and even these bodies as corrupt as they are still Gods! We are to give them to Him as living sacrifices (Romans 12:1). We now bear in us this reconciliation of the profane and the sacred. The marriage of the Holy with the fallen.

This is the importance of the incarnation… that the Holy God became a man… clothed in flesh as we are, yet born fully alive. The Holy God came to earth to redeem us, in that Jesus “appeared” as we do, yet being born fully alive from heaven was able to overcome sin. What an amazing plan that was!

Now, we are not condemned as we are not just our bodies… sin is condemned in us. John states it this way:

1 John 3: 3-6:

“Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as he is pure. Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness. But you know that he appeared so that he might take away our sins. And in him is no sin. No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him.”

The Scripture is clear here, “Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, this person does not belong to him. But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is your life because of righteousness.” In Christ Jesus you are already dead to sin as your body is already dead!!!! Yet, the Spirit is YOUR LIFE. We have no life but Christ Jesus when we are in Jesus.

We are adopted in to His family… we are now Children of God… God has now become our Father.

Now, we come to the idea of suffering which is lost on most Christians today. With all the “good life” or “name it and claim it” or “blab it and grab it” mentality it is hard to understand that we now must partake in the sufferings of Christ as part of our walk. That can vary from persecution of others because you are a Christian to dying for Jesus on the mission field. In all of it we suffer for a Name… this wonderful Name of Jesus. Yet, ever in our new focus is this new found glory we have in Jesus… We may suffer now but the Glory to Come is much greater and in that we must place our vision and ever press forward.

You see this world waits as a woman who is about to give birth... with moans and groans knowing that great love is to come, must bear with the pain for a time and pass through it to enter into that state of motherhood. Creation too waits for the revealing of the Sons of God because in that it too has its redemption.

Now many think “getting saved” is all about going to heave… and that is very sad and rather a selfish view. In fact by our redemption all creation is redeemed also… and in that we are revealed, Creation is restored!

Many also place their faith in their own understandings or in what they can see… if they can read it and understand it then they place their faith in it. This can be a part of gaining insight, yet really it is in that we do not see that we have true faith… it is in not yet seeing our Hope we have Hope! If you can see it then it is not Hope… but to walk in the trust of another’s word, that is Hope that their word is true and able to give you all they have stated.

In that we must endure in this Hope so that we can one day see it in all it’s Glory!


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