Monday, March 7, 2011

No Condemnation (Rom. 8:1-4)

No Condemnation

(Rom. 8:1-4)

Last sermon from Romans 7 dealt with our conflict with ourselves, that as Christians we will always be at war with sin in our lives. Here in the beginning of chapter 8, we will see a provision has been made in the promise of salvation for the believer. It is summed up in Rom. 8:1, “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus”, there is no judgment for those in Christ. We are going to look at the reality of that promise, the way it has been provided, and the result of walking in the path of salvation. Today's sermon is “No Condemnation”.

I. The Reality of Salvation's Promise (v. 8:1a - “There is therefore now no condemnation...”).

The word “therefore” is there to show us a some sort of result or it sums up to a conclusion. The conclusion here is a single, simple statement of the result of one being saved from their sins by their faith in Christ. The concluding statement is that for a Christian there is no condemnation (or judgment). The entire previous seven chapters dealing with our sin, our sin nature, our judgment, our savior, and our salvation received through faith in the person and work of Jesus Christ. All that said and taught by the Apostle Paul and he sums it all up with this statement “there is no condemnation”. We know and understand from the previous study of the earlier chapters of Romans, that our condition before we knew Christ Jesus as Lord was that we were under the judgment of God. All of mankind was born sinful and separated from God by our sinful nature (Romans 3:23 -“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God”), and it describes us in our sins in Eph. 2:3 as being “by nature children of wrath”. In our study of Romans in chapter 1 that we talked about the wrath of God. The wrath of of our holy God is His righteous anger and hatred of sin and evil and it is the basis of His condemnation of sin. In our sinfulness, without Christ, we were under the condemnation for our sins and for breaking God's holy Law which is death (Rom. 6:23 - “the wages of sin is death” and Ezek. 18:4 - “the soul that sins shall die”), that is our verdict. Just like the man on death row, judged and sentenced to death, the day of judgment set and justice not satisfied until the penalty for guilt is met. That is all of us without Christ. But here in Rom. 8:1, Paul declares that there is “no condemnation”, what wondrous and amazing good news for the Christian, “no condemnation”. Jesus has completely and permanently paid the debt of sin and the penalty for breaking God's Law. Our sins and our penalty for trespassing God's Law was not overlooked by God. It was not passed over or forgotten, it was paid, once for all, by the perfect, sinless sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross. Death was the price and only Jesus' death could set us free from the death sentence that was pronounced on us. Jesus Christ died for us, in our place, and it was the only sacrifice accepted by the Father in our behalf. For those who have or will place their faith and trust in Christ and what He did on our behalf “there is therefore now no condemnation”. The freedom from condemnation and judgment is realized only in Christ and we must recognize that we will never face condemnation for our sins be they past, present, or future. Jesus' death on the cross dealt with our sins once and for all, that is the glorious power of salvation in Christ. In Heb 10:14, it says, “For by one offering [Christ's death on the cross] He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified”, those being sanctified are all who have separated unto God by salvation in Christ, their sins are forgiven and their condemnation, their judgment removed because of Jesus Christ taking their judgment on Himself. The penalties for our failures in this life was paid for by Christ.

We are not perfect, we are not sinless and we understand from last week's sermon that we will always have to deal with sin as long as we are on this earth and in this body. But just because we are free from divine judgment (condemnation), it does not mean our heavenly Father will not give us divine discipline for our moral failures as Christians (Heb. 12:6 - “For whom the LORD loves He disciplines, And scourges every son whom He receives”). We are still accountable for our actions to our Father even though we will not be condemned for our sins that Christ has forgiven and cleansed us from.

II. The Reason for Salvation's Reality (v. 1b-3 - “for those who are in Christ Jesus. For 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 did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh.”)

As we have already discussed, the no condemnation is the direct result of “those who are in Christ Jesus”. In chapter 7, all Christians, even the Apostle Paul, are not exempt from conflicts and struggles with sin. But we have read right here in this chapter (chap. 8) that all Christians are eternally free of the condemnation of sin. Even if we stumble and fall, all Christians from the strongest to the weakest will not experience condemnation for there sins but will experience ultimate victory over sin in the life to come. We are not merely identified outwardly with Christ, but also we are identified as being part of Christ. It says right here we are in Christ and being in Christ is what makes us acceptable to our Father God; 1 Cor. 12:13 declares that we “by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body; whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free; and have all been made to drink into one Spirit”. The Spirit of God places us into Christ, we become part of the body of Christ. Christ's life now flows into our lives and we must began to understand is that we live because He lives in us (Gal. 2:20 - “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me”). The freedom in Christ gives us total and permanent deliverance from sin's power and penalty and when we are glorified one day, then will freed from it's presence. Let's look further in v. 2, it says that, “the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death”. In Titus 3:4-6, it says, “when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior”, the Holy Spirit of God is the one who gives spiritual life to the one who places His trust in Jesus Christ. Only the Spirit of God can give spiritual life to a spiritually dead heart. He is the One that frees us from sin and death, gives spiritual life for our sinful, spiritually dead spirit, we are free from the power of sin and it's dominion because of the powerful work of salvation made possible through Christ. In verse 3, it says that “For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh”, it is reason why the eternal Son of God came and added humanity to His Deity and was born of a virgin. Flesh could not fulfill the righteous demands of God's Law, flesh was inferior and weak and sinful, it was incapable of not sinning and relished in breaking all of the holy commands of God's Law. Because God was holy and just, He can never pass over sin but must punish it. But because was loving, merciful, and full of grace, He extended His hand of forgiveness and grace through the incarnated Son of God, through His perfect sacrifice on the cross. It was through this holy and righteous Son of God, Jesus Christ, that His death condemned sin in the flesh of those who were condemned by sin. Those who by faith place their trust in the work that Christ has done on the cross have been justified and forgiven, their condemnation removed. Christ was sinless even though he lived in a body like ours, Jesus never sinned. The Law only exposed man's unrighteousness and no man or woman ever lived up to it's righteous requirement but Christ alone. In His sinlessness, He died as the perfect sacrifice to perfectly save us all. Is. 53:4-5 - “Surely He has borne our griefs And carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken, Smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed”. Because of Christ we are free from sin and condemnation of sin.

III. The Result of Walking in Salvation (v. 4 - “that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.”)

Because of Christ's death and resurrection, it has not only freed us from the power and penalty of sin, it has also freed Christians to live righteously. Christ set us free from sin and filled us with His Spirit not to live as we please but as our Lord pleases. The Spirit produces in us a desire to live for our Lord, to grow and mature as believers in Christ because our new spiritual nature is alive to Christ and we walk not according to the flesh(spiritually dead sinners do that) but according to the Spirit. When we become “sons (and daughters) of God”, it is then our lives will change for God's glory. We become enabled by the power of God to began living out righteously in our daily lives. This is the direct result of coming to faith in Christ. Christ's salvation will bring about an eternal change in each of our lives.

The glorious results of the amazing power of the Father's salvation through Christ of no condemnation of every believer's life and the powerful change and desire to know God and desire His will. Nothing in our flesh or by our power can affect this change; it is only the power of God through Christ.

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