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Wednesday, July 22 2020

Contributor: Peter Folikwe

INTRODUCTION

By way of recap, from our previous study of the book of Romans, Apostle Paul focused on the problem of sin as a limitation of the natural man. In the last study of Chapter 7, Apostle Paul emphasized the unending war between the natural flesh and Spirit of man.

For instance, in Rom 7:15 NIV Paul says “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.In Verse 24, Paul declared how wretched he was asking who shall deliver his body from death, because of our fleshly desires. He stated that the law is spiritual, but we are carnal because of the lust of the flesh. Since the law is spiritual and we are carnal, we are often condemned by the law. The law, as a mirror, keeps exposing our sins. The law according to Paul, therefore, has a right to condemn us, because we flesh out often. By the end of chapter 7, our condemnation by the law leaves us wondering; who can save us from this condemnation?

VERSE 1: A RAY OF HOPE

“There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” (KJV)

Chapter 8 opens with Paul’s declaration. This opening verse simply gives us that ray of hope that we are not indeed condemned by the law. Why? We shall understand by the time we get to Verse 17.

VERSE 2: NOT CONDEMNED

“because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.” (NIV)

The law Paul refers to here is not the law of Moses (the law of righteousness), but something/natural authority that has “power” over us. For instance, the Taoiseach enacted a law at the beginning of the pandemic that religious houses and some other places of social gathering should be closed. Violation of that law comes with consequences. Eccl 8:4 says “Where the word of a king is, there is power:”

So if you replace “law” in the above verse with “power”, the verse reads “the power of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the power of sin and death”. Therefore, if the ‘power of the Spirit’ dwells in you, it will save you from the ‘power of the law’. In essence we need the power of the Holy Spirit to overcome the power of the law.

VERSE 3: THE WEAKNESS OF THE LAW

“For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:” (KJV)

Paul here switches back to the law of Moses (law of righteousness). This law sets out rules but does not empower anyone to keep it. The weakness in the flesh often weakens the ability of the law to change our lives. God, understanding of our weakness, sent His only begotten son Jesus in likeliness of our sinful flesh, not as a sinner. Jesus was without sin in the flesh and had to be without sin to qualify to pay for our sins. If Jesus had sinned, He would have to pay for His sins and not for you and I. If you lend me money, I can’t be owing you and decide to pay another man’s debt, except only after I have settled my debts. Since Jesus took on our sins, He became condemned for our sins. Going back to the introductory verse, there is therefore no condemnation for them who are in Christ Jesus, why? Simply because Jesus has been condemned for our sins. This however does not give us freedom to continue in sin.

VERSE 4: RIGHTEOUSNESS OF THE LAW FULFILLED IN US

“That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”

This verse tells us why Jesus was condemned; that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us....... Paul here talks of the righteous requirements of the law might be fulfilled “in” us, not “by” our own actions of obedience. Because none of us can fulfil the righteousness of the law in our sinful flesh. It will be fulfilled in us, only if we walk after the spirit. Because Jesus (through the power of the Holy Spirit) lives in you & I, therefore He can empower us to live & keep the requirements of the law. It does not mean that we do not occasionally fall (not deliberately) into sin, but Godly sorrow through the Spirit of God that lives within us, we confess & repent of our sins.

VERSE 5: SPIRIT CONTROLLED VS FLESH CONTROLLED

“Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set (constantly thinking) on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set (constantly thinking) on what the Spirit desires.” (NIV)

Paul clearly distinguishes between those whose minds are inclined towards living a life controlled by the flesh and others whose focus/mindset are focused on spiritual desires. Luke 12:34 says “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”

VERSES 6-8: THE CONSEQUENCES

So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace. 7 For the sinful nature is always hostile to God. It never did obey God’s laws, and it never will. 8 That’s why those who are still under the control of their sinful nature can never please God.(NLT)

Paul admonishes us to bring our body under subjection, otherwise our bodies will bring us instead under its control. It is usual for the natural man to run contrary to God’s laws. Adam was instructed not to eat the apple; exactly that he did with eve. Paul says “I find myself doing those things I hate to do”. Caution a child not to touch an object, just look away, your guess is as good as mine. It is impossible to live gratifying the flesh and live a life pleasing to God. It is by the spirit of God that lives within us we are redeemed (born again).

VERSES 9-13: IT IS ALL ABOUT GOD’S SPIRIT IN US

9 You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ. 10 But if Christ is in you, then even though your body is subject to death because of sin, the Spirit gives life because of righteousness. 11 And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you. 12 Therefore, brothers and sisters, we have an obligation—but it is not to the flesh, to live according to it. 13 For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live.(NIV)

Paul says if the Spirit of God is not in you, then you are not a believer. It is the spirit of God, not our own righteousness that makes us born again children of God. Verse 10 says our physical bodies are subject to physical death because of sin. Jesus however did not die for our physical body, but for our souls. For those who Jesus will meet on earth when He returns in glory will have their physical bodies transformed/changed, not redeemed. Verse 11, talks about the glorification of our bodies at resurrection for as long as we have the in dwelling of the Holy Spirit. Verse 12 says we are debtors, but not to the flesh anymore because it has been paid by Jesus on the cross. Verse 13 implies you can only put to death the deeds of the body by the Spirit, not by our own strength.

VERSES 14-15: LED BY THE SPIRIT

14 For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. 15 The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” (NIV)

God sees us as His children provided, we have His Spirit dwelling in us. Unlike some ‘so-called Christians’ who believe they can only make heaven based on how hard they work for God, but do not have a Spiritual relationship with God through Jesus Christ. For you and I who walk by the Spirit, we can boast of a personal relationship with God; calling Him “Abba Father” - our dear Father.

VERSES 16-17: CONCLUSION

16 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. 17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.”

Verse 16 tells us that we are His children only if we do His will enabled by the Holy Spirit dwelling in us. The Spirit in us testifies/bears witness with us that we are children of God. 2Cor 13:1 says “.... In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established.” The two witnesses here are the Spirit of God in you and yourself. Verse 17 talks about our inheritance in His heavenly kingdom. This inheritance is however predicated on our sharing in His sufferings (salvation, persecution, putting our bodies under subjection of the Holy Spirit etc). Ultimately, we will also share in His glorification. Jesus explained this inheritance in the Parable of the Sheep and Goats: Matt 25:34 NIV

“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. God bless and help us all to abide in His Words. Amen.

Posted by: Isekhua Evborokhai AT 04:31 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
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