link to rest of January Challenge here.
Normally, I write to caregivers. I’m certainly not forgetting you all this month for this challenge. The words of this chapter couldn’t be more encouraging. This week is the longest passage. The rest of the weeks are shorter. Remember, the key to memorizing is to review. Repeat and review. There is a chance you won’t totally memorize the chapter, but you will become so familiar with it that you will find yourself thinking over parts of these passages in your mind.
So don’t give up. You will find yourself encouraged as you are reminded of these five areas of truth that will lift your soul and encourage you as you face a new year…whether you are a caregiver or not…whether your life is running smoothly or not.
There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.
For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do.
By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh,
in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us,
who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.
For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh,
but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit.
For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.
For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot.
Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you.
Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.
But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin,
the Spirit is life because of righteousness.
If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you,
he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies
through his Spirit who dwells in you.
Romans 8:1-11 ESV
Here is a little background on Romans…
Who wrote this book/letter and when?
The apostle Paul. He was considered to be equal in every way to the other apostles who walked with Jesus on earth. It was written from Corinth during Paul’s third missionary journey in AD 57.
Who was this book written to and what is it about?
It was written to the Christians in Rome. This book contains the fullest expression of Paul’s theology, but for a more complete theology of Christ, see Colossians 1:15-20 & Philippians 2:6-11. For a more thorough theology of the church, see Ephesians. For a more detailed theology of last things, I Thessalonians 4:13-5::11 and II Thessalonians 2:1-12. (Check Bible Gateway for these passages)
The theological issues of concern included in Romans were most likely of concern to the Roman church. It was a church of both Jews and Gentiles. Questions of the value of being Jewish or gentile?What is the Gospel and the Law? What is the importance of the distinction?
Paul wanted the Romans to truly understand the Gospel. Reading Romans gives us a clear understanding of the Gospel for sure. Romans 8 gives us an understanding of the good news of the gospel for sure! (these comments have been selected from the ESV Study Bible notes.)
There is just one condition for these wonderful promises…
As wonderful as the good news is in that very first line of Romans 8, it does have one condition. We must be “in Christ Jesus.” We can’t skip over this. It doesn’t apply to every single person. It only applies to those who are “in Christ.” Is that an exclusive club? Not really, The offer to come to Christ has been made to everyone. But not everyone has either understood the offer or been willing to accept it. This is what the offer includes.
The bad news that the Gospel reveals is found in Romans 1:18-32. It is difficult news to read. On some level, we humans are aware that there is a God and we do not naturally seek after Him. Our hearts rebel against Him. It is difficult to read that. I remember hearing that the first time and thinking how harsh it was. But God is the one who knows the true motives of people. He knows better than anyone. It is only a work of God in us that can humble us enough to seek after God and recognize that He is the only one who can meet our ultimate need.
Amazing Grace…that saved a wretch like me…
I was reminded of the refrain that is often sung to Amazing Grace as is sung in this arrangement. It is a great reminder of the truth of this, and many other passages in the Bible. My chains fell off, my heart was free…Can people carry it too far? Of course, but that doesn’t make it any less true. Jesus dealt with sin for us fully and completely. It is important to remind ourselves of this truth over and over as we live in a fallen world. The truth of Romans 3:10-26: We are sinners and God is holy and righteous. It is the message of both the Old and New Testament quoted here in Romans.
The truth of the Gospel is this: we are sinners if left to our natural bent. But Christ took on Himself all our sin and paid for it freely. It is truly an amazing gift. He took on Himself the punishment we deserved.
Jesus lived a perfect life here on earth and He exchanged His perfect record for our sinful record when He died on the cross. Now, when we stand before God, we have Christ’s record and are “in Christ.” He died to pay for the sin we committed. Talk about unfair! It’s unfair in our favor! So now, we can stand before God, in Christ and He can say over us, “You are not condemned!” It isn’t as if He has looked the other way. It is totally a just way that our sin has been dealt with. Our sin was paid for. Justice was done. But in a totally unexpected way!
The good news of the Gospel: We are not guilty, we are free in Christ!
You no longer need to go to bed at night thinking you are at the mercy of falling asleep and dying in your sin. What if you forgot to ask forgiveness for one sin? When Christ died on the cross, all your sin was future. He died for all of it then. It was paid for then. You don’t have to remember to ask forgiveness for it now. It’s good if you do, but it won’t keep you from heaven. You now have Christ’s perfect record on your account.
So think about these early verses in Romans 8. You are no longer condemned thanks to the work Jesus did for you on the cross! Hallelujah! He lived a perfect life for 33 years on earth and then died to pay for your sin, shedding his blood to pay for it…as prescribed by His Law. You are free in ways you and I don’t even understand, from bondage to sin. The good things you do as a Christian are not in order to earn your way to heaven or to earn favor with God. If you are “in Christ”, you already have both. The motive behind your good activities is appreciation to God for what He has done.
Think through the glory of these words this week and in the next weeks as you review the words you memorize.
- What does it mean to your everyday life that you are free from God’s condemnation?
- What does it mean to your everyday life the you are alive in Christ?
- What does it mean that you are free from the bondage of sin in your everyday life?
- Think of one sin that gets you down regularly. How would the truth of this passage affect you on a daily basis in terms of that one sin?