If you're a guest with us, our series is entitled "New Life Today." We have been preaching through Romans 6, 7 and 8, learning about how to experience the resurrection life every day in our lives. And this morning we come to an awesome verse, Romans 8:1, and I've been looking forward to this verse since we started several weeks ago in this series; and I trust that you are ready. And if you do have the notes we'll go through some of the notes if you'd like to follow that way as well; they're found in your bulletin.
Romans 8:1, "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath 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 sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace."
Is everybody ready to learn this morning? All right, let's pray and we'll get right into it.
Father, thank you for the privilege of gathering here today. We ask that you would bless those families who have given their lives and relatives who have given their lives for our freedom today. We know the Bible says, "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." And so, of all things, we are most thankful, Jesus, that you sacrificed that we might have spiritual freedom, that we might not have condemnation. Help me and help each of us during the time of preaching to apply this truth to our life, I pray in Jesus' name. Amen. You may be seated.
Well, a few weeks ago we covered one of the great verses of the New Testament, Romans 6:23, which said, "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." Let's say that verse together, shall we? "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."
That verse really summarized much of Romans 6 and 7 because it reminds us that sin brings death, and the law reveals our sin. And so because of the law and because of our sin, it seems at times as if there is no hope. But, the Bible says, God has a gift for us, and the gift of God is eternal life. And that gift is not found in a church, that gift is found in a person, the Lord Jesus Christ. And when we come to the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior, the condemnation of the law, the condemnation of our own sin is abolished, and there is therefore now no condemnation to those who are found in Christ Jesus.
And so, we come to Romans 7 and we learned last week that the law of God is good, it is moral, it is everlasting, and it is needful. But all the law could do was show us that we need a Savior. It shows us that we fall short of the glory of God. And that's why Romans chapter 8 is a pinnacle passage in the New Testament, because we come to this verse which says, "There is therefore now no condemnation." And today we want to learn the joy in the truth of no condemnation.
I want you to see in your outline this morning the proclamation that is made. There is a proclamation in verse 1: "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus." We see this proclamation is given to us in the form of a promise, and it is predicated with the word "therefore." Based upon what we have learned in Romans 6, based upon what we have learned in Romans 7, the last verse of Romans 7 – notice it, please – says, "I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord."
So because of Jesus there is no condemnation. There is no damning sentence upon your life and mine. There is therefore now, in this present moment, if you are in Christ, there's no condemnation over you. There's no eternal damnation over you. If you are in Christ, there is no condemnation. Now we may condemn ourselves, the devil may accuse us, but God says there is no condemnation.
There is no condemnation coming eternally for someone that is in Jesus Christ. The Bible says in Revelation 20:10, "And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night forever and ever." Revelation 20:14, "And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. And this is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the Lamb's book of life was cast into the lake of fire."
Now those are ominous verses, are they not? When we read about the law and how it condemns, and we read about the fact that there is a lake of fire. And, folks, this morning I really do believe there's a heaven that is sweet that is prepared for us, and there is a hell that is terrible and none of us want to go there. And it is a condemning place, an eternally condemning place. But God says if you are in Christ, there's no condemnation now or for eternity. "There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." This is God's promise to all who are in Christ Jesus: there's no condemnation.
How many of you would agree with me, that's good news this morning? Because the condemns us, and Satan hates us, and hell was prepared for those who reject Jesus. But for those who receive Jesus Christ, there is therefore now no condemnation. It's a promise, and it is a promise that is based upon a premise. And I want you to see that also in verse 1. It says, "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus." So for those who have received Jesus, who have believed on Jesus, like the choir sang a moment ago, "We believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, then we are positioned well, and we are positioned rightly. In fact, the Bible says in Ephesians 1:7 there in your notes, "In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace."
There may be someone here this morning that is not sure that you've escaped condemnation, there's only one way that you can know that you are not condemned and that is to come to Jesus Christ and received him as your Savior; for he shed his blood to be the forgiveness for your sin. What can wash away my sin? Nothing but the blood of Jesus Christ. And so, the premise that brings about this great promise is that if there is no condemnation in your life, it is because you are in Christ Jesus, and you must be covered by the blood of Jesus Christ which was shed on Calvary for our sin.
And so, there's a promise made, it's based upon the premise of having faith in Christ. And then there's a picture in this verse, and I want you to see this in verse 1. It says, "who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit." This is a descriptive of those who are in Christ. In other words, someone that is in Christ is characterized as someone who's now walking by the Spirit. You see, when you receive Christ as Savior, his Spirit indwells you. That which is born of the flesh is flesh. You got your DNA from your mom and dad. But that which is born of Spirit is spirit. You receive a new nature from God when you are saved. And when you are saved and when you receive this new nature, you begin to walk in the Spirit, no longer controlled by the flesh.
If you were to go out to a park tomorrow and maybe have a picnic, and you were maybe see some birds fly in, and those birds had long, orange beaks, and they had webbed feet, and they were waddling around, and they were quacking, you probably would say, "I believe those are ducks by their characteristics, by their attributes." And when someone accepts Jesus as their Savior, and when they begin to walk in his Spirit, when they begin to follow his word, then they picture the change that Jesus wants to bring in their life, because if any man's in Christ, he's a new creature. Old things have passed away, all things become new.
And this is a wonderful time of life to grow in the Lord Jesus Christ, and so it's a wonderful picture that is given. And so we have a proclamation this morning, folks. "There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, and who walk after the Spirit and not after the flesh." I don't know about you; that's good news for me this morning, because we live in a condemning world. The devil condemns, the law condemns, but Jesus Christ has set us free.
Now we see a proclamation. But let's notice even further this morning. Notice the provision. There is a provision that is given to us who have believed on Jesus Christ, verse 2: "For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death."
Now God has given us the provision of life through his Spirit, verse 2: "The law of the Spirit of life in Christ." You see, the law of the Spirit of life tells me that Jesus Christ triumphs over the old law that I was under before I was saved. Those who believe in Jesus Christ are delivered from the condemnation of a lower divine law, as it were, by submitting themselves to a higher divine law. The lower law is the divine principle in regard to sin, the penalty of which is death; and the higher law is the law of the Spirit, which bestows life in Jesus Christ. And so once you were under the law that only condemned; but now you are under the law of the Spirit, which brings liberty into our life.
Maybe I could explain it this way. The law of gravity prevails here on this earth, and the law of gravity is what holds us and keeps us attached to this earth. That's why astronauts have to learn how to walk in space where there is no gravity. But there's another law that dominates as long as it is enforced, and that is the law of aerodynamics. And the law of aerodynamics defies gravity when it is put into application, and this is what allows aircraft to fly, the law of aerodynamics. Just as a plane is set free from the law of gravity by the law of aerodynamics, so the law of sin and death is dominated by the law of Spirit and life. And when you receive Christ as Savior, the Holy Spirit of God comes into your life. You're no longer dominated by the law, but by the Holy Spirit, you overcome the condemnation, you overcome the temptation of sin, and you have life in the power of the Holy Spirit.
Romans 7 was clear, Christians are tempted, Christians do sin, but you're not dominated by sin. You have the ability in the Spirit to overcome. Even as the law of aerodynamics allows the airplane to overcome gravity, we can overcome the penalty and the power of the law in the person of Jesus Christ and because of the presence of his Holy Spirit within us. And that is why the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. So we have life through the Spirit provided to us.
But notice, secondly, we have life through Jesus Christ provided to us. Look at what it says there in verse 3 again: "The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath 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 sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh."
Now please understand today that God has a Son and his name is Jesus Christ, and he came to this world in bodily form. There are false religions today who say God has no son. Islam says, "God has no son." There are other false religions who say God had a son, but he was not the Son of God or equal to God in his attributes. But this verse tells us in one verse that God had a son and he is called the Son of God, and he is equal to God in his attributes.
And Jesus Christ the Son of God is fully God. In fact, the Bible says, "In him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily." In fact, in John 1:14, the Bible says, "And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory as of the only begotten of the father, full of grace and truth." So Jesus Christ the eternal Word became flesh, and he was born of the virgin Mary. He lived a perfectly sinless life. And when he died on the cross he was not just some guy dying there, he was the very Son of God shedding the very blood of God, so that the covering of that sin would cover sins for people like you and me two thousand years later. Jesus Christ died that we might live.
Now the law itself could never save. The Old Testament law was never given to save us from our sin. It was given to show us that we needed a Savior. Notice, if you would, in the Bible or in your notes there in Romans 3:19, "Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin."
So the law tells us that we are sinners; it condemns us. The law tells us that we fall short. For example, if you're out here on the Antelope Valley Freeway and you're driving along and you see a sign that says 55, and you're going 80, immediately you know that you have broken the law, you are a criminal, you are a transgressor, right, because the law is there to remind us that we're not doing so great or that we could do better. No one gets saved by obeying a list of laws. Those laws cannot save you; only Jesus Christ can save you. The laws point us to our need for a Savior.
Look at another verse, Galatians 3:24, "Wherefore the law was our" – What's that next word say? – "schoolmaster." It's our teacher. "The law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith."
So the law could never save us, but Jesus came to save us. Verse 3 says it this way, that "the Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, for our sin, condemned sin in the flesh." So Jesus came to condemn sin in his fleshly body when it was torn on the cross of Calvary.
Galatians 4:4 says this: and the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us, and it says, "But when the fullness of time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law," the Bible says, "to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons." So God says, "I sent my Son to be the fulfillment of the law, to provide forgiveness for you." And it says that "the Father hath made the Son to become sin for us, even though he knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God through Jesus Christ." So, I cannot make myself righteous, but Jesus Christ met God's righteous demands, and Jesus Christ, when I receive him as my Savior, declares me to be righteous; and I find my life spiritually in Jesus Christ.
And so, there is a proclamation that says, "There is therefore now no condemnation upon you, and it is because there was a provision that was made, and that provision was Jesus Christ." And when we receive Christ and we are indwelt by his Spirit, we don't have to be held down by the laws of sin and death, but we can rise above like an airplane breaking through the laws of gravity by way of the law of aerodynamics. We have the Holy Spirit living in us, and we can rise above the dominance of sin through Jesus Christ.
And so, there is therefore now no condemnation to those that are in Christ Jesus. This is the proclamation, and this is the provision that God has given. And how many of you are thankful for that this morning? God says, "You don't have to be condemned anymore. I've made a way for you to be forgiven, to be accepted, and to be loved. And it is through my Son the Lord Jesus Christ."
Well, I want you to see finally before we're done this morning that if God would go to all the trouble of sending his Son to redeem you and give you his Spirit, it really doesn't make sense that you would go back and live the way you used to live. It really doesn't make sense that you would receive Christ and then just go back to the old life.
So what does God do to someone and for someone who receives his Son? Notice that there is a path that he has for you now. There's a path that God has for you. Once you receive his Son as your Savior, he gives a new path. And I want you to see that in verse 4; it says this: "that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit."
I want you to notice that this is a spiritual path. I want you to notice that the righteousness of the law is not something I can attain on my own in my own flesh. I'm not going to make a big list and say, "If I do all this stuff, then I'm okay." The fact is, the law is good, and God will lead me to obey his law; but I can only obey it as I walk in his Spirit. It's a spiritual path.
Galatians 3:2, "This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect in the flesh?" In other words, when you are saved it's because the Holy Spirit touches your heart and he says to you, "This is true; my Son died for you. You do fall short; you need a Savior."
And if you're saved this morning, there was a time in your life when the Holy Spirit brought you to faith in Jesus Christ, and you were born again, or you were saved. And that was the work of the Holy Spirit in you. And what Paul is saying is, "If that's how it started, that's how it's going to keep going. If you started in the Spirit, then keep following the leadership of the Holy Spirit." You weren't saved by a list of rules, you're not going to live by a list of rules. You were saved by the Holy Spirit; now follow the Holy Spirit's leading.
Now, will the Holy Spirit give you guidance from the word of God? Yes. Will there be principles or even rules that you follow in your life? Perhaps there should be. But may I say, it's not about trying to list rules in order to please God. What pleases God in your life is that Jesus Christ is your Savior. You're no longer doing what you do to please God or to escape condemnation, you've already escaped condemnation. So now you are on a path of spiritual growth, free from condemnation, free to serve the Lord Jesus Christ, and following the laws of God not in the fleshly exercise, but by the Spirit's leading in your life. It's a spiritual path of growth, and we walk after the Spirit of God. And God gives us power to live righteously.
And then I just want to say quickly, not only is it a spiritual path, it's a peaceful path. Now you show me a Christian that's not walking in the Spirit and they're walking in the flesh; they have no peace. Show me a Christian that's chasing the old life; they're never at peace.
Look what the Bible says here in verse 5: "For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh." And remember last week, the flesh could be your brain, wrong thinking; your eyes looking at wrong things; your feet going to wrong places; your hands doing wrong things. If you're minding the things of the flesh, if life's all about another high, another party, if it's all about you and self-gratification, then there is no peace in the flesh. In fact, all that's going to bring is death. It's going to ruin your marriage, it's going to ruin your family. It's only going to hurt if we live only for the flesh.
So he says in verse 5, "They that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death." Again, the word "carnal" speaks of the sarkos, the flesh. If all we're thinking about is the flesh, then it's going to bring spiritual death, it's going to bring bankruptcy. It's going to bring addictions to gambling and drugs, and whatever else your flesh craves. But it's not going to bring peace.
And then notice what it says here in verse 6: "To be carnally minded is death." Let me pause one more time. If you're in this church going, "I've got to be here for my wife," or if there's a lack of joy in your life, there may be a presence of sin in your life. You cannot come to church on Sunday and live for the flesh the other six days of the week and expect this to work out. Can I get an amen to that? To be carnally minded, it just brings destruction. You're going to be miserable if you live for self.
So look at the latter part of verse 6: "but to be spiritually minded is" – What? Say it with me. Is what? – "life and peace." It's a peaceful path. God says, "Hey, you're not under condemnation. I've given you my Son; I've given you my Spirit. Now don't walk after the flesh any longer, because if you walk after the flesh, that's what you're going to think about: the next drink, the next party, the next this, the next that. How can I get a buzz? How can I get high?" whatever.
God says, "Wait a minute. Now that you're saved, now that my Spirit's in you, don't chase the flesh, but follow the Spirit. Let the Holy Spirit bring fruit and joy." And notice it says, "and peace, and peace." The flesh never satisfies, but the Spirit gives life, and the Spirit gives peace, and to be spiritually-minded is life and peace. Let me say it this way. There is no softer pillow than a clear conscience. Right? This path I'm preaching about, this path of following God and hearing his Spirit, of reading his word and rejoicing with other Christians and growing, this path will bring peace to your life.
Now you can be a Christian that follows the path of flesh; and when you put your head on the pillow at night you're going to go, "Why did I do that? Why did I say that? How do I escape this?" because to be carnally-minded, you're minding the things of the flesh. Sometimes people are, "How do I get another fix? How do I get another high? How do I escape this reality?" They're minding the flesh.
But God says, "You don't have to live that way anymore. You're no longer condemned. That's not your license to sin, that's your reason to follow after my Spirit and enjoy the life and peace that I have given to you." And part of that does revolve around the word of God. Psalm 119:11, "They word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee." How many of you believe the Bible is a God-breathed book, it's a spiritual book? And as we follow the Bible, God begins to help us to walk on this pathway of peace.
I heard about a missionary in Zambia, and he met a very belligerent man, and he was trying to give him a Bible; and the man said, "All I'm going to do if you give me that Bible is roll those pages and make cigarettes out of 'em." Missionary said, "All right, I'll give you the Bible as long as you promise me to read every page before you roll it."
The man took the Bible; fifteen years later they met at a Bible conference. The man that received the Bible was on the platform speaking, he was an evangelist. He said, "I smoked Matthew, and I smoked Mark." Some of you are little too familiar with this process, I'm worried about you. He said, "I smoked Luke. But when I got to John 3:16 I couldn't smoke anymore, because God changed my life. 'For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.'" The word of God will guide you in the ways of the Spirit of God.
Oh, friends, this morning God doesn't want you to live with condemnation. He says, "There's therefore now no condemnation to those that are in Christ Jesus." He says, "I have a provision for you. I've given my Son for you, I've given my Spirit, and I have a path for you, and it's a pathway of peace and life. And you don't have to be dominated by the flesh anymore, you don't have to do that; you can rise above that, because my Spirit lives within you. And just like an F-16 will go up above the clouds, you can rise above the dominion of sin, and you can have peace, because my Spirit is with you, and my word will guide you."
So here it is this morning. Are you under condemnation today? Do you know that when your life is over you'll spend eternity in heaven? Have you settled that issue? Have your sins been forgiven? If you have been saved and you'd say, "I'm not under condemnation," then are you walking the pathway of peace, or are you minding carnal things; because if you're minding fleshly things, you're not going to understand the peace of the Christian life. And God says, "I'm not condemning you. You're not under condemnation. But remember who you owe your debt to today." And I want to close with this one verse for those of you that are Christians, Romans 8:12, "Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to live after the flesh. For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live."
So all of us are debtors, but we're not debtors to the flesh and to the temptations of the flesh. Who do we really owe today? We are debtors to the Lord Jesus Christ. Paul said, "The love of Christ constraineth me; because I thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead." He said, "The reason I serve God," – we could say, "The reason I go to church and read the Bible, or tithe or witness, the reason I do this stuff is because of what Jesus did for me, because Jesus died for me. And I don't owe my flesh anything, and I don't owe my old party boys anything, and I don't owe this world anything; but I owe Jesus everything! I owe a debt to him because I was a sinner lost and on my way to hell. And he went to the cross and died for my sin, and he paid my debt; and I am so grateful that he did. And I don't serve because I have to, I serve because of what he did for me, because I'm so grateful for what he did for me."
And so, friends, there is therefore now no condemnation to those that are in Christ Jesus. Let's be grateful, and let us live in the Spirit, and let us experience new life today.
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