The consequences for our spirit (chapter 6) and the consequences for our flesh (chapter 7) give us the eternal security of God’s righteousness.
Welcome to the study of Romans chapter 8. This is a powerful chapter that reconciles what was learned in the previous 2 chapters of Romans. If you have not studied Romans chapter 6 and chapter 7, I recommend you take time to read and study them as it would help fill in the connections when Romans 8 refers back to those chapters. This is a multi-part study and it is one of the most important sections (Romans chapters 6,7, & 8) in the entire New Testament in my opinion.
Romans chapter 8 has been considered the most climactic chapter in Romans which is interesting because it is only halfway through the book of Romans. This is the chapter where Paul pulls everything together that he was teaching earlier in Romans. And it sets up everything that follows. He reconciles the effects of a sinless spirit and a depraved, sinful flesh. He addresses concerns for how our sinful tendencies might impact our eternal future. He answers the doubt for any who might wonder if they are truly saved. He even considers what our death, in the body, says about our relationship with Christ. What does it mean to us that we still have to die physically?
In light of all that Paul covers in this important chapter of scripture, we need to look at a part of a structured outline. Chapter 8 is the final part of the fifth block in this book. This block as a whole (chapters 6,7,8) examines the consequences of our salvation by faith in Christ. What are the consequences for the manner or way God has chosen to save mankind? Chapter 6 addresses the consequences for your spirit. What is different about your spirit because of this faith you now have for the better. And Chapter 7 explained why in this new perfect state in your spirit. Why do you still experience sin in your body? The answer was because you have a sinful, fleshly, dying body. The consequences for your spirit in Chapter 6 and the consequences for your body in chapter 7. Those two conflicting consequences, that you have a perfect spirit and a dying sinful fleshly body united in your experience.
THE CONSEQUENCES FOR THE SPIRIT
THE CONSEQUENCES FOR THE FLESH
THE SECURITY OF GOD’S RIGHTEOUSNESS
Those two conflicting consequences create the potential for confusion and misunderstanding among uninformed believers. First, does the fact that I continue to experience sin following my salvation suggest that I am not truly saved at all? Secondly, how do we tell the difference between an unbeliever playing Christian and a true believer ruled by their sinful flesh? Because the two can look exactly the same. Finally, how do we understand the trials of daily life that come upon us (believers) while living in our present condition? Death, trials, disasters, and tribulations of one kind or another. What do they say about our relationship with Christ? Are they evidence of God’s displeasure with us because our life is suddenly going very badly from our point of view? What are the eternal consequences of this salvation? What security do I have in this salvation? All of these issues revolve around a single concern: our eternal security.
If your flesh was as sinless as your spirit is already, then you would be living in perfect obedience. And if you were living in perfect obedience, you would have absolute confidence in your relationship with Christ. Because there would be no basis on which to doubt you were still in Christ. Moreover, if that were possible, you would also be living in a world without sin in it, where no one else’s disobedience could come against you as the consequence of sin. Therefore, you would have no reason to doubt that God was pleased with you or that your relationship would endure.
One day soon we will live under those conditions. But until then we still live
in a sinful world and we live in a sinful body that corrupts our walk. As a result, at times your confidence in what you have in Christ may be shaken. Because you see other’s sin come against you or your own disobedience and you interpret those things as cracks in the wall of our heavenly security.
So Paul addresses those concerns in chapter 8, that we will call the consequences for our eternal security.
Romans 8:1-4 (NKJV)
Free from Indwelling Sin
8 There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. 3 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, 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.
Paul opens chapter 8 opens with a powerful statement of assurance of our security in Christ. Paul starts with the word “therefore” because he’s applying the truths he taught in the prior chapters. In a sense, chapter 8, verse 1 is kind of the conclusion of Romans.
- As a result of your salvation by grace through faith through Jesus Christ…
- As a result of receiving the righteousness of Christ rather than relying on your own righteousness…
- As a result of possessing a perfect spirit and despite temporarily
inhabiting a sinful body…
- There is now no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus
Notice something about how Paul phrases this. There is a word in there that could be overlooked, but it is so essential in what he is saying. Paul’s emphasis on the word ‘now’. We’re free of condemnation NOW, not only at our coming judgment when that moment is of most importance to us. What will be God’s judgment of us when we stand before Him. Where we will have no condemnation then. But even now you have no condemnation before God. Even now as you continue to experience sin nevertheless you are approved by God. Despite the sin you did yesterday, or today, or what you are planning to do tomorrow, we are not under condemnation. And that raises a question. how can that be true? Well, remember, the eternal you, it is not your body which was covered in chapter 6 and also here in chapter 8.
The sinful body that you have is destined to go to the grave. It will pay for its sin when it is done so. That is the penalty for sin, death, and your body will take on that penalty when it dies. But you are not that body, for that is not the part of you that goes into eternity. You are your spirit, and as what was learned in chapter 6, as you came to Christ, you were born-again in His likeness and your spirit at that point becomes sinless. Made in the image of Christ. Your sinful spirit died as well as it also paid the price, so to speak. But it didn’t do it on its own. It did it in Christ. When Christ died on the cross you were with Him in that death, spiritually speaking. The spirit-side of you has died to sin in Christ. The body that is sinful will die on its own in a day to come. And in that case, death would have taken its toll in both.
So even as you experience sin right now, you have no condemnation. Your spirit is not under condemnation because when it appears before God absent the body that was holding it back, it will have no sin. Paul describes this as the spirit of life in Christ versus the law of sin and death. In verse 2, Paul says that the spirit of life in Christ sets you free from this law of sin and death. The spirit of life in Christ refers to that new spirit you received from Christ at the moment of your faith, that is the spirit of life in Christ. That is what you have. That new spirit is not under condemnation, because Christ already paid the price for your sin on the cross.
Therefore, you have been set free from the law that condemned your sin. And that Law demands death for sin and Christ took that death in our place. So when you received your new spirit through your faith in Christ, you were set free, no longer bound to a law that called for your death. Because you no longer deserve it. So God has no reason to be your enemy now. God always does what He does according to what is right and according to what is just. Think of it this way in a series of actions…When your body dies and you’re set free from it. And all that remains for the moment is your spirit. Your spirit being perfect, cannot be condemned and it is the only part of you that stands before God at your judgment. Your body isn’t there at that point.
Paul explains in his conclusion in verse 3, saying the law couldn’t compel you to live perfectly, which is why it serves to condemn you instead. The Law spelled out what was right, but it couldn’t make your sinful flesh actually do what it asks. You couldn’t conform to its requirements. In fact, as you learned earlier, your sinful nature took pleasure in doing the opposite of whatever that Law said you were supposed to do. Paul says, what the Law couldn’t compel you to do because it had no power to do so. Instead, he says the Father sent Christ to do it for you. He lived that Law perfectly and then He died as payment for your sin
By living according to the Law, Christ’s spirit, His own spirit, He had a perfect spirit because He never sinned from birth to death. By faith, His perfect spirit has been given to us, through a new birth. We now have that spirit. So what is in you now? You have the spirit that kept the Law perfectly. Christ did it and gave it to you. But you have that spirit, birthed in Christ nature descended from him, if you will, you have credit in that sense for what He did. Because you have the spirit He had. And He kept free from sin His whole existence, in His body as He lived on the Earth. So His death paid the price for your sins freeing you from condemnation and His new spirit in you puts you in the state of righteousness that is set positional before God. You have a perfect spirit. And that is going to be judged as such before God.
So in verse 4, Paul says by receiving Christ’s spirit, the requirements of the Law has been fulfilled in you. In other words, when the Father looks down from heaven at you right now, what does He see? First, let’s say He sees your sinful deeds done in the body you still possess. But those deeds are the result of your flesh that you learned in chapter 7, they are not the result of your spirit. But one day your body will go to the grave, which is it’s just penalty for its sin. But our body is not eternal, it is not “us” because it’s not the part of us that will pass over into the next age, only the spirit does that. The eternal part of us is our spirit. So when the Father looks from heaven and sees your body, He sees the sin of it, but He also knows He will never have to see it in person. That is to say, it’s never going to be brought into His presence. So when the Father looks at your spirit what is He going to see? All He sees is Christ’s perfect spirit. Your spirit does not sin and therefore, there is no condemnation for anyone who is in Christ Jesus. Our spirit is the only part of us that carries on into the presence of the Lord
“The author’s biblical interpretations and conclusions presented in this document rely on original teaching used by permission of Verse By Verse Ministry International (VBVMI). The author’s views may not represent the views of VBVMI, it’s Directors or staff. Original VBVMI teaching may be found at http://www.vbvmi.org.”
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