Cheney United Methodist Church
Monday, January 22, 2018
Making Disciples of Jesus Christ for the Transformation of the World

November 5, 2017

11-5-17
Romans 8:1-17.
“Life In The Spirit!” 
There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life has
set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. 3 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, 4 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. 5 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. 6 For to set the mind
on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. 7 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. 8 Those who are in the flesh cannot please
God.
 
9 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. 10 But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because
of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11 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.
 
12 So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. 13 For if you live according to
the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. 14 For all who are
led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. 15 For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but
you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” 16 The Spirit himself bears
witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs
with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.
 
Imagine with me, a huge courtroom scene, The Judge is the Lord, God Almighty. Satan stands as the
Accuser, the archangel Gabriel, announces: “Next case! You are brought to stand before the bench. Satan
turns and points a finger at you, and says “You are a sinner and your soul belongs to me.” Jesus is standing
there he takes your hand to steady you and reassure you. Then He says, “Father, this one belongs to
me.” God the Father, then says, “Satan, why are you wasting our time, you have no claim here. Your
accusations are meaningless. Case dismissed!”
 
I hope that Romans 8 is a familiar chapter that you visit often; if it's not I hope it will be. There are two themes
in Romans 8, First, I would mention: “Life in the Spirit, the Second theme is the absolute security of the
Children of God. Two very important subjects.
 
I want to share a little background on Romans. Romans was written in the winter of 57 or 58 A.D. while Paul
was at Corinth. Romans is the best explanation and presentation of the Gospel's saving power in all of the
New Testament. And chapter 8 is the most memorable and significant. The chapter can be divided into three
sections. The first section is about God's indwelling Holy Spirit, who liberates, sanctifies and leads us to the
final resurrection of God's children (1-17). Section two deals with the future glory of God’s children (18-27).
The third section is about the steadfast love and completeness of God's care for his children (28-39).
 
For today I want to cover the main ideas of section one. I want to be sure you hear this: The Christian life is
essentially life in the Spirit, that is to say a life animated, sustained, directed and enriched by the Holy
Spirit.
 
Now let's look at verse one, it begins with “Therefore.” Whenever Paul starts a new chapter or paragraph with
‘therefore,’ it begs the inquisitive question: “What does it refer back to?” Something in chapter 7? I believe that
it goes back as far as chapters 3, 4 and 5 as Paul explains the means of our salvation--through faith in
Jesus Christ. Romans 3:23, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and all are
justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.” (NIV) Then as another
example, I lift up chapter 5 verse 8f, “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were
still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall
we be saved from God’s wrath through him!” (NIV) One more, Romans 6: 23, “For the wages of sin is
death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

The First Blessing of Salvation is expressed in the words, “no condemnation,” which means that we are
justified. Go back to Romans 5:1, which says it in the positive: “Therefore, since we have been justified by
faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” “No condemnation” has a negative
sound to it. No one can condemn you--because your sin was condemned in Christ on the cross. Jesus died in
your place, to spare you the agony, the guilt and the shame. Paul proclaiming that there is no condemnation,
is part of the absolute security of the Children of God. So, I need to ask you, are you included as a Child of
God? Do you have absolute security about your salvation and eternal destiny? Can you say without hesitation
that you know you are going to heaven? Have you resolved the question of what to do about Jesus?
 
Listen and think about these words, you have been saved, born again, all your sins have been forgiven, you
have been sealed by God, baptized with the Holy Spirit, adopted into the family of God, the Holy Spirit lives
inside you, we are joint heirs with Jesus. Does that sound like there should be any doubt that God loves you
and wants you to spend eternity in heaven with Him? We have no condemnation, and nothing can separate us
from God’s love! In Romans 8:33 we are told again that we are justified--meaning saved, and no one can
accuse us, “Who shall bring any charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies.”
 
The Second Blessing of Salvation is found in verses 2-4. Because through Christ Jesus the law of the
Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death. So, a certain liberation joins the no condemnation
as two great blessings which are ours if we are in Christ Jesus. We have been set free from the law of sin and
death. To be liberated-- is to be out from under the Law, the Torah. We are not to look for the Law to be able
to justify us or sanctify us. Justification relates to our salvation, sanctification relates to being transformed and
becoming holy, or becoming more like Jesus.
 
Our liberation Paul says is from the Law of the spirit of life. Let me explain, the Old Testament Law became a
weight and a burden, an obstacle no one could overcome. The law leads to sin and death; the law was
intended to show us our need for a Savior.
 
There is a lot to say about the Spirit and the Law. Let me elaborate, God has done what the Law, weakened
by the flesh, could not do. The Law was weakened because in the flesh--we were disobedient and broke the
Law. God sent his Son--in likeness of the flesh, Paul uses this expression to indicate that Jesus is fully
human but not corrupted or influenced by original sin. He lived a sinless life--so that he could be the perfect
sacrifice--all our sin was condemned in Him. The penalty for breaking the law was satisfied!
 
The Law was justified by what Jesus accomplished on the cross. I am now in verse 4, “that the righteous
requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the
Spirit.” In the flesh we didn't have the resolve or the power to keep the moral law. But in the power of the Holy
Spirit we can; so, God's law accomplished what it was intended for!
 
Therefore, Paul sees in the Law both our justification by what Jesus did for us; and our sanctification by what
the Holy Spirit will do in us. [Isn't God Awesome] The moral law is not done away with--it is fulfilled in us.
When the Holy Spirit comes to dwell in you, He writes the Law on your heart. So, let me be clear, we are not
under the law, Jesus fulfilled or justified the law, but we are under grace. However, our pursuit of
holiness consists of following the Law. Our sanctification is a day by day becoming more like Jesus; Christ
likeness is fulfilling the righteousness of the law.
 
Verses 5 - 8, is where we live, so to speak. Paul presents a contrast between life in the flesh--meaning the
fallen human nature over against life in the dynamic power of the Holy Spirit. Paul emphasizes that life in the
flesh leads to death. Let me illustrate how that could be: take a neutral desire, neither good or bad, like wanting
a promotion. The world says, get it at any cost, the Spirit would say, remain humble and keep your
integrity. You are seeking a promotion in worldly ambition you take credit for someone else's work, or you
demand more of your subordinates just to make yourself look better and the side effect is it makes them
miserable. Instead of affirming people and giving relationships stability and life, in your zeal for the promotion
your actions were demeaning, manipulative and destructive. Besides stepping on toes, the behavior created
mistrust between the co-workers and killed the atmosphere of the work environment. Life in the flesh is
detrimental, in the present and death in the future.

In John’s Gospel we are told God is spirit and we are to worship in spirit and in truth. When our desire is to
glorify God --you can do that in the way you approach your work, or how you love your spouse, care for your
children, treat your neighbor, study for school and live each day of your life. The more you desire the mind of
the Spirit--the more meaningful and fulfilled your life will be. When Jesus said, “He came that we might have
life and live it more abundantly.” He was talking about life in the Spirit. This doesn't happen all at once, you
grow into it!
 
Verses 9 - 11 are very intriguing. In verse 9 we are told that the convincing proof that you have been saved
is the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit. If you don't have the Holy Spirit then you don't belong to Christ.
As Christians we understand that our bodies are mortal due to Adam’s sin; and our spirit is eternal because of
righteousness. The ultimate destiny of our bodies is not death but resurrection. Our bodies have not yet been
redeemed, but we will be resurrected by the same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead--so our resurrection
will be like His. [This is promised by God]
 
Let me close with a quick look at verses 14 - 17, these four verses describe four privileges of the Children of
God. Verse 14, our privilege is that we are led by the Spirit; the permeating influence of the Holy Spirit moves
you closer to holiness. Verse 15, describes our liberation from fear. Next, as the sons and daughters adopted
into the family, now in this relationship in our prayers we can be intimate with God and call Him, “Abba, Daddy,
or papa! This is a special and growing relationship that is dynamic, exciting, wonderful as you begin to grasp
more of God's steadfast love for you! Finally, verse 17, we are given a special glory because we are heirs
with Jesus--we will inherit heaven and eternal glory.
 
Our God is awesome! What He has done for you and what He is accomplishing in you is something
amazing! We have profound Good News to share. As Children of God our future is secure and God wants our
lives to be blessed! May you be blessed and filled with the Holy Spirit!