No Condemnation

No Condemnation

Audio:

Introduction

Over the past few weeks we have been studying in Romans 5-8 with a focus on grace. Because of Grace… 

*We can have full assurance of our salvation. 

*We can be alive to God and dead to sin.

*We no longer live under the dominion of sin.

*We have been rescued from the war with sin in our lives.

Romans 8 is a high point not only of the book of Romans but of the Bible.  

John Stott wrote,  “Romans 8 is without a doubt one of the best-known, best-loved chapters of the Bible.” Clifton J. Allen wrote “Romans 8 is one of the most majestic and inspiring of all the peaks of divine revelation.” 

As a result of the work of Grace in our lives, we no longer live under condemnation. We have experienced the Grace Escape, and that is the best news for sinners like us. Romans 8 begins with an unbelievable promise! Because of grace we no longer live under condemnation. Within the good news of the first part of this chapter we have…

1. God’s Unbelievable Promise (Romans 8:1-4)

Romans 8:1-4 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus…

How believable is it that we live with no condemnation? Our conscience condemns us. The judgment of other believers condemns us. The judgment of the world condemns us. 

The promise of God here is freedom from bondage of sin. Free from the law of sin and death (Romans 8:2because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. ).

Free from the sin of the flesh because of Jesus (Romans 8:3For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh,  God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in the flesh, 

Free to live according to the Spirit (Romans 8:4 in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.).

“In spite of the fact that the Christian is in a continuing struggle with the law of sin and in his members, there is no verdict of condemnation against him. There is no charge, no indictment, no judgment, no penalty – because he is ‘in Christ Jesus.'”  (Allen)

 “It is difficult to believe this good news, but it is not impossible to believe it. To believe it is to reorient one’s life toward a power greater than oneself.” (Greenhaw)

The Grace Escape from condemnation is not in our own power or goodness or strength, but in reliance on the power of Jesus Christ. The Grace of God changes the bad news of damnation into ‘no condemnation’ for those who follow Christ.

AMP: No guilty verdict, no punishment.

This is why the Gospel is “Good News”.

2. God’s Unbeatable Force: The Holy Spirit (Romans 8:5-9)

When we follow the path of the Spirit we have an unquestionable victory. The operative word in this section is “Spirit”. It appears eleven times. 

“It is what Jesus’ followers receive when they are baptized into Jesus’ death and resurrected through the waters of baptism. The Spirit dwells in those baptized in Jesus’ name and keeps their minds on the things of God and life, rather than the ways of death.”  (Pogue)

“When people come to faith in Christ, they are immediately indwell by the Holy spirit. …This is the basis of the believer’s assurance.” (Osborne)

The Spirit-Led Life:

Set Your Mind on Spiritual Things. 

Roman 8:5 Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. 

 “…Concentrate their attention on, and specialize in, whatever is dear to the Spirit.” (Hendriksen via Osborne)

Stott: It is a question of what preoccupies us, the ambitions which drive us, the concerns which engross us, how we spend our time and energies, what we concentrate on and give ourselves up to.

Find Life and Peace when Governed by the Spirit 

Romans 8:6 The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. 

Peace with God, neighbors, within.

AMP: the spiritual well-being that comes from walking with God—both now and forever.

CEB: the attitude that comes from the Spirit leads to life and peace.

Enabled to Submit to God 

Romans 8:7 The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so.

Are you hostile or submissive to God? Hostility: “…a fierce, active enmity toward all that God is and stands for. The entire mindset is directed against the things of God…” (Osborne)

Do we reject God’s will or embrace it?

Enabled to please God 

Romans 8:8 Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God.

Outside of Christ we cannot please God. After all that God has done for us through His grace, are we centered on pleasing him? 

You are able because Spirit enables you

Romans 8:9 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. 

“…Victory is only assured when the Spirit of Christ is in us and we yield to his presence.” (Osborne)

Conclusion

God has given an unbelievable promise: No Condemnation.

God Empowered us w/ an unbeatable force: The Holy Spirit

This addresses our ultimate question: our eternity. We recognize our bodies are wearing down. Because of Christ we have the promise of life after this life ends.

Romans 8:10-11 But if Christ is in you, then even though your body is subject to death because of sin, the Spirit gives life[d] 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[e] his Spirit who lives in you.

 “Because of his Spirit who lives in you.” 

There is “no condemnation” – not because we are perfect, or that we never struggle with sin –but because we live the Spirit-Led life: controlled by God’s spirit.


Resources:

Clifton J. Allen in Moser, The Gist of Romans

Blair Alison Pogue, Feasting on the Word, Year A, Vol. 3, p 235.

David Greenhaw, Feasting on the Word, Year A, Vol. 3, p 232.

Grant Osborne, Romans: The IVP New Testament Commentary Series, p. 192-202.

John Stott, Romans: God’s Good News for the World, p. 227.

Other Quotes

Ask any alcoholic about the power of death, and if he or she can speak truth, the words will be about the living death they know. Ask any parent of a child who is dying from a devastating disease, and you will hear of the power of death to break a heart even before the child’s body gives up. However, events per is not enough when compared to the power of ‘the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead’. – David Greenhaw, Feasting on the Word, Year A, Vol. 3, p 232.

We are powerless over sin, which will inevitably lead us to death; but in the Spirit we have the possibility of life. Sin is still a daily possibility; God has not eliminated it from this world once and for all – not yet. However, a life of righteousness is also a possibility now, because of the Spirit’s power. As long as our minds are “on the flesh,” sin will drive us; but if our minds are set on the Spirit – our will and our lives are in God – then life is not only  possibility, but a promise. – Karen Chakoian, Feasting on the Word, Year A, Vol. 3, p 235.

“…Resurrection includes transformation, the raising and changing of our body into a new and glorious vehicle of our personality, and its liberation from all frailty, disease, pain, decay and death.” – Grant Osborne

RESCUE

RESCUED BY GRACE                   Romans 7:15-25

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We should always consider what Jesus did at the cross an amazing heroic rescue effort – because none of us will be able to overcome our sin problem on our own. This has been at the heart of our study through Romans 5-8. In the past few weeks we have focused on:

*The Assurance we have because of grace.

*How we are Alive to God and dead to sin thru grace.

*Sin no longer has dominion over us because of grace.

If that were the end of the story in Romans, we would be left with a gigantic question: So why do I still struggle with sin? Why would we ask Paul? Isn’t he one who has overcome sin in his life and become a super star of the faith? He doesn’t struggle with sin, does he? If you read Paul  you would never think that!  He rehearses often the failings of his past and confesses his ongoing struggles. In this text is one of the most startling admissions in Scripture …. vulnerable and readily able to share his faith struggles in light of the grace of God. It is so transparent and uncomfortable that many believe this is Paul describing his spiritual life before he became a Christian. We know that Apostle Paul had to be rescued from his sin, but did he continue to depend on the rescuing grace of Jesus?

1. Four Images of the Fight against Sin (7:15)

Romans 7:15 I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.

*Wrestling With the Flesh.

When we became Christians we did not cease to struggle with the flesh – it may even have intensified. 

Deffenbaugh: Before our salvation, we were never in opposition with sin. … As a result of faith in Christ, our animosity toward God ended and a new animosity—toward sin—began. 

Whenever strong temptations come, you understand this wrestling between what we want to do and what we actually do.

*The Unwelcome Guest 

Romans 7:16-20 And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.  For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.

I think Paul is painting a picture of an unwelcome guest in our hearts. God has expressed His will for our lives and at that very moment we begin to resist. This unwelcome guest is as real as the serpent in the garden who keeps whispering for us to trust Him instead of God.

*The War 

Romans 7:21-23 So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me.

The law of God and the law of sin at war within us. Using that warfare terminology tells us how powerful a force this really is.

1 Peter 2:11 Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul.

Each of these images presents a reality of the fight against sin and temptation. We are wrestling with our own conscience. We are drawn away from God’s will by our desires. We are battling a strong opponent. One more image…

Rescue: The Need for Rescue 

Romans 7:24 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death?

2. Why We Need to Sit With This For a While

Let us not hurry to the answer – we all know that the answer is Jesus.

Romans 7:25 Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!

We should spend some time here.

“We’re more concerned about our own “victory” over sin than we are about the fact that our sins grieve God’s heart.”  Jerry Bridges

Deffenbaugh: The problem with many Christians is not their despair, like that of Paul, but their lack of it.

Why we Should Contemplate our Struggle With Sin

We need to identify the struggles. Yes, we all sin. What’s yours? If you don’t know, then how are you going to face up to it? How are you going to avoid being deceived into following it? 

“One reason sin flourishes is that it is treated like a cream puff instead of a rattlesnake.” Billy Sunday

We need to lament the pain of our sin. Sin is a catastrophic part of our life that causes great pain to God and destruction in our own lives.

“Before we can begin to see the cross as something done for us, we have to see it as something done by us.”  John  R.W. Stott

We need to think about Jesus and His response to our sin.

“The cross solved our problem by first revealing our real problem, our universal pattern of scapegoating and sacrificing others. The cross exposes forever the scene of our crime.” Richard Rohr

How do we help and encourage others if we have glossed over our own failures? How do we give hope to the world until we have experienced hope?

Conclusion: So today we do not proceed onward to the answer.  We know it, but don’t rush to it. Trust in God to be the victor in your life. 

Psalm 145:14 The LORD upholds all who are falling, and raises up all who are bowed down.

Matthew 11:28-30  “Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

Resources

Bob Deffenbaugh’s sermon The War Within 

Here are a few quotes that were significant, but didn’t make it into the final sermon notes:

If coming to the end of ourselves is essential to turning to God for our deliverance, then many Christians will never turn to God for victory over sin because they do not recognize their true condition or take it seriously enough. It was the self-righteous scribes and Pharisees who did not come to Jesus for forgiveness simply because they did not think they needed it. It is the “smooth-sailing saints” who do not come to the cross for deliverance from the power of sin in their lives because they do not agonize over their condition as Paul did. My concern is that I lack the kind of agony that Paul has. I lack the kind of intensity that Paul has. (Deffenbaugh)

“The gospel is this: We are more sinful and flawed in ourselves than we ever dared believe, yet at the very same time we are more loved and accepted in Jesus Christ than we ever dared hope.”  Timothy J. Keller

Indeed the safest road to Hell is the gradual one-the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts.”  C.S. Lewis

“If my sinfulness appears to me in any way smaller or less detestable in comparison with the sins of others, I am still not recognizing my sinfulness at all.” Dietrich Bonhoeffer

DOMINION

DOMINION        Romans 6:12-23

Audio

 

Introduction 

Near July the 4th we celebrate our independence from other nations, the price that was paid so we could worship without hindrance, and the opportunities we have as people blessed with so many freedoms. We thank God for this!

Christ came to set all people free from a bondage so powerful they had no way to escape under their own power.

Luke 4:18 “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free.”

Romans 6:7,11 In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.  … We should no longer be slaves to sin – because anyone who has died has been set free from sin.”

I wonder how many people feel that they are set free from sin… Do we feel that we remain under the dominion of sin … imprisoned … unable to escape?  Wilkerson:  I wonder how many … right now have been hiding a secret, life-controlling sin. God knows and sees every act – every lust, every indulgence, every hidden, secret thing!. Grace is the power of God to dislodge the dominion of sin in our hearts and set us free to love and serve Him!

How can we set the power of Grace free in our own lives to give us the freedom from the dominion of sin that Christ came to bring?

1. GRACE IS SET IN MOTION BY A CHOICE!

Have you accepted God’s grace by having faith in the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ? In Romans 6:1-10 Paul describes how we are baptized into the death of Christ so we can have the new life in Christ.

Grace is set in motion by choice.

Therefore do not let … (Romans 6:12)

NRSV do not let sin exercise dominion in your mortal bodies, to make you obey their passions.

Until grace is set in motion in our lives we are powerless to escape the dominion of sin.

2. GRACE IS ALERT TO THE WORK OF THE ENEMY

The power / influence of the Enemy is overwhelming. Look around in the world and see the work of evil by those who have allowed sin to exercise dominion. It can also be subtle… we all know from personal experience how sin can become a part of our thinking when our guard is down. Falling back into sins of the past, failure to believe God’s grace is sufficient for you, becoming judgmental of others, harboring secret sin.

Romans 6:13a Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness.

CEB:  Don’t offer parts of your body to sin, to be used as weapons to do wrong.

Be alert that the Enemy desires to use sin as a weapon against you and against others. 

3. GRACE IS A DAILY FOCUS ON GOD

Dislodging the Dominion of Sin is a Daily Effort. Find ways to continually remind yourself of God’s presence and power in your life. Every day ask, How can I be used by God today for His purposes? Offer yourself to God.

Romans 6:13b-14 … offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness.14 For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace.

 Romans 6:13b AMP  But offer yourselves to God [in a decisive act] as those alive [raised] from the dead [to a new life], and your members [all of your abilities—sanctified, set apart] as instruments of righteousness [yielded] to God.

Romans 6:14 NRSV For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace. 

When we aRe conscious of Grace and allow God to rule, sin is dislodged from any authority in our lives. Freedom from the dominion of sin is not accomplished by us, nor dislodged by us, but we trust the power of grace to be at work.

4. GRACE EMPOWERS THE PRESENT OVER THE PAST (Romans 6:17-18, 22)

Four times in this passage Paul refers to the past …What we used to be…

Romans 6:17a you used to be slaves to sin

Romans 6:19b  you used to offer yourselves as slaves to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness…

Romans 6:20 When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the control of righteousness.

Romans 6:21 What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of? Those things result in death!

“If you are renewed by grace, and were to meet your old self, I am sure you would be very anxious to get out of his company.” Spurgeon

Good news: No matter what the past might be, the present is empowered because of Grace!

Romans 6:22 But now that you have been set free from sin and become slaves to God, you have the consequence of a holy life, and the outcome is eternal life.

The goal of the grace-empowered life is holiness – growing to be more like God daily.  (vs 19b …leading to holiness.)

We don’t overcome the past by trying to live it down, we embrace the presence by living it up … eyes up to our Father! Where sin abounds Grace abounds all the more! Whatever setbacks we face, they are not the final story.

Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Conclusion

Paul is in the middle of a discourse and this is not the end of his thoughts – he is still going to write more about his own struggle with sin in the next chapter. But in this section is the affirmation that dominion of sin is broken by grace. If we are not experiencing the freedom of grace are we choosing instead to give our lives to the dominion of sin? Are we allowing sin to dominate our lives because we are not giving space to prayer, Scripture, and fellowship? Are we still trying to win this battle by sheer willpower?

Ephesians 3:12 In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence.

Let’s approach God with freedom and confidence and ask Him to empower grace in our lives to dislodge the dominion of sin.

 

 

Resources

Sermon by Wilkerson: Sin Shall Not Have Dominion Over You!

 

Alive in Christ

ALIVE TO GOD  Romans 6:1-11

Audio:

Introduction

The Christian life is one that is Alive to God, Dead to Sin and growing in awareness of God’s presence and deliverance. Even so, many feel detached from God and that sin has grown in power over us instead of diminished. The truth is that a commitment to Jesus changes everything and if we can recognize that truth we can see how it impacts every aspect of our lives. Living a life that is Alive to God is  the best life we could ever hope to have will be one in which Christ is at the center and everything else revolves around Him.  

The book of Romans is a expertly crafted document by a brilliant Jewish Christian missionary to the Gentiles about how to live a life in the power of God’s grace.

The Gospel has the power to save all people.

Romans 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.

All people need to be saved because all sin.

Romans 3:22-23 There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.

Every person can be assured that God desires to save us.

Romans 5:8  But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

How did Sin come to be so powerful and how can we know that we are Alive in Christ?

1. The Beginning of Our Sin Problem

When Adam sinned in the garden, the fall of all creation was set into motion. The consequences were not just on the humans, but also the earth.

Romans 5:12 “Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned…”

The work of Christ on this earth was to remove the curse of death and bring new life both here and forever.

Romans 5:18 “Consequently, just as one trespass resulted in condemnation for all people, so also one righteous act resulted in justification and life for all people.”

There was still the issue of sin because in the fallen imperfection of humans the struggle continues.

Romans 5:20-21  “…But where sin increased, grace increased all the more, so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

Where sin increases, grace increases … which helps us to understand the question in 6:1 “Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase?” Paul’s passionate answer: By No Means!

2. Becoming Dead to Sin

Every verse in 6:1-11 has a reference to death or having died to sin.

Romans 6:11 “…Count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.”; Other translations: “consider yourselves”

What does it mean to be “Dead to Sin”?

* It is the perspective of the person who has given their life to Christ

Romans 6:3-4 Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.

Spurgeon: That is the very hinge of our religion. His death, not into his example merely, nor primarily into his life, but “into his death.” In this we have believed — with a dying Saviour we are linked, and our baptism sets this forth. We “were baptized into his death.”

Barclay: The man died to one kind of life and rose to another; he died to the old life of sin and rose to the new life of grace.

*It is the perspective of the person who has left behind an old life that was enslaved to sin.

Romans 6:5-7 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his. For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin— because anyone who has died has been set free from sin.

Barclay: We cannot live our physical life unless we are in the air and the air is in us; unless we are in Christ, and Christ is in us, we cannot live the life of God.

*It is the perspective of the person who has an eternal outlook

Romans 6:8-10 Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God.

*It is a perspective of how we see ourselves

Romans 6:11 In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.

3. Christians Are Alive to God!

Life that God gives is not embroiled in sin (Romans 6:2). Grace solves the problem we cannot solve.

The Christian may sin, but he is not under the dominion of sin. His will is not caught up in sin patterns. He is under the dominion of the Lord, to whom he has surrendered himself.  (Anderson)

“So this beautiful picture of what is happening in our baptism in Romans 6 is not written to convince non- Christians they should be baptized. It is written to convince Christians not to fall back into sin.” – Matt Dabbs 

Life that is new (Romans 6:4) In what ways is it new?

Lynn Anderson: What the new life is not:

– Just a figure of speech – it is a spiritual reality

– Not escape from pain and struggle

– Not a perpetual ‘high’ – our relationship with God is not based on our emotional ups and downs.

It is a resurrected life (6:5). “We fell in step with him and life with his direction and purpose took on vitality. We, then, are no longer lost and alone, but are headed somewhere in fellowship with him. (Anderson)

It is a Christ-like life (6:8-9).

We have life that is not afraid of physical death. This new life is not afraid of anything! “If the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens” (2 Cor. 5:11). (Anderson)

It is a God-honoring life (6:10).

It is a God-focused life (6:11).

Conclusion

The Christian life is one that is Alive to God, Dead to Sin and growing in awareness of God’s presence and deliverance. We never need to feel detached from God or that sin has the power over us. We are alive to God, and Dead to sin through the resurrection power of Jesus Christ. Make every effort to keep Him at the center of your life!

New Life! It is life with Jesus, life with Jehovah, life that is not under the dominion of sin, life that lives after death dies, because it is the life of God. (Anderson)

___________________

References

What is Romans 6 Really About? Matt Dabbs

Anderson, Lynn. “New Life.” Restoration Quarterly 22, no. 1-2 (1979): 31-35.