Romans 8 Part 1 (Ian and Zak)
Teachers: Ian & Zak
Nov. 5, 2013
A Whole New Way of Living
Paul talks about a new way of living in Romans 8. Romans 7 is like a cry of pain — “wretched man that I am” is what Paul declares. The chapter is mildly depressing, as Paul is struggling, trying to live up to the law and failing time and time again. The life of failure repeats until he cries out, “wretched man that I am!” in failure.
But Romans 8 is exciting. We always say this is going to be “the best week” of the book. But Romans is great, as it gets more intense as it goes. We climb a scriptural mountain, and now we’re at the apex: This is what Romans is all about. This is one of the best passages in Romans.
Although Romans 7 is depressing, there was some hope.
Romans 7:6 — “But now we have been released from the Law, having died to that by which we were bound, so that we serve in newness of the [a]Spirit and not in oldness of the letter.”
We have been released from the law! If we try to meet the law, we fail. But this says we are released from it, which is a huge comfort for people who all they know is the Old Testament or law-based life. It’s a relief. We face it today as Romans did then. A lto of people address God by “trying to be good” or “perform” and we fail. But we are free from that with a new way to deal with God–grace.
Romans 8:1 — “Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”
There is no condemnation in Christ–none at all. Say you didn’t do your dishes for a couple weeks. Your roommate is annoyed about it and tells you to do your dishes. You say, “I’ll do them in a couple hours, don’t worry.” But then your friend has a pistol in his hand. Most likely, that will freak you out and you’ll do the dishes immediately. But God is not like that! He does not condemn us or point fingers at us when we do wrong.
Romans 8:1 KJV — “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”
The King James translation was written in the 1600s and those transcripts were from around the 6th century. So they used documents they found, but since they were written, we have had archeological discoveries and thousands of biblical texts that pre-date these sixth century texts by hundreds of years. All of the texts do not have that final conclusion in King James–they just say “There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus!” doesn’t say the last part about “spirit.” But it’s comforting to know no matter what we do, think or say, there is nothing we can do that will lead to condemnation if we have a relationship with Christ.
How often are we surprised that we are horrible people? Probably often. Maybe we put expectations on ourselves, fail to meet them and then beat ourselves up. You play through mind games in your head that make you miserable. It happens with job interviews, work, friends or other things that come at us in life. We continue to fail, leading lives of failure.
But why are we surprised? Why are we disgusted? God, himself, who is ultimately just and cannot stand to be in the presence of one tiny sin, yet, if we come to a relationship with Him, he says we are perfect.
Colossians 1:21-22 — “And although you were formerly alienated and hostile in mind, engaged in evil deeds, 22 yet He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach—”
We are blameless and beyond reproach in God’s eyes. There’s never going to be a point in time when God will take this word back. In 33 A.D., Jesus Christ was crucified on the cross. When he died, anyone could have their sins forgiven. Fast forward to today, and most of us were born in ‘80s and ‘90s. Fast forward from when we were born to now, some of us accepted Christ’s death to forgive our sins. How is that possible? Christ died in 33 A.D., most of us accepted Christ in the ‘00s and later!
Christ was able to look forward to today to forgive these sins. So why would Christ not be able to reach forward even now to keep on forgiving us? We might do the dumbest things and say the dumbest things, no doubt we sin constantly, but we are still forgiven because there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
Application? We all have poison in our hearts: Guilt, insecurity, scars. But we can lay that anxiety aside, drop it, because God doesn’t see those scars. He sees us as perfect. We are blameless.
This doesn’t mean there won’t be any change in our lives. The paradigm of grace brings about change.
Romans 8:2-3 — “For the law of the Spirit of life [a]in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. 3 For what the Law could not do, [b]weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of [c]sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh,”
We are set free from the law of sin and death! What the law could not do, God did. We can’t forgive our sins by obeying the laws, but God can. He did it through sending Christ down. Being good and performing leads to failure (Romans 7:24); but the Spirit sets us free so we can have lives of victory. He does this because there’s a requirement that must be met.
Romans 8:4 — “so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.”
Romans 13:10 tells us love does no wrong to a neighbor, so love is fulfillment of the law. This is the requirement that must be met: Love. Chapter 7 tells us this is impossible, but Romans 8 tells us it is possible for those who walk by the spirit. We are new creatures, capable of doing new things we could never do before. We can see change in our lives and improve damaged relationships because of Christ.
So we used to be like deaf, blind and dumb people, flailing our way around in life. But Christ makes us new, different. Instead of being scarred and failing constantly, we can live a life in Spirit where failure isn’t there–we can win! We’ve been losing our entire lives, but walking in the spirit, we can win!
This whole passage is insight to living the Christian life: The excitement of it. For non-Christians, it’s a taste of what it’s like.
Ok, so imagine a roller coaster. We might be scared to try it at first. Hesitant to ride it. But once you give it a shot, you might still be a little scared or pretend you’re scared. But after a while, you find out you love it. And you keep on wanting to ride more and more of them. That’s what walking in the Spirit is like! You want more and more of it.
Romans 8:5-6 — “For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. 6 For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace,”
What kind of words do you notice here? Death, Spirit, Mind, mind set. Let’s focus on mind set. Walking in the Spirit is like a battle in the mind–it’s our minds versus the flesh. Which one will you let win? They collide constantly. You can either have a mind set in the flesh or in the spirit: Who you used to be and who you are now.
Flesh and Spirit are “churchy” words, but a mindset on the flesh is death and a mindset on the spirit is life and peace. They are very different: Death and Peace. We find out here that a mindset on the flesh is like a mindset on yourself: Romans 7, there are a lot of “I’s” and “me’s” — it’s all about Paul, just focused on himself. But A mindset on the spirit is on other people.
Mindset in flesh is, “how am I doing?” “what’s wrong with me?” but a mindset in the spirit is focused on God, others and love.
THis could be revolutionary in your life; epic. It could change how you view others, God, your past (ie: guilt feelings), and how you view the future (whether you have hope or not). It changes everything if you have a mindset on the spirit. Before accepting Christ, we aren’t often able to think outside ourselves and our circumstances. But a mindset on the Spirit teaches us to focus on God, others and think outside our circumstances! It’s revolutionary, and a matter of life and death. Which are we going to choose?
Deuteronomy 30:19 — “ I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. So choose life in order that you may live, you and your [a]descendants,”
It’s telling us to choose life over death so we may live! Hebrews 10 talks about a new way, though, choosing spirit over flesh. But let’s look at the flesh section: What does mind set on the flesh look like?
Romans 8:7-8 — “because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so, 8 and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.”
This is what being in the flesh looks like. We have all been there as Christians: Meditating on how bad we are to relate to God. A lot of us deal with sin this way. We’ll pour out to God how bad we are, and think, “Maybe he’ll do something with us if we confess enough!” But that’s not true.
1 John 1:9 — “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
People misinterpret this passage, thinking they must confess every time they sin. This is a distorted view of it! John is talking to those people to differentiate between believers and heretics. We need to realize there is sin, because the heretics said there isn’t sin, and then when we admit there is sin, we must confess we need forgiveness to get saved! It’s not an every time we sin situation: Think how crazy that could get! If you had to confess to God all your sins every time you sin, you would be confessing every minute almost. If you have a single bad thought, you’d ask for forgiveness again. That contradicts Romans 8:1 — no condemnation in Christ!
Hebrews 10:14 — “For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are [a]sanctified.”
For all time, one offering is for our sin. It’s a one time forgiveness. After you accepted Christ, you can’t or shouldn’t ask him for forgiveness again! Why? Because he already did on the cross! He did that when you received Christ. Now you need to confess to Him, but asking for forgiveness? God already did that! THat’s where our mind is messed up. There is no condemnation in Christ.
Look at your other relationships like friends: Imagine if you had to ask forgiveness from a friend every time you talked. That would get annoying and lacks a lot of trust that your friend is there for you.Why do we relate to God like that, then?! You might cry to God, “I’ve just been so bad!” God is just like, “No! There is no condemnation in Christ! None!” God is personal and wants to relate to us in a loving way, not a negative way.
He doesn’t care about our failure and performance attempts, so let’s think about the Christ-focus. Re-read Romans 8:6.
The mindset of the spirit is life and peace: grace focus. Instead of focusing on failures, you focus on what God has done for you. Imagine your friend returns from a long trip: Will you be negative and sad or worried toward them, or excited? Excited! That’s how God wants us to approach him! We have a way to have a whole new world; a new perspective on life.
Colossians 3:1-2 — “Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 [a]Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.”
Seek what is above and set your mind on things above. This is what spirit focus looks like–focusing on what God has done and not on dumb things like, “I got a C on my paper. Lame, man.” But it’s a focus on the cool, amazing truths God gives us. And instead of focusing on ourselves, we can take joy in Christ and that there is no condemnation in Christ.
Ephesians 2:1,6 — “And you [a]were dead [b]in your trespasses and sins, . . . . and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.”
Before we accept Christ, we are dead. Now, it says we are raised from the dead. THis is our new position, giving us motivation and why we would even want to relate with God or love other people. We have a new identity: We no longer need to be scared, afraid or worried and bogged down by life’s setbacks. The Christ focus is appreciating what God has done for us already.
There are some practical steps to do that. One is by talking to God–that’s prayer. Prayer might seem somber. We tend to get serious and sad when we pray. But really, what prayer is is relating with the God who created you, it’s a life-changing thing and it’s not just going thru the motions. It’s a mystical thing–we are talking to God and we don’t all do it the same way, but it’s to the same God while it’s also practical.
When you pray to God, it’s like you’re holding hands with God and he’s sharing shit with you. It’s not some really boring thing. It’s sharing with the creator of the universe. It’s powerful. When you pray, what happens is that you are getting close to God and he leaves his mark on you.
Prayer isn’t a duty–though we might approach it like that like it’s some hourly job (that’s legalism). We prayed before this teaching and we will pray at the end. It’s easy in our systems to get that way in prayer, become a machine, pull the lever on God. But that’s not what it’s supposed to be! Prayer is bringing God into our world!
Proverbs 3:6 — “In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.”
He wants to transform your life, not by making you some rich person, but a person with a awesome life. Ian said there is no condemnation in Christ. Now, we talk about our two choices: Whether to live with a mindset in the flesh or a mindset in the spirit. The flesh brings death and the spirit brings life. How do we know what we experience? If you do know Christ, just think what you’re thinking about all day. If our heads are on the flesh, you are afraid, timid and worry. So why not live with light in life? God wants to give us lives filled with peace.
Romans 8:9 — “However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him.”
If you don’t know Christ and never asked for Jesus’ death on cross to apply to you, then you don’t know that love or joy. But you can! You can transform your life by asking for that death to apply to you.