The Blessing of Life⸻Page 1 (Lessons on Romans)

by John Lowe
(Woodruff, S.C.)


(25) The Blessing of Life
Romans 8:1–11

1 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.
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, the things of the Spirit.
6 For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.
7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be.
8 So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
9 But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His.
10 And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.
11 But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.


Introduction

The Blessing of Life is the subject of verses 1–11. When God saved you, He gave you a new life, not a new law. As you yield to that life, you obey His law. Keep your mind centered on the things of the Lord and seek to please God in all things.

1 If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God.
2 Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.
3 For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.
4 When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.


Colossians 3:1-4—

In Christ, you have died to the old life and been raised to a new life (Rom. 6:1–14; Eph. 2:1–10), so make the new life the focus of your attention. Set your mind on it; seek to experience all that you have in Christ. Let the Spirit live His life in you.

1 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.

Authorities on the Greek language tell us that this verse reads as follows in the original, “Therefore, now there is not even one bit of condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus.” There is no condemnation from the Law, because Jesus fulfilled the Law. There is no condemnation from our sin, which we inherited through Adam’s sin, because Jesus (the last Adam) brought back everything Adam Lost. He did what the first Adam failed to do. There is no condemnation from any source because we are in Christ Jesus, born of His Spirit, washed in His blood, and hid with Christ with God.

Paul contrasted walking according to the flesh with walking according to the Spirit.

Walking refers to lifestyle, and walking according to the flesh is living according to the sinful, selfish dictates of one’s desires—“Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God” (Gal. 5:19–21).
Walking according to the Spirit describes a life yielded to the control of God’s Spirit—“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law” (Gal. 5:22, 23).

The word condemnation means more than just the opposite of justification; it indicates that we are not going to suffer the penalty for our sin, but that the guilt and the penalty have been removed at the cross. Therefore, for those who are in Christ Jesus (in the body of Christ), we do not live under the constant threat of punishment (punishment that we rightfully deserve) by God. No sin a believer can commit—past, present or future—can be held against him, since Christ paid the penalty, and righteousness was imputed to the believer. In addition, no sin will ever reverse God’s decision.

From the valley of despair and defeat, the apostle now climbs the heights with the triumphant shout; there is 1therefore now

no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus! There are three ways to understand this statement:

First, it may mean that there is no divine condemnation as far as our sin is concerned, because we are in Christ. Now we stand in His grace—“through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God” (Rom. 5:2); and not under His wrath—“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness” (Rom. 1:18). There was condemnation as long as we were without Christ and serving the desires of the flesh. Now we are in Christ, and therefore, are as free from condemnation as He is. Therefore, we can throw out the challenge:
Reach my blest Savior first,
Take Him from God’s esteem;
Prove Jesus bears one spot of sin,
Then tell me I’m unclean.
—W. N. Tomkins

Second, it may also mean that there is no need for the kind of self-condemnation, as Paul described in chapter 7. We may pass through a 2Romans 7 experience, unable to fulfill the law’s requirements by our own effort, but we do not have to stay there.

Third, those in Christ are not condemned, because Christ was condemned in their place; and there is no punishment for them, because Christ took their punishment. Verse 2 explains why there is no condemnation.
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1The word therefore refers back to verse 7:25. "I thank God--through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin." (Romans 7:25; NKJV) "Such then is the unchanging character of these two principles within me. God's holy law is dear to my renewed mind, and has the willing service of my new man; although that corrupt nature which still remains in me listens to the dictates of sin."—Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
2A Romans 7 experience refers to the conflict that goes on within every believer, between the old nature, which opposes the will of God, and the new nature, which wants to do the will of God. When a Christian follows the dictates of his old nature, and does not do what he knows God wants him to do or does what he knows God does not want him to do, he is frustrated and dejected from his failure.

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2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.

This expression is reminiscent of II Corinthians 3:17, “Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.” Even a casual reading of Romans 8 will leave us with the impression that the Spirit of God and the absence of an attitude of defeat go hand in hand. Life in the Spirit enables us to live free from the 3law of sin and death. This does not mean that the believer is free from sin or free from the prospect of death, but that the principle of sin and death does not have dominion over him. It is possible for those for whom there is no condemnation to live a life that is not inundated with sin, a life, which will not end in death.

The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus and the law of sin and death—are two opposite laws or principles. The characteristic principle of the Holy Spirit is to empower believers for holy living. The characteristic principle of indwelling sin is to drag a person down to death. It is like the law of gravity. When you throw a ball into the air, it comes back down because it is heavier than the air it displaces. A living bird is also heavier than the air it displaces, but when you toss it up in the air, it flies away. The law of life in the bird overcomes the law of gravity. Therefore, the Holy Spirit supplies the risen life of the Lord Jesus, making the believer free from the law of sin and death.

the law of sin and death.—is described in Romans 7:14-25. It lies nearby, ready to challenge our every desire to do right. It wages a relentless warfare until it has made a captive out of the person who tries to fulfill God’s Law. It is called the law of sin and death, because sin, as Paul mentioned frequently produces death—“so that as sin reigned in death, even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Rom. 5:21). Paul is referring to the sin of Adam. Through the offense (sin) of Adam the many (that is, all of Adam’s descendants) incurred the penalty of death. The Law of sin and death is the authority that sin had over our old nature, ending with complete severance of fellowship with God. That new nature could not break the shackles at all. Only the coming of a higher authority and power could accomplish this, namely the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit operates upon the new nature, which is vitally joined to the life of Christ. The man in Romans 7, who was joined to the body of the dead, is now joined to the living Christ also.

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