Romans 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath 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 sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:
4 That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
Romans chapter 8 begins with some very good news for a certain segment of society. In our secular world, we are often warned against discrimination. The same people who like to accuse others of discrimination are guilty of the same thing.
God does divide people into groups. We have already been reminded that all are born as lost sinners. All people start out the same. We have also been reminded that the Gospel of Christ is for all people, Jew and Gentile. We have also been reminded that that Gospel of Christ is only applicable in the hearts of those who receive it. A person that rejects the Gospel of Christ cannot be saved. Thus we have this division that is necessary.
Society tells us that all people are generally good and just need a little help to express that goodness. The Bible tells us that no one is born good. In fact the Bible tells us that no one can do anything good until they are saved, and then only when walking in the Spirit.
Salvation is the gift of God. God offers that gift to all people, but again, it is only effective for those who receive it. A person that does not want God’s forgiveness through trusting in the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation, cannot be saved. We must remember that salvation is God’s gift to man. God owns salvation. He sets the terms of salvation. The terms of salvation are the same for all people in all generations.
In Romans 8:1 we are told that there is “now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus”. That speaks of those who are saved, born again, adopted into God’s family. In John 3 we read:
John 3:17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
19 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.
20 For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.
21 But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.
As we have noted, we are born lost. Jesus Christ did not need to come to condemn us. We were already condemned from birth. Jesus Christ came to provide the only way for man to be saved and thus be set free from condemnation. Notice in our text that God defines what it means to be “in Christ”.
To be in Christ is to walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. God makes this clear throughout the Bible. He has shown us this often in the book of Romans already. The true child of God cannot live in sin. The true child of God must learn to walk after the Spirit. The Holy Spirit indwells every true child of God at the moment of salvation. It is then important to learn how to walk in the Spirit.
Walking after the Spirit is not open to man’s opinions. It is defined by God.
It is also important to note that “now” there is no condemnation . . . The saved person is adopted into God’s family at the moment of salvation. He cannot go to hell. He cannot lose his place in God’s family. He has been given the gift of eternal life and that gift is not a temporary gift. The key is to receive that gift.
As we see here again, obedience is not an option for the saved person who wants to be free from condemnation. The saved person must walk in the righteousness of Christ. He cannot make light of sin. He has been changed and his “inner man” desires peace with God.
This is one of the issues that God has been addressing in the book of Romans. The danger we see in our world, is men and women who want to redefine what God’s salvation is. They realize that God is holy and His standard is high. They also realize that without Christ living in the person, it is impossible to meet God’s holy standard. Rather than accepting the need to turn to God in repentance and trusting in the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation, many want to follow the path of Cain, who expected God to accept his corrupted version of truth.
God rejected Cain’s self-effort and He still rejects man’s self-effort today. We need to humble ourselves and accept God’s law as the truth.
In verse 2 we see that the law of the Spirit is life in Christ Jesus. It is Christ Jesus who has made the saved person free from the law of sin and death. That is what Paul discovered when he was saved. That is the message he preached everywhere he went. That is the message the Judaizers hated. They wanted to keep people bound in sin. They wanted to keep people coming to them to see if they met with their approval. The Judaizers had a message of hopelessness. The false teachers today also have a message of hopelessness. They redefine truth and make it into a lie. They either try to get rid of the law of sin, or they redefine sin.
In verse 3 we see again, that the law was never designed to save. The law was weak through the flesh. No human being has ever been able to live by God’s righteous standard, in the flesh. Cain could not meet God’s righteous standard and he did not like it that God held to His righteous standard. The people outside of Noah’s family, could not meet God’s righteous standard and they perished in the flood. They insisted on living in wickedness. They were not interested in Noah’s preaching. They assumed they would be alright. Once Noah and his family and all the chosen animals were inside that ark, and God shut the door, it was too late for all those outside. The waters came from above and from beneath and all those outside perished. They refused God’s way of living.
In verse 3 we see that God sent His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin. It is important to note that Jesus Christ came in the “likeness of sinful flesh”. Jesus Christ had no sin. He did not have a sin nature. He was (and is) the Son of God and He was (and is) the Son of man. He was always without sin and that is why He could shed His blood and die and provide salvation for mankind.
Jesus Christ condemned sin in the flesh. Jesus Christ executed judgment of sin in the flesh. He went to the cross and He died on that cross and shed His blood on that cross, and He destroyed the power of sin by taking sin upon Himself and paying the penalty owed to God. He not only died in our place, but He rose again the third day, proving that sin does not need to rule over the body of those who will trust in Him for their salvation.
In verse 4 we are reminded that the law is righteous. The righteousness of the law will be fulfilled in those who are in Christ Jesus, those who walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit. It is not man that conquers sin. It is Jesus Christ Who provided the only way for man to be delivered from the law of sin. Those who are saved, live according to the righteousness of Jesus Christ.
Galatians 2:20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
The true child of God is dependent upon the work of Jesus Christ to be able to live as required by God. As we see here, the true child of God cannot continue to live as he did prior to salvation. That is contrary to everything that Jesus Christ did for the repentant sinner. The true child of God has been forgiven. He has been given a new nature. He has the power to be called a son of God. He learns to walk in the Spirit. He does not resist that teaching, but His soul and spirit desire that teaching. The Holy Spirit indwelling the true child of God motivates the true child of God to grow in Christ.