Thursday in the Sixteenth Week of Ordinary Time

Romans 8:1-4

There Is Therefore Now No Condemnation

Having described the weakness of our condition in and of ourselves, and the endless contradictions we observe in our own behavior which frustrate and humiliate us, Paul now pronounces that word which we need to hear in the midst of our helplessness: “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”  What a word!  What a blessing!  It is precisely what we need to hear.  For when we take stock of our lives, we can only see sin and death; but when we look to Christ Jesus, we see forgiveness and life.  Sin brings condemnation which leads to death—eternal death; Christ brings life—eternal life.

In verse two, Paul returns to the work of the Holy Spirit which he spoke of in 7:6: “For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.”  And how did God do this?  “By sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us.”  We could not fulfill the righteous requirement of the law, and so God sent His Son in our stead to do so.  The “flesh” in which sin was condemned was his flesh, that is, Christ’s, by taking our sins upon himself.  Our sin was condemned in the flesh of Christ as he, a sinless man, took our sin and died as a result of doing so.  We are thus set free from our sin by faith as the Spirit of life had done the prior work of convincing us of our need for Christ’s righteousness, then filled us upon our regeneration, and now abides within us as we walk with him.

I stopped in the middle of verse four: “… 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” (emphasis added).  Paul is not here telling us how Christians should walk but how they do walk.  Those who have been born again of the Spirit walk according to the Spirit.  “But what about chapter seven and our inward contradictions due to indwelling sin?”  Oh, believe me, I know.  But although chapter seven is part of our lives as Christians, it should certainly not be all of our lives as Christians.  The Holy Spirit has set us free; sin shall not have dominion over us (6:14).  The Christian will see old sinful habits fall away and new virtuous habits become, well, habitual.  This is what we should see as we examine ourselves.  It can be a painful process, but remember—“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”  You are under grace not law, and the Spirit of life not death.  So walk according to the Spirit.

Author: The Reformed Baptist

My name is Stephen Taylor, ordained Baptist minister of eighteen years pastoral experience with a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Better than that, I am married to a godly woman, Karla, who has been very patient with me since 1989. I have two daughters, both of whom I homeschooled for extended periods of time, who became godly young women, and who ran off and married godly young men, all of which is very proper. The oldest daughter has even seen fit to bless me with a grandson and a granddaughter, and my youngest daughter with a grandson, all three of whom are bundles of exceeding joy. As you can see, I am quite blessed. This website is dedicated to helping people grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through the gift of writing that the Lord has given to me. It is specifically about helping His people grow in godliness, the theme you see repeated above. I write devotions with this aim and hope that they might be of some help to God’s people. Full disclosure: I am of a Reformed bent, meaning that my understanding of Scripture is primarily informed by the Reformers and their successors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, as a student of church history and theology, I strive to remain true to that teaching handed down once for all unto the saints through every age of the Church. I like to think of myself as a “catholic” Christian, as the Reformers thought of themselves. At any rate, feel free to read, pray, and contact me if you wish, or correct me if need be. As you can see, I tend to follow the church year. Of course, I make no special claims about these devotions. I know very well that others have written better and plumbed the depths of God’s word with greater insight. But if my musings help someone draw closer to the Lord, well then, I have my reward. Blessings to you and may the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to you that word which He knows you especially need to hear. Grace & peace, Stephen Taylor

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