Set free to live

“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the life-giving Spirit in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and death (Romans 8:1-2 NET).

No condemnation. Nothing against us. What more encouraging words could there be? As Paul was writing in Romans 7, things seemed hopeless. But that was a life without Jesus. For those who are in Christ, it is an entirely different picture. There is no condemnation. Our sins have been washed away (Paul wrote about this in Romans 6). We have been set free from serving sin and death.

This means we need to live differently. No longer can our lives be centered on “the flesh” but we must live according to the Spirit (Romans 8:5-8). Those whose lives are centered on the physical only have death to look forward to. That is such a bleak outlook! But if our lives are centered on the Spirit then we have real life and real peace. This is what Jesus gives us! I don’t know anyone who isn’t wanting a life with peace. Sadly, many miss it because they are so entangled with living in the world.

If we are Christians, if the Spirit of God lives in us (which we received when we were immersed into Jesus and also received forgiveness – Acts 2:38), we belong to Jesus (Romans 8:9). By being in Jesus we have a new life, a life without condemnation.

“But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is your life because of righteousness. Moreover if the Spirit of the one who raised Jesus from the dead lives in you, the one who raised Christ from the dead will also make your mortal bodies alive through his Spirit who lives in you” (Romans 8:10-11).

We have access to the same power that raised Jesus from the dead! This power gives real life to our bodies because the Spirit now lives in us. And this is as certain as Jesus’ resurrection! That is certainty!

Do we sometimes feel as Paul did in Romans 7, that no matter how hard we try we just can’t seem to get it right? The answer is that although we can’t do it on our own, we now have the power of the Spirit who raised Jesus living in us. We can do it through him who died for us.

Does this mean we will never fail? No, because we will. Does this mean that our bodies won’t get tired and prevent us from doing things? No, because we are still housed in these mortal bodies. But it does mean that as we keep our lives centered on Jesus and living for him, that we will be able to “put to death the deeds of the body” (Romans 8:12-13). We can’t do this on our own power. But we do this by God’s Spirit who now lives in us.

The Spirit living in us is God’s seal of ownership on us as his sons (Romans 8:14-17). In Ephesians 1, Paul spoke of the Spirit being God’s seal and guarantee of our inheritance as sons. We have so much to live for, now that we are no longer under condemnation!

As we live in our physical, mortal bodies, we must not get discouraged. We may suffer physically but if we persevere, we will be glorified with Jesus (Romans 8:17).

“For I consider that our present sufferings cannot even be compared to the glory that will be revealed to us…What then shall we say about these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:18,31).

No matter what we go through, remember the Spirit we have living in us who can give us strength. Nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus!

Readings for next week:
21 August – Romans 3
22 August – Romans 4
23 August – Romans 5-6
24 August – Romans 7
25 August – Romans 8

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Jon Galloway

After graduating from Freed-Hardeman College and teaching school for three years, as well as preaching for small congregations in West Tennessee, Jon & Arlene moved back to her home of Glasgow, Scotland. Since 1985 Jon has been involved in evangelistic work in the Glasgow area, currently serving the congregation in East Kilbride. They have three grown children. Besides writing 'Bible Bytes', Jon is also one of the editors of the "Christian Worker," a news magazine for congregations in the UK, and is a teacher and governor for the British Bible School.

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