There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. 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, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. Rom. 8:1-4 ESV
When we are outside of Christ, and we are one with the world, we are in the flesh, and we walk (live, conduct our lives) according to the flesh, so that we long for, we desire, and we crave what our sinful flesh thirsts for. We do what comes natural to us, which is of our sin nature. We lie, cheat, steal, commit sexual immorality, lust, slander, gossip, murder, and/or hate, etc. This is instinctive to us to do, i.e. it is automatic, because this is what is in our hearts. This is the fruit of the sin nature. We are under the law of sin and death, because the wages of sin is death. The law demands death.
So, God the Father sent his Son Jesus Christ (God the Son) to the earth, to take on human form, to suffer as we suffer, and to be tempted in like manner as we are also tempted, yet without sin. Then, he sent him to die on a cross, although he had done no wrong, but as though he was a criminal. He who knew no sin became sin for us on that cross so that we might become the righteousness of God. He took our punishment for us on that cross so we could be set free of slavery to sin. He died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. In his death he put sin to death, and in his resurrection he conquered death, hell, Satan and sin, on our behalf.
By God’s grace, through God-given faith in Jesus Christ, we can, thus, be delivered from slavery to sin to where it is no longer our instinct, our habit, our impulse; to where it is no longer what we crave, what we long for; to where sin is no longer the automatic thing we do, and that is because we have been given new natures, born from above, of the Spirit of God, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.
This God-given faith is divinely persuaded as to Jesus’ purpose in dying for our sins, of our need to repent of (turn away from) our sins, and of our need to now walk in obedience to Christ and to his Word. This divine persuasion changes our thinking, our attitudes, our view about sin, to where we now desire our Lord and what pleases him. But, we have to walk in that way. Faith is not an emotion or a one-time experience. It is ongoing. It is continuous.
For our sins to truly be behind us, we need to be walking according to the Spirit and no longer according to the flesh. For, we still live in flesh bodies, and we will still be tempted to sin, so this is why we, in the Spirit, have to walk past our lives of sin, and not still dwell in them. We have to leave them behind us. By the Spirit we must be putting to death these deeds of the flesh, and walking (conducting our lives) in the ways of the Lord, and then our habits, our impulses will change, and they will realign with God, his Word and his ways, instead of remaining in the ways of our sinful flesh.
Set the Mind
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 set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. Rom. 8:5-8 ESV
There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. In Christ Jesus means we no longer walk (live our lives) according to the ways of our sinful flesh. By walking past our lives of sin, empowered by the Spirit, our thinking, our minds, our attitudes toward sin have changed. Sin should no longer be what we crave, what our minds are set on, determined to do.
We will be tempted, for sure, but repentance means to change direction, to walk past where we were before, and to not go back to living there. But, it is in the walking that these attitudes and thinking change. Daily we put sin to death and we adopt into our minds and attitudes and hearts the ways of God. Soon, the old habits, the old knee-jerk reactions have changed, and new habits, new ways of thinking and responding have taken hold instead.
So, we don’t live in this sin-confess, sin-confess, sin-confess, confessing the same addictive sin patterns over and over and over again. For now godly patterns have taken hold, and have replaced the sinful addictions, and our hearts are no longer filled up with all of that evil, lust of the flesh, idolatry, etc. Our minds are now set on things above, on what is godly, holy and righteous, because we are yielding our lives over to Christ, walking in his Ways and in his truth, and letting go of (walking past) our old lives, by the Spirit and according to ways of the Spirit of God.
In the Spirit
You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you. Rom. 8:9-11 ESV
In the Spirit means we are walking according to the Spirit, by the Spirit. Not in the flesh means we are no longer living, dwelling in all that filth, but we are walking past it, away from it, empowered by the Spirit. And, we are in the process of moving away from telling lies, cheating, stealing, gossip, sexual immorality, and the like. We are putting those things off, and we are putting on the things of the Spirit. We are putting off lying, and we are telling the truth. We are putting off stealing, and we are working and giving to others, etc. We are in the process of moving away from who we were to becoming like Jesus, in purity and holiness and godliness, by the Spirit.
We are Debtors
So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him. Rom. 8:12-17 ESV
When we live according to the flesh, it means our foundation for our lives is the filth of this world, it is what we stand on, what we live for, what we crave and desire above all else. And, it means our desire, our longing, our yearning is for the things of this world, of this earthy life, and not for God; not for Jesus Christ. We do not yearn for and desire Jesus Christ above everything and everyone else. He is not our Lord (owner-master). We are masters of our own lives, ruled by our sinful flesh, given over to Satan.
We do not submit to Jesus Christ. Our hearts are still filled up with the lusts of the flesh, and so they are still our automatic, our habit. We are not living holy lives separate from this world, while still living in the world. We are not born from above because we are still living below, of the world. So, we cannot please God. Jesus Christ is not the authority over our heads, our minds, our hearts. Our sinful lifestyles are standing in opposition to God and they serve as a barrier between us and God. We are still holding on to the lies, unwilling to yield to the Lord, unwilling to bring our sins into the light.
And, if we remain in that condition, we will die in our sins, no matter what we have professed with our mouths and no matter what we think we have believed in our hearts, if that belief was intellectual only or lip service only but it never became a reality in our lives. For, we never really walked past (away from) living in sin to walking (living) in God’s holiness; to desiring him and yearning after him even as much as we yearned after and desired after the things of this world and fulfilling the lusts of our flesh.
Some people ignore these words here in Romans 8, though, for they think they are too hard, and they believe they don’t fit with their concept of God’s grace. But, they ignore, too, the teachings on God’s grace, for his grace to us, his gift to us, is not just forgiveness of sins, but it is deliverance from our slavery (addiction) to sin. His grace instructs us to say “NO!” to ungodliness and worldly (fleshly) passions (lusts, desires) and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives while we await Christ’s return.
If we want to have the hope of eternal life with God in heaven, then we need to submit to Christ, yield our lives over to him, take our hands off, stop living to please the flesh, and walk (in conduct) according to (in agreement with) the Spirit of God, by the Spirit. We need to yearn for and thirst after our Lord and not after the things of this world. We need to be led by the Spirit, walking in the Spirit, and by the Spirit putting to death the deeds of the flesh, not continuing to wallow in them. In other words, we must die with Christ to sin in order to live with him for eternity.
The Lord’s Prayer
Our Father which art in heaven,
Hallowed be Thy name.
Thy kingdom come,
Thy will be done on earth,
as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
as we forgive our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil:
For Thine is the kingdom,
and the power,
and the glory, forever. Amen.
Sunday, February 18, 2018, 2:46 a.m. – Thank you, Jesus, that you died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness, by the Spirit of God.