In Christ Jesus
Romans 8:1-4 NASB
Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.
This is wonderful news! By God’s grace, through genuine faith in Jesus Christ, we can be pardoned our sin, have Jesus’ righteousness credited to our accounts, be delivered from our slavery to sin, and the condemnation of sin, walk in Christ’s righteousness, and have eternal life with God. Amen!
But, we must be careful that we don’t cheapen God’s grace and reduce it to something it is not so that we can assure ourselves of the hope of eternal life with God absent of death to sin and living to righteousness. For scripture makes it abundantly clear that genuine faith in Jesus Christ results in walking (in lifestyle) according to the Spirit and no longer according to the flesh. It does not say we will never sin again, but that sin should no longer be what rules our lives, but we should now be being led by the Spirit of God.
Of the Spirit
Romans 8:5-8 NASB
For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so, and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
When we believe in Jesus Christ with God-given faith, which is divinely persuaded as to God’s will and purposes for our lives, we will submit to our Lord, desire to follow him and his will for our lives, and we will yield to the control of the Holy Spirit in the renewing of our minds and the transformation of our hearts away from sin and flesh to righteousness and Holy Spirit power.
We may not do this perfectly, as our salvation, as well as the Christian life, is a process of sanctification – always growing, learning, changing, submitting, and obeying, but we should always be in process. We should always be moving in a forward direction, listening to our Lord, following his lead, submitting to his purposes, and confessing and repenting of any known sin in our lives.
If we say we believe in Jesus Christ, but our lifestyles give evidence that our minds and hearts are still set on the ways of this sinful world, then we are still walking in darkness, and not in the Light of Christ. Again, this is not to say that we instantaneously become perfect and that we never sin again, but that if we are in Christ Jesus, by genuine faith in him, our lifestyles should bear evidence that a heart transformation of the Spirit of God actually took place and that our desire is now for him and for his will.
There are so many people these days who are teaching a diluted gospel message absent of death to sin and living to righteousness, which requires no submission, no repentance and no obedience to Christ, and which gives people a false hope of salvation from sin. So, we must guard our hearts against such teaching. The Bible says that if we walk, in lifestyle, according to the flesh, following after what our flesh desires, that we will die in our sins, not have eternal life with God in heaven.
Romans 8:9-11 NASB
However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him. If Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, yet the spirit is alive because of righteousness. But 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.
There are all kinds of “IF” verses in the New Testament of the Bible, and we would all do well to take note of them. Although, as genuine believers in Jesus Christ, we can have the hope of eternal life with God, it is not guaranteed to everyone who professes faith in Jesus Christ. One day we will all have to stand before God, and some people will hear, “Depart from me, I never knew you,” because what they mouthed were empty words of faith in Christ, but that lacked true submission to God.
So, if our faith in Christ Jesus is genuine faith, it will result in life change away from sin and to walks of faith in our Lord.
Romans 8:12-17 NASB
So then, brethren, we are under obligation, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh— for if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.
As believers in Jesus Christ, and thus, his followers, we are under obligation to no longer live our lives according to the flesh, but to now live them according to the Spirit, in submission to Christ and to God’s will for our lives. This is our duty. For, Jesus is now our Lord, our owner-master, for he bought us back for God with his blood shed on the cross for our sins, so that we would now honor God with our lives. Our lives are no longer our own to be lived however we want, continuing on in living to please our flesh.
We must understand here that if we continue to live according to the flesh, to please our flesh, and to do what our sinful flesh desires, that it will result in death, not in life, even if we have made a profession of Christ as Savior of our lives. This is not legalism. It is not a returning to being under the law, for no one was ever saved by keeping the law, for no one could do it perfectly. We are all saved by faith, but genuine faith is proved genuine by submission to our Lord, and by walking according to the Spirit and no longer according to our flesh.
Daily, by the Spirit, we must be putting to death the deeds of the flesh. If we want to be numbered among the children of God, then we must be being led by the Spirit of God, meaning we must be ones who are following the Spirit’s lead. Again, not to say we will live in absolute sinless perfection, but that lack of perfection should never be justification for willful and continued sin against God, i.e. in daily practice. Daily we must deny self and take up our cross and follow Christ. This is what the Christian life is all about.
Oh, to Be Like Thee, Blessed Redeemer
Thomas O. Chisholm / W. J. Kirkpatrick
Oh, to be like Thee! blessèd Redeemer,
This is my constant longing and prayer;
Gladly I’ll forfeit all of earth’s treasures,
Jesus, Thy perfect likeness to wear.
Oh, to be like Thee! full of compassion,
Loving, forgiving, tender and kind,
Helping the helpless, cheering the fainting,
Seeking the wandering sinner to find.
O to be like Thee! lowly in spirit,
Holy and harmless, patient and brave;
Meekly enduring cruel reproaches,
Willing to suffer others to save.
O to be like Thee! while I am pleading,
Pour out Thy Spirit, fill with Thy love;
Make me a temple meet for Thy dwelling,
Fit me for life and Heaven above.
Oh, to be like Thee! Oh, to be like Thee,
Blessèd Redeemer, pure as Thou art;
Come in Thy sweetness, come in Thy fullness;
Stamp Thine own image deep on my heart.
Wednesday, May 9, 2018, 5:00 a.m. – Thank you, Jesus, for suffering and for dying for our sins so that we can be delivered out of our slavery to sin and so we can now, in your power, walk in your righteousness. Amen!