Read Romans 8:1-30
Let us pray
- Lord help us to see what you would want to see
- Move my heart and mind, bind my lips, and open hearts
- Let your word work, and move
This morning, I would like us to walk a road, a road with a newly saved Christian. He has a few questions, and Paul is going to attempt to answer them through Chapter 8. His journey began:
- In Romans 1 where he learns about the author and the unrighteousness of man (Chapter 1)
- He then reads of God’s judgement to come (Chapter 2)
- He then reads that all are under sin, for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. He is a sinner. (Chapter 3)
- In Chapter 4, he seems Abraham was saved by faith, and how faith is redeeming and he needs to believe.
- In Chapter 5, he seems how in believing, he has peace with God through that faith
- In Chapter 6, he sees the victory, that he is dead to sin and alive to God
- In Chapter 7, he sees how he is released from the power of the Law
And so we enter Romans 8, as the Christian, our reader begins to ask but what do I do now? How do I navigate this life, it’s challenges and what confidence do I have?
Paul starts off reminding him, that he is free, and without pending judgement.
Rom 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.
And this is where Paul starts to share the new direction and way, or walking. And this morning, this is where we will put our focus, our new walk in the Spirit and what it entails.
While going through the Chapter, I noticed there are some key ideas broken down by the word “for”. The word “for” is generally used to indicate a reason or an explanation, it introducews the purpose or cause. If you scan the passage you will notice there 14 verses that start with the word “for”. Following the grouping of the “fors”, I see 3 main divisions that will make up this portion.
- The Inward Workings of the Spirit (vs. 2-7)
- The Outward Workings of the Spirit (vs. 8-16)
- The Forward Workings of the Spirit (vs. 28-39)
1. The Inward Workings of the Spirit
1.1 Sin and death defeated (vs.2-4) (rule, system, grace)
- In verse 2-4 we see sin and death defeated.
Rom 8:2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.
- Law in this context, can be replaced by the word ‘rule’, as in rules of a game.
- But this is not a game, this is far more serious if you lose. Here we see the rule of the Spirit of life in Christ.
- All systems are governed by rules, and the Christian life is no different.
- But there’s a new way, walking in the Spirit, and it has been replaced the old.
- In fact, we are no longer bound to the old way.
- We have escaped it’s bondage.
- It doesn’t leave us without rules, just gives us another set of a different nature (where grace operates).
1.2 Is the law dead? (dead, responsibility, freely obediant)
- But perhaps the next question our newly saved Christian asks,
But is the law now dead?
- There are no supporting scriptures that state the law is dead, in fact, we are dead to the law.
Gal 2:19 For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God.
- We are dead to the law, it doesn’t bind us to sacrifices - but we are free from it’s judgement and from it’s punishment.
Rom 7:8 For without the law sin was dead.
- Not only is the law not dead, it is the mechanism by which we identify sin.
- The Law stands and will continue to stand as God’s Holy standard for perfection - matching only to Him.
- But while we may be dead to the law, we are not removed from it, in fact we have a responsibility to it.
Rom 8:4 That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
- in verse 4, Paul is telling us that the law is not fulfilled alone, it needs grace. It needs those who are saved and walking in the Spirit.
- How so you may ask?
- In the OT dispensation, Israel were commanded to obey the law.
- In the NT dispensation of grace, we have been freed from that law.
- Isn’t this the beauty and irony of it all, we are saved, our destination secure, we are bound for heaven.
- If there is any people that can take advantage of the law and abuse it, it’s us.
- But how beautiful, amazing and wonderful it is, when Christians, who are free from the law, choose to abide in the law and fulfil it for Christ.
- AS opposed to the O.T Israel, who were commanded to keep the law.
- Is this not a demonstration of how right the law is, how effectual it can be.
- Was it not also said of Christ,
Mat 5:17 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.
- When we walk in the Spirit, the righteous of the law is fulfilled in us.
- Praise God!
2. The Outward Working of the Spirit
2.1. The Flesh defeated (vs.8-13) (powerful spirit, made alive, no contract)
Rom 8:11 But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.
- The same Spirit that raised up Jesus from the dead, is in you.
- Isn’t that such a beautiful picture, how the Spirit that had the power to raise up Christ from the dead, has been given unto us by God, not just temporarily, but permanently. Imagine the power the Spirit had to raise up the physical body of Spirit, now that same powerful Spirit indwells us and not just indwelling, but quickening, making alive our bodies.
- No Christian today, can say, they are prey to sin, no Christian can say they are bound to the shackles of sin, no friend, the Almighty Spirit indwells you, and with that same power used to raise Christ from death, He uses to resucitate your bodies for newness and freedom of the lusts thereof.
- Yes the world may try and hack their way to self-control with endless with self-help books and neuroscience, but ours is
far more powerful then just brain mechanics, our’s is supernatural, and ours is of the Holy Spirit, divine, pure and of God.
Rom 8:12 Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh.
- For this reason brother and sister, we owe no more debt to our sins.
- There is no pending contract. No outstanding payment for historic sin.
- We are no more it’s debtors. We are free.
2.2 The New Identity (vs. 14-16) (catch, control, adoption, identity, frustrating humand)
- Yes God gave us a Spirit that now indwells us and gives us bodies life and freedom from the demands of the flesh.
- So our newly saved Christian, now with skepticism, poses a question?
“Ok Paul, so you say I’ve been given the Spirit of God, but what’s the catch?” “Wait let me guess, my will is no longer my own and what now indwells me dictates my actions?” “Wait Paul, is this just another form of bondage like the one I had before?”
- If the governments of the world could place something inside our brains, I’m sure it would be to the intents to control us.
- And here is what Paul answers:
Rom 8:15 For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.
- This is simply beautiful. If every verse in Romans 8 isn’t.
- Note, we have not received a spirit of bondage or slavery. In the KJV and NASB it mentions again.
- That means, we are not regressing here or going backwards. We are receiving something greater.
- We have received adoption.
- But God, has given us the Spirit not to enslave us, but rather to adoption.
- It’s not means of tyrannical control, but something far more, a beautiful adoption, the mark and identification that you are now a child of God. Adopted into His family, and marked as His own.
- We have a new identity, we God’s child.
- Not only are we adopted, but while the Spirit may speak to us, to guide us to truth, ultimately we still have a choice to make.
- Is this not a wonder of our God, despite his frustration with humans, from the fall of Adam and Eve, Tower of Babel, Israel and repeat failures of man, this new way where the Spirit indwells, is not one of control, but a gentle steering, a guide, almost steering you to the way of God.
3. The Forward Working of the Spirit
3.1 Help in life to come (vs. 17-27) (how do I cope with this life)
- Perhaps then our newly saved reader, turns yet again to Paul and says,
“Ok, so I’m dead to the law, I have a new identity in Christ. But this life is challenging, in fact Paul, this life is hard and sometimes downright unfair. What do I do?”
- I believe Paul provides answers to 4 categories of challenge.
(a) Tribulations (vs. 18) (care in the provision of trials, not worthy to even compare)
- The first of which is trials and tribulation. Isn’t it amazing how our God doesn’t just expect us to endure trials.
- He isn’t a tyrant and commands us to endure, but heeds our frailties and weaknesses, and amidst all these deep truths,
doctrine and clarification of salvation, He deals with the hardness that comes and provides tools with which to overcome.
Rom 8:18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.
- Here Paul tells our reader, what you may be experiencing today, the pain, the loss, the frustrations, anxiety, heart-arch, brokeness, distress, tumult and torture, does not even add to a weight, is not even worthy of being compared, what shall be revealed in glory.
- We have no idea, and we can’t even correlate the two things.
- I thought to myself when preparing, perhaps I can create an analogy, some comparison to highlight how unworthy a comparison it is, something like an ant to our God, but then I remebered the verse.
- He doesn’t just say you can’t compare it, but emphasizes that it’s not even worthy, worthwhile, comparing.
- Our trials, the sufferings of this present time, are not even worth comparing, or bothering to compare.
- They are dwarfed by all that shalt be revealed!!!
(b) Climate Change (vs. 22) (weather changes, doomed anyway, second law, problem is sin)
But Paul, what of the world? There are earthquakes, weather changing, more and more temperature imbalances. What now, are we doomed?
- If we read verse 19-22, we see way back in AD 55-57 we see all of creation groaning (earth, animals).
Rom 8:21 Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. Rom 8:22 For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.
- Second Law of Thermodynamics, that all things tend to chaos.
- Friends, if you think Climate Change is a threat, what does it matter if we have a beautiful world, but a corrupt immoral society.
- The problem with Climate Change is not our use of resources, but sin.
(c) The Hope we have (vs. 23) (expected, new heaven & earth, elon, fear)
- Paul pushes on, yes the world and creation is experiencing suffering, and us, but that is to be expected.
- But far more then expected, there is too come at the end of the ages, a new heaven and a new earth that will be created.
- And us, who are suffering in the present, will receive new bodies.
- This is our hope in the midst of trials.
Rom 8:23 And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.
Rom 8:24 For we are saved by hope:
- Elon pushes to build rockets to take us to another planet, and praise be to God for his boldness.
- But his fear is not my fear, God’s laid out His plan and it’s in this book.
- We are saved by hope! (Jesus is coming back soon)
(d) The Intercession (vs. 26)
- Perhaps now our reader goes,
“Paul, I feel so overwhelmed, what do I pray for, what do I speak to God about?”
- Well God’s got that too for those in the Spirit.
Rom 8:26 Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.
- Not only does Christ intercess on your behalf, but the Holy Spirit intercesses on our behalf with God, to share with Him, what we can’t, when we broken, when words fail us, and we’re overcome.
- What a blessing it is to walk in the Spirit!
So in regards to this life, when you walk in the Spirit,
- you can overcome tribulation
- you don’t have to fear death or the destruction of the earth
- there is hope for tomorrow, in Jesus return, and a new heaven and a new earth
- and lastly, if you ever confused or broken, the Spirit that indwells will pray to God on your behalf.
The Conclusion: Call To Action
After all that the reader, now saved and ask the ultimate question,
“Yes sin is defeated, yes I have a new walk in the Spirit, yes I have a new identity, yes I have hope, yes the Holy Spirit will intercede on my behalf, but Paul, if I get these wrong, if I mess up my walk, and sometimes choose the broad way, will God still love me? Will my father still care? What of our relqationship? What of his love?””
Paul responds with something that can only be considered one of the greatest and most beautiful literary pieces, but this time He asks a question.
What does it mean when “For” is used at start of a sentence?
- Reason or explanation: When “for” is used to indicate a reason or explanation, it introduces the purpose or cause behind an action or situation. For example:
- “For that reason, I cannot attend the meeting.”
- “For your own safety, please wear a helmet.”
- Connecting ideas: “For” can also be used to connect ideas and provide additional information or support for a previous statement. In this case, it functions as a coordinating conjunction. For example:
- “I enjoy hiking, for it allows me to connect with nature.”
- “She studied diligently, for she wanted to excel in her exams.”
3.2 The Future working of the Spirit
(a) A certain future (vs. 28-30)
- Perhaps now our discerning reader, pushes forward, “Ok Paul, you told me about my victory of my past sin, the courage, hope and strength I have for the present, but what of my future?”
- To which Paul responds in verse 28,
Rom 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
- This verses ushers in the fact, that despite what may come in the future, God is aware of it.
- Not only is He aware of it, but He is also able to work it for your good. Something in the midst of the trial is often difficult to understand.
- Perhaps it’s worth parking here a moment and just considering, Job.
- For many years of my Christian walk, I was confused about Job. Why did God slay Job? Why did he sent so much calamity and disaster?
- If we recall, it was Satan who did the destroying and it was Satan’s choice to do so.
- God could have stopped Him yes, but is not the Book such a reflection of trials and what true disaster looks like.
- Does it not bring a change of perspective to sometimes our own lives.
- Does it not reminder us that often times the challenges we face are spiritual battles between satan and God and not just about us.
- Is Job perhaps not one of the great books of scripture that forms part of our scripture, and has spurned a religion now 2000+ years later?
- That one incident, happened to one man and his family, but how much more powerful has it spoken into the lives of missionaries, pastors, saints through their darkest times these 2000 years, how many of millions.
- Perhaps another thing worth considering is the verse in Eccl 9:11
Ecc 9:11 I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all.
- Sometimes when you kick your toe on the door, the nail bends and bleeds, it’s not about a spiritual battle.
- It’s actually just living in a corrupt world, where millions and billions of lives relate and inter-twine, and sometimes things just go wrong.
- Paul’s answer, all things work together for good.