Romans 8–Life In The Spirit
Romans 8 is a vast fervent expansion of the Christian assurance and hope contained in chapter 5. Paul wants the glory of their salvation, rather than the depressing reminder just given of their continuing sinfulness, to fill his readers’ minds and bring joy to their hearts. Paul wants to celebrate the incredible awesomeness of God’s grace. He wants to proclaim what Jesus is and has done for us. We have looked at sin, how pervasive it is, and the ruin it wrecks. Now, we turn to saving, grace, and blessing offered freely through Jesus.
Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. (Romans 8:1-4)
With the coming of Jesus the old life is over, done away with. As we enter into no longer do we live under sin, a new force is in operation. The Spirit of life blows like a strong wind freeing us from sin and death. God went for broke in sending his own Son. In Jesus, God took on the human condition entering the disordered mess to set it right. The law could never have done that. The law always ended up being used as a Band-Aid on sin instead of a deep healing of it. Now, instead of redoubling our own efforts, simply embrace what the Spirit is already doing in us.
Paul is saying, in light of the foregoing reminder of our continuing sinfulness, we must now remember and embrace our acceptance and security in Christ. No condemnation means both the judgment and the punishment. We are safe. We need not worry. Jesus has done what we could never do and has invited us into a life with God. There is no need to do, to struggle, to worry or fret. A way has been made for us to live into the life we were always meant to live. As James Bryan Smith said, “God came down and made peace, wiping away our guilt and removing any and all condemnation.”
By in the flesh Paul meant human nature in all its weakness. He means the vulnerability to sin. He means human nature in all its sin and weakness; all that human beings are without God. Sinful human nature is life apart from Christ, everything that attaches people to the world instead of God. To live according to the flesh is to live a life dictated by the sinful nature instead of life ordered by the love of God.
When we became Christians, the spirit of God rushed into our lives making and remaking us into a new creation. Our lives are not the same and they never will be. This is a good thing. Because of what Jesus did and does there opens into the Christian life a power not of our own that removes the past, strengthens us in the present, and assures us of the future. As we were once involved in Adams sin we are now involved in Jesus’ goodness.