My Freedom through His Victory
My Freedom Through His Victory (Romans 8:1-4)
Jesus Christ won all the battles that I have lost. Because of that, Romans 8 promises a comprehensive personal victory in Christ. The vehicle for this victory is the indwelling Holy Spirit. In the face of sin's guilt, I can experience no condemnation. In the face of sin's power, I can experience personal liberation. This great chapter gives assurance of ultimate security in union with Christ. You can be free from the guilt and power of sin through Jesus Christ.
In Christ You Experience No Condemnation
This is presented as a fact: "There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus" (v. 1). That means that there is no pending death sentence and no upcoming execution of that sentence. The emphasis rests on the strong word no. In no way whatever will the believer ever face condemnation. We are not waiting for final bad news. We already know there will be final good news. This only resumes what Paul has already stated in Romans 5:16, 18.
Jesus Himself gives the beautiful assurance that whoever hears and believes Him will not be condemned (John 5:24). The only One who has the right to condemn us is the very One who defends us (Rom. 8:34). When we are "in Christ Jesus" like a branch in a vine or a limb in a body, there is no condemnation.
There is greatest stress on the finality of this fact. "There is now no condemnation." The now is all that time since the mighty deed of Christ. The word embraces all sin past, present, and future. The Christian is taken outside the realm of any conceivable condemnation. As a practical matter, the Christian should never feel condemnation. The Christian may feel conviction which is a fatherly correction resulting in repentance and renewal. But the Christian should refuse ever to feel condemnation.
In Christ You Experience Personal Liberation
One basis for the lack of condemnation is the increasing sense of liberation from the power of sin. The believer has moved from one governing principle to another, from one dominant influence to another, from one activating factor to another.
The believer is liberated from an old principle: "the law of sin and death" (v. 2a). Like spiritual gravity, the law of sin and death pulls every human down. The Ten Commandments describe sin but cannot deliver from sin. In fact, knowing the commandments of God actually aggravates and inflames the reality of sin. This leads to a vicious cycle of repeated failure. We sin, which deadens us, which leads us to more sin, etc., etc. It becomes a tyrannical rule of sin and death. Absolutely no one can liberate himself.
Christ liberates us with a new principle: "Through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death" (v. 2b). When the Holy Spirit enters a life, there is a new regulating, activating, energizing power. He is a "Spirit of life" because He animates the soul with a new life energy. This new life energy does not destroy the law of sin and death, but it does enable me to overcome the down drag of that law. Like the launching rocket that enables a payload to overcome the pull of gravity, Christ lifts you above the old law of sin and death. This does not mean a life of perfection, but you are no longer unresisting and ineffective in the fight.
In Christ You See God's Ultimate Intention
We ought to recognize the inability of God's law: "What the law was powerless to do . . . ; (v. 3). It is impossible for the law of God to change human behavior. The law defines sin, describes punishment, but cannot change behavior. The law is like a mirror revealing that we need to wash our faces, but we cannot cleanse our faces with the mirror. You can memorize the Ten Commandments and Sermon on the Mount, but you will not change your behavior by merely knowing the law.
We should understand the ability of our Lord: "God [sent] his own son in the likeness of sinful man" (v. 3). God sent His Son to assume our very liability, human flesh. Christ started with the same unpromising, unsuitable material we have. He faced all the same needs, weaknesses, and temptations. Yet in the arena where we lost, He won. On the battlefield where we were defeated, He is Victor. He entered the match with our handicap and scored perfectly. Finally, one Man conquered on the field where all others lost. He turns to you with a sweet and gracious smile as if to say, "My victory is already yours."
You participate in this when you walk "according to the Spirit." When the indwelling Spirit of God is the regulating principle, the dominant rule in your life, His victory is yours.