Big Idea: Through God’s initiative Jesus has fulfilled the law and the Holy Spirit applies his work to our lives so we are no longer condemned to death.
Daylight Saving started in NSW last night. Which is a sign that Summer is on its way. Even if the weather doesn’t feel like it.
A popular slogan at the gym is that Summer Bodies are made in winter. Train hard in winter to look good at the beach.
In past years I’d be trying to short circuit the process and get a summer body in Spring.
Who will rescue me from this Winter body?
I don’t think I’ve ever made it. By now I know that it is hopeless. I no longer aim for a six pack and 21-inch guns.
In the lead up to our passage Paul expresses disappointment with his body. But not abs and biceps.
Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?
I know what I want to do, I know what I want my life to look like, as a follower of Jesus, but it feels like I fail so miserably.
I wonder if you ever feel like that? You want to serve Jesus. You want to honour him not just with your lips on Sunday but in your life on Monday… and then all the other days.
You want to be someone who lives in a manner worthy of your calling, someone who lives to please our Heavenly Father, someone who takes up your cross daily as you follow your Saviour, Someone who promotes the fruit of the Spirit in your life, and who keeps in step with him.
But sadly, everything looks and feels so much different to the ideal, so disheartening.
Can make you wonder “am I even saved?” You know you should be confident, but you know what you’re like.
So, I have a question. Why should I be confident when I can’t be consistent?
From our passage we have some very good news. We will see that our confidence is found in being Reprieved, Released, Redeemed.
But only for followers of Jesus… If you are not following Jesus, not in a personal relationship with Jesus – then this is what is on offer to those who respond to him.
Let’s take a look,
Be confident because Paul says, you have been …
Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
I read this verse and the sentiment sounds so promising. A glimmer of hope. Dare I have hope? Have I rightly understood? Is Paul talking to me?
If you are a follower of Jesus Paul is talking to you … … those who are in Christ Jesus
What he says is that … There is therefore now no condemnation. Once there was condemnation… now there is none. No condemnation – not even a little bit. Not less condemnation but none.
You front up to judgement day, you’re called to face the judge before whom nothing is hidden. Actions, words, even thoughts and desires. He examines your life, from every angle. And he says, not guilty, NO CONDEMNATION.
‘Condemnation’ is Paul’s own word. 2x Chapter 5 + here. No other New Testament author uses this word.
Condemnation is a declaration of guilt before God, and a sentence of death.
The judge looks down at the prisoner in the dock, bangs his gavel and declares GUILTY, take him to death row. Condemnation.
That’s our lot by our very nature. We inherit condemnation at birth, and then we confirm it by the way we live. If we simply live life hoping that everything will work out in the end, not taking up the invitation to follow Jesus, we will find that condemnation will be the verdict.
Earlier: All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Rom 3:23.
We don’t naturally recognise God as God or submit to his rule. We suppress knowledge of Him and worship other things. We sin because we are sinners at heart and we like it.
But, Paul is saying to you and to me that if we are in Christ then a pardon has been granted, there is no condemnation.
Being in Christ means you are in a saving relationship with him. Romans 10:9
9 If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
Being in Christ is to respond to him in repentance and faith as Lord and Saviour and so be adopted into his family.
Close friends of ours adopted three kids from Bolivia. They were issued with new birth certificates with their new family name. The kids don’t look like their parents, but they have been pronounced to be their children with all the rights and privileges. Even if they don’t feel like it.
No condemnation is not a feeling but a declaration.
The truth is that even if you feel inconsistent God has made a declaration that for all those in Christ there is now no condemnation. All those who have called on Jesus as their Lord and Saviour have been given a reprieve, a pardon, there is now no condemnation.
Been reflecting a little on the 12 disciples. They got so much wrong, but they followed Jesus. They failed to understand so much, but they followed Jesus.
How good is Jesus? How wonderful his sacrifice. Why wouldn’t we worship him, follow him, live in gratitude for what he has done for us.
Is Jesus your Lord and Saviour? Are you following Him? Have you confessed that he is indeed Lord of your life and believed in your heart that it was for the payment of your sin he was crucified, dead and buried then three days later rose again winning life and forgiveness for you?
If that is what you believe, trust in and are committed to then Paul is assuring you – you have been REPRIEVED.
Faith is taking God at his word. Be confident not in your performance but in God’s pardon.
Secondly, Paul says be confident because you are …
Not only have we been reprieved, we’ve been released. Read v2
because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.
What does it mean to be set free, to be released? In v1 we were declared not guilty. Here in v2 we have been given the ability to live lives which meet God’s standard.
We bear the fruit of those who belong to God. Law of Spirit of life = principle of the Spirit of God at work in you. Like the law of gravity – a principle not a statute.
By the power of the Holy Spirit who now lives in you, you are able to overcome the...
the law of sin and death; the principle of sin and death.
v2 the power of the Spirit of life set you free from the power of sin and death.
Paul says that if you are in Christ, as a follower of Jesus then the power of the Holy Spirit the power of the one who raised Jesus from the dead, the Spirit of life Is now powerfully at work in you.
The work of the Holy Spirit is that he applies the benefits of the work of Christ to the lives of those who love him.
The Early Church Father, Augustine
A vine does not produce grapes by Act of Parliament; they are the fruit of the vine’s own life;
Meeting the standard of God and his kingdom is not the result of a command, not even God’s command, It is the fruit of the divine nature (Holy Spirit) he gives you as a result of what Christ has done on the cross.
He sets you free … from the law of sin and death. By the power of the Holy Spirit at work in those in Christ you have been set free from the power, the authority, the law that pronounced condemnation and kept you on death row.
Bear Grylls interview with a guy who is a tour guide in Africa. Canoe trip along a river all of a sudden found themselves in the middle of a herd of Hippos. He was attacked – helpless in the jaws of death on the bottom of the river. Then released. “Spiritual experience.“
Not really a spiritual experience but it describes ours. We were in the grip of death. Unable to move and as good as dead. But by the Holy Spirit applying the work of Christ we have experienced released from death, set free.
We can now breathe with new delight, new appreciation We may bear the scars of previous captivity, but we have been set free in Christ.
If you are disappointed with your performance. If you are troubled by your failures, That is a sign of the work of the Holy Spirit in you.
Under the power of sin and death you wouldn’t care. But under the direction of the HS now you do.
Pete Howard – life gets harder. Now I know I’m doing the wrong thing. Before it didn’t bother me.
The Holy Spirit living in you prompts and provides.
To run and work the law commands, Yet gives me neither feet nor hands; But better news the gospel brings: It bids me fly, and gives me wings.
We have a new power at work in us, we have been set free, released. That is our confidence.
Finally, be confident because you are …
Reprieved, Released and here, Redeemed.
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.
We can really know that there really is no condemnation because God has really dealt with the very thing that brought that condemnation.
v3 God has done what we could not.
For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do
God revealed his standard (the law) but it only served to reveal how hopeless we are. My brother had a serious motorbike accident just over a month ago. On the way to the hospital to treat his obviously broken wrist he knew something wasn’t right inside. CT scan and other tests revealed ribs, spleen, kidney, vertebrae, bowel and a punctured lung. Couldn’t fix it, just exposed how broken he really was.
The law reveals our brokenness but can’t fix it.
Paul is saying that the law did not have much to work with. Gym instructor – body of a Greek god. I can only do so much, not much to work with.
The flesh – human nature, can’t make the grade, can’t meet God’s standard.
So, God provided the solution. by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in the flesh
Jesus, fully man, fully God – likeness of sinful flesh, but without sin.
He came as one of us but was not sinful like us. God sent his divine son to pay the cost of our human sin By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin or as a sin offering.
Important. Jesus was qualified to pay the penalty of sin – in flesh. Not only pay the penalty but credit that payment to our account.
4 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.
The demands of the law have been fully met in Jesus. What we owed Jesus paid. That payment was imputed or credited to our account.
Seamus (Hungarian Sponsor Child) – dad I need some money. Transfer – Bank of Dad. From my account to his. I earned it, I transfer it, it now sits in his account.
Confidence because the credit sits in our account – the requirement of the law … is now … fulfilled in us. And it is the Holy Spirit who applies that work of Jesus to the lives of his people. We have been redeemed.
I’m very confident that my summer body will be ready in time for summer 2022/23. Good thing I no longer live at the beach. I have too much will power. Yes, I will have seconds. Yes, I will have dessert.
But I can live confidently before God knowing that through His Holy Spirit alive in me, applying the work of Christ in me, I have all the power I need.
As a follower of Jesus all the weight of God’s power has been exercised on your behalf so that you are reprieved, released, redeemed.
Your confidence is found on his complete work on your behalf.
Here is a prayer that you might find helpful, first thing each morning … Father may I live this day in your presence and power to please and honour you. Lord Jesus today may I take up my cross and follow you. Holy Spirit may I live today displaying your fruit; love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
But what about the doubts?
Here is a verse of the song we are about to sing together,
Before the Throne of God Above
When Satan tempts me to despair And tells me of the guilt within
Upward I look and see Him there
Who made an end to all my sin
Because the sinless Saviour died
My sinful soul is counted free
For God the just is satisfied
To look on Him and pardon me
To look on Him and pardon me.