Romans chapter 8 is considered the great chapter in the Bible that teaches us about being led by the Spirit. But it is also a chapter that explains some of the differences between the law and grace. In fact if you want to clearly understand the idea of being led by the Spirit then you need to understand the difference between law and grace. The differences between living by the law and living by grace are the same differences as living a life led by the Spirit and living a life not led by the Spirit.
The Bible says in Romans chapter 8 verse 1, There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
This Bible verse is one of the great promises of God. What Paul is teaching here Jesus already taught in John chapter when He said, For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved. The promise is that any human being who trusts in Jesus Christ will find himself free of guilt, free from condemnation, no longer in danger of facing the wrath of God.
The word condemnation in both of these verses comes from the same Greek word which means to judge. To be condemned means to be found guilty, guilty of doing wrong and breaking the law. In human society if you go to court and a judge finds you guilty, then you are condemned and there will be punishment. The same is also true with God. The Bible says in Hebrews , And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgement:
All human beings will die one day and all humans will stand before God to be judged. The Words of God here in Romans 8:1 are like a sweet song that will sooth the penitent mind because just as the Bible says in Romans 3:23, All have sinned and come short of the glory of God, Romans 8:1 says that there is no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus. The reason that there is no condemnation is because of Jesus Christ. Jesus said in Matthew chapter 5 verse 17, Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets; I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. Jesus Christ fulfilled the law 2000 years ago by living a life without sin, by never once breaking the law of God. And even more importantly Jesus died for your sins and for mine and He rose again on the third day. He sacrificed Himself. He took your condemnation. Therefore, if you take Him, there will be no condemnation for you because you will be in Christ Jesus.
God has created man with a conscience. Your conscience is the ability God has given you to understand the difference between right and wrong. How strong your conscience is will depend upon what you choose as your moral standards and it will depend upon how well you understand the Bible. But no matter how weak your conscience is you cannot escape guilt in this life or especially in the next. Galations 6:7 says, Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. The results of sin include guilt, corruption, suffering, death, and eternal condemnation from God. Have you ever heard a child or any other person ask, Why did that person die? The answer is: because we are all sinners. Only those who understand their own sinfulness can truly appreciate the great blessing found in the promise of Romans 8:1. If you want to be a partaker of the peace of mind and eternal assurance that this verse provides, study the law of God and examine it closely. If you rely upon the grace of God to give you the courage to face the truth, you will discover just how miserably you have failed in keeping Gods law.
The Bible says in John 1:17, For the law was given by Moses but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. Crossing over from living by and under the law into living by and under the Spirit begins with salvation. The difference between law and grace is an eternal difference. It absolutely must be understood!
Romans 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. Walking after the flesh means to live according to your own will, and it means to try to make peace with God or have fellowship or please God by your own efforts or works. But to walk after the Spirit means simply to do and say what God wants you to do and say. It means having your will surrendered to God. The primary teaching here in Romans 8:1 concerning the leading of the Spirit is in salvation. If you are saved and you want to understand how the Spirit of God operates and you want to know how to be led by the Spirit then think back to your salvation. The idea of being lead by the Spirit in the Christian life is the same as being lead by the Spirit into salvation.
Jesus said in John , No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day. It is the Spirit of God that does the leading, and we are to do the following. Remember you cannot follow if you resist with your own will, and you cannot follow unless you can see through the eyes of faith.
Romans 8:2 says, For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. Basically, there are two laws, the law of the Spirit and the law of sin. And the difference between the two is very simple yet very extreme: life and death. The law of the Spirit means life, and the law of sin means death.
The great truth being taught in verse 2 deals with freedom. True freedom is spiritual in nature. It is not freedom as the world would think of freedom. The freedom of speech, the freedom from prison, or the freedom that a democratic government gives, is only a temporary freedom and at best will last only until the day of your death.
Jesus said in John , And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. Spiritual freedom means to be free from a guilty conscience, free from the power that sin and the devil can hold over a human soul, free from the eternal prison of hell. The blood of Jesus Christ gives a free relationship with God. The freedom found in the law of the Spirit of life, means the freedom to live forever in eternal bliss and peace with God. There is no greater freedom than this.
Romans chapter 8 verses 3-4 says, For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. What is a law? The idea of a law is a rule that is written in stone, something that cannot be changed, like the law of gravity. It is absolute. The law is a list of rules and regulations, a list of dos and do nots. It is a moral code, but the law is also external. Verses 3 and 4 teach some extremely important truths about the law of sin and death and the law of the Spirit. There are things that the law can do, and there are things that the law cannot do. The law as we know it is weak because it can only condemn and kill.
Every religion in the world except true Christianity is legalistic. People say repetitious prayers, people abstain from eating certain kinds of food, people fast and torture themselves. A person might simply try to follow the Ten Commandments, but there is nothing a person can do to gain favor with God. Hebrews 11:6 says that without faith it is impossible to please God.
What then is the purpose of the law? Galatians 3:24-25 says, Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come we are no longer under a schoolmaster. The law teaches us that we are sinners. This is the purpose of the law, because no matter how hard you try you will fail and have failed at perfectly keeping the law of God. Romans 3:23, For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. If you have not learned to trust in Jesus Christ as your Savior, you need to learn this. Those who waste their lives in any religion, enslaved and deceived by the legalistic lies and false teachings, will never find freedom or peace or fellowship with God but they will always live lives tormented by the guilt of their sins, and fearful of the future without that blessed assurance of life after death. That is why when verse 2 says the law of sin, it is not saying that the law is sinful but that the law teaches us that we are sinful. Therefore it is called the law of sin. Now that we understand the purpose of the law we see that the law is righteous and therefore good.
Now that we know what the law can do, that which the law cannot do Jesus can do for us. This is why the last half of verse 3 says, God sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: How and when did God condemn sin, all sin: when Jesus was crucified on the cross of Calvary. This is the reason you can be free from the guilt and condemnation of sin. Verse 4 says, That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. Jesus fulfilled the law, then died on the cross for all the world, because all of the world did not fulfill the law. And now His righteousness is given to all those who believe in His name. Or as the last part of verse 4 says, Who walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit. Righteousness is given to those who rely upon the perfect work of Jesus Christ and not their own imperfect work.
Now we can see the vast difference between the law of sin and death and the law of the Spirit of life. The law of the Spirit is not a law in the same sense that we would think of the law of the flesh. The law of the Spirit is not external but rather it is internal. This law is found in the heart and mind of man. It is not a list of rules to be obeyed but rather it is simply a truth to be believed. John 3:16, For God so loved the world that He have His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. To be successful in following the Spirit of God, you must believe the promises of God. That is why the Bible says in Psalm 119:11, Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against Thee.
Copyright; 2001 by Charles F. (Rick) Creech
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