Romans 8:3- “For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh” NKJV
As I have been trying to juggle what I see in the word with what I see in the lives of those around me, I have felt a need to address the individual who is a believer, and yet struggles with sin. This particular post is actually from my archives with some updates. I may not have been as clear as I originally thought on being free from the power of sin, or struggling as a believer, so I thought I would address it through Romans 8.
If we look at Romans 8, reading it without seeing the chapter and verses, we will clearly see that Paul is continuing his thinking from chapter 7. As I have read and reread these chapters, have had some conversations, and have prayed, I’ve added to my thinking. I am thinking that maybe, just maybe, Paul addressed this issue in chapters 6-8 because some of them were struggling in their walk with the Lord. Probably some of these Roman Christians had the same problems that some Christians we know seem to have today. An inability to live a life of victory! Maybe they were tired of seeing friends and family members thrown in the Coliseum and murdered by gladiators and ferocious animals. Maybe they were tired of hiding in the catacombs and living a secret life. This I can understand! I would have struggled with trust issues in the face of this type of persecution, too! But let’s just be honest, these are not the conditions that we find ourselves in as we struggle with our faith in Jesus.
Paul has taken time to explain in Romans 6 that sin should not reign in our lives, for the wages of sin is death. That since we have died to sin, and have been raised to newness of life, that we should no longer live in sin. In Romans 7, Paul shared how before we came to Christ, our life was a struggle because sin had control over us. Even when we wanted to do right, because of our sinful nature, we were powerless to do right. But then he concludes chapter 7, (as we know it), saying that God, through Jesus Christ, broke the power of sin by delivering us from this wretched state! Paul wanted us to know that sin should no longer have this same hold over our lives that it had prior to us coming to know Jesus as our personal Savior! Maybe you would struggle with trust issues in the face of grave persecution, but that is so different from struggling to live for God.
In the first verse of chapter 8, Paul tells us that there is no condemnation to those in Christ Jesus when we are walking according to the Spirit; but if we are walking according to the flesh, then condemnation is obviously our constant friend. However, Paul points out, there is condemnation of sin, and Jesus was the One who condemned it! God has judged sin and found it lacking and condemned it by the cross while in His humanity. He did so, that we might know that we could also walk free of sin, while in our physical bodies, in Christ Jesus!
When we find ourselves struggling to live for Christ, it’s difficult for us to believe that grace has been given to us, and we feel condemned. This condemnation is as a result of the guilt and shame we experience when we sin. But God doesn’t condemn us, He convicts us of sin by the Holy Spirit. This type of guilt and shame that pushes us back into the worldly lusts and activities that we were made free from is of the devil! God strongly disapproves of His people acting as if the crucifixion and the Blood of Jesus was a small thing. As if it wasn’t enough! But I can assure you that it was! However, if you feel like God is so disappointed in you that He wants nothing to do with you, then that’s the devil! God loves you and want the very best for you, but sin has never provided anything but hardship and separation from God. That is the only reason it disappoints Him so much to see you struggle with sin, as if He has not done everything possible to make you free! He loves you! He hates what sin does to you!
The word condemnation in verse 1, is the Greek word, “katakrima”, and it means that a sentence has been pronounced and you are judged. But there is no judgment against the people who are walking after the Spirit, only those walking after the flesh! And since that judgment was paid in full by Christ Jesus, Paul is reminding us that His Blood still works!
Galatians 5:1, a personal favorite of mine, states:
“Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.”Galatians 5:1 NKJV
Paul is the author of these words. In writing to the Galatians he tells them that Christ made them free and they should stand in that freedom and not get tangled again in the bondage of sin. Getting tangled in the bondage of sin again is a choice! Getting set free is a privilege. And all too often Christians are found living beneath their privileges!
This verse brings us right back to Romans 8, verse 2:
“For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.”Romans 8:2 NKJV
This verse reminds us that we are free from the dictates of sin and death through Christ Jesus! That’s why verse 3 and 4, basically refers to chapter 7 when it states:
“For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.”Romans 8:3-4 NKJV
Many people believe that they can’t live free from sin. This is absolutely true when we live in the flesh and not the Spirit! Those who walk in the Spirit realize that Jesus’s death on the cross was for them to be free, to lay hold to that promise of freedom, and to expect to see it fulfilled in their life!
Charles Finney, in his autobiography, wrote about his salvation experience.
He was first interested in the Bible because he was studying law, and many of the laws referred to the Bible. Then he started attending church and a prayer meeting. But much to his dismay, he was not impressed, for it seemed that the people prayed, but without much expectation in seeing their prayers answered. He discovered that what was in the Bible and what Christians actually lived was not the same. But one day he decided that the Bible would be his point of reference and sought the Lord for salvation. When he received salvation, he was made completely free of his sin. He never looked back.Autobiography of Charles Finney, paraphrased
Does God free some and not others? I think He frees all who believe! Come on! Remind the devil that he is a liar when he says you can’t walk in victory! Stop listening to him and start believing the word of God! There is no judgment against you in Christ Jesus when you live after the Spirit! Wonderful Jesus!