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
I thought that I had concluded the matter on being torn between living for God and not quite living for God. I thought I had made the point clear that Paul was not struggling in his flesh. Nor was he writing to say that he understood that we would have struggles in the flesh and that was to be expected. But I may not have been as clear as I originally thought. Or maybe I just feel like I need to say one more thing!
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 I’ve added to my thinking. And I am thinking that maybe, just maybe, Paul addressed this issue in 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. An inability to live a life of victory!
So 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 giving us a new nature! His nature! And 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!
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. It’s not too often I bring a lot of scriptures in to play because I want to make a quick point, but today I will refer to just a couple other scriptures.
In Galatians 5:19-22, Paul mentions the works of the flesh: adultery, fornication, idolatry, hatred, jealousies, selfish ambitions, drunkenness (to name a few). And it is easy to see that these are unfamiliar sins, but sins that some of us could easily identify with. But Paul is informing us that when we are doing these things, we are in our flesh, and operating as if our nature has not been changed. And when we do it repeatedly, it’s difficult for us to believe that grace has been given to us, and we feel condemned. And to make sure we are thinking alike, the type of condemnation I am referring to is a feeling that someone strongly disapproves of what you do. So in this case, you should feel condemnation. 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 that it was!
However, 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.” 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.” Again, reminding us that we are free from the dictates of sin and death through Christ Jesus! That’s why verse 3 basically refers to chapter 7 when it says, “For what the law could no 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.”
Many people believe that they can’t live free from sin. This must disappoint the heart of God because His blood is sufficient for us to live free. We just have to believe that we can live free and trust Him to assist us in doing it! You are free if you are a Christian! You just have to take God at His word that you can live it!
Charle 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 to 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 decide 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. Does God free some and not others? I think He frees all who believe! Wonderful Jesus!