An exposition of Romans 7:25-Romans 8:2

Romans 7:25

(25)  Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, on the one hand I myself with my mind am serving the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh the law of sin.

Romans 8:1

(1)  Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

 Exposition-

The Apostle is saying there is no condemnation. What does that mean? It means God according to His judgment has found “those who are in Christ Jesus” to be absolutely just. But there is a condition; this is true of only those who are IN the Lord Jesus Christ. It is only true for those who are IN a divine union with Christ.

Thoughts:

Jesus Christ is the only man to be perfectly righteous. To be under no condemnation is to be under no guilt of sin. I am not talking about the guilt as an emotion but guilt as in a judgment. So, it can be logically said that if mankind is to be without guilt or condemnation, he must somehow be in Christ, because Christ is the only one who has ever upheld the law of God or the only man to be righteous in God’s sight.

The objections:

“How is this possible?” someone will ask, “Paul, in chapter 7, was just telling us about this horrible struggle with sin. How can he be free from condemnation if he is not free from sinning against God?” Well the Apostle answers that question by saying:

 Romans 8:2

(2)  For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.

The exposition:    

What does the “law of the Spirit” mean? Well this is an entirely new law that is not related to the law spoken about in Chapter 7. Chapter 7 was Paul’s (or the Christian’s) personal experience and relationship to the law of God, the law of righteousness. However, this law presented in chapter 8 is a new law “of the Spirit”. The “Spirit” is quite obviously the “Holy Spirit”. Now what is this law of the Holy Spirit? What do we know about it?  First of all, we know that the law of the Spirit is a law “of life“.  We know from the previous chapters that “life” usually is meant as “spiritual life”. Spiritual life means to be alive to God. Likewise, spiritual death means to be completely dead to God. Secondly, we know that this “law of the Spirit of life” is “in Christ”. This is significant. Paul is saying that the law of the Spirit that results in life resides in Christ Himself. He then goes further by say that this law “has set you free from the law of sin and death”. Before we go further we need to understand what this “law of sin and death” is. Think of it as a physical law, like gravity. As sure as you release your fingers from your phone, it drops to the floor. We’ve all done it a hundred times and 100 out of 100 times it hits the floor. It’s a scientific law. It is the same principal with sin. As soon as you sin, death is the verdict. It’s what the apostle means when he says “the wages of sin is death”, because that is the case, sin is a law of sorts that results in death. That is why the apostle presents it as “the law of sin and death”. So we have an understanding of what the law of sin and death is. But this Apostle is saying that there is a law of the Spirit that results in life, not death and is found in Christ and that law sets those who are in Christ free from the law of sin and death. What a tremendous statement! How does this law “set you free”? We must not go ahead of this Apostle, He will answer in the upcoming verses.

Objections:

Someone may ask, “Why does Paul write in such a complicated way?” Why is he writing about doctrines and calling them laws? Remember Paul is writing this letter to not only the gentiles, but also the Jews, who know the law of God. He will use their existing knowledge of the law to teach the gospel. You saw an example of that in Romans 7:1 He says:

Or do you not know, brethren (for I am speaking to those who know the law), that the law has jurisdiction over a person as long as he lives?

I would say the vast majority of Romans chapter 2 was almost exclusively directed at the Jews. So Paul will use their existing lingo and knowledge to make a point as all good teachers do. While it may be difficult for us who are not accustomed to this, with a little thought and prayer, I trust Christ will reveal to us what we need to know as He has promised.

Thoughts:

You can draw the logical conclusion already, Chapter 7 proves that the Christian is still very much in a battle with indwelling sin, but because the Christian is in Christ, that sin does will not result in spiritual death because the law that produced the spiritual death has no dominion over the Christian who is under the law of the Spirit of life, in Christ. The apostle makes the case that to be bound to Christ is to be completely free from the law of sin and death. To help us understand this, observe the words of our Lord:

John 14:6

(6)  Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.

He speaks of Himself as the way, truth and, “the life“. So here we have Paul saying exactly what Christ said of Himself. He is the life; it is only when we are in Christ that we are alive to God. This is important because this teaching is very much in conflict with many denominations. In fact, this is one of the largest wedges between the protestant and catholic church. Some churches believe that as a christian you must make certain confessions, say certain prayers, or pray to certain saints to appease the wrath of God, but Paul is quite clear, there is no condemnation for the christian, he is not under the law of sin and death. That wrath of God was satisfied by Christ on the cross. Christian, you are free. Totally and completely free. If that freedom is used towards satisfying the flesh, and not stumbling towards Christ, then you are most likely not a christian. If you do stumble along the way towards Christ, and are down cast with a feeling of hopelessness.. God isn’t salivating from the mouth, eagerly awaiting to condemn you. Acknowledge your actions as sin, confess it, stop doing it and move on. God loves you, and there are repercussions for that, ask Christ. He’ll tell you all about it, and when you believe it, you won’t want to spend another second sinning against that kind of love.

Standing on His words

 

I want to  write about the absolute importance of scriptural knowledge in the christian life. There are so many reasons for the christian to not just read, but study the bible. If you are evangelical, than you believe this bible is the revelation of God. It was inspired and placed specifically so man can know what God has chosen to reveal to us about Himself. It is my opinion that to “search for God” without studying this book is not only dangerous but arrogantly puts God to the test. Now, why does the christian need to know this bible? To name a few, 1- It contains the gospel and that is the power unto salvation (Rom 1:16), 2- it builds faith (Rom 10:17), 3- Jesus Christ while in the flesh of man, studied the bible and proved that by quoting scripture many times, 4- it is an act of worship, love and obedience to God, and I could go on and on, but lastly, 5- it is what we make our stand on. I cannot possibly go through all the mentioned topics at this time, the one I want to focus on today is this “making a stand”. What do I mean by that? I mean standing on the word of God, which is what saving faith always looks like. A great example of this is Abraham. God spoke to him, promised to give him many descendants through  a son. Abraham being so old, this was a radical statement, how did he respond to what God said to him?

Without becoming weak in faith he contemplated his own body, now as good as dead since he was about a hundred years old, and the deadness of Sarah’s womb; yet, with respect to the promise of God, he did not waver in unbelief but grew strong in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully assured that what God had promised, He was able also to perform. Therefore IT WAS ALSO CREDITED TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS.
(Rom 4:19-22)

My friends, God is speaking to us today, just like He spoke to Abraham. God is speaking to mankind through His inspired bible. People tend to think that they are learning God’s word through the preacher. You can take the preacher’s word for it if you dare, but all soul-concerned christians filter everything they hear through the clear teaching found in the word of God. I have very little tolerance for preaching that is not described as “expository preaching”. I am not (and neither should any christian be) interested in preaching that is not rooted in the clear texts of the bible. If your preacher is not an expositor, than you may as well be reading philosophy or listening to some sort of motivational speaker. I am sad that I must agree with some of the secular criticisms of the church today. Many people regard it as “self help psychology” or  even “motivational speakers”. Some preachers preach self reliance, self worship, powers within yourself, your tongue (name it-claim it), prosperity gospels, justification  by faith but must be through the sacraments of rome, worship of mary-apostles-saints by prayer, some claim new revelations that supersede or are in addition to the bible ect.. These are obvious false doctrines. However, there are some really good preachers and teachers out there. Contrary to the teaching of Rome, we must recognize that they are all fallible. We are all fallible. Making your stand on the words from preachers and teachers is ok if that preacher or teacher is expounding the word of God. Because, if that is the case, then you are not standing on a man’s words or wisdom but God’s. However we must remember if you do not know the bible, how will you be able to tell the difference between the word of God being preached and the preacher’s own philosophy? Especially when the preacher uses scripture to push his own ideas of psychology or philosophy. The devil uses scripture too. He used it in the temptation of Christ. It is a dangerous thing, a dangerous place, no, it is eternally fatal to not know the word of God. To make a stand on false teaching is to build a house on top of sand.

“Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock. “And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock. “Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. “The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and it fell–and great was its fall.”                         (Mat 7:24-27)

Isn’t this a most motivating lesson on why we should know exactly what we are making our stand on? As our Lord just said, the rain is coming, the floods will rise and the winds will slam against us. Its not a matter of if, but a matter of when. I go further, these storms aren’t always quick, coming and going. I would say most of the time they linger. The fight usually isn’t won in the first round by knockout, its a real fight, against a real, strong opponent. Winning isn’t done by beating your opponent, but by surviving through the last round to a judge’s decision. We must be ready. What does this look like in our lives?  Consider Peter’s teaching here:

but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence;        (1Pe 3:15)

Making a defense, to me, is drawing up your own personal confession of faith. Its important that the knowledge by which the faith is standing is in the word of God. Christian people are not philosophers. They dont sit around theorizing what “could be”. They are only concerned with the knowledge that is actually given. They believe to go any further than what the word has clearly revealed is speculation and can be fatal. We are a people that is intelligent enough to know, that we know very, very little concerning God and His ways. What do I mean by that? Very quickly I will show you that Paul makes this abundantly clear in Romans 8:

For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he already sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it. In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words;
(Rom 8:24-26)

Now Paul is making many points in this chapter. What I want to point out is, Paul is speaking to christians that are led by the Holy Spirit. It is abundantly clear that we are weak, we still do not see, we are ignorant, so much so that we don’t even pray as we ought or if you like, do not know what to pray for as we ought. So in light of this ignorance, the worst thing we can do is wander off in ignorance outside of the knowledge that is revealed in the bible. All roads eventually will end here: Those that truly want to know God, will spend time learning His word. Whether it is led by a teacher or their own personal study. We always hear teaching about being christ-like,  loving others as Christ did, and that is very good. But if we are to truly take seriously “being Christ like”, then you will study your scripture. When Christ was tempted by the devil, How did He respond?

And Jesus answered him, It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone.‘”
(Luk 4:4)

And Jesus answered him, It is written, “‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and him only shall you serve.'”
(Luk 4:8)

And Jesus answered him, “It is said, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.‘”
(Luk 4:12)

Need I make another point? Christ made His stand on the word of God. When the storms of the devil come, the flood waters rise and the winds slam, it is only those who stand on the word of God that will withstand the onslaught.

I must end with this. We have a most loving and merciful God. Why would we not take time to learn about Him? Can we honestly say we love Him but do not read His word? He wants us to know about Him, what He has done, what He is going to do, its all there in His bible. I wonder if I go too far when I say: To not have any interest in the bible is to not have any interest in God. I pray He forgives us of our laziness and lack of love. No-one loves God or worships Him as He deserves. We all fall short of that. But God in His long suffering has chosen us and loves us anyways. He justifies the ungodly or the unrighteous. Go to Him and He promises to not turn you away, but instead will show you an abundance of grace and love. As said in my favorite psalm:

Then I was senseless and ignorant; I was like a beast before You. Nevertheless I am continually with You; You have taken hold of my right hand. With Your counsel You will guide me, And afterward receive me to glory. Whom have I in heaven but You? And besides You, I desire nothing on earth. My flesh and my heart may fail, But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. For, behold, those who are far from You will perish; You have destroyed all those who are unfaithful to You. But as for me, the nearness of God is my good; I have made the Lord GOD my refuge, That I may tell of all Your works.
(Psa 73:22-28)

Amen.