ROMANS, CHAPTER 8
Romans 8:1-4) [NIV] Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,
2) [NIV] because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.
3) [NIV] For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in sinful man,
[AMP] For God has done what the Law could not do, [its power] being weakened by the flesh [the entire nature of man without the Holy Spirit]. Sending His own Son in the guise of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, [God] condemned sin in the flesh [subdued, overcame, deprived it of its power over all who accept that sacrifice],
QUESTION: In what way did God, by the giving of His Son, condemn sin in a way that the Law could not do?
ANSWER: God, by the death of His Son, condemned sin’s ability to have power over me! God broke the power that sin had to control me! Let me quote a great man, “Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty we are free at last!”
On To This Week’s Lesson:
Romans 8:4-10) 4) [NIV] in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit.
QUESTION: Is verse 4 telling us that now that sin’s power is broken in our lives we will now live out the moral law in perfection?
ANSWER: Absolutely not! It is telling us, however, that we now have the wherewithal to perfectly keep the moral law of God. God has done all that is necessary to free us from sin! He has left nothing undone! We all have the power to live right!
Galatians 5:14-18) [NIV] The entire law is summed up in a single command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
15) [NIV] If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.
16) [NIV] So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature.
17) [NIV] For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want.
18) [NIV] But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law.
QUESTION: Then why don’t we live out the moral law in perfection?
ANSWER: When we “live by the Spirit” we always live right! We never do what the fallen nature wants us to do when we “walk in the Spirit.”
QUESTION: English, dude, English! What does that mean?
ANSWER: Let’s re-examine what walking in the Spirit means:
Galatians 3:1-3) [KJV] O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you?
2) This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?
3) Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?
Received ye the Spirit are ye now made perfect
(Verse 2) (Verse 3:)
by the works of the law by the flesh
by the hearing of faith in the Spirit
QUESTION: What does “by the flesh” mean?
ANSWER: It refers to a human effort to make God love us more by trying harder to keep His rules.
QUESTION: What does “in the Spirit” mean?
ANSWER: It refers to our believing what God says about the matter.
NOTE: We were saved when we believed, and acted upon, the Gospel message. We will grow towards perfection the same way we received salvation, by believing what God says about the matter.
QUESTION: Getting back to Romans 8:4, what else might be meant by “in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit”?
ANSWER: Jesus kept the Law for us! He took the blame for our sin and gave us the credit for His righteousness. We were “baptized” into His resurrection/His life. Positionally we were in Christ when He “fully met” the “righteous requirements of the law.”
NOTE: When we walk “in the Spirit” we are walking in the belief that Jesus did what He did for us. He kept the Law for us, because we could not keep it ourselves. When we walk “in the flesh” we are still trying to win God’s favor by keeping the Law. Consequently, by virtue of our being in Him “the righteous requirements of the law” are “fully met in us” because we are living “according to the Spirit.” To put it plainly, we believe that what the Law could never do for us because of the weakness of our flesh, Jesus did for us. If we could have kept the Law, then the Law would have declared us righteous. We couldn’t keep it, but now, in Christ, all the Law’s requirements have been met for us/in us. In other words, WE ARE RIGHT WITH GOD!
5) [NIV] Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.
(KJV) For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.
(MSG) Those who think they can do it on their own end up obsessed with measuring their own moral muscle but never get around to exercising it in real life. Those who trust God’s action in them find that God’s Spirit is in them–living and breathing God!
6) [NIV] The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace;
7) [NIV] the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so.
(KJV) Because the carnal mind [is] enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.
8) [NIV] Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God.
(KJV) So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.
In regards to “those who live according to the sinful nature/after the flesh,”
“that is, those who are unconverted” [BBC].
“The unconverted” [PNT].
“To be in the flesh, as the word is used here, is to be in the unregenerate state” [Zondervan].
“Set their minds on the things of the flesh: Paul gives an easy way for us to determine if we walk in the Spirit or walk in the flesh – to simply see where our mind is set. The mind is the strategic battleground where the flesh and the Spirit fight” [Guzik].
QUESTION: What are these four verses telling us?
ANSWER: You can see by the above comments that most teach this to mean the unsaved. I disagree!
QUESTION: What is Paul teaching his readers throughout the first seven chapters?
ANSWER: Now that you’re a Christian you have to choose if you’re going to live for God through human effort, or through the power of the Holy Spirit.
QUESTION: What’s his point, then, in verses 5-8?
ANSWER: You couldn’t live right through the power of your will before you were a Christian, and you can’t live right by the power of your will now that you are a Christian.
Romans 7:24) [NIV] What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?
QUESTION: How does verse 24 of the last chapter fit with verses 7-8 of this chapter?
ANSWER: The futility of trying harder is that we will always fail to some degree. Why? Because our mind/our will “does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so,” and “those controlled by the sinful nature/they that are in the flesh cannot please God.”
NOTE: Paul is telling us that the only way we will enjoy Spiritual victory in our Christian walk is if we are drawing from the resources of the limitless power of the Holy Spirit, and not from the resources of our mind/will.
ANOTHER NOTE: Dedication and abstinence are not the pursuit of the Christian! They are not the “products” that we seek to produce. They are the by-products of our pursuit to know Jesus better. In other words, dedication and abstinence happen when we have our mind set on knowing Jesus better!
Galatians 5:13-26) [KJV] For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only [use] not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.
14) [KJV] For all the law is fulfilled in one word, [even] in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
15) [KJV] But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another.
16) [KJV] [This] I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.
17) [KJV] For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.
18) [KJV] But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.
19) [KJV] Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are [these]; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,
20) [KJV] Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,
21) [KJV] Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told [you] in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
22) [KJV] But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
23) [KJV] Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
24) [KJV] And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.
25) [KJV] If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.
26) [KJV] Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.
QUESTION: Why did I include this passage from Galatians in our study?
ANSWER: Verses 19-21 show us what the flesh produces! It’s incapable of producing, on a consistent basis, anything else. If a Christian lives his/her life for God by trusting in the flesh then he/she will produce these works of the flesh. Guaranteed!
QUESTION: What else in noteworthy in the above passage from Galatians?
ANSWER: It isn’t Law that keeps us from turning Christian liberty into an excuse for sin; it’s love!
QUESTION: What else?
ANSWER: Walking in the flesh/human effort will always produce the works of the flesh; walking in the Spirit will result in our bearing the fruit of the Spirit. Paul doesn’t draw a comparison between the works of the flesh and Christian works; but rather, the works of the flesh and Spiritual fruit.
9) [NIV] You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ.
(KJV) But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.
10) [NIV] But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness.
(KJV) And if Christ [be] in you, the body [is] dead because of sin; but the Spirit [is] life because of righteousness.
QUESTION: What are these two verses telling us?
ANSWER: We have the Holy Spirit living in us; we need to trust Him! Positionally He is in control of our lives. We need to allow what is positionally true to play itself out practically.
QUESTION: What is verse 10 telling us?
ANSWER: Sin dwells in the members of our bodies [Romans 7:17, 23]. We can’t trust ourselves! We must learn to trust the Holy Spirit to produce its fruit in our lives [Galatians 5:22-23]!
NOTE: Paul’s entire argument is that living for God through human effort has never worked! The Law failed because “it was weakened by the sinful nature,” my sinful nature. Salvation doesn’t empower our flesh/our will so that we can now keep the Law by trying harder. God’s nature is produced in us as we seek a closer relationship with Him. When we do that, then dedication and abstinence become by-products of that relationship.
Walk of Grace Chapel, Council Bluffs Church