Lesson 78: "Christ Jesus Hath Made Me Free From. . .Death" (Romans 8:2)
Welcome again. This is lesson #78. If you will re-read Ch. 5-6-7 with this in mind; you'll find Paul in those chapters managed for the most part to keep his discussion free of the glorious and great life that can be known in Christ Jesus. He centered in those chapters on the wrath of God and that we can be free from God's wrath through faith in Jesus. Sin enslaves us; but, we can be made free from the slave master of sin by baptism into Christ Jesus. Our past sins can be buried in that watery grave of baptism. The law of Moses made even more sin known unto mankind and beyond that it accentuated sin and sin reigned supreme through the knowledge that carne by the law. But, through the death of Christ we are married to another and thus made free from the law of Moses. We are delivered from the law. How are we delivered? Listen now: "THAT being dead wherein we were held." (7:6) Thus, we have reiterated before, through faith in Christ and baptism into Christ we can be made free from the wrath of God, we can be made free from sin, and we are made free from the law. But, death still looms in the background. Now when I say death, I'm talking about spiritual death, i.e. the second death, separation from God, or a life in hell to put very plainly. We must still face the judgment, beyond physical death. Now, every person will face physical death, that death that came up on us through the punishment of Adam with the exception of those living when Christ returns (I Cor. 15:51). Paul has now shown there is way out even with respect to spiritual death. We can be free from God's wrath by the righteousness imputed through faith. Paul has covered that. We can be free from sin; that which brings spiritual death. The wages of sin is death, remember, (6:23). We are no longer bound to the old law; the death of Jesus on the cross released us from the O.T. law (7:6). So, the factors that bring on spiritual death can be avoided simply by being in Christ Jesus, i.e. Believing Jesus Christ as God's Son, by repenting or changing our mind and deciding to follow Jesus and deciding to serve righteousness (6:18) and being buried with Christ, having our sins buried in that watery grave and being raised a sin-free person to walk in newness of life and walking in a new life with Jesus Christ as our Saviour and King, avoiding sin and asking for forgiveness and being cleansed from sins, one by one, when we inadvertently find ourself out of the way and off the true path. We can come back! We can thereby avoid spiritual death, the death of the soul. This is quite different than Paul knew in that part of his life which was spent under the law of Moses. In those days they offered animal sacrifices year by year and rolled their sins forward (so-to-speak). There was a remembrance (Heb. 10:3) from year to year; awaiting the sacrifice of Jesus which took away the sin of the world (John 1:29); which they looked forward to in the coming of the messiah. Thus, Paul in his discussion in Romans has gradually built up to and now shouts by his pin the glorious gift only known and enjoyed by Christians. In Ch. 8, Paul reached a crescendo in his discussion. He has, step by step, taken us up to the mountain top from which he shouts the highest note in this epistle, that he wrote to his Roman brethren.
"There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit"
Even those that obeyed God before the coming of Christ did not know a condemnation-free life as Paul has explained can be known today by those that obey our Lord. And, if you can understand Paul's exhilaration at this point; you will find the rest of Ch. 8 somewhat repetitive and an elaboration upon this thought. It's the climax of the book. There's nothing to compare with it. Down in v. 37, the apostle exclaimed: "in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us."
I understand in Paul's day the generals when they returned from a war or even a hard battle would celebrate by parading through town; the general up front on his white horse leading the parade. Celebrating as a conqueror. Paul was saying in essence, what they have to celebrate about nothing. A Christian has the assurance of God, there is no condemnation if you are in Christ, and if you are walking or living the Christian life. Thus, by this process and by this plan of salvation which is the gospel; the power of God to save (1:16), Christians can be free from death, also. Therefore Christians in a covenant relationship, are free from the wrath of God, they are free from sin and the law, they can be free from spiritual death. But, please observe, this is conditional. It is only, if we, "walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit" To walk after the flesh means very simply to ignore God and God's laws given through Christ Jesus and go about establishing our own righteousness and not God's righteousness. How do I know this? This is said down in v. 5, (here in Ch. 8). To walk after the Spirit, i.e. the Holy Spirit (notice the capital letter), is to walk after and obey the gospel written and made known to us through the Holy sprit of God. In other words be free from death, one must continually be in covenant relationship with God, i.e. walking in the Spirit. Paul is saying in essence, this should make Christians the most confident people upon the earth. Can we know we are saved? Paul answers in the affirmative. However, Paul in making this confidence, conditional upon walking after the Spirit, agrees with the apostle John,
"hereby do we know that we know him, if we keep his commandments."
With that much introduction, let's read Romans Ch. 8. Please read with me! We'll take it from the beginning, 8:1. Let's read. "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. 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. 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 For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. 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. And if Christ be in you, the body dead because of sin; but the spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you. Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: and if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ, if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. For the creature was made subject to vanity not willingly, but, by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope; because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together unto now. And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body. For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doeth he hope for? But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover, whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified. What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall not with him also freely give us all things? Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth. Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, ye rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor heights, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord."
That was a long reading and it's not possible to go back
through verse by verse and do it justice in the time we have left
in this lesson. But, I trust you'll read it several times on your
own. To be "in Christ," as that term is used in v. 1 or "if
Christ be in you" (v. 10) means very simply to be a Christian.
Thus, in going back over this thought, as we have already
explained; Paul uses this figure over and over. This same
thought is expressed several ways; for example in v. 9, Paul
"If so be that the Spirit of God dwells in you" or "if the
Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in
Then down in v. 14
"as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons
This thought is expressed in many ways.
"We are children of God" (v. 16)
"heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ" (v. 17)
sufferers together with him (later in v. 17 ) and more than conquerors, we have already mentioned (in v. 37). "The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus" at the beginning of v. 2 is another way of saying the gospel. To "walk...after the Spirit" (end of v. 4) is another way of saying those that obey the gospel. Again, you will find this thought expressed in several ways. To be In the flesh or to "walk after the flesh" (v. 4), or to "mind the things of the flesh" (v. 5) are ways of describing non-Christians; those that have not been baptized and thus still in their sins. This contrast is made all through the chapter. You may have to read the chapter several times to begin to pick up on all of these figures of speech. But, like I said to start with when you begin to get the knack of categorizing these figures of speech; you'll then see that Paul repeated these thoughts several times for emphasis. For example, in v. 6, he said: "to be carnally minded is death."
The word "carnally" is simply another word for fleshly. Thus,
not to be in Christ is to be in the flesh. To be in the flesh is to
be carnally minded. And, to be carnally minded is death (v. 6).
That's another way of saying that if one is not in Christ they are
lost. They will face spiritual death if they do not change.
"The carnal mind is enmity against God" (v. 7)
Or, to say it another way (v. 8),
"they that are in the flesh cannot please God."
In other words, there is nothing but condemnation for anyone
outside of Christ. That would be the contrasting thought to v. 1.
If you take the time to read this chapter closely you'll find it is a far cry from the teachings of the denominational world today; like: go to the church of your choice, use your religion to help you, i.e. socially, economically, emotionally, etc. Creed books and church councils and conferences that make their own rules and their own creeds are a far cry from what is taught in this chapter. What about sprinkling, pouring and effusion? What about optional? What about man-made and man-invented forms of worship? Does this chapter say: do it your way? Does this chapter teach universal salvation? Does this chapter say interpret it to suit you? I trust it is not necessary for me to say more.
Now, get back to what I said before; Christians should be the most confident people in the world. To have this confidence, one must be confidently doing the things described as walking in the Spirit. That's another way of saying to live according to the instruction of the Holy Spirit. The instruction of the Holy Spirit is the gospel; the teaching found in the New Testament. It is given by inspiration of God (II Tim. 3:16) and is profitable for doctrine and it is profitable for instruction. It will thoroughly furnish a man unto all good works. But, that doesn't sound much like drugs, alcohol, drunken football games grammy awards, beauty contests or Hollywood. Without a penny, the Christian is rich. Without a friend in this old world, we can still be a friend of God. Jesus said, I am with you always, even to the end of the age (Matt. 28:20). To be in Jesus and to walk after the Spirit is more than to be a conqueror. And, don't forget it's a gift from God. There's no way you can earn salvation. It's a gift! And yet, our salvation is the most costly thing in the universe.
"God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh..." (v. 3) "If God be for us, who can be against us?" (v. 31) "Who is he that condemneth?" (v. 34) If you are in Christ, no one on the earth can condemn you or cause you to be lost. Not your enemies, not your foes, not angels! No one, but you!
"It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even on the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us." (v.34)
Yet, the world rushes on toward judgment and spiritual death. Who'll study God's word? Who will give as they have been prospered? Who will even attended the worship services? Who'll teach the lost? Salvation is a free gift. But, who cares? Are you walking after the Spirit? Have a good day.