There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 2For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. 3For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do: by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and to deal with sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, 4so that the just requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. 5For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. 6To set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. 7For this reason the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law—indeed it cannot, 8and those who are in the flesh cannot please God. 9But you are not in the flesh; you are in the Spirit, since the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.
10But if Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also through his Spirit that dwells in you.
We have been wading through Paul’s letter to the Roman Church as we continue our post-resurrection perspective of looking back on Jesus’ resurrection and measuring our lives in light of it. We have discussed freedom and from where true freedom really comes. We have discussed humanity’s incapability to have this freedom on its own. Running like a current through all of this is Paul’s idea of justification; namely that it is by grace, through faith. Justification means being set right in our relationship with God. Our own sin (“Kid did it”) blocks a right relationship with God but through God’s grace in Jesus Christ, we are as Paul says repeatedly in Romans, set free.
This week, we come to the eighth chapter of Romans and it’s famous first verse, “There is therefore no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Any time you see a “therefore” in the scriptures, look to the previous section. In this case, the “therefore” speaks of God through Christ’s atoning action for human sin in chapters 6 and 7. Because of this atoning action, there is THEREFORE no condemnation.
Despite what has been done to make people feel like God has condemned them (which, unfortunately, includes the Church), the truth is that there is no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus. Once we realize this, we understand that God wants us to truly live now: “If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also through his Spirit that dwells within you.”
The implications of this truth for our lives is astounding. Through God’s gift of grace through Christ, we can change the world. Now you may be thinking that’s a little to idealistic. You are right. The world is to large for us to change, unless we begin to define the world we want to change! And through God’s grace it is possible. Think about the “world” you live in and all the opportunities you have to change it. We all have families, friends, co-workers, and neighbors. We have all been given gifts by which to impact the world with the good news that condemnation rules no longer! As a church, there is a community all around us where we can and should proclaim the “Spirit of Life in Jesus Christ.”
What will you do to change the world?
Blessings for the journey,