Blessed God and Loving Father, You are my strength and shield. I trust You and rejoice in You today.
Read Romans 8:1-8
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
“When Jesus entered the world ﾅ he brought with him a gift of power which creates ﾅ the sphere of the Spirit, where the law of sin and death no longer has dominion” (Fleming Rutledge). And what a gift it was!
If Romans is the Himalayas of the New Testament, then in ch. 8 we reach Mount Everest. Here Paul draws together not only the themes from the last couple of chapters, but also ideas from the beginning of the letter. There are strong echoes of the gospel in his opening statement in 1:3, 4. Paul now uses the terms “flesh” and “Spirit” as contrasts, meaning, not the difference between the physical and the non-physical, but the difference between living in line with our (sinful) human nature and living directed by the Spirit of God in our lives.
Paul presents a developing argument (“Therefore,” v. 1; “because,” v. 2; “For,” v. 3; “in order that,” v. 4); each statement is explained and unpacked by what follows. There is a clever video on the Internet about young people and the environment which, when played backwards, says the opposite of what it says played forwards. Here, playing backwards actually makes the argument clear: there are two kinds of humanity, those living in “the sinful nature” and those living in “the Spirit”; they are heading for death and for life, respectively (6). Those in the sinful nature cannot fulfill what God has set out in the Law. God himself has provided a sin offering in Jesus, destroying the power of sin (3, 4). You are therefore free to live the Spirit-empowered life (2); therefore, there is no further penalty to be paid (1).
Just as the future “age to come” has broken into the present in the resurrection of Jesus, so God’s future vindication of us is made known now, and the end times gift of the Spirit (Joel 2:28; Acts 2:17) is made available.
Are there areas in your life where you still live with a sense of condemnation? Rejoice in God’s verdict of forgiveness and new life.
Amazing God, in Christ I no longer fear condemnation or separation. In the face of this I cannot contain my praise.
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