Growing up as the child of an elected politician, I often felt favored and disdained—usually in equal measure—by adults in our small town. If someone viewed my parent’s political stance in a positive light, then they found me favorable as well. But if someone disagreed with my parent’s political decisions, I often suffered the consequences of whatever ill will they directed my way. In a few unfortunate incidences, I learned what it felt like to be condemned by association. Having experienced this sort of condemnation from others gives me a deeper appreciation for the apostle Paul’s triumphant declaration in today’s passage.
- When have you experienced a sense of condemnation—from another person, because of your circumstances, or from your own self?
READ THE WORD: ROMANS 8:1-8 (ESV)
8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. 3 For 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 for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, 4 in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. 5 For 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. 6 For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. 7 For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. 8 Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
- Why are “those who are in Christ Jesus” no longer under the condemnation of sin and death (vss. 2-3)? For what purpose did God the Father—through the life, death, and resurrection of his son, Jesus—do this (vs. 4)?
- Contrast the mindset, behavior, and outcome for people who live submitted to their own sinful natures (“the flesh”) versus those who live submitted to the Holy Spirit (vss. 5-8).
- Consider your own life. When you lived according to the flesh, what were the results? How has living according to the Spirit brought you life, peace, and freedom?
- Today, are you living as one opposed or submitted to God? How are you allowing either your flesh to rule or the Holy Spirit to guide and reign?
RESPOND TO GOD
Because of Christ’s death and resurrection, we do not live under the authority and control of sin anymore. The condemnation of sin—a sentence of death and judgment—has been removed. Furthermore, if you have placed your faith in the person and work of Jesus, you have the incredible gift of the Holy Spirit dwelling within. You have been empowered to live according to God’s desires, rather than the desires of your sinful nature. You have the ability to submit to the flesh or to the Spirit of God within you.
- Give joyful thanks to God—you have been set free from the condemnation of sin!
- Submit your heart to the Spirit’s direction today.