Romans 8

Why is Romans 8 the most beautiful and important chapter in the Bible

8 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, 2 because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. 3 For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in the flesh, 4 in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

5 Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. 6 The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. 7 The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. 8 Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God.

9 You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ. 10 But if Christ is in you, then even though your body is subject to death because of sin, the Spirit gives life because of righteousness.

Many people considered Romans 8 as the greatest chapter in the Bible. Someone said that if the Bible is a ring, then the book of Romans is the diamond, and chapter 8 is the apex of the cut on that diamond.

Romans 8 verse 1 begins with “no condemnation” for those in Christ Jesus and it ends with verse 39 which tells us that nothing will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. In between verse 1 and 39, we see the connection of a believer in Jesus (verse 1), the freedom in Christ (verse 2), the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in us (verse 9), life in the Spirit (verses 10-11, 13), adoption by God to be His children (verse 15), assurance of salvation (verse 16), inheritance we have with Christ (Verse 17), future glory (verse 18), intercession of the Holy Spirit (verse 26-27), the goodness of God (verse 28), foreknowledge of God (verse 29), predestination (verses 29-30), victorious living in Christ (verses 35-39).

8 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,

“Therefore”, meaning Apostle Paul summarized the truths he mentioned in chapters 1-7. Romans 8:1 is the conclusion of all that Paul has written from chapter 1-7. In Romans 6, Apostle Paul talks about our union with Jesus Christ. Romans 7 is about our ongoing struggle with sin. Romans 8 is about the ongoing victory we have in the Holy Spirit.

“Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (verse 1). In Greek manuscript, the first word of the sentence starts with “no”, meaning that the primary emphasis is placed upon “no.”

In Greek, the word for “condemnation” (which is ‘katakrima’), is a strong word that means ‘death sentence’, or ‘eternal death’.  During the Old Testament times, the law condemned those who break the law by giving it a guilty verdict to sinners. Since the law could not save us or free us from condemnation, God has to send His One and only Son Jesus to be our substitute and die for us (Romans 3:21).

We die with Christ. In union with Christ’s death, the power of sin over us is broken. The law of sin and death no longer has any hold over us since we have died to the law in Christ Jesus. By the resurrection of Jesus, we too, are raised with Him, in newness of life, in His Spirit. God’s wrath which was upon us was poured out on His Son, so those who believe will be free from condemnation through faith. Those who believe is guilty no more before God.

We are not found guilty anymore. Until we meet Jesus face to face, the devil may try to accuse us and put guilt and shame in us, but remember, 2000 years ago, Jesus Christ was condemned on our behalf and He had already paid the price for our sin. The verdict is that we are not guilty.

3 For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering.

When Jesus Christ was here on earth 2000 years ago, He was fully man. He faced challenges we faced. He faced temptations, like we do, yet without sins. Jesus was “born of a woman, born under the Law, so that He might redeem those who were under the Law” (Galatians 4:4-5). He was born under the law and therefore He could save us from the power of sin in our life.

Jesus was also fully God. Because He was God and He was without sin, only He could take all our sins upon Himself and died for us.

Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us” (Galatians 3:13).

“You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.” (Romans 5:6)

While we were yet sinners, Christ has died for us—once and for all for all humanity.  There is no eternal death sentence for those who believe. We have been made righteous in Jesus Christ.

This is not applicable for everyone, only to those who are in Christ Jesus. There are some people who will reject Jesus and they are not in Christ. They are those who are separated from Christ Jesus (Romans 9:3). For people who are not in Jesus but are separated from Him, they can not say that they are free from God’s wrath. Jesus Christ came to die for humanity but a person needs to come to Jesus by faith and accept the free gift of eternal life which only Jesus Christ offers. The free gift of eternal life is free for everyone but a person has to make a choice to accept Jesus as his personal Lord and Saviour.

Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them.” (John 3:36)

There is no half-half in accepting Jesus. We either are in Him, or we are not. Have you accepted the free gift of eternal life? Do you have the assurance that you are not living in condemnation anymore? You are not condemned when you feel like a failure. You are not condemned when you realised you had made a few bad choices in your life.

This is the Gospel in the nutshell: God is loving, holy and righteous. We are all sinners in this world. God loves us but because of our sins, He has to punish us, like any loving parent would if their child misbehaves. In our sins, we face the wrath of God. Only God alone can save us from sins, and He had provided this solution, that is, through Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is perfect. Jesus is holy. There is no sin in Him and therefore, He is able to take all our sins upon Himself and took our punishment on our behalf. Jesus Christ died for us on the Cross, the punishment which was supposed to be ours. His blood shed on the Cross cleanse us from our sins. Jesus Christ has risen from the dead after 3 days. Those who believe in Him will be saved. The great news is that there is no condemnation for us who are in Christ Jesus.

Romans chapter 8 also talked about the Holy Spirit in our life as Christians. We do not live our Christian life in our own strength. Without Him, we can not go very far. We live day by day in the power of the Holy Spirit who helps us to live a life that is pleasing to God.  

In Romans chapter 8, the Holy Spirit was mentioned 19 times in the first 27 verses. What are the functions of the Holy Spirit according to this chapter? The Holy Spirit:

  • Gives us life (verse 2)
  • Sets us free from the law of sin and death (verse 2)
  • Help us to walk in righteousness (verse 4)
  • Testifies in our spirit that we are God’s children (verses 15-16)
  • Gives us the assurance of our salvation (verses 15-16)
  • Intercedes for us and prays for us according to our weaknesses (Verse 26-27)

With the Holy Spirit’s empowerment, we are to:

  • walk according to the Spirit (verse 4)
  • set our minds to the things of the Spirit (verse 5)
  • The Spirit of God lives in us (Verse 9, 11)
  • Put away our evil desires (verse 13)
  • Pursue holiness (verse 14).    

Verse 4 tells us, “in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.”

“in order that” the law might be fulfilled in us. It means yes, although Jesus died for us and we are not condemned in our sins anymore, we still have to live our lives obeying God’s commandments and walk in holiness. What is the greatest commandment?  

37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” (Matthew 22:36-40)

In the past, we walked “according to the flesh”, we did what we like because we were in our sinful nature. We had no fear for God because this is our human condition since birth —our minds are set to satisfy the cravings of our flesh. That was why we got into unnecessary troubles. Verse 7 tells us, “The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so”. We were enemies of God.

Now, we walk “according to the Spirit”, we live by the power of the Holy Spirit. When we are spiritually minded, we have life and peace (verse 6).

9 You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ.

For those who belong to Christ Jesus, the Holy Spirit makes His home in us. With the empowerment of the Holy Spirit, we are able to be obedient to what God requires of us. Our mindset too, is changed. We no longer think of things that only benefits us. Our time, our money— all these are not our possessions but we recognised them as gifts entrusted to us by God.   

In our daily living, let us be intentional followers of Jesus. When we are faced with many temptations, let us choose to walk according to the Holy Spirit. Let us guard our speech, action and thoughts in the workplace, in our dealing with others, at home with our family or alone with our entertainment. Let us depend on the guidance of the Holy Spirit daily to choose things that are pleasing to God.

During the 19th century, Ireland was stricken by a potato famine. Many of the Irish people immigrated to America. A young Irish boy stowed away on a ship bound for America. At seas, unfortunately, the ship struck an iceberg and began to sink. As people scrambled frantically for the lifeboats, the captain was the last to leave the sinking ship. When he looked back at the ship, he saw the young stowaway coming out of hiding. The captain ordered his lifeboat back to the sinking ship. He climbed aboard and rescued the boy, putting him in the only vacate seat in the lifeboat, which was the captain’s. As the lifeboat slowly pulled away from the sinking ship, the captain yelled out to the boy, “Boy, never forget what has been done for you today!”

This is grace. I am sure the boy treasured his life from that day on, don’t you? He was almost gone but the captain saw him, rescued him, and exchanged places with him. The captain gave him his seat on the lifeboat. All that the captain asked in return was that the boy not to forget what had been done for him that day.

How often do we think about the sacrifices of Jesus Christ for us? We don’t really think about it. We should live our lives in remembrance of what Jesus Christ has done for us. He died to give us life. He rose again from the dead to give us hope and a future. Come to Jesus, He cares for you.    

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