Romans. I love reading Romans. The whole book is a rich assembly of deep theology and beautiful explanations of God’s redemptive plan for us. But Romans can be hard to digest in large quantities. It’s like eating steak and baked potato for every meal, followed by a peanut butter milkshake—so good, but so heavy. Reading through Romans 8, I was overwhelmed by the abundance each verse contained.
Read Romans 8:1-4 and let’s see if we can break this down together. Piece, by God-breathed piece!
So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death. The law of Moses was unable to save us because of the weakness of our sinful nature. So God did what the law could not do. He sent his own Son in a body like the bodies we sinners have. And in that body God declared an end to sin’s control over us by giving his Son as a sacrifice for our sins. He did this so that the just requirement of the law would be fully satisfied for us, who no longer follow our sinful nature but instead follow the Spirit.
So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.
“So now” is the continuation of Paul’s thoughts from Chapter 7 (because remember, Paul didn’t break his letter into chapters. That came later. Chapter 8 is continuing Paul’s thoughts from Chapter 7). In Chapter 7, Paul writes extensively about our struggle with sin and the inability of the law to free us from that sin. In the time before the “now” referred to in verse 1, we were held to the standard of the law and daily faced our inability to meet the standard. But “now” we are freed by Christ’s death on the cross. “Now” is the turning point in salvation’s history.
“No condemnation” –none. Not even a teeny, tiny little bit of a grudge against us. The slate is wiped clean. When Jesus died and we accept His gift of forgiveness (which denotes we now belong to Christ Jesus–John 1:12), His forgiveness covers our past, present and future. We will not stand condemned on the Day of Judgment.
And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death.
Don’t gloss over that verse! Go back and read it. Read it again. Let it swirl around in your mind and heart. Let it make its way to the dark corners of your mind.
You belong to Jesus. He ransomed you from the Sin-Death that held you captive. You are His precious possession forever and ever.
Power. The power of the Holy Spirit broke the chains that tied you to sin. You are now free to live your life in abundance. When you feel shackled to fear, shackled to doubt, shackled to old habits, shackled to anger, bitterness, or guilt, REMEMBER–you have been set free! Don’t waste this gift by continuing to live like you still wear those old chains. Walk. Run. Dance in your freedom! You are free by the power of God’s Holy Spirit. Sin, where is your victory? Death, where is your sting? Sin has no power against the saving power of our God!
The law of Moses was unable to save us because of the weakness of our sinful nature.
The law of God is good. It is God’s law, created by Him and given to His people to guide them, protect them and sanctify them. But the law could never save us. The law could only show us how much we need a Savior. The law highlighted our inability to meet God’s standards because of the sin that controlled us and it pointed to the only One who defeated the power of sin.
So God did what the law could not do. He sent his own Son in a body like the bodies we sinners have. And in that body God declared an end to sin’s control over us by giving his Son as a sacrifice for our sins.
Paul reiterates the good news of the Gospel by expounding on verse 2. The law could not save us, but God could. God sent His Son, the Glorious and Righteous King, to live as one of us on Earth. And not just to live, but also to die a criminal’s death at the hands of those He came to save. God’s gift of Jesus could be viewed as a tragic loss of a young man, but the sacrificial death of Jesus did what we could never do for ourselves–not in a thousand lifetimes of righteous living. When Jesus became our Sacrificial Lamb He broke Hell’s hold on us, and conquered death, once and for all.
He did this so that the just requirement of the law would be fully satisfied for us, who no longer follow our sinful nature but instead follow the Spirit.
Here Paul gives us a piece of the “why” behind the sacrifice. Jesus came not to abolish God’s law, but to fulfill it (Matthew 5:17). Jesus paid the price and the law is fulfilled, 100%. Again, Paul’s writing shows that we are called to see our new lives as lives of freedom. We are not saved to live in constant fear that our sin nature will violate the law, putting us in jeopardy of permanent separation from our God. When Christ fully satisfied the law, He completed what we could not. We saved us–for today and forever.
Paul’s last piece of verse 4 is our call to action: Turn from your sin nature and follow the Spirit. Christ paid the price so that you could live. God declared an end to sin’s control (vs 3) so that we would be free to follow the Spirit!
Don’t live your life shackled to what you were before Jesus. You are a new creation. His blood, his sacrifice, bought and paid for you. Don’t waste Jesus’ blood because you refuse to believe that it could fully cover your debt to sin. Follow His Spirit to the abundant life He has for you!
Jesus paid it all! Sin had left a crimson stain, but he washed it white as snow!