Romans 8:1-17 - Two ways to live
'No condemnation.' This is a massive load taken away. No more feelings of guilt. No more sense of desperate longing. No more striving to please anyone. And no more thinking we're good enough, only to find out we're not. If we're trusting and following Jesus, our peace no longer depends on ourselves, how we feel, what we do or on the approval of others. We have peace with God and he says we're completely and permanently forgiven because of Jesus. We can't be right with God by obeying his law because we can't obey his law but Jesus can and he did it on our behalf and represented us on the cross when he became sin so that we might become right with God (2 Corinthians 5:21). He offers us the best swap. Ever.
Paul says there are two ways to live: 'by the flesh' or 'by the Spirit'.
Life by the flesh means...
- We're lost (condemned) because we're sinful and can't keep God's law (v3)
- We do whatever we want but that's all we can do (v5)
- Our thinking is broken and our mind 'is death' (v6)
- We're hostile to God and resistant to him (v7)
- It's impossible for us to please God (v8)
- We will die (v12)
Life by the Spirit means...
- God himself has set us free from sin and death (v2)
- God's righteous requirements are met in us because of Jesus (v4)
- We have a new, deeper desire to please God and not ourselves (v5)
- Our thinking is increasingly informed and led by God and not by sin (v6)
- God himself lives in us, showing that we are his (v9)
- We have freedom to live life to the full because of Jesus (v10, 13)
- We have a certain promise of life forever because of Jesus (v11)
- We are God's children, adopted into his family (v14-15)
- We are reminded of this certainty and we know it deep down (v16)
- We are due to receive everything good that God wants to share with his family forever (v17)
Paul has already used the example of slavery to describe Christians as those who are slaves to the one who loves them the most (Romans 6:15-23). Now Paul shows us how this illustration falls down... Slaves live in fear. Christians don't. Those who trust and follow Jesus are 'sons', not slaves. God welcomes us home and we have peace because we are part of the family.
2 ways to live