Thursday, May 28, 2015

Do You Feel Condemned??!

Romans 8:1-8
Life Through the Spirit
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.

If you talk to a lot people outside of the church, who don't come to church, they will often say they feel condemned when they come to church. Whether real or imagined, this is their perception. As Paul talks about the sinful nature in chapter 7, he concludes "I don't do what I want to do but the very opposite, what a wretched man I am!" But he starts the first verse in Romans 8 by saying, "There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus!" This is Good News for those who feel judged by the Church, by God, or feel they could never be loved by God because of their past.

But Paul also talks about a new kind of life fueled by the Spirit, the Spirit of Christ that liberates us from sin. All the Law could do was to condemn us. There is no power in the Law except to show us our need for Christ. But through Christ we are given the Spirit, who sets us free from our sinful nature. Through the spirit, we are given the power to live a new life. But an important part of this promise is that we "live according to the Spirit!" Meaning Jesus has set us free, but if we return to the life as we used to live it (Paul calls this "the mind governed by flesh", which is simply doing what you want when you want to do it), God won't stop you!

So while a lot of Christians want to live the Christian life, many feel condemned because they fall short or return to old habits, only to see the same results. But on Pentecost the disciples received power to not only to be freed from sin and death, but the power to live a new life by this same Spirit. Insanity is doing the same things over and over again expecting different results. By living according to our old, sinful habits, we are in a sense acting in an insane manner. But the Good News is that as we set our mind on what the Spirit desires, we are promised life and peace. I don't know about you but that sounds like a pretty good deal.

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