There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. ~ Romans 8: 1-2
If you want to put me on guard just mention the word sin. No doubt it has this uncomfortable sound that can bring the atmosphere in a room to a standstill. It is a word that in our 21st Century culture has become this bronze age language that somehow does not fit in with our new sensitivities. If a church wants to loose members or cause many to simply disappear never to return then preach and teach on sin.
I like what the late John Stott said:
“The kind of God who appeals to most people today would be easygoing in his tolerance of our offenses. He would be gentle, kind, accommodating, and would have no violent reactions. Unhappily, even in the church we seem to have lost the vision of the majesty of God. There is much shallowness and levity among us. Prophets and psalmists would probably say of us that “there is no fear of God before their eyes.” In public worship our habit is to slouch or squat; we do not kneel nowadays, let alone prostrate ourselves in humility before God. It is more characteristic of us to clap our hands with joy than to blush with shame or tears. We saunter up to God to claim his patronage and friendship; it does not occur to us that he might send us away. We need to hear again the Apostle Peter’s sobering words, “Since you call on a Father who judges each man’s work impartially, live your lives….in reverent fear.” (1 Peter1:17) In other words, if we dare to call our judge our Father, we must beware of presuming on him.”
In Romans chapter eight everyone loves verse one. It is quoted and cherished by most. But if we read the remaining words we discover there is a definition presented as to what “in Christ” actually represents. The further we read the more we realize that there is more to this than first felt. As we read the rest of the chapter we find that there is a responsibility on behalf of the one who is “in Christ” to maintain this condemnation free way of living. We learn that first we have to be born again and the Spirit of God and Christ must be dwelling in us. This is paramount as even Jesus said, “You must be born again.”
You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. ~ Romans 8: 9
One way to know that you are born again through sincere faith in Christ as Lord is the fact that sin becomes suddenly and incredibly uncomfortable. To counter this we are reminded in Romans chapter eight that our thoughts must be set on the Spirit day in and day out. As temptation comes we must make war with sin by the same Spirit using the weapon of our warfare the sword of the Spirit. The sword of the Spirit is the Word of God and by these words we are to mortify the deeds of the flesh. Here we find yet another word that has lost its deepest meaning and that is the word “mortify.” Mortify means we must kill, slay and murder the deeds of the flesh that are so hostile against the Spirit of Life that dwells within us.
For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death (mortify) the deeds of the body, you will live. ~ (Romans 8:13)
We all want to live. Jesus proclaimed he was the way, the truth and the life and this is why there is no condemnation against the person that is “in Christ.” If indeed we are “in Christ” then indeed “Christ is in us.” So now those who are “in Christ” gladly cooperate with the Spirit that now lives in their heart and in the power of God they put on the whole armor of God. By their faith they will take the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God and put to death the deeds of the body (sin) so that this condemnation free life may be maintained.
Jesus was the great example of welding the sword of the Spirit which is the word of God. As the Spirit led Jesus into the wilderness to be tempted it was the sword of the Spirit that Jesus so wisely used to resist the enemy and that caused the enemy to flee.
It seems that once we read all of Romans chapter eight we discover that the evidence of a person that is abiding “in Christ” will be found in the fact that the “power of sin and death” no longer reigns in their lives. They are no longer slaves to sin but rather are daily killing sin by the Spirit. As John Owen put it so clearly in his book, The Mortification of Sin: “Be killing sin, or sin will be killing you.” To be condemnation free is life in Christ, and a life in Christ is free from the slavery to sin. Living under condemnation is being outside of Jesus Christ and living daily as a slave to sin which only will lead to death.
In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God… ~ Ephesians 6: 16-17