Pastor Scott L. Harris
Grace Bible Church, NY
August 4, 2002
No Longer Condemned
This morning we come to a wonderful section in the book of Romans. Paul will
still be dealing with many of the same issues we have been looking at in the
past several weeks, but as we come to Chapter 8, Paul states the result of being
justified by faith in Jesus Christ in emphatically clear terms. "There
is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus."
Those are words that would have sent shock waves through the hearts and minds
of both his Jewish and Gentile readers. Both groups had been spending their
lives trying to somehow avoid God’s wrath and never being sure they could, but
now Paul is stating with absolute confidence that those who were in Christ Jesus
were no longer under God’s condemnation.
The Gentiles would have come from pagan backgrounds in which they were always
striving to appease the gods in some way so as to avoid their wrath. But no
matter how much they worked at their religion, they could never be sure that
they had succeeded in appeasing their god. Paul’s opening arguments in
chapters 1 & 2 would have further destroyed any hope they had in their own
efforts because he explained that not only was their only one God who had
created them and to whom they were responsible, but that they had disobeyed this
God and His wrath did abide upon them. Even those who thought themselves to be
moral found themselves condemned by their own consciences for they not only
failed to live up to God’s standards, they failed to live up to their own (see
The Jews did not fare any better. Though they had the law of God, they did
not follow it. Even the Pharisees who had twisted the law around to the point
that they claimed to obey it would still find themselves condemned by it. They
could not live up to God’s perfect standards, and also found themselves under
God’s wrath (See Romans 2:17-3:20).
Paul explained in chapter 3 that the only way for a person to be made right
before our holy Creator was to be made judicially righteous through something
God would have to do. God’s means of doing that was through Jesus Christ being
our substitute payment for the penalty of our sins and then rising from the dead
so that we could be justified by faith in Him. Again, justification is the
judicial action of God by which He declares us "not guilty" for our
sins because the price for them has been paid by Jesus Christ. It is also God’s
action by which He imputes or attributes the righteousness that belongs to Jesus
Christ to us.
Paul explained the nature of this faith that brings justification in Romans 4
by pointing out the example of Abraham who "believed God, and it was
reckoned to him as righteousness" (Rom. 4:3). In chapter 5 Paul
explained some of the ramifications of being justified by faith including having
peace with God and gaining a new nature to replace the old sinful one we had
received by inheritance from Adam. There have been radical changes made in the
believer. His old self was crucified with Christ (Rom. 6:6) and he has been
freed from the law’s condemnation. He has been changed and has a new master.
Whereas before he had no ability to do anything except sin, even his efforts to
do righteousness was filthy before our Holy God, now, he could obey God and do
what is righteous. And though, as we saw in our study of Romans 7 last week, the
believer is still going to struggle with sin, this radical change in the
believer causes him to want to obey God and fight against the sin that is still
The one who has placed their faith in the person and work of Jesus Christ is
not immediately made sinless. In fact, as long as the Christian is alive in this
body of flesh, they will have a conflict with sin. 1 John 1:8-10 makes that same
point even saying that the person who says they have no sin does not have the
truth in them. They are liars. Yet, even with this continuing struggle with sin
in their lives, the Christian is no longer condemned by God. That is a radical
and wonderful truth that makes Biblical Christianity different from every
religion. I do not strive to obey God and walk in holiness in order to avoid God’s
judgement. Jesus Christ has already been judged for my sin and I have been
declared "not guilty" in God’s court. I strive to obey God and walk
in holiness because I love God.
Turn to Romans 8 and follow along as I read verses 1-11.
8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the
law of sin and of death. 3 For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through
the flesh, God [did:] sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and
[as an offering] for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, 4 in order that the
requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to
the flesh, but according to the Spirit. 5 For those who are according to the
flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to
the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. 6 For the mind set on the flesh is death,
but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, 7 because the mind set on the
flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God,
for it is not even able [to do so]; 8 and those who are in the flesh cannot
please God. 9 However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the
Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ,
he does not belong to Him. 10 And if Christ is in you, though the body is dead
because of sin, yet the spirit is alive because of righteousness. 11 But if the
Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ
Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit
who indwells you.
The idea of "condemnation" (katavkrima
/katakrima) in verse one is that there is no judgement, verdict or sentence
against the person who is in Jesus Christ. There is no penalty for them to pay.
Paul is again using legal terminology and the picture is one of being in God’s
court room. In this example, the case has been presented, but there is no
decision by the judge against the defendant. But notice that there is a
qualification. The person that is not condemned is the one who is in Christ
Recall from 1:18 that God’s wrath is "against all ungodliness and
unrighteousness of men," and from 3:10 that "there are none
righteous, not even one." Every human is under God’s sentence of
judgement against them except those who are in Christ Jesus. Your
lineage, social status, personal moral character, and religious endeavors do not
matter in God’s courtroom, because no one meets God’s perfect standards.
Your inheritance from your parents is that of a sinner tracing all the way back
to Adam. Your social status on earth has no bearing on your relationship to God.
You are simply one of His creatures. Your claim to own anything does not hold in
His court, because He is the one that owns it all, you are a steward that must
give an account to Him of how you have used what He has entrusted to you. Your
moral standards do not meet His of perfect holiness. Your religious endeavors
are not only filthy rags before Him (Isa. 64:6), but are actually
self-deceptive, because no one seeks God unless He first draws (Rom. 3:11; John
To be in Christ Jesus means to be someone who has been made righteous
through faith in Jesus Christ (Rom. 3:22, 26). To use the language of Romans 6,
this is the person who has been "united with" Jesus "in
the likeness of His death." Recall that Romans 6 speaks of our
identification with Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection through baptism.
Baptism is a ritual that pictures a spiritual reality. We go under the water in
identification with Jesus’ death and burial and the crucifixion of our old
self with Him. We are raised up from the water in identification with Jesus’
resurrection and our being raised to newness of life in Him. This is not an
intellectual assent to Biblical facts about Jesus, but a spiritual relationship
in which I am united with Christ and the Holy Spirit dwells within me. As 1 John
5:12 puts it, "He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the
Son of God does not have the life. These things I have written to you who
believe in the name of the Son of God, in order that you may know that you have
There is no condemnation remaining on those who are "in Christ
Jesus." They have received the promise of John 3:16 that "God
so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in
Him should not perish, but have everlasting life." As John 3:18 adds, He
who believes in Him is not judged." But please note that John 3:18, 19
continues, he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has
not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the
judgement, that the light is come into the world, and men loved the darkness
rather than the light; for their deeds were evil." There is no
condemnation for those in Christ Jesus, but those who are not in Jesus
Christ remain under God’ sentence of eternal damnation.
How is it that the Christian is freed from God’s condemnation? As verse 2
points out, there is a different law that is now at work in the believer. It is "the
law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus." This is the new covenant
that brings about my justification through faith in Jesus Christ and then places
God’s law within my heart, so that my desire to obey Him is from my heart and
soul out of love for Him, and not from an external effort to appease Him and His
wrath. This law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus breaks my bondage
to the law of sin and of death. Many commentators want to leave this as
another statement about justification, but I think it also goes on to
sanctification because this phrase goes back to 7:24. Who will set me free
from the body of this death?" If you have an NASB, this is a case in
which other translations have probably done a better job and the text should
read, "me" instead of "you." "The law
of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set me free from the law
of sin and death."
I have been justified from by sin through faith in Jesus Christ. I no longer
stand condemned in God’s court. However, I know that I still struggle with
sin. As I examine God’s law, I continually see my failure to live according to
it even though it is my great desire to show my love for God by obeying Him (cf.
John 14:21,23). This is part of the New Covenant of having the law written upon
our hearts and minds (see Heb. 10:16). The Holy Spirit indwells us, as Paul
points out in verse 11 (see also John 7:38,39; 14:17). It is by the power of the
Holy Spirit that the Christian is to battle this residual sin nature that is
still within us. We cannot overcome this sin on our own as Romans 7:14-25
explains. We overcome it only through the "law of the Spirit of life in
As Paul explains in verse 3, the law itself was too weak to change us. Our
sin nature was too strong and all the law did was to excite our sinful flesh to
more sin. The law exposed our sin, convicted us, condemned us and killed us (See
Romans 7:7-11). Even for the Christian, the law continues to expose our
sinfulness. We agree with the law and concur that it is holy, righteous, good,
and spiritual, but it causes us to cry out for help to overcome our exposed
sinfulness. The law cannot bring about holiness in either the non-believer or
the believer. Only God could do that, and He did.
God did it by sending Jesus Christ to meet the requirements of the law and
bring about our justification through faith in Him. Though Jesus is holy and
infinite as the second person of the eternal Godhead, he humbled Himself and
came to Earth in the likeness of finite sinful man. Then, after living a sinless
life, offered Himself as the offering payment of sin and died in His flesh. In
doing, God brought His judgement sentence to bear against sin. The same word for
"condemn" is used here at the end of verse 3 as was used in verse 1.
The condemnation that used to fall upon the sinner has fallen upon sin itself.
Though we cannot at this time understand the fulness of the passage, we know
from Rev. 20:14, that at the final judgement, the condemnation of sin, which is
death, along with Hades, are thrown into the eternal lake of fire. The wages
of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our
Lord (Rom. 6:23).
Jesus’ atonement for sin fulfills the law’s demands, and also enables the
believer to obey God. The NKJV translation of this verse brings out this idea a
little better. "4 that the righteous requirement of the law might be
fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the
Spirit." The word translated here as "righteous requirements"
(dikaivwma / diakaioma) refers to the
"concrete expressions of righteousness" (Vine’s) that exist in the
law. The "us" that can fulfill the law are those that walk
according to the Spirit of God and not according to the flesh.
From this verse through verse 11 Paul contrasts the difference between the
true Christian and the unbeliever in terms of their relationship to the Holy
Spirt and ability to subject themselves to the law of God. The idea of
"walk according to" refers to the manner in which a person lives and
conducts themselves. Those that live their lives according to the desires of
their flesh cannot do the righteous deeds God desires for us to do. Those that
conduct themselves according to the leading of the Holy Spirit can do the "good
works, which God prepared before hand, that we should walk in them"
(Eph. 2:10), which should be true of every Christian.
Notice the conflict that exists between the flesh and the Spirit. They are
opposite each other. In verse 5, Paul notes that those living according to the
flesh do so because their minds are set on the things of the flesh. What is most
important to such a person is the cravings of their body, the pleasing of their
mind, and the satisfying of their ego (See 1 John 2:15). Those who conduct
themselves according to the Holy Spirit do so because their minds are set on the
Spirit. What is
most important to such a person is knowing and pleasing God.
There are consequences to these two different mindsets as Paul points out in
verse 6. Those who have a mind set on the flesh will find it will result in
death. Those who have a mind set on the Spirit will have life and peace. 1 John
2:15,16 explains, "Do not love the world or the things in the world. If
anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that
[is] in the world–the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of
life–is not of the Father but is of the world. 17 And the world is passing
away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever."
The flesh and all that the flesh would desire is of temporal value. It
declines. It decays. It dies. The world and all that is in it is passing away.
But that which is according to the Holy Spirit is of eternal value. It never
declines, decays or dies. What is according to the Spirit will last forever and
so will the one whose lives according to the Spirit. They have life and peace.
They are in harmony with God instead of conflict.
The flesh and the Spirit are in conflict with each other. Paul says in verse
7 that the "mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God." There
is enmity, hatred between the two. That is why the person who lives according to
their flesh cannot please God. They will not subject themselves to the law of
God. They do not desire to do what God says or to please Him in how they live.
As Paul pointed out back in chapter 3, the person who is apart from Christ is
not righteous, does not do righteousness and does not seek God.
Paul also contrasted the flesh and Spirit in Galatians 5:16-24. In that
passage he also delineated the differences in the actions of the flesh in
contrast to those by the Spirit, and so it a passage we need to look at.
16 I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the
flesh. 17 For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the
flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things
that you wish. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.
19 Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication,
uncleanness, lewdness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies,
outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, 21 envy, murders,
drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I
also told [you] in time past, that those who practice such things will not
inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace,
longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control.
Against such there is no law. 24 And those [who] [are] Christ’s have crucified
the flesh with its passions and desires.
How do you know if someone is walking according to the flesh or according to
the Spirit? Look at the conduct of their lives and it becomes very evident. You
cannot walk by the Spirit and at the same time carry out the deeds of the flesh.
The reverse is also true as Paul points out here in Romans 8:8. Those who are
in the flesh cannot please God.
What is the nature of a Christian? Verse 9. They are not in the flesh, but in
the Spirit. The Spirit of God indwells them, and if that is not true, then they
are not Christians.
Notice the free exchange of terms for the Holy Spirit in this verse. He is
the Spirit of God. He is also the Spirit of Christ. The Holy Spirit is the third
member of the triune Godhead. Each member of the Godhead is distinct, yet each
member is also fully God. The Holy Spirit is not some impersonal force as many
cults claim, including Jehovah’ Witnesses.
The Holy Spirit is called "God" (Acts 5:3,4). He performs the work
of God including the work of creation (Gen. 1:2), giving life (Job 33:4),
sanctifies people from their sin (1 Cor. 6:11), knows the mind of man and God (1
Cor. 2:11; Rom. 8:26,27), reveals the words of God to men (2 Peter 1:21), raised
Jesus from the dead (1 Peter 3:18). The Holy Spirit has a multiple ministry to
believers including regenerating them (John 3:6), baptizing them into the body
of Christ (1 Cor. 12:13), sealing them (Eph. 4:30), filling them (Eph 5:18) and
teaching them (1 John 2:27; John 14:26). He convicts the world of sin,
righteousness and judgement (John 16:8). Other attributes of the Holy Spirit’s
personality include His being grieved (Isa. 64:10; Eph. 4:30), blasphemed (Mt.
12:31), lied to (Acts. 5:3), and insulted (Heb. 10:29). None of those things can
be done to an impersonal force.
Another important point to note from this verse is that anyone who does not
have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to Him. There is a common charismatic
teaching that splits salvation into two parts. First you are saved, and then
sometime later you get the Holy Spirit which is then manifested by speaking in
tongues. Simply put, that is a false doctrine. If you do not have the Holy
Spirit, then you are not a Christian. In addition, you are baptized by the Holy
Spirit into the body of Christ at the moment of salvation (1 Cor. 12:13), not
some time afterward. And finally, speaking in tongues is not the sign of
receiving the Holy Spirit. 1 Cor. 12 makes it clear that any of the many
spiritual gifts is evidence of having the Holy Spirit, and Galatians 5:22,23
make it clear that the evidence of being controlled by the Holy Spirit is
bearing His fruit – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness,
faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
In verses 10,11 Paul comments again about the difference the Holy Spirit
makes in the life of the believer. Every Christian will still struggle against
the residual sin nature within his flesh, but since Christ is in the believer,
though the body is dead because of sin, yet the spirit of the believer is alive
because of righteousness. As Paul stated back in chapter 7, the law of sin still
residing in the believer’s members wages war against the law of the mind. Our
bodies still bear the scars of this war including physical death, yet even in
the midst of this conflict our renewed inner being is now alive in Christ. We
were once dead in trespasses and sin, but now we have been made alive together
with Christ (Eph. 2:1-5). The battle against sin demonstrates the reality of the
new life that we have for prior to salvation, there was no conflict with sin for
it was our undisputed master. Now there is a new master and by yielding to the
Holy Spirit, we can obey righteousness instead of sin.
In addition, we have a hope for the future that is even better. Though the
Christian should improve in his walk of holiness in this life as he gets older,
the reality is that we will not reach perfection in this life, and the more
righteous we live, the more ugly our remaining sin will seem to us. But we have
a promise for the future that there will be a day in which this body of sin will
be done away with and we will receive new resurrection bodies in which there
will be no corruption. We will no longer sin.
The proof of the promise is in the Holy Spirit’s raising Jesus Christ from
the dead, for He is the same Spirit that indwells the Christian. His promises to
give life to our mortal bodies is proven in His having already done that for
Jesus Christ. I am looking forward to that. I trust that you are too.
There is no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus. We are justified
through faith in the person and work of Jesus Christ. We are declared "not
guilty" in God’s courtroom. Though we are Christians, we still struggle
against sin, but we are being sanctified through the work of the Holy Spirit in
our lives at present even while we are looking forward to the completion of our
sanctification and the fulfilment of all His promises when we receive our
resurrection bodies. Bodies in which we will no longer have to struggle against
sin. Bodies that will be like that of Jesus Christ. True Christians have a right
relationship with God. He holds no judgements against us.
But this is only true for those who are in Jesus Christ. If you do not have
the Son of God in your life, then you are still under His condemnation. Talk
with myself or one of our Church leaders today so that you too can know the
forgiveness of your sins and can also praise God that you are also no longer
Parents, you are responsible to apply God’s Word to your children’s
lives. Here is some help. Young Children – draw a picture about something
you hear during the sermon. Explain your picture(s) to your parents at lunch. Older
Children – Do one or more of the following: 1) Count how many times the word
"condemned" is mentioned. 2) Discuss with your parents how you can
escape God’s condemnation
THINK ABOUT IT!
Questions to consider in discussing the sermon with others.
Why would have been the impact of the statement, "There is therefore
no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus" upon Jews? Gentiles?
What is its impact on you? What is the natural state of all men? Why? What does
it mean to be "justified"? What does the word "condemned"
mean in Romans 8:1? Why can’t heritage, social standing, wealth, moral
character or religious endeavors appease God’s wrath? What does it mean to be in
Christ Jesus? What is the condition of those who are not "in Christ
Jesus"? How is a person freed from God’s condemnation? What is the
weakness of the law – vs. 3? How did God overcome this weakness? What are the
"righteous requirements" of the law? How can the Christian fulfill
them? What does it mean to "walk according to" the flesh? The Spirit?
What is the conflict between the flesh and the Spirit? How does that conflict
manifest itself? How does Galatians 5:16-24 parallel this passage? What is the
nature of a Christian? What are some evidences that prove that the Holy Spirit
is God? What are some evidences that prove that the Holy Spirit is a person and
not an impersonal force? When does the Holy Spirit come upon a believer? When is
a believer "baptized" by the Holy Spirit? What is the evidence of this
happening? What is the evidence of the Holy Spirit being active in a believer’s
life? How does the Holy Spirit help the believer now? What is the promise of the
Holy Spirit to the believer for the future?
Sermon Study Sheets
Sermon Notes – 8/4/2002 am
No Longer Condemned – Romans
No Condemnation (vs. 1)
Condemnation (katavkrima /katakrima)
In Christ Jesus
The Law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus (vs. 2)
The Weakness of the Law (vs. 3)
God’s Work in Christ (vs. 3,4)
Justification of Sinners
Condemnation of Sin
Fulfilment of the Law’s Righteous Requirements
"Righteous requirements" (NKJV) (dikaivwma
/ diakaioma) "__________ expressions of righteousness"
Conflict of Flesh and Spirit (vs 5-8)
The Nature of a Christian (vs. 9)
The Spirit of God indwells them
Deity of the Holy Spirit
Personhood of the Holy Spirit
Receiving the Holy Spirit
Being Baptized by the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 12:13)
The Effect of the Holy Spirit in the Believer (vs. 10,11)
In Current Life