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Friday, July 5, 2013

The Gospel of God's Grace # 55

A Study of the Epistle to the Romans

Preservation: Kept Securely in Christ Jesus

The little word "is" is not in the Greek. Literally it reads "Therefore now no condemnation." There cannot be now, nor ever, any condemnation. That is the initial proposition he starts out with - "No condemnation." That is our new position.

He passes on quickly to give us the evidence that there is no condemnation. "The law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death."

There is a law, just like the law of gravitation that operates all the time, in the spiritual world. Paul says that the law of the spirit of life has freed him from the law of sin and death. He does not say that it freed from sin and death, but from the law of sin and death. That is important, because he is talking about actualities here. Can a believer sin? Can he die? Yes. If the Lord does not come we shall die. But the point is that sin and death can never hold the law as a fixed law (like the law of gravitation that operates all the time). Christ has broken the law of sin and death forever! He has rendered that law inoperative in its final sense. Your body may be separated from your spirit, but God says He will raise that body some day and it will again be  joined with your spirit. So the law cannot any longer exercise full authority over you.

That is the evidence of our new position, the evidence that there is no condemnation.

Paul shows us the cause, the ground, of our position in verse 3. He is not talking about the law he mentioned in the second verse. The law in verse 3 is the law of Moses. "For what the law could not do." It could not justify us; it could not sanctify us. "It was weak through the flesh." Nothing was the matter with the law - it was holy and good - but our flesh was weak and therefore the law could not justify nor sanctify. So God sent his Son, but did Paul say in sinful flesh? No. The apostle is accurate. He said, "In the likeness of sinful flesh." There was never any sin in Him. "And for sin" is a technical phrase from the Old Testament. That little phrase means as a sin offering, so that we might actually read it: "God sending His Son as an offering for sin, condemned sin in the flesh." At the Cross He condemned it forever. "Therefore there is no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus."

There are some people who teach that Jesus Christ, by His life, condemned sin in the flesh, that He came in the flesh and yet lived without sin and therefore condemned it. But how does that help us? They have ignored that little phrase, "As an offering for sin."

Is the result license? To live as you please? Not by any means, but rather, "that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us." It does not say that we might fulfill the law, but that it might be fulfilled in us. We are passive; God is the actor. The only thing we need to do is "walk not after the flesh but after the spirit"; and while we are doing that, God fulfills the law in us. There are people (and I have been guilty of it myself) who say that when we are Christians, God gives us the power to overcome sin. He does not. God does not give the Christian power to overcome sin. If He did, you would surely be self-righteous, proud, and self-sufficient. God comes into you and overcomes sin as you yield to Him. The moment you do not yield to Him, you are in the much and the mire. Why does He do that? He does that to make us cling to Him in trust - second by second, moment by moment, hour by hour. This is so that our praise and boasting will not be about ourselves, but about the Lord (1 Corinthians 1:29-31).

~Alva J. McClain~

(continued with # 56 - "Our New Life"

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