We begin this week by studying Romans 8:1-6
This chapter is foundational and is basic to our faith. We need to understand it, so that we can live with assurance – knowing that we belong to G-d and that we have a sure hope of entering into His Kingdom. The only way that we’re going to be invited into the Kingdom of G-d is through, by faith, taking hold of what Messiah has done for us – laying His life down on the cross so that His blood could cleanse us from our sin.
v1: Now: Now that we are in a covenantal relationship with G-d, through the L-rd and Saviour, Messiah Yeshua, everything is different.
- No condemnation: Everyone is going to be judged. However, believers are judged for reward. Believers are not going to be rejected by G-d and nor are they going to experience condemnation or eternal punishment. Unbelievers will experience rejection as well as eternal punishment.
- In Messiah Yeshua: IN Messiah Yeshua means being in a covenantal relationship with Him. If we are not in this covenantal relationship with Him, then we will be one of the ones condemned.
- Do not walk according to the flesh: Not walking according to our fleshly desires (consistently or on a regular basis) is evidence that we are in a relationship with Messiah. Although we fail and give in to sins at times, this should not be the overarching testimony of our lives.
- Walk…according to the Spirit: As believers and disciples of the L-rd we need to have a behaviour that consistently shows that we are being led by the Spirit and not by our flesh.
v2: Life in Messiah Yeshua: When we are in a covenantal relationship with Messiah, we experience life through the Holy Spirit.
- Made me free from the law of sin: Paul makes this personal. He was personally set free when he entered into this covenantal relationship.
- The law of sin and death: When we have not been redeemed by G-d’s grace then this is the law that is at work within us. In the Scripture, sin is always connected to death. When we operate according to the law of the Spirit the result is going to be life. When we operate according to the law of sin (or of the flesh) the result is going to be death.
v3: Note: We learnt in chapter 7 that the law is good, righteous and holy. The problem is not with the law. G-d gave us the law and everything that G-d gives to us is good and perfect (James 1:17).
- Weak: This is written in the imperfect tense in the Greek. When something in Greek is written in the imperfect, we can anticipate a change that is coming. When we were in the flesh (in our unredeemed, carnal state) the law did not produce anything good in our lives because of our weaknesses. When we were unsaved all the law could do for us was point out the fact that we are sinners and that we fall short of the standards of G-d.
- G-d (sent of Himself): There was a problem. We, being weak, could not sort out the problem of sin in our own lives, so G-d made a change to sort out this problem for us.
- His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh: Although fully G-d, Yeshua came to earth as fully man. Like all of us, Yeshua had the potential to sin. But He never did (1 Peter 2:21 – 22). Yeshua was the perfect Lamb, and so was an acceptable sacrifice – able to take away the sins of the whole world (John 1:29).
- He condemned sin in the flesh: He did this by receiving the condemnation upon Himself. Being sinless He did not deserve this condemnation -receiving the full punishment of transgressing the law – but He did it so that we would not have to receive this condemnation and so that we could be eternally free.
v4: Righteous requirement of the law: There is an inherent relationship between the law and righteousness. The law is not an instrument of righteousness (this means that it is not the law that makes us righteous), but when we apply it to our lives it shows us what righteousness and unrighteousness are.
- Might be fulfilled in us: Written in the passive. This means we cannot do it by ourselves. As believers we have a responsibility. This verse is not talking about being declared righteous when we believe (which we are) but is talking about walking or behaving righteously – living in a way that fulfils the righteous standard of the law.
- Not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit: The only way we can walk in the Spirit and not in the flesh is through the new covenant. It is only through the new covenant that we can receive the Spirit (Isaiah 59:20-21). This new covenant is a covenant of redemption, ratified with the blood of Messiah. This gives us a sure hope or confidence to know that we are going to be eternal recipients of the promises of G-d.
v5: Set their minds on the things of the flesh: How are we thinking? Do we think according to the flesh/our carnal nature?
- According to the Spirit the things of the Spirit: We want to have spiritual thoughts…thinking of spiritual things. When we are walking in the Spirit we begin to think according to G-d’s order – we think according to the purposes or will of G-d.
v6: To be carnally minded is death: When we live in the flesh, think in the flesh and do the things of the flesh the outcome is death.
- Life and peace: These are what G-d wants for His people – lives that reflect the righteousness of G-d and manifest the glory of G-d. Peace is not dependent upon our circumstances in this world, but is dependent upon the fact that we are in an eternal covenant with G-d.