"There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit" (Romans 8:1). I want to use a hypothetical example to start this off and help us understand, hopefully, what the Apostle is saying. I will use a preacher as an example, although it could pertain to anyone. The preacher of our analogy is saved, Spirit-filled with several gifts of The Spirit flowing through him, and is genuinely being used by God. However, despite all of that, he simply cannot live a victorious life in Christ. What is wrong? In our second example, we will choose a lay person who has only been saved a few months, if that. He has heard us teach on the message of The Cross and how The Holy Spirit works. Even though this particular person is not baptized with The Holy Spirit and has just given his heart and life to Christ a short time before, he is still able to live a victorious life – victory over the world, the flesh, and the devil – grow in grace and knowledge of The Lord, and be what he ought to be in Christ. What's wrong with this picture? The preacher of our story doesn't understand anything about The Cross of Christ relative to Sanctification, in other words, how we live for God. Consequently, while God can definitely use him, this particular person simply cannot live a victorious life. The Baptism with The Holy Spirit is a gift. The gifts of The Spirit fall into the same category. Consequently, The Lord will use them. Let us be quick to make this particular statement. Living a life of spiritual failure, irrespective that The Lord is using the person, will sooner or later have adverse circumstances and very adverse circumstances. While God is patient, loving, kind, and longsuffering, still, sin always takes a deadly toll. Now, don't misunderstand. A layperson who is living a victorious life but is not yet baptized with The Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking with other tongues, which we believe the Bible teaches and accompanies all Spirit-filled people, such a person, although living a holy life, will really not do very much for The Lord Jesus Christ.
As should be obvious, the ideal is that a person, irrespective as to whom he might be, will be baptized with The Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking with other tongues, which is given for power (Acts 1:8), as well as understand The Cross of Christ as it regards our everyday living for God and that The Holy Spirit works exclusively within the parameters of The Finished Work of Christ. That's the way it ought to be. The sad truth is, inasmuch as most preachers around the world, even those who are being mightily used of God, don't understand the Cross of Christ relative to sanctification – how we live for God on a daily basis – and, despite being used of The Lord, they simply cannot live a holy life. In other words, the sin nature will dominate such a person in some way.
The Holy Spirit
Now, some may think that if the person is living a holy life, despite the fact that he isn't Spirit-filled (even though he does have The Holy Spirit as a result of regeneration when he was born again), still, such a person – although living victorious, as stated – will do very little for the cause of Christ. The Baptism with The Holy Spirit is always accompanied by the speaking with other tongues as is given to us for service. Power accompanies that, as we have already stated, according to Acts 1:8. The Holy Spirit, Who comes into the heart and life of every person who is born again, is meant to serve in the capacity of victory, victory over the world, the flesh, and the devil. The first one, as stated, is a gift and somewhat functions automatically, at least as faith is used. The second is for victory in one's life. The ideal is that both operate. Sadly, both groups function in the arena of spiritual defeat, simply because they do not understand God's prescribed way of victory, in other words, how The Holy Spirit works. The first does little for The Lord, while the second one cannot live victoriously.
Romans 8:1 opens this great Chapter, which some have called the "Dynamics of The Holy Spirit". Some have stated, and I concur as well, that this verse was not translated correctly. The translators made it seem like Paul was basing his assertion upon the saint's conduct. The truth is, Paul bases his teaching, as given to him by The Holy Spirit, upon one's position in Christ and not one's conduct. While conduct is most definitely important, it is position which is the key to everything taught by the great Apostle. As the subject of Romans Chapter 3 is God declaring the sinner righteous, so the theme of this 8th Chapter of Romans is God making the believer holy. In other words, He seeks to bring our "standing" up to our "state". The former Chapter deals with Christ's work for the sinner – Justification. This 8th Chapter deals with Christ's work in the believer – Sanctification. Romans Chapter 8 opens with "no condemnation" and closes with "no separation". The subject of Romans 5:12-21 is condemnation for all who are in Adam. The theme of this 8th Chapter of Romans is no condemnation for all who are in Christ. In other words, you may have problems in your life, but if you are "in Christ", meaning that you are truly born again, there is no condemnation, despite the problems. At the same time, it is the business of The Holy Spirit to get these problems out of our lives, whatever they might be. The special Greek word used for condemnation occurs only in Romans 5:16, 18; 8:1. It, therefore, links these two passages. The divided state of the believer, which, regrettably, is the state for most believers, is glaringly obvious in Romans Chapter 7. So, the terrible struggle is due to the believer not knowing or understanding what Christ has actually done for him at Calvary and his standing in that finished work. However, this divided state ends in the glorious triumph of the Spirit over the flesh – that is, if the believer tenaciously clings to Christ and The Cross. In the Greek, the word condemnation is katakrima and means "an adverse sentence; a verdict."
What Adverse Sentence Or Verdict Is Paul Talking About?
He is dealing with the struggle between the flesh and The Holy Spirit in the life of the believer. Most believers may wonder at this contest between the flesh and The Holy Spirit, knowing that The Holy Spirit is God and is, therefore, Almighty, meaning that He can do anything. However, we must understand that The Holy Spirit purposely works within a different set of rules so as not to usurp the authority over the free moral agency of human beings. Of course, The Holy Spirit can do anything, but He will not override the direction or the thinking of the believer, even though that thinking is wrong. He will warn the believer and speak to the believer, but He will never force the believer. The Holy Spirit works within a set of guidelines that He Himself has laid down.
He Has Done This For Our Benefit
Let it be understood that, even if the believer full understands the Cross of Christ – referring to our Sanctification and how The Holy Spirit works – this doesn't mean that satan is going to roll over and play dead. The evil one is going to do all that he can to steal, kill, and destroy. As long as we are alive, he will not let up. The fact is, even though one may oftentimes fail, if that believer clings to Christ, The Cross, and The Holy Spirit, then victory will ultimately be the end result. As well, we must understand that the only answer for this life is The Cross of Christ. It is not one answer among many answers, is the only answer. The sin business is extremely serious. There is a power to sin that is so great, the believer cannot throw it off within himself. He must do it God's way, and it can only be done God's way. The Holy Spirit, as should be overly obvious, wants us to be what we ought to be, and He cannot – in fact, will not – force the issue. So, unless the admonition of Romans Chapter 8 is followed regarding how The Holy Spirit works, the flesh will triumph, which always brings condemnation. In other words, the believer fails, despite the fact that he does not want to and is trying with all his strength not to do so. That is the flavor of the struggle in the 7th Chapter of Romans, which tells us, in no uncertain terms, that the believer's efforts to overcome sin within his own strength are pointless and futile. Even though a new creation in Christ Jesus, he simply is no match, at least within himself, against this monster of sin. Let me say it again, it's not easy, and we should not insinuate that it is. As well, satan is not going to let up, and so, we may find ourselves, despite our knowledge of The Cross, failing again and again. We are not to give up because, ultimately, victory will be ours.
The believer who knows the truth and acts upon that truth allows The Holy Spirit to perform His office work, which He can only do relative to truth. The believer is now guaranteed victory irrespective of how bad the sin or bondage may be. As the believer, within himself, is no match for sin, likewise sin, satan, and death are no match for The Holy Spirit. So, there is no condemnation because, in following The Holy Spirit, there is no failure, simply because The Holy Spirit cannot fail. If we fail, and, sad to say, we will, that means that we have gone astray somewhere along the line. Our faith has slipped from Christ and The Cross to ourselves or something else. It's always a matter of faith, but it has to be faith in the correct object, and that correct object is Christ and The Cross.
Why Did Paul Use The Word Now?
The word now tells us that this condemnation-free state is available this moment. Let's look at it. Due to repeated failure, many have come to believe that total victory is not possible in this life, with such awaiting the coming resurrection when we shall be changed. However, The Holy Spirit, through the Apostle, is loudly debunking that erroneous thought by declaring that victory is possible now. To follow the prescribed methods of The Holy Spirit is ultimately to guarantee victory. To ignore these methods is to invite disaster. The word now emphasizes the struggle-free Christian experience offered by Christ when He said, "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest" (Matthew 11:28). When we speak of victory, we aren't talking of sinless perfection because the Bible does not teach such. However, we are speaking of the fact that sin is not to have dominion over the believer. That's where The Holy Spirit is endeavoring to take us – no dominion, no condemnation.
In Christ Jesus, The Sin Debt Is Paid
If one is to notice, Paul uses the word in relative to the believer and his relationship to Christ Jesus. He didn't say "with" but rather "in" and for purpose and reason. He is referring to the fact that one must understand and believe that, when Jesus died on Calvary, upon faith, the sinner is literally "baptized into Jesus Christ," actually, "...baptized into his death" (Romans 6:3). We must quickly understand that Paul is not speaking here of water baptism, but is, rather, using the word baptized in a figurative sense because it explains the situation. It is talking about the death of Christ and how that we died with Him. As well, it is not a physical thing, as should be obvious but, rather, that which is spiritual. Jesus did this for the sinner, and the believing sinner was actually in Christ as Christ died on Calvary. In that death, which refers to the poured-out perfect life of Jesus represented in His precious shed blood, the terrible sin debt of humanity was satisfied (paid). This means that the believing sinner no longer has a debt of sin against him. Consequently, satan has no more hold or claim. Therefore, the terrible wages of sin – spiritual death, separation from God – are no longer applicable to the believing sinner. He is now united with God, which means the enmity has been removed. This is called the born again experience (John 3:3). However, as great and wonderful as that is, it is only the first part.
Dominion Of Sin Is Broken
The second part relates to Jesus breaking the dominion of sin, which also occurred in this great sacrifice. This is primarily what is meant by Paul referring to the believer being "in Christ". Regarding Salvation, Jesus died "for the sinner". Regarding dominion over sin, the believer died "in Christ". The believer must know and understand that. Regrettably, most don't. Also, we must understand from this just how bad that sin really is. For something to take the death of the Son of God on The Cross of Calvary to satisfy its obligation lets us know that this is one more powerful force, so powerful, in fact, that we must go God's way, which is the way of The Cross, in order to have victory over this thing. As Jesus dying for the sinner guaranteed salvation, the sinner dying in Jesus guarantees sin's dominion as broken, thereby, victory over sin. So, as we have repeatedly stated, the work of Christ and Calvary was, in effect, a "double work". Or, one might say, a "double cure". The first part of Jesus dying for the sinner on Calvary is known by all true believers. However, the second finished work, one might say, which actually took place at the same time as the first finished work, is not so readily known or understood by most believers. Consequently, the terrible struggle of Romans Chapter 7 continues.
Who Walk Not After The Flesh, But After The Spirit
First of all, what is the flesh? The flesh pertains to that which is indicative of a human being. In other words, it is one's personal talent, education, motivation, ability, self will, etc., in other words, what a human being can do. The idea is that one cannot live for God by such means. Why? When we get to Romans 8:10, we will address this more fully, but for now, a few words will suffice. At the fall, everything about man was weakened and weakened drastically. This means that what we need to do – physically and even spiritually – we cannot do it, at least within ourselves. We have to have the help of The Holy Spirit, and this is where the problem gets bigger. Most Christians little understand, or they don't understand at all, how The Holy Spirit works and, thereby, try to live this life by means of the flesh. To be sure, the flesh can be very religious and usually is, but it is always wrong. God's way is that we place our faith entirely in Christ and The Cross, which then gives The Holy Spirit latitude to work within our lives. However, we must maintain our faith in Christ and The Cross, even on a daily basis (Luke 9:23). The word walk in the Greek is peripateo, and it means "to live; to deport oneself; to follow". As stated, it speaks of our everyday walk, life, and living before God. In other words, how we order our behavior, which pertains to the totality of our Christian experience. If we walk after the flesh, which means we are not walking after Christ and The Cross, then we fail every single time. Tragically, this is where most believers presently are – the flesh.
What Does It Mean To Walk After The Spirit?
First of all, let's see what it is not. Most Christians think that walking after The Spirit consists of doing spiritual things, such as prayer, church attendance, witnessing, having the Gifts of The Spirit function through us, etc. While those things are definitely important, that's not what Paul is talking about. To be frank, if we think that is walking after The Spirit – those things we just named – then we are actually walking after the flesh. Walking after The Spirit is when one places his faith exclusively in Christ and what Christ has done for us at The Cross and maintains it exclusively in Christ and The Cross. The Holy Spirit works entirely and completely by and through The Cross of Christ. It is The Cross and what Jesus there did which gives The Holy Spirit the latitude to work. In other words, everything is by and through The Cross. That's the reason the believer must make Christ and The Cross the object of his faith and do so continuously. That is "walking after The Spirit", which means that we can now order our behavior correctly. As we've already stated, when Paul used the word walk, he is referring to how we live this life – how we order our behavior.
The Law Of The Spirit Of Life In Christ Jesus
"For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death" (Romans 8:2). I think we can say without fear of exaggeration that Romans 8:2 is the pivotal point of the entirety of the Bible. In other words, everything in the Word of God strains toward "the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus." That's what it's all about. Actually, the "the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus" is the most powerful law in the universe. In fact, it is the only law more powerful than the law of sin and death. To be sure, these laws were devised by the Godhead in eternity past and they will function exactly as designed. "The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus" is that which should govern the Christian and, in fact, will govern the Christian but only with the cooperation of the Christian. If one is to notice, Paul has brought into this mix certain particular laws in a stronger way than ever beginning with Romans 7:21 and continuing through Romans 8:4. Even though the greatest concentration is here, some eight laws are referred to in the book of Romans. They are as follows:
As Paul Used The Word Law, What Does It Mean?
Most of the time, when Paul refers to law, he is speaking of the law of Moses (Romans 2:12-15, 17, 20, 23, 27, 3:19-21; 4:13, 16; 5:20; 7:5-8, etc.) However, he does mention other laws, which we have enumerated. The Holy Spirit, through the Apostle, uses the word law in a specific sense, meaning that it is an operating and governing principle. In this sense, Paul speaks of the "law of faith" (Romans 3:27), which is contrasted with the law of works. The contrast is between the principle of faith and that of works. It is the same idea that offers the best interpretation of the word law in Romans 7:21, 23, 25; 8:2.
Law As An Operating And Governing Principle
Every law mentioned in the Bible falls into this category, even the great law of Moses. It means that the specific law is designed by God to operate in a particular manner, which will bring forth particular results. In other words, those results are unvarying. That's the reason it is called "law". However, one cannot make these laws work against God, in other words, against His nature or against His will. These laws are made and instituted by God. They are designed to operate in a particular framework. In other words, there is a "law of faith" (Romans 3:27). this means that if a believer has faith in God, which of course, must be anchored in The Word of God, certain results will be produced without fail by this law of faith. One can count on it because it is a law, and it will always functioned as designed. However, that does not mean that one can take this law of faith and use it against God, i.e., against His will. These laws have not been designed to do that and cannot be used in that fashion, even though many have attempted to do so. In other words, the law of faith must give way at some point to the will of God, which is the law of God (Romans 7:25). As well, the law of sin and death has to give way to the "law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus" simply because this law was designed by God to be the most powerful law in the universe. It is the same way in science. For instance, the law of gravity has to give way to a greater power. This speaks of any power that is strong enough to overcome the law of gravity, such as a powerful engines on an airplane.
To Be Under Law
When the term "to be under law" is used in the Bible, it is speaking of the law of Moses and not the other laws mentioned. In other words, being under this law regarding New Testament believers excludes a person from the enjoyment of grace that the Gospel imparts. To be under law is the opposite of being under grace and means that the person is a bondslave of the condemnation and power of sin, which Paul has already discussed in Romans Chapter 7. However, this has nothing to do with the various other laws mentioned by Paul. To be frank, the believer strongly desires to be under "the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus" and, in fact, must be under this law. As well, the believer would also strongly desire to be under the law of faith and the law of righteousness. In fact, all of these laws mentioned by Paul constantly impact the believer in one way or another.
The Law Of Sin
The law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus, which makes real to the believer the great victory of Jesus Christ, cannot function in the life of the believer as intended if the believer is frustrating that law by obeying the law of sin at the same time. It's like pouring water into a tank made for gasoline and expecting the engine to continue to run. It won't. What makes it so confusing is that the believer's efforts to overcome sin by his own strength and abilities – the flesh – is actually bringing upon himself the law of sin. While the efforts may be of the right motivation and not necessarily sins within themselves, they will not work because those efforts are of the flesh and give latitude to the law of sin. Then, the law of sin becomes predominant in the believer's life. This means that sin nature is now operating at full capacity, which causes all types of problems for the believer. Yet, sad to say, this is where most modern believers actually are. To explain what we mean when we state that the effort may not necessary be sin within itself, I'll use fasting as an example. Fasting is Scriptural. However, if we try to use fasting or even prayer to overcome sin, it won't work. Sin can be handled only at The Cross. In other words, one must evidence faith in Christ and what He did at The Cross, which then gives The Holy Spirit latitude to work within his heart and life and giving him victory over the world, the flesh, and the devil. As well, the Law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus is so designed by God that it will not function or work when the believer attempts to do for himself what only the Spirit of God can do. In other words, The Holy Spirit will not override the believer's will and force him to let The Spirit to take control instead of his own efforts.
Free From The Law Of Sin And Death
The question is, how does the Law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus keep one free from the law of sin and death? Even though we have given the following several pages back, still, it is so important that I would ask the reader to please allow us the liberty of portraying it again.
This is God's way and His only way. We need to consider that very carefully. Every single person in the world is born under the domination of the law of sin and death. It is called "Original Sin". This is the law that Paul said works in the members of the physical body of the person (Romans 7:23). It places one in bondage and makes the person a slave to the sin nature. Regrettably, this is the condition of most modern Christians. How do I know that? I know it simply because the modern church has no idea how The Cross of Christ plays in our Sanctification. And not knowing this – not having this information – means that they are under the control of the sin nature.
Our Position In Christ
Even though the law of sin and death is powerful and has swept billions into its maw, still The law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus is more powerful, in fact, all powerful. It is so powerful that there has never been a single person in history who has come to Christ, irrespective of how sordid or bad the past was, but that Jesus Christ took him, changed him, and made him free from this terrible law. The laws of God, at least as Paul mentions them here, are not so much written laws but, rather, a regulative principle that exercises a control over the life of a believer. However, this control must be given to The Lord by the believer. It will not be forcibly taken. Upon being freely given, this regulative control is exercised by The Holy Spirit in the form of energy to the believer, both to desire and to do God's will. This Spiritual energy comes from the life that God is, and all is made possible totally and completely by The Cross of Christ. It is given to the believer by reason of his position in Christ Jesus but cannot be properly realized until he knows and understands his position in Christ (Romans 6:1-5).
The Law Of Sin And Death
An Egyptian punishment at a particular time in their history was to fasten a criminal to a corpse. The attachment continued until the death of the criminal. It was a terrible bond, as would be obvious but more so because the man knew that the bond would result in his own death. This was possibly before the Apostle's mind when he wrote Romans 7:24. Such a helpless and hopeless prisoner held in a Roman bond so loathsome and fatal would cry out with anguish, "Who can deliver me from this dead body?" This is the moral condition for all who are in Adam.
The Glad Tidings Of The Gospel
Christ took this very position at Calvary, even though He had never sinned, but, in effect, He was paying the sin debt for all of humanity. To do this, He had to die, but, being God, He rose from among the dead and ascended above the highest heavens, having, by His death, destroyed death (Hebrews 2:14), abolished sin (Hebrews 9:26), and exhausted the curse of the law (Galatians 3:13). The glad tidings of the Gospel are in the declaration that all who, by faith, are in Christ, died and rose with Him, and, consequently, there is no person and no thing that can condemn them (Romans 6:3-5). For Christ, there is now no condemnation. He suffered its full intensity at Calvary, but He suffered that condemnation there on behalf of – and for the benefit of – all who believe upon Him. Hence, there is no condemnation for them.
A New Position
They (we) are in a new position entirely beyond and above the reach of everything to which condemnation attaches. Where Christ and His members now stand, there can be no question of sin, wrath, condemnation, or imputation. All such questions were settled before He ascended thither, and He is on the throne of God, His Person and work accepted. The glorious truth that liberates the believer's heart is that he is there in that glory with Christ, where nothing that condemns can reach him (Ephesians 2:6). The new position in the last Adam as contrasted with the old position in the first Adam reveals that it is also a new life – a life of power, holiness, and victory. The Christian faith is not the scheme of salvation intellectually accepted but a life of power and holiness experientially enjoyed. Williams said, "Emmanuel's destruction of sin at Calvary may become, to faith, a moral reality now as it will become in the new heavens and the new earth a physical fact. For them, righteousness alone will dwell."
For What The Law Could Not Do
"For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh" (Romans 8:3). This speaks of the law of Moses. In other words, the law of Moses could not condemn sin (destroy sin) but could only condemn the sinner, and this it did grandly. The law said what was to be done but gave no power to do it. The Cross of Christ is God's solution for man's dilemma, which can then function through grace. The phrase, "what the law could not do," could be rendered literally from the Greek, "the impossibility of the law." This was an impossible thing on the part of the law – that it could condemn sin by giving power to sinners in order to overcome this monster. This, it could not do. In other words, the law of Moses demanded obedience, even as does all law, yet furnished man no power to obey its injunctions. Yet, this is exactly what Israel tried to force the law to do. Except for a small remnant, the entirety of generation after generation was lost in this capacity until, finally, it grew so bad that they murdered their Messiah, with the resultant loss of the entirety of nationhood. As a result, they wandered as vagabonds for about 1900 years until finally becoming a nation again in 1948. Regrettably, as Israel tried to force the law of Moses into a posture for which it was never intended, many of their modern disciples attempt to force faith into the same mold. God's Word must never be used against Himself. In other words, there should be no attempt to force it into that for which it was never intended. In fact, this is the reason for all unscriptural doctrines such as unconditional eternal security, ultimate reconciliation of all things, the modern Greek Gospel, works righteousness, the hundred-fold return, the Jesus died spiritually doctrine, kingdom now philosophy, the 40-days of purpose effort, etc.
In That It Was Weak Through The Flesh
The heading means that the only power the person had in order to keep the law as given by God was his own willpower, which was woefully insufficient. As previously explained, the flesh is that which is indicative to human beings. In other words, it's one's motivation, education, personal talent, willpower, self-will – it's what a human being can do. Of themselves, these things really are not sinful, but the sin comes in when we ignore God's way, which is Jesus Christ and Him crucified. That is what gives The Holy Spirit latitude to work, but we replace that with our own efforts, which God can never countenance. Due to the fall, man is so weak, at least within his own power, that he can't even keep the simple laws of God laid down by The Creator, much less save himself. In fact, one of the great reasons that the law was given by God was to show man how inadequate that he is and that he must rely upon The Savior for redemption. In the Greek, the word weak is astheneo, and it means "impotent; without strength." The Law of Moses was like a mirror that showed man what he is but gave man now power to change what he is. Consequently, there was no victory over sin in the law (Romans 7:7-12). Unfortunately, by not understanding The Cross of Christ as it regards sanctification, the far greater majority of the modern church, as previously stated, is functioning under law. It may not be the Law of Moses – most of the time it isn't – but laws devised out of our own minds, by our church, etc. Irrespective as to what law, the result is the same – spiritual wreckage. God's way is not the law but, rather, The Cross, which then gives The Holy Spirit latitude to work.
God Sending His Own Son
The heading refers to God's solution to man's helpless condition: his inability to save himself and his inability to keep even a simple law. Therefore, he is in dire need of a Savior. God sending His Own Son tells us two things:
In The Likeness Of Sinful Flesh
It says literally "of the flesh of sin." The choice of words is especially noteworthy. Paul does not say simply, "He (Jesus) came in the flesh" (1 Tim 3:16; 1 John 4:2). This would have expressed a bond between Christ's manhood and sin. Not "in the flesh of sin," which would have represented Him as partaking of sin, which He did not. Not "in the likeness of flesh," since He was really and intensely human. But "in the likeness of the flesh of sin." This means that He was really human – conformed in appearance to the flesh, whose characteristic is sin – yet sinless. Christ appeared in a body, which was like that of other men in so far as it consisted of flesh and was unlike in so far as the flesh was not 'flesh of sin.'
And For Sin
The heading means "to atone for sin; to destroy its power and to save and sanctify its victims." In other words, that was His purpose for coming, and, to be sure, He carried out His purpose in totality. Sin is man's problem. It is not poverty, environment, the weather, etc., but it is sin. If the church fails to understand that, it fails. Jesus went to The Cross because of the sin of mankind. He paid a price that staggers the imagination, and it was all because of the sin of humanity.
Condemned Sin In The Flesh
The heading means that, as a man – in fact, the last Adam – Jesus faced all the power of sin, satan, and death – everything that man faces and more – and never failed one time. As well, not only did He not fail, but He also destroyed the power of sin, dethroned death, and defeated satan. In other words, He condemned sin and all its power and broke its hold over the human race (Colossians 2:10-15). Also, He did this not as deity, for such would not have sufficed, but as a man – The Man Christ Jesus. The only help He had was The Holy Spirit, Who is available to all believers. In fact, at least as far as man was concerned, the only way that God could defeat sin and its result, which is death, was by God becoming man. In as much as dominion was vested in the first Adam (Genesis 1:28; Psalms 8) and then lost through forfeiture, which, in effect, gave satan dominion, it had to be purchased back by another Adam – the last Adam. All was lost in this manner and could only be purchased back in this manner.
That The Righteousness Of The Law Might Be Fulfilled In Us
"That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit" (Romans 8:4). Take The Cross out of Christianity, and you have nothing left but a vapid philosophy. The reason for The Cross was and is sin. This tells us that the law of Moses contained righteousness, as would be obvious, considering that it was given by God. However, for its righteousness to be obtained by man, perfect obedience had to be rendered, which was impossible because of the weakness of the flesh. The phrase, "might be fulfilled in us," might be translated "find its full accomplishment in us," and not merely "be performed by us." The apostle had a much deeper meaning, meaning that the aim of God in giving the law might be accomplished in us – in our sanctification – which is the ultimate end of our redemption (Ephesians 2:10; Colossians 1:22).
The Significance Of The Law
I think we surely should understand from this verse just how significant the law of Moses actually was. Even though it was given exclusively to the Jews for a particular purpose and reason, it was still meant for the entirety of the world. These were God's laws, and they applied to all, and I speak primarily of the moral law, i.e., the Ten Commandments. As well, this moral law could not pass out of existence because it is truth, and truth never changes. For instance, 4,000 years ago, it was wrong to steal, and it is still wrong to steal presently. In fact, it will always be wrong to steal. So, God's law was righteous, and, as well, it had a righteousness that could be obtained by obedience but not by man in his fallen condition. However, Jesus, as the last Adam, meaning that there will never be the need of another one, totally kept the moral law in every respect. He kept it throughout 33 1/2 years of public life, with satan contesting Him at every turn. As well, He took the penalty of the broken law on The Cross of Calvary. He did this as the Representative Man, therefore, faith in Him (John 3:16) grants the believer a satisfied judgement and the position of perfect law keeper. In other words, at salvation, we were transferred by The Lord from the position of law breaker to the position of law keeper all because of Christ and what He did for us at The Cross and our faith in His finished work. In other words, upon faith in Christ, His victory becomes our victory, which was intended.
Upon simple faith in Christ, the vilest of human beings can become – and, in fact, do become – instantly righteous. Of course, the world can little accept this, thinking that they can somehow earn this place and position, but their efforts are doomed to failure, for such is impossible. Some time ago, Francis and I were taking a few vacation days. During this time of rest, I was studying this very passage that we are now addressing. As I read the words, "That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us," the presence of God came all over me. I sat there for a few moments weeping as I sensed The Lord impressing on me the significance of this statement. It is something that only Christ can do and something which He glorious did do. As a result, that for which He paid such a price can now be ours by the simple act of faith.
Who Walk Not After The Flesh, But After The Spirit
The heading emphatically portrays to us that the righteousness of the law cannot be had by anyone who attempts to attain such by his own efforts. The word, walk, as we have previously stated, refers to the order of one's behavior or conduct, in other words, how we live this life. The word flesh can mean the frailty of human endeavors that have been severely weakened by the fall, but, in this case, it refers to the indwelling evil nature. Of course, the word Spirit refers to The Holy Spirit. In the Greek, the word after is kata and has as its root meaning "down", which suggests domination. In other words, a Christian is one who orders his behavior in such a way that it is not dominated by the evil nature (sin nature) but by The Holy Spirit.
The Believer And The Three Natures
Every believer has three natures:
As a great portion of this chapter constantly warns the believer of the possibility and danger of walking after the flesh, such presents a great moral fact of the existence of these three natures in the believer. That is actually the theme of this chapter. In a sense, the believer is dead, for he was crucified with Christ. Therefore, he, as a partner with Christ, enjoys all the advantages of the partnership acquired by Christ before he was brought into it. This is not necessarily an experience. It is, rather, a divine operation apprehended and enjoyed by faith. However, the believer is always very conscious that his sinful nature is not dead – between it and the new spiritual nature (divine nature) he received at conversions (Ephesians 1:13), there is a deadly warfare between the two that never really stops. If the carnal nature were actually dead, as some claim, it would not be necessary to urge Christian people not to make provision to gratify its appetites (Romans 13:14).
What Does Walking After The Flesh Mean?
It means we are trying to live this life for The Lord by means other than The Cross, and, irrespective as to what those means might be, we will fail.
What Is Walking After The Spirit?
Walking after the Spirit, of course, refers to The Spirit and the believer placing his or her faith exclusively in Christ and The Cross and maintaining it exclusively in Christ and The Cross. That is walking after The Spirit.
The Teaching Of The New Nature
The new nature (divine nature) is energized by The Holy Spirit, hence, our walking after Him. This teaches us that the Christian may enjoy such victory because The Word of God asserts its existence. Actually, it is a moral experience so liberating that the fact of indwelling sin may become, to the believer, only a matter of knowledge rather than a painful fact of consciousness. In other words, while it is true that this contest between the flesh and The Spirit is unending, if we follow after Christ exactly as we should, which refers to ever making The Cross of Christ the object of our faith, we are made to enjoy a rest that is actually beyond comprehension. Of course, let us say it again, this means ever making The Cross of Christ the object of our faith. There is no answer for sin except by The Cross. Once we function as we should, while we do fight, it is only the good fight of faith. Regrettably, most Christians have the opposite and, therefore, the sad experience of repeated failure because they don't understand The Cross of Christ relative to our sanctification. They are painfully conscious of this principle of evil lodged in their nature. While the existence of the new nature (divine nature) within them is a matter of belief because it is declared in the Scriptures but, regrettably, is not fully enjoyed by most. Thus, Romans 8:2 formed its keynote. It asserts the existence of these two natures in the believer but declares that the new Spiritual nature liberates from the old carnal nature. So, the subject of this Chapter is not so much the forgiveness of sins or the justification from sin but, rather, liberation from the power of sin in order to live a life of sanctification.
The Holy Spirit
One cannot help but notice the emphasis Paul places on The Holy Spirit. Why? the simple fact is, as believers, we need the leading, guidance, and empowerment of The Holy Spirit 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, in all things that we do. The Holy Spirit is God. Consequently, He is all powerful and all knowing, meaning that He knows everything – past present and future. As well, He is everywhere. The sad fact is most believers receive precious little of what The Holy Spirit can do and abundantly so. The fault is not His but, rather, ours. Most believers have the idea that whatever needs to be done, The Holy Spirit will just automatically do it. But consider the following: what I've just stated is not correct – The Holy Spirit does not automatically do anything. It is really dependent on us. What do I mean by that? The Holy Spirit will not override our will, and He will not force us into any direction. He will speak to us, touch us, and dwell within His power to help us without forcing us to do anything. If our believing is wrong, this hinders Him greatly.
While it is definitely true that The Holy Spirit comes into the heart and life of the believing sinner at the moment of salvation – that is the regeneration of The Spirit and not the baptism with The Spirit. There is a vast difference in being "born of The Spirit" and being "baptized with The Spirit." Every believer in the world has The Holy Spirit as it regards regeneration. To have the power of The Spirit, one must be baptized with The Spirit, which is always accompanied with the speaking with other tongues (Acts 2; 8; 9; 10; 19). Without the baptism with The Holy Spirit, one is not going to do very much for The Lord. I didn't say that nothing can be done, but I am saying that not much can be done. At the same time, and which we have stated previously in this volume, one can be baptized with The Holy Spirit and even used of The Lord – and used greatly – but still not able to live a victorious life within himself. Millions are in that posture, and they don't understand why. For The Holy Spirit to work for us and with us, helping us to overcome the world, the flesh, and the devil, the faith of the individual must ever have as its object Christ and Him Crucified – this is a must (1 Corinthians 1:17, 18, 23; 2:2; Galatians 6:14; Colossians 2:10-15). All sin is addressed at The Cross and is addressed no place else. In other words, the believer is not going to find victory over sin until he places his or her faith exclusively in Christ and what Christ has done for us at The Cross. Then, The Holy Spirit, with His almighty power, can go to work in our lives, giving us victory over sin and in every capacity. No, I am not meaning sinless perfection, for the Bible does not teach that. I am stating that the dominion of sin, which is the problem, will be forever broken (Romans 6:14).
A Christian who is fighting in the flesh, even though very sincere, is not really helping the situation but is actually severely hurting his cause. Once the believer knows the truth of what Christ has done and has faith in that great and wonderous work, The Holy Spirit can take over and do all that needs to be done. This makes the Christian life a tremendously pleasurable experience. Otherwise, it can be hell on earth, and that is not an exaggeration. What do you think it was for Paul before he learned this great truth when he said, "O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?" (Romans 7:24)? The believer must understand that The Holy Spirit works entirely within the framework of The Cross of Christ. In other words, it's what Jesus did at The Cross that gives The Holy Spirit the legal means to do all that He does for us. He doesn't require much of us, but He does require one thing, and that is for our faith to be perpetually in Christ and The Cross – and maintained in Christ and The Cross. Then, He can work. Otherwise, He would be helping us commit spiritual adultery, which He will not do.
Standing on the promises of Christ my King,
Through eternal ages, let His praises ring,
Glory in the highest, I will shout and sing,
Standing on the promises of God.
Standing on the promises that cannot fail,
When the howling storms of doubt and fear assail,
By the living Word of God, I shall prevail,
Standing on the promises of God.
Standing on the promises I now can see
Perfect, present cleansing in The Blood for me;
Standing in the liberty where Christ makes free,
Standing on the promises of God.
Standing on the promises of Christ The Lord,
Bound to Him eternally by love's strong cord,
Overcoming daily with the Spirit's sword,
Standing on the promises of God.
Standing on the promises I cannot fall,
Listening every moment to The Spirit's call.
Resting in my Savior as my all in all,
Standing on the promises of God.
How The Holy Spirit Works