This chapter starts out with probably one of my most favorite verses in the Bible.
“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 8:1 ESV)
Even after you become a christian your thought patterns and your memories can try to convict you. Satan tries to convict you about what you have done in the past. The habits of sin are still there and have to be worked on. I’ve seen people who become a Christian and it’s like Satan “ramps up” his attack on them and the habits and sinful thoughts feel harder to break. That to me is what is so very important about this verse. We have to know that once we are in Christ we are free from the law of sin and death. But we have to walk in that freedom. We have it but there are people not walking in it. I have not always walked in it. Paul explains here that Jesus came to earth in the likeness of sinful flesh (us) and He took care of sinful flesh when He died on the cross. He fulfilled what the law could not fulfill. The law, while a very important guide to us, is weak in that we can never 100 percent follow that law and be wholly reconciled to God. Without the help of the Holy Spirit living in us we would always fall back into the sinful flesh.
“For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.” (Romans 8:5-6)
What does it mean to live according to the Spirit. Well look at the verse you have to start in your mind. It is your choice what you set your mind to. Are you going to set your mind to things of the flesh or are you going to set your mind to things of the Spirit? It does take a little work on your part. But when you look at the fact that Jesus did the hard work, I mean really look at it. He was crucified on a cross. He took the stripes across His back for us. Then you look at the fact that all we have to do is “tap in” so to speak to what He has already freely given. Set your mind on things of the Spirit.
“For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry “Abba! Father!” (Romans 8:15)
We are adopted into the kingdom, not as outsiders but as sons and daughters of the King. We get full rights as a child of God and we get to call him Abba! Father! How exciting is that?! Those of us who are parents know that our children can do nothing to make us stop loving them. They may do things we don’t like, they may not always follow our teaching the way we would want them to but there is nothing that keeps us from loving them EVER! Well it is the same with God! Once we have become Christians, when we are walking in the Spirit and being led by the Spirit we are living in the full benefit of being a child of God!
“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” (Romans 8:18)
As much as I love Paul at times, he sure can be a killjoy too. Here he was talking about how we get to call God our Daddy and gets us all excited and he turns on a dime to talk about suffering again. My mind sure can want to shut down. I was all excited and then there is that word suffering coming up again. But the commitment to keep digging kept me reading and this really does lead us to some of my favorite verses. (I guess you’ve noticed I have a lot of favorites.) But what Paul is revealing is that we are all going to have suffering in this life. There are going to be times that we just quite frankly would rather not do. There will be medical diagnosis, there will be job losses, there will be marriages and families who suffer. There will apparently be pandemics, (we didn’t see that one coming did we?) But in Jesus we have hope.
“Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groaning too deep for words. (Romans 8:26)
Have you ever been there? Boy I have! This life is hard and sometimes, actually many times I just don’t know what I am supposed to be praying. What is the end result that I want to come out of my circumstances. Sometimes you just have to pray ~ “God, just be God here!” Because I know that He sees the big picture and He knows what the end result should be and what would be best for me and what will bring Him glory.
“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28)
When you love God and you are walking in His Spirit, you can know that God is going to work things for your good. Sometimes it doesn’t feel good getting there. Sometimes living in the pandemic is not necessarily fun. I am tired of it, I want my normal back, I want to go to sporting events and I want all of my people back at church every Sunday. But I can also look at the blessings I have received from the pandemic and know that God worked some of the things in this thing for my good. This is a go to verse for me when I just don’t see the best way for things to work out, (which is pretty much all the time).
The last part of this chapter is pretty glorious! Paul asks and answers several questions.
“What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies.” (Romans 8:31-33)
Paul goes on to ask who can separate us from the love of Christ? Not our troubles, not our distress, not our persecution, not famine, not dangers.
“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:37-39)
I think Paul just about covered it all here. Don’t you?
God, praise you that nothing separates us from you. God you know the big picture! You know the end of the story! God please work it for our good! And God thank you that I get to call you Daddy!