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Sermon #79 — Romans Series

 

      Title:                                 Faith, Freedom, Failure,

                                    Fulfilment

 

      Text:                                  Romans 8:1-5

      Reading: 1 Corinthians 2:1-16

      Subject:               Life in the Spirit

      Date:                                Sunday Morning — February 14, 2016

      Introduction:

 

Let me once more declare to you that I (am) determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified. Jesus Christ and him crucified is all to be known, all to be preached, all to be trusted, all to be worshipped, and all to be served. In the incarnate, crucified, exalted, enthroned God, the God-man our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

      Christ crucified is the cup of salvation of which I wish to drink deeper and deeper.

      Christ crucified is grace, the faith, and the knowledge in which I long to grow.

      Christ crucified is the essence of all true faith and godliness. — All the duties, ordinances, and practices of religion, even in its purest form, are rich to my soul only when they are enriched with the blood of the Lamb.

 

Illustration: Weve got to have a lamb.

 

Everything in the Book of God is about the Lamb of God, our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.

      Genesis 4 — The Firstborn Lamb

      Genesis 22 — The Divine Lamb

      Exodus 12 — The Passover Lamb (Leviticus 16)

      Leviticus 22 — The Perfect Lamb

      Isaiah 53 — The Substitute Lamb (Our Sin-Offering)

      John 1:29 — The Effectual Lamb

      Acts 8:30-35 — The Willing Lamb

      1 Peter 1:18-21 — The Foreordained Lamb

      Revelation 4-5 — The Enthroned Lamb

      Revelation 13:8 — The Lamb Slain from the Foundation of the World

      Revelation 21-22 — The Satisfied Lamb

 

O may God reveal Christ in you by his grace! May God the Holy Spirit wash you today in the blood of the Lamb! And may he grant to you who believe, to you who are washed in his precious blood, and to me, grace never to grow one wit above being mercy beggars at the Throne of Grace, trusting our Lord Jesus Christ, our crucified Savior, the Lamb of God!

 

(Colossians 2:6) As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him.

 

Turn with me again to Romans the 8th chapter. The title of my message is — Faith, Freedom, Failure, Fulfilment (Romans 8:1-5).

 

(Romans 8:1-5) There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. (2) For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. (3) 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: (4) That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. (5) For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.

 

Proposition: Salvation is obtained by faith alone, without works, by faith in Christ without our own works of any kind. — Complete, full, everlasting salvation is to be had by faith alone. — That is the message of the Book of God. — That is the message of the Book of Romans. — And that is the message of Romans 8. — Salvation is obtained by faith alone, without works, by faith in Christ without our own works of any kind. ——— Complete, full, everlasting salvation is to be had by faith alone.

 

Faith

 

First, the Apostle Paul speaks to us in verse 1 about faith in Christ, telling us that life in the Spirit, life in union with Christ is the life of faith in Christ.

 

(Romans 8:1) There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

 

Where is there no condemnation?In Christ!In Christ Jesus! — Oh, what a blessed place! He is the Refuge of our souls. God is our refuge and strength. In Christ we are like Noah in the ark, perfectly safe and secure, brought in by God and shut in by God. To be in Christ is to be cleansed from all sin, and wrapped up in the center of Gods eternal purposes. To be in him is to be a branch in the True Vine. In Christ, we are complete, for he is made of God unto us, Wisdom, Righteousness, Sanctification, and Redemption (1 Corinthians 1:30). In him, we are not found with our own righteousness, but clothed upon with the beauty of the Lord. If any man be in Christ he is a new creature. — There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus!

 

Who are those who are in Christ? Those who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. — Obviously, Paul is not saying If you live by the lusts of the flesh you are not in Christ, or if you do not live by the lusts of the flesh you are in Christ. Every devil in hell knows that! To walk after the flesh is to seek salvation by the works of the flesh.

  • Legal Obedience
  • Religious Works
  • Baptism
  • Church Membership
  • The Lords Supper
  • Moral Righteousness

 

The Jews missed Christ, and all self-righteous religious people miss Christ, because they are trying to be saved by their works. You who are yet without Christ are without Christ because you will not trust him, because you will not give up your own righteousness, because you keep trying to work up a righteousness of your own with which to come to God (Romans 9:31-10:13). — To walk after the Spirit is to believe on the Lord Jesus, being taught and led to him by God the Spirit (John 16:7-11).

 

(Romans 9:31-10:13) But Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, hath not attained to the law of righteousness. (32) Wherefore? Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumblingstone; (33) As it is written, Behold, I lay in Sion a stumblingstone and rock of offence: and whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.

 

(Romans 10:1-13) Brethren, my hearts desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved. (2) For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. (3) For they being ignorant of Gods righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God. (4) For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone that believeth. (5) For Moses describeth the righteousness which is of the law, That the man which doeth those things shall live by them. (6) But the righteousness which is of faith speaketh on this wise, Say not in thine heart, Who shall ascend into heaven? (that is, to bring Christ down from above:) (7) Or, Who shall descend into the deep? (that is, to bring up Christ again from the dead.) (8) But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach; (9) That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. (10) For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. (11) For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. (12) For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. (13) For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

 

Read Romans 8:1 with me again. — There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.Those who are in Christ are those who walk after the Spirit.

      God the Holy Spirit gives us life.

      God the Holy Spirit brings sinners to Christ.

      God the Holy Spirit reveals Christ in us.

      God the Holy Spirit gives us faith in Christ.

      To walk in the Spirit is to live by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

      No Condemnation by the Law.Ye are dead! — The law is done with a dead man.Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone that believeth (Romans10:4).

      No Condemnation by God. — He who justifies will not condemn. — It is God who justifieth (Romans 8:33).

      No Condemnation from Conscience. — The conscience being purged from sin is void of offence. The conscience sprinkled with blood is a clean, clear, good conscience before God. — The worshippers once purged have no more conscience of sin (Hebrews 10:2).

 

The Holy Ghost here declares that there is no condemnation to them who are in Christ because as Christ our Surety, who was once condemned for sin, is now justified from sin so we in him are just as fully and completely justified from all sin as he is! Now, being born of God and taught of God, walking in the Spirit, we live by faith in Christ, having no confidence in the flesh, we live under the abiding influence of the Spirit, looking to Christ alone for all our hope and all our salvation (Philippians 3:3-11; Colossians 2:6-23).

 

(Philippians 3:3-11) For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh. (4) Though I might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more: (5) Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee; (6) Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless. (7) But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. (8) Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, (9) And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: (10) That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; (11) If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.

 

(Colossians 2:6-23) As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: (7) Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving. (8) Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. (9) For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. (10) And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power: (11) In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ: (12) Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead. (13) And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; (14) Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; (15) And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it. (16) Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: (17) Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ. (18) Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind, (19) And not holding the Head, from which all the body by joints and bands having nourishment ministered, and knit together, increaseth with the increase of God. (20) Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances, (21) (Touch not; taste not; handle not; (22) Which all are to perish with the using;) after the commandments and doctrines of men? (23) Which things have indeed a shew of wisdom in will worship, and humility, and neglecting of the body; not in any honour to the satisfying of the flesh.

 

Freedom

 

Second, in verse 2, the Apostle speaks of the blessed freedom that is ours in Christ.

 

(Romans 8:2) For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.

Paul is here saying that the gospel has made us free from the law. — The gospel of God is the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus because the gospel is the instrument by which God the Holy Spirit conveys life to sinners (Hebrews 4:12; 1 Peter 1:18-25).

      It reveals Christ who is our Life.

      It declares to us how he obtained life for us by his effectual obedience unto death as our Substitute.

      The gospel is the means by which our drooping souls are revived.

      The gospel is the means by which God the Holy Spirit gives life to chosen, redeemed sinners.

 

Notice the word for at the beginning of verse 2. It connects this statement with the one preceding it. — We live by faith in Christ, walking in the Spirit, because the gospel has made us free from the law.

 

(Hebrews 4:12) For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

 

(1 Peter 1:18-25) Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; (19) But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: (20) Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you, (21) Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God. (22) Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently: (23) Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth forever. (24) For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: (25) But the word of the Lord endureth forever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.

 

The law of sin and death from which we have been made free is the law of Moses, which the Holy Ghost declares is the ministration of death (2 Corinthians 3:7).

      It reveals sin.

      It condemns all.

      It brings death.

      The law can never produce life.

      The law can never produce righteousness.

      It is the law of sin and death.

 

God the Holy Spirit is called the Spirit of life because it is he who gives dead sinners life in Christ Jesus.

      In Regeneration (John 3:8; 6:63)

      In the Resurrection (Romans 8:11)

 

The gospel of Christ has forever freed all believers from the law of sin and death (Romans 3:19; Galatians 3:10), for every requirement of the law is met in Christ (Romans 6:7; 18).

 

Failure

 

Third, the Apostle tells us of the failure of the law (v. 3).

 

(Romans 8:3) 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.

 

The weakness and inability of the law to save does not arise from any defect in Gods law, for the law is perfect and holy, just and good. The defect and weakness is in our flesh. The law cannot save because we are not able to keep the law (Romans 7:18; 3:10-12). But Christ justifies the ungodly and makes righteous the very chief of sinners. As our Representative, Substitute, and Surety, God sent him here in the likeness of sinful flesh; and he not only obeyed the perfect law for us but was condemned and punished for our offenses, forever satisfying all the demands of the law (Romans 5:19; 2 Corinthians 5:21; 1 Peter 2:24).

 

(Romans 5:19) For as by one mans disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.

 

(2 Corinthians 5:21) For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

 

(1 Peter 2:24) Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.

 

God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh.

      God sent his Son into the world.

      God sent his Son into the world in the likeness of human flesh.

      God sent his Son into the world in the likeness of human flesh to condemn sin in the flesh.

      He did this that he might be a just God and a Savior (Galatians 3:13-14).

 

(Galatians 3:13-14) Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: (14) That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.

 

Fulfilled

Fourth, in verses 4 and 5, we are told that this blessed work of Christ for us was that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us by faith in Christ.

 

(Romans 8:4-5) That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. (5) For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.

 

This is the reason why Christ came to earth — that by his active and passive obedience all believers might be justified, sanctified, made holy, and accepted in him. In Christ we have honored the law and satisfied justice. In him we are perfect before God (1Corinthians 1:30-31; Colossians 2:9-10).

 

(1 Corinthians 1:30-31) But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: (31) That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.

 

(Colossians 2:9-10) For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. (10) And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power.

 

Unregenerate, unsaved people do mind the things of the flesh, seeking righteousness by the law by the works of the flesh. Believers are occupied with Christ, knowing him, and living with him and for him, and having him, and attaining unto the resurrection of the dead (Philippians 3:8-11).

 

(Philippians 3:8-11) Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, (9) And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: (10) That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; (11) If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.

 

In Christ

 

Did you notice, as we went through these five verses of Inspiration again, that this life, this salvation, this blessed freedom of grace is in Christ?

 

If we have not yet learned that Jesus Christ and him crucified is the foundation, essence, and fulness of all divine truth, if we have not yet learned that the message of the Bible and the hope of the gospel is Christ and him crucified, then we have read the Word of God with no profit to our souls, our religion is a vain show, and we are yet without hope before God! — What knowledge we have of this Sacred Book will only add to our condemnation in the Day of Judgment! — Without Christ and him crucified our religion is like

      The Heavens without a Sun,

      A Lamp without Light,

      A Clock without Hands,

      A Compass without a Needle!

 

Without Christ and him crucified we have no forgiveness of sin, — no comfort in trouble, — no strength in trial, — no atonement, peace, or reconciliation with God, — no hope in death, — no access to God, — no door of entrance into heaven!

 

Do you understand this? Christ is all! Without Christ we are nothing, we have nothing, we can do nothing (1 Corinthians 1:30-31). All that God has for guilty sinners is in Christ, only in Christ (John 3:35-36).

 

(John 3:35-36) The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hand. (36) He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.

 

The love of God is in Christ. The mercy of God is in Christ. The grace of God is in Christ. Without Christ there is no mercy, love and grace, but only wrath, judgment, and condemnation.

      When the flood came, there was no mercy and deliverance anywhere, but in the ark. — That ark was Christ!

      When the man-slayer fled from the avenger of blood, he found no safety until he entered the city of refuge. — That City of Refuge was Christ![1]

      God said to Israel, I will meet with thee (upon) the mercy-seat, between the two cherubim (Exodus 25:22). — Christ is our Mercy-Seat. God meets sinners nowhere else but in Christ!

 

Among the untold millions of the redeemed in heaven, there shall not be found a single voice that shall not sing the praises of Christ, the Lamb of God. Yonder in Glory Land Christ alone is praised. There ransomed sinners sing, Thou art worthy, for thou wast slain and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood (Revelation 5:9). To him alone every knee shall bow. To him alone every tongue shall confess!

 

I sincerely hope you understand what I am saying. — The message of this Book is Jesus Christ and him crucified! All things are in Christ! Every blessing of life and grace is ours only in Christ. Oh, may God make him yours!

 

(Romans 8:1-5) There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. (2) For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. (3) 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: (4) That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. (5) For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.

 

Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

Don Fortner

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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[1] When the man-slayer fled for refuge, he found no safety until he was in the city. He might know everything there was to know about the city (Its size, — Its gates, — Its walls, — Its beauty), but he was not safe until he was in the city. – Now hear me well. – You may know everything there is to know about Christ, — you may know about him, his Person, his work, his doctrine, you may even fight for and defend these things, but no blessing of grace is yours until you are found in Christ by faith!