No Condemnation! (Pt. 2)
August 26, 2018
Several years ago, author Brett McKay wrote on his popular blog site, “The Art of Manliness,” that he learned the skill of picking locks. After learning the basic principles and being given the tools, he picked his first lock in two minutes.
He says this about his new skill:
Some of you might be thinking, “Brett, why should I learn how to pick a lock if I don’t plan on breaking into people’s homes?”
There are a few good reasons why law-abiding citizens should learn how to pick a lock:
Lock picking opens your eyes to the “illusion of security.” We all lock our doors to keep our loved ones safe at night and to secure our possessions during the day. After I picked my first lock within two minutes of learning how to do it, I realized that locks don’t really do much except provide the illusion of security. Locks make us feel safe, but if someone really wanted to get in your house, they could easily pick the lock on your front door. If they didn’t know how to do that, they could find another way in. You can’t just rely on a lock to keep you and your family safe. You need to utilize other tools and tactics and create multiple layers of security.
It seems to me that many believers might feel the same way about their spiritual condition before God — that the security of their salvation is merely an illusion and not a reality. They know that God says they are safe if they trust in Christ as their Savior, but they act as if they really are unsafe and that God really is still angry with them and their sin and that He’s just waiting for them to slip so that He can vindictively pour out His anger against them.
The chapter that we are examining in Romans deals with that very issue. It has rightly been noted that Romans 8 is about the work of the Spirit, since Paul references Him 19x in the chapter. However, Paul also refers to the Son of God, Jesus Christ, 13x by name in the chapter, and God the Father 16x by name in the chapter (and to both many more times by the pronoun, “He”). So this chapter does emphasize the work of the Spirit more than other chapters in this book, but it is also about the work of the entire Godhead. And it is specifically the work of the Godhead in sanctifying the believer. And as the chapter speaks to the work of the Trinity in the believer, its theme is exposed as being security and assurance for the believer. This chapter is so well-loved because it teaches the security a believer has in Christ and how he can live confidently and assuredly in that security.
Consider these verses that speak about the believer’s assurance (and this list is not all of them!):
- 8:1 Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
- 8:2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.
- 8:10 If Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, yet the spirit is alive because of righteousness.
- 8:11 But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.
- 8:14 For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.
- 8:15 For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!”
- 8:16 The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God,
- 8:17 and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.
- 8:29-30 For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.
- 8:31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us?
- 8:32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?
- 8:33 Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies;
- 8:34 who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us.
- 8:35 Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
So the believer can have assurance that he is secure. He can experience the peace that comes from knowing that God has saved him and is keeping him and that if he is in Christ he can never be out of Christ. And the assurance begins in the first four verses with Paul’s explanation that —
Christ removes every aspect of condemnation for the believer in Him.
These four verses tell us four truths about our position in Christ that make us hopeful for living sanctified, God-honoring lives. These are four truths about our position in Christ that bolster our assurance.
- There is No Condemnation (v. 1)
- There is No Condemnation Because of Christ (v. 2)
- There is No Condemnation Because Christ Condemned Sin (v. 3)
- Because There is No Condemnation, There is Sanctification (v. 4)
Download the rest of this sermon on Romans 8:1-4.
The audio will be posted on the GBC website by tomorrow.