Living by the Power
1If you belong to Christ Jesus, you won't be punished. 2The Holy Spirit will give you life that comes from Christ Jesus and will set you free from sin and death. 3The Law of Moses cannot do this, because our selfish desires make the Law weak. But God set you free when he sent his own Son to be like us sinners and to be a sacrifice for our sin. God used Christ's body to condemn sin. 4He did this, so that we would do what the Law commands by obeying the Spirit instead of our own desires.
5People who are ruled by their desires think only of themselves. Everyone who is ruled by the Holy Spirit thinks about spiritual things. 6If our minds are ruled by our desires, we will die. But if our minds are ruled by the Spirit, we will have life and peace. 7Our desires fight against God, because they do not and cannot obey God's laws. 8If we follow our desires, we cannot please God.
9You are no longer ruled by your desires, but by God's Spirit, who lives in you. People who don't have the Spirit of Christ in them don't belong to him. 10But Christ lives in you. So you are alive because God has accepted you, even though your bodies must die because of your sins. 11 Yet God raised Jesus to life! God's Spirit now lives in you, and he will raise you to life by his Spirit.
12My dear friends, we must not live to satisfy our desires. 13If you do, you will die. But you will live, if by the help of God's Spirit you say “No” to your desires. 14Only those people who are led by God's Spirit are his children. 15 God's Spirit doesn't make us slaves who are afraid of him. Instead, we become his children and call him our Father. 16God's Spirit makes us sure that we are his children. 17His Spirit lets us know that together with Christ we will be given what God has promised. We will also share in the glory of Christ, because we have suffered with him.
In the 1960s middleweight boxer Rubin “Hurricane” Carter was wrongly accused and convicted of a triple homicide and sentenced to life in prison. After serving 19 years for a crime he never committed, his lawyers launched a second appeal, and the court overturned the previous ruling. The appeals court judge set Carter free. Carter had been innocent yet a judge found him guilty.
Paul begins his long letter to the Romans with a lengthy indictment of humanity before God. In chapter 3 he quotes the Old Testament, “No one is acceptable to God! Not one of them understands or even searches for God. . . . There isn’t one person who does right” (3:10b-12). All of humanity stands guilty, guilty, guilty, fully deserving the death penalty. (6:23a).
Paul then unpacks God’s solution to the human dilemma: “God showed how much he loved us by having Christ die for us, even though we were sinful” (5:8). Because of who Christ is and what he did on our behalf, Paul can now boldly proclaim, “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (8:1, NIV). In the original Greek “no” is emphatic and carries the sense of “not any.” There is absolutely, unequivocally not one speck of divine condemnation for Christians. God has set us free! Not because we are innocent. We are not. We are guilty! But Jesus Christ took our death sentence upon himself, perfectly satisfying the justice of God.
Not only have we been set free from the death penalty, but the divine Judge goes so far as to adopt us into his family (v 15). When Rubin Carter was set free, he left the US and made a new home for himself in Canada. When God sets us free he actually takes us into his own family so that we can make our home with him, and he in us.
Heavenly Father, I praise and thank you for your indescribable mercy, for all that you are, and for all that you have done for me in Christ Jesus, granting me pardon from sins, and giving me a new spiritual home in Christ. I am yours and you are mine! Hallelujah, what a Saviour!