How good are you at remembering American History? If it happened in my lifetime= pretty good. All remember President FDR, he made a speech before Congress 11 months before Pearl Harbor in Jan 1941. Our nation was unsettled, concerned about the war in Europe, much has been forgotten but part of that speech lives on because it speaks to the core of what it means to be an American. READ speech.
In Romans 8 Paul also makes a Declaration of Freedom, spiritual freedom through the Holy Spirit. He also speaks of 4 freedoms that we who are believers are to enjoy right now. Review last week chapter 7 struggle to live the Christian life - Romans 7:24 “Who will set me free?” Answer we saw in 8:2 “through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free”. Holy Spirit frees us, gives us the power to really live for God. Review: been studying 3 weeks doctrine of sanctification: maturing in our faith, this is the culminating chapter.
I. Freedom from Judgment Romans 8:1-4
II. Freedom from Defeat Romans 8:5-17
III. Freedom from Discouragement Romans 8:18-30
IV. Freedom from Fear Romans 8:31-39
A. Law cannot condemn us - Romans 8:1. One of Paul’s favorite expressions = “in Christ”, writes this in all his epistles, it means we have a new position, new sphere of living.
B. Law cannot control us (Romans 8:2). “Free from that cycle of sin and death” Romans 7:25 because Jesus gave himself willingly as a “sin offering” requirements of the law are met.
Truth: In Christ Jesus we are eternally Free from Judgment of our sins.
We have been declared right-with-God thru faith in Jesus Christ, God has wiped our slate clean. Scriptures teach one day God will judge the world, anyone that has ever lived, will be judged:
Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. Earth and sky fled from his presence and there was no place for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what he had done. Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire. Revelation 20:11-15.
Application: But for you, you who are believers, you are free from that judgment.
A. Power - Romans 8:5-13. Romans 7 dominated by words “I”, “my” “me”, struggle of our lives when we’re living out of our own power, hoping our self-determination will help us make good choices. That often ends up in defeat Romans 7:24 “what a wretched man I am”. By contrast, Romans 8 is characterized by the word “Spirit” 17 times - through power of the indwelling Holy Spirit that we have power to live the Christian life, not our own. That power is available to you when:
1. Holy Spirit controls your mind (Romans 8:5-9) - READ.
For Paul, there are only 2 different mind-sets, only 2 different thought patterns=they are opposites. Your mind is either controlled by the Spirit or the sinful nature. Remember Paul is talking to Christians, who have the Holy Spirit. He makes it very clear in Romans 8:9 that if you don’t have the Spirit, you’re not yet a Christian.
Note: in Scripture, sometimes the Holy Spirit is called the “Spirit of God” or “the Spirit of Christ” these different names are not to confuse our understanding of the Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Remember this truth about the Trinity: “although they are eternally distinct in their personal modes of being, they also share the same divine essence and will.” Stott
When you trust Christ as your Savior, Lord, (Ephesians 1:13) you were “marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance”. “Seal with Holy Spirit” = metaphor describing how God has given each believer the power of the Holy Spirit living inside enabling us to live differently than we did before. We know we can quench/grieve the Spirit to the extent that it seems we don’t even have the Spirit within us: you may be alive physically but may feel dead spiritually and that’s the reason. Paul says if you live that way, it does feels like death, you can’t please God, in fact the sinful mind is hostile to God (convicting words). The mind controlled by the Spirit is totally different: it’s life, peace, pleasing to God. The fact is you and I choose daily, hourly, even minute-by minute who will have control of our mind, starts w/our mind. Does the Holy Spirit control your mind?
2. Holy Spirit controls your body (Romans 8:10-13)
Those who are saved, evidence = Holy Spirit indwells you, because He does, your very body becomes the house, temple of the Holy Spirit (I Corinthians 6:19, 20). Even though this mortal body is destined to die, for the believer death is not our ultimate destiny, we too have a resurrection awaiting us - by the same Holy Spirit power that rescued Christ from the grave, lives in us, will resurrect us too. Isn’t that incredibly comforting.
Illustration: most of us have TVs with remote controllers. Anyone ever fight over the controller at your house? Our youngest used to hide it so he would be the only one controlling it because whoever has the controller determines what is watched. Great metaphor for our spiritual lives. Paul says when self, the flesh, has the controller we live defeated lives. The flesh is always going to click on programs that encourage our self-absorbed, self-centered, pleasure seeking lives, things that turn us away from God, that engage our minds and our bodies in sin. However, when the Spirit has the controller, He will focus us, our minds and bodies, on what pleases God and will give us the power to turn off anything else. He gives us power: we also see He gives us a place in the family of God.
B. Place - Romans 8:14-17.
Paul says the Holy Spirit places us into the family of God 3 things about your place in the family
1. When you’re “led by the Spirit” in the family - Romans 8:14, verb=willingly led, as we yield to the Spirit, He guides us. John 16:13 - “When He, the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all truth”. Do you realize that the Holy Spirit wants to help guide you in all you do, all the decisions you make. Is there something that you’re trying to figure out on your own? Have you prayed about it? Have you asked God to lead you or do you have the controller in your own hands.
2. When you’re in the family = Loved by the Father - Romans 8:15, 16. “Abba” is the cry of a baby for his father in Aramaic, in English, “papa” “daddy”. Jesus in Gethsemane called out to God, as “Abba, Father.” Through the regeneration of the Spirit was are adopted and have an intimate relationship with God, Spirit assures us that is true.
3. When in the family = Joint heirs with Jesus. READ Romans 8:17. Two-fold meaning: we expect sufferings now but we anticipate glory later.
Truth: Life controlled by the Holy Spirit provides Freedom from Defeat.
We get defeated when we feel like a failure before God. Chapter 7 = Feel like we have “blown it, let Him down” Those times Paul says remember you have the Spirit of God living in you (if you are a Christian), Let Him control your life, give it up. Application: I don’t know if anyone here feels defeated spiritually? But if you do, start by looking at who has the controller of your life? If “self” then hand it over to the Spirit, get free.
Just as we get defeated when we feel like a failure, God knows we get discouraged when we don’t have Hope: when we don’t see purpose or meaning in our lives. What often opens the door to discouragement is pain and suffering. Paul says “look, I know you all are going to have pain and tough times, it’s part of living life on fallen planet earth, living life as a believer in a hostile world, but it’s going to be worth it all when we see Jesus.
Truth: What we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will give us later (Romans 8:18 Living Bible). Our problems now are real but they pale in comparison to what awaits us.
When we come into the presence of God we will experience such joy, such happiness that will far exceed these temporary troubles, “groanings”, yearnings we have now awaiting Christ’s return. Until then:
1. Creation groans (Romans 8:18-22) When God finished His creation Genesis 1:31 “it was good” but today it groans. Now, there is suffering, decay and pain throughout our world. Our world longs for redemption.
2. Christians groan (Romans 8:23-25) Now, we are awaiting our full inheritance, our new bodies, when we see God face to face, we long for redemption. That is our “blessed hope”. That is ultimately why we have freedom from discouragement = because we have an eternal hope.
3. Holy Spirit groans (Romans 8:26-27) He groans as He prays for us, knowing we don’t always know what is best, He intercedes for us, praying that we might be led into the Will of God. We’ve all experienced times when pain, suffering, loss, burdens of life overwhelm us, we don’t have the energy or wisdom to know how to pray, what a comfort to know the Spirit is interceding for us.
There is a longing for redemption, time when we are with God, universe is re-created, thinking about this future picture can give us perspective on our present sufferings.
1. Suffering is temporary.
We look around at the process of death, dying and know that this is not the way God planned it to be. Beautiful flowers fade away. See depletion of natural resources, but Scripture says “one day creation itself will be liberated from bondage to decay (Romans 8:21).
One day everything that was ever created, except fallen angels and rebellious people, will fulfill God’s intended purpose. Revelation 21:4 - God himself will wipe away all tears, there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying, nor pain, all of that is gone fore.
2. Suffering is a consequence (Romans 8:20a) Creation didn’t ask for suffering, subjected to futility, it came as a result of man’s sin. One of the consequences of Adam’s sin was the cursing of the ground. Suffering is a consequence. Ask “what about the bad things that happen to good people?” Tough theological question= Frances Shaeffer had a simple answer “we live in a fallen world”. We all have been affected by the tragedy of sin by being born here. This is not heaven, this is not shalom. You may say “that’s not fair” you’re right, this life is not always fair. Teach children.
3. Suffering is universal (Romans 8:22). Sometimes we forget that everyone suffers, wrapped up in our own “stuff” and fail to see that everyone suffers at some time in their lives, part of the human experience, though it differs, it is universal. I Corinthians 10:13.
4. Suffering is purposeful (Romans 8:28-30) Review:
Paul has been comparing our present suffering with the future glory. Living for Christ is going to be worth it all. Everything that was ever created is longing for that day.
Takes a breath and says, now let’s look at your life, I know you’ve been suffering too listen - READ Romans 8:28-30. Conditional Promise = only for Christians, not true for others. Promise for us to claim, incorporate into our minds, base our life responses on. We “know” Greek term refers to the possession of absolute unshakable confidence. “In all things God works for the good”…Lord uses everything that enters our lives to work together for good, we can’t call all things “good” some things are bad, but God will take those things, good and bad and works all things for our good. Many times we face suffering and we can’t see how this could ever be good, just because we don’t see it doesn’t mean God is without good reason, or He has lost control. I Corinthians 13:12 we see “in a mirror dimly” only “know in part” what God is doing in our lives. Ultimately we know He is working to make us look like His Son= that is “good” and it also helps us understand Romans 8:29,30. God’s plan for us will succeed. It started in eternity past when He chose us in Christ (Ephesians 1:4,5). He predetermined one day that we would be like Christ. He called us and when we responded He justified us and also glorified us.
Truth: We experience Freedom from Discouragement when we preserve in hope, pray with the Spirit’s help and trust in the purposes of God.
Illustration: Joseph=beloved son, hated by his brothers because of favoritism. Sold him into slavery, forgot about him. God never abandoned him. During 12-15 bondage, he was misjudged, imprisoned, betrayed but God was using all this to build character, strength. Eventually made Prime Minister in charge of famine relief, one day Famine finally reached Canaan, his father’s household. Brothers sent to buy food, when Joseph could no longer stand it, he revealed himself to them, father brought to Egypt and great family reunion. Then dad died, buried. Brothers began to fear that Joseph was holding a grudge against them, pay them back, sent a message begged for forgiveness. READ Genesis 50:19-21. God was working all things for good.
Application: we are the rest of the story. We can replace Joseph’s name w/ours, replace his specific suffering w/ours. Truth is the same, even when we are mistreated, misunderstood, hurt, we can be assured, God is working all things for our good.
Is that the way you’ve been looking at your life? Are you free from disappointment because you are trusting God?
Seems that Paul is addressing something we all have probably thought of at one time or another. Fear that we may lose God’s love, that we may do something so awful, so bad that He will stop loving us. We’ve all grown up on fallen planet earth and most of us have felt the loss of love, by a parent, friend, child or a spouse. Wonder if they could stop loving me, could God do that too? Are we really secure in our relationship with God? Paul gives us 5 arguments that prove NOTHING can separate us from God.
1. God is for us (Romans 8:31). Jeremiah 29:11 - For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for calamity, to give you a future and a hope.
2. Christ died for us (Romans 8:32). God gave his only Son, his very best for us, will He not give us all we need? Jesus says this same thing when He tried to convince the people not to worry or fear, God cares for the birds, sheep, lilies, surely He will take care of you.
3. God has forgiven us (Romans 8:33) - declared us righteous in Christ, although Satan would like to accuse us, we are in Christ.
4. Christ intercedes for us (Romans 8:34) - both the Spirit and the Son praying for us
5. Christ loves us (Romans 8:35-39) - Nothing can ever separate us from His love. READ Romans 8:38, 39.
Truth: God’s eternal love provides us Freedom from Fear. This week will you live free?