Reading through Romans
+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Praise to You, Lord Jesus Christ, King of endless glory. You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed and have come to know that You are the Holy One of God.
A reading from Romans: Romans 8:1-4 (NLT)
So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death.
The law of Moses was unable to save us because of the weakness of our sinful nature. So God did what the law could not do. He sent his own Son in a body like the bodies we sinners have. And in that body God declared an end to sin’s control over us by giving his Son as a sacrifice for our sins. He did this so that the just requirement of the law would be fully satisfied for us, who no longer follow our sinful nature but instead follow the Spirit.
Reflection: Romans 8:1-4 (John Stott, The Message of Romans: God’s Good News for the World)
God’s Spirit in God’s children (8:1–39)
The Christian life is essentially life in the Spirit, that is to say, a life which is animated, sustained, directed and enriched by the Holy Spirit. Without the Holy Spirit true Christian discipleship would be inconceivable, indeed impossible.
(vs 1–17) The ministry of God’s Spirit
(vs 1) The first blessing of salvation is expressed in the words no condemnation, which are equivalent to ‘justification’…. Our justification, together with its corresponding truth of ‘no condemnation’, is securely grounded in what God has done for us in and through Jesus Christ.
(vs 2–4) The freedom of the Spirit
The second privilege of salvation is… a certain ‘liberation’… which [is] ours if we are ‘in Christ Jesus’…. Our liberation is the basis of our justification. It is because we have been liberated that no condemnation can overtake us….
Verse 4 is of great importance for our understanding of Christian holiness.
- First, holiness is the ultimate purpose of the incarnation and the atonement. The end God had in view when sending his Son was not our justification only, through freedom from the condemnation of the law, but also our holiness, through obedience to the commandments of the law.
- Secondly, holiness consists in fulfilling the just requirement of the law…. Although law-obedience is not the ground of our justification…, it is the fruit of it and the very meaning of sanctification. Holiness is Christlikeness, and Christlikeness is fulfilling the righteousness of the law.
- Thirdly, holiness is the work of the Holy Spirit…. Romans 8: 4 insists that we can and must [keep the law] because of the indwelling Spirit. Looking back over the whole passage which runs from 7: 1 to 8: 4, the continuing place of the law in the Christian life should be clear.
Our freedom from the law… is not freedom to disobey it. On the contrary the law-obedience of the people of God is so important to God that he sent his Son to die for us and his Spirit to live in us, in order to secure it. Holiness is the fruit of trinitarian grace, of the Father sending his Son into the world and his Spirit into our hearts.
Christ, as a light illumine and guide me. Christ, as a shield overshadow me. Christ under me; Christ over me; Christ beside me on my left and my right. This day be within and without me, lowly and meek, yet all-powerful. Be in the heart of each to whom I speak; in the mouth of each who speaks unto me. This day be within and without me, lowly and meek, yet all-powerful. Christ as a light; Christ as a shield; Christ beside me on my left and my right.
May the peace of the Lord Christ go with you, wherever He may send you. May He guide you through the wilderness, protect you through the storm. May He bring you home rejoicing at the wonders He has shown you. May He bring you home rejoicing once again into our doors.
+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen