This passage gives us the great comfort and assurance, "Those who are in Christ, and walk after the Spirit, are free from condemnation". Paul lays out the argument on the conflict between the carnal mind and vanity, versus the spiritual mind and holiness, and how we can distinguish them. That way we who are believers who have the Holy Spirit and turn from our fallen desires can be, "adopted". Thus we are able to persevere even through suffering by being "heirs of God". We are saved and thus have hope beyond we can comprehend, because we will be delivered, if not know in a time to come.
Do you realize the freedom and liberty you have in Christ? Do you realize the hope He gives you, because He delivered you? This is perhaps one of the most liberating and encouraging passages in the Bible, telling us He gave us New Life! We have worth, satisfaction, enrichment, entitlement and purpose because of Christ. We have a reason to press on in life and service. We have no condemnation as His child. Because of this great comfort why would we desire to live away from His presence? When we keep our mind on Him, we attain a magnitude of peace and a glimpse of His glory that helps empower and give us confidence in all situations. Since the Spirit of God is living in us, we must be on guard against our lust and evil desires so our mind is on Christ and not on our selfish desires. We cannot do this on our own, which is why we must also rely on the Holy Spirit to lead us. Do we want the peace of Christ to be His joint heirs or the turmoil and death of our sins by being His enemy?
· No commendation, means we no longer have to fear the penalty and wrath of Christ. We are not just saved from or sins, we are saved from God by God. He is pure and sinless and cannot intermingle with us in our sinful state. We no longer need to fear death, punishment or judgment as long as we are in Christ!
· In Christ means, "to be in Christ" this does not just mean in Paul's writings to be dependent on Christ, or merely to be His disciple, since Judas was His disciple! It implies a living union/relationship which Christ Himself first made known (John 14:19- 20).
· This applies in a higher sense in the spiritual union of believers with Christ. In Galatians (Gal. 3:26-28), we see both the inward and outward means of this relationship, in faith. We who are in Christ cannot be condemned either in punishment or judgment! Not only do we have our sins forgiven, but God saved us with a new life not a new law.
· The law did not produce holiness or salvation; Christ produces holiness and our salvation at a tremendous cost (Gen 22). Christ does not condemn us when we fail, when we desire to serve Him.
· Sending His Son: Christ was our replacement without blemish (Lev. 4:3). This means that Christ paves the way by building a new relationship, bearing the punishment of our sins on the cross, and covering us so we are pure in God's sight. This wonders magnitude of intervention gives us our place of Hope and endurance.
· The law is still in effect, but Christ's grace supersedes it. We may not be aware or be conscience of this new life; nevertheless, it is there.
· Our response is to yield to Him out of our new life and then obey Him, not because of insistence or feeling, but of gratitude and fact.
· Our character must reflect this new nature, and the leading of the Spirit, both publicly and privately.
· The world desires war with God; we must not reflect this attitude (Rom. 3:9-18). As we allow the Spirit to govern us, we will conform to the will of God, and please Him. When we remain in sin, we cannot expect to please God, and fulfill the meaning of life.
· We are to keep our eyes centered upon the Lord, and please Him as our chief ambition in life (Gal. 5:1; Col. 3:1-4), and not be distracted from His purpose.
· We cannot please God ourselves, nor can we ever be acceptable.
· We cannot bargain with God, we cannot have His Spirit and blessing without trust and obedience.
· We must not be in the way of God's plan with our selfish inclinations and disrespect (Luke 11:9-13).
· Enmity against God means we were enemies; our sin destroyed our relationship with Him and condemned us to hell (Rom. 3: 9-18). If you are not in Christ you are His enemy!
· Not in the flesh: God's goal is to renew and transform us from our feeble ways and endless trivial purpose to His purpose and plan.
· Our earthy bodies are still corrupt containing our saved soul. This corruption cannot be an excuse for bad actions. This is the new life that will be raised in immortal glory and receive it's crown and new body.
· The Holy Spirit is life! The Holy Spirit is living in us, so what do we do with Him (1 Cor. 15:45; 2 Cor. 3:17)?
· Our obligation is implicit dependence in Him, our struggle is in the releasing of our will, plans, and ideas, and then cry "Abba Father" (Mark 7:18-23). Through the power of the Spirit, we can stop sins incursion into us, and those around us, the effort belongs to us (Matt. 25:34; 2 Cor. 4:17). Even with the new life we do not have the power to live right, that is why we need the Spirit.
· We are to walk in the Spirit and walk away from our desires. We are to be careful not to confuse our common sense for the witness of the Spirit!
· Debtors, we owe God a great gratitude for paying our ransom of Sin a price no amount of time or efforts in our part that could ever compensate!
· Bear witness, the image is that God and the Spirit separate in distinction yet One God along with our own spirit gives us mutable witnesses (Gal. 4:6).
· We must be careful not to confuse natural desire as the Lord's leading. This is the start of the classic Reformed "Golden Chain of Salvation."
We have been transformed! We have reason, distinction and purpose in life, we have meaning and hope! God saved us for liberty, gives us holiness and gives us assurance. Our sin no longer has dominion over us; we are no longer under its rule. Although sin still infuses and influences us, our purpose and hope for the now and future is in our New Life! We have entered His presence through a new birth (John 3:5). We have our freedom, yet we owe Him for what He did for us. We are His adopted children (Gal. 4:5) but not to be childlike in our activities and responsibilities, we are fully adults in Him. Because what He as done for us, we are no longer His enemy. Since our life has been transformed because of His gift can live our lives focused on our Lord lest we fall astray. There is nothing holding us back, nothing oppressing us. So we can cast off our fears and trepidations and embrace our Lord with passion, conviction and serve Him in the same way (1 John 1).
1. Have you ever inherited anything? If so how did it feel to get something that you did not earn?
2. What things cause you to lose your concentration when studying the Bible, such as thoughts, stress, TV, radio….?
3. What would you do and how would you react if you found out you were adopted (if you are, how did you react?)?
4. Who governs your decisions? Really, be honest, who does? Who should? How are you (if you are) confident that you are in Christ?
5. If you feel that you do not have confidence that you are Christ's 'joint heirs', what is in the way?
6. What does it mean to you that as God's child you have no condemnation?
7. What gives you great comfort so you can sleep well at night?
8. Why would someone not like a great comfort, why would someone desire to live away from His presence?
9. What does being dependent upon Christ mean to you?
10. Is there more than just dependence?
11. What would a living union/relationship which Christ Himself look like in your life?
12. How would a living relationship with Christ be made known to those around you?
13. Our earthy bodies are still corrupt containing our saved soul. If you drew a picture of this what would it look like?
14. How can you be on guard against your lust and evil desires so your mind is on Christ and not on our selfish desires?
15. We cannot be on guard against our lust and evil desires just by ourselves. So what must we also do?
16. What happens when we 'just' rely on the Holy Spirit for protection and not use our noggin (mind)?
17. What happens when we just rely on our sound reasoning and forget about the Holy Spirit?
18. Where and how does faith come into play in this union?
19. What can you do to gain a better relationship in your union with other believers in Christ?
20. What and how produces holiness for you (and your salvation) at a tremendous cost?
21. What happens when we fail?
22. Why does the world desire war with God?
23. What must we do to not reflect this attitude of war?
24. When we allow the Spirit to govern us, we will conform to the will of God, and please Him. So what gets in your way?
25. We cannot please God ourselves, nor can we ever be acceptable. Does this statement discourage or encourage you and why?
26. Why would some Christians feel that they could bargain with God, and have His Spirit and blessing without trust and obedience?
27. Read Luke 11:9-13. How do we seek God's plan without our selfish inclinations and disrespect getting in the way?
28. The Holy Spirit is living in us, so what do you do with Him?
29. Our obligation is implicit dependence in Him, our struggle is in the releasing of our will, plans, and ideas, so how can you cry "Abba Father", that is release yourself in His total care?
30. How can you make a distinction between your common sense and the witness of the Spirit?
31. What gives you the most assurance in you life?
32. What does it means to have a servant attitude in your life in all that you do? How can you apply a servant attitude to your life in all that you do?
33. Do we as the church want the peace of Christ to be His joint heirs? Then why does such conflict and turmoil exists in many churches, and why do we sometimes act more like being His enemy, than His bride?
34. We are to keep our eyes centered upon the Lord, and please Him as our chief ambition in life (Gal. 5:1; Col. 3:1-4). What steps do you need to take to make this more of a reality in your life?
35. What steps do you need to take not to be distracted from His purpose?
36. What needs to be put to death in your life (not the cat or the neighbor, or some political leader), such as a bad thought, behavior….? When will you do this?
©1998, 2001, 2004, Rev. Richard J. Krejcir, Discipleship Tools www.discipleshiptools.org