Let’s read Romans 8:1-4: “There is then now no condemnation to those in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set me from the law of sin and of death. For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God, having sent His own Son, in likeness of flesh of sin, and for sin, has condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law should be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to flesh but according to Spirit” (DARBY).

One really needs to read chapter 7 to understand this, for in that chapter we learn that THE LAW (the Ten Commandments), though “holy, and the commandment holy and just and good” (verse 12), could never make anyone live a RIGHTEOUS LIFE before God. In fact, THE LAW stirs up THE FLESH (the sinful nature we were born with…Psalm 51:5 & John 3:6) and brings us into bondage to sin (read verses 7-12). This is true of the unbeliever, and it is also true of the believer in Christ who is trying to live a holy life by keeping the Law. Verses 13-25 describe the awful bondage to sin when trying to “keep the Law,” for in doing so one is attempting to do it in their own strength. The result is defeat, for the sinful nature will always rear its ugly head and bring one into bondage. This is tragic, for the believer “delights in the law of God according to the inward man” (verse 22), but the flesh (which can never be improved or be subject to God’s Word) ends up “bringing me into captivity to the LAW OF SIN which is in my members” (verse 23). The chapter ends on this sad note, “So then, with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin.”

In chapter 8 a wonderful discovery is made. A believer who is in bondage to sin may FEEL CONDEMNED, but he learns four things that bring him deliverance:

Verse 1: He is “in Christ” and thus he is NOT CONDEMNED. This is his new position before God as a “new creation in Christ” (see 2nd Corinthians 5:17). Our faith in Christ sets us free from condemnation, as we see in John 3:18, “He who believes in Him is NOT CONDEMNED.”

Verse 2: The indwelling Holy Spirit is the power to live a RIGHTEOUS LIFE before God. The Spirit will focus our mind and heart on “the life in Christ Jesus” that we have (see 2nd Corinthians 3:18). This will “set us free from the law of sin and death.” He will not focus our attention on the Law.

Verse 3: The Law could never give us the ability to live a holy and righteous life because, as we have seen, “it was weak through the flesh.” But God has dealt with the flesh by CONDEMNING IT in the death of His Son. Jesus became a true Man (though He always remained holy) to be judged for SIN (the sinful nature). He not only died for our SINS (what we have done); He died for SIN (what we are). If we see this truth, we will see how we are NOT CONDEMNED, because what we were has already been condemned.

Verse 4: The believer can now walk “according to the Spirit” (like we saw in verse 2), which means we walk in the power of the Holy Spirit and live a RIGHTEOUS LIFE. “I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh” (Galatians 5:16). It is the opposite of trying to live a holy life by keeping the Law in our own power. And the result is the opposite as well, for instead of being in bondage to sin and breaking the Law, “the RIGHTEOUS REQUIREMENTS of the Law are fulfilled in us.” In other words, we will be living a life in keeping with the Law. We will love God and we will love our neighbor (see Exodus 20:1-17 and Mark 12:20-31). Yet all the while, we are “not under the law but under grace,” which means we are not focused on the Law but on the grace of God (see John 1:16-17).  (DO)  (561.1)