1996-07-25 - Boundaries
Romans 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.  For the law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.
A mouthful in two sentences. There is now no, zero, zilch, zip (get the idea) condemnation for those who are "in Christ Jesus". Now that we have the quantity established, who is `in Christ Jesus' that enjoy this favor? They are certainly Christians to start with. Is this a special group of Christians that are walking in the Spirit and following the examples of Jesus fully? Who is capable of this? No, this is not a special honor roll of Christians. Everyone who is written in the Lamb's Book of Life enjoys this favor.
If we are involved in sin, don't we feel "condemned"? Condemnation is much stronger. It refers to a sense of guilt and dread. If we, as Christians, are involved in sin, we will feel the Spirit who lives in our hearts, calling us back to live `in Christ Jesus'. We might feel miserable, but it is correction. There is a difference. The release Christians feel as condemnation's shackles fall from their wrists and ankles is often described as a soaring freedom very deep within the heart. The Holy Spirit within us, points us back to Jesus, and Jesus is always leading us to the Father.
"The law of sin and death" is an interesting phrase. The Ten Commandments are impossible to follow in our flesh. The Pharisees taught the law, "Thou shalt not commit Murder, Thou shalt not commit Adultery, Covet not thy neighbor's house, nor anything that is his,"etc. As long as people were able to restrain themselves, they were deemed righteous. Indeed, restraint to this level is admirable, from our point of view. But Jesus raised the level of the high jump bar to the level God intended. Even if you have lusted in your heart after a woman (or man for the ladies), you have already committed adultery with her in your heart. This is the key -- Jesus knows the hidden motivations of our hearts. He sees clearly the things we might have even fooled ourselves into believing otherwise. Our hearts are deceitfully wicked. He knows ( and loves ) us better than we know ourselves!
So, the Law is impossible to follow for we who are born with a sin nature. The letter of the law, forced upon us, will destroy us if we sincerely attempt to follow it. The `spirit' of the law, the lessons contained within the law, will lead us to an understanding that we cannot do it on our own. We need help. I know I do, every day. The Law shows us our need for `the law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus'. This law says that Jesus paid the price in full for every wrong you and I have committed, are committing or will ever commit (that about covers it). And it was accomplished in eternity past (Rev 13:8) in the mind of God the Father. Even at that time, before we could do anything to help, the Father saw the work of salvation as an accomplished fact. We can do nothing to add to it, and likewise we can do nothing to take away from it. This is freedom … from death, from condemnation, from the place in Hell we deserve, from a life of helpless misery seeing,the sins we commit and knowing we cannot stop. Jesus has broken the chains of all of this and much, much more. We stand in the eyes of the Father as righteous, through no act of our own will. Amazing love is showered on us.
Lord Jesus, we thank you for the amazing love You lavish on us. We know that we have done nothing to deserve this grace and mercy, but that You did it out of the love You have for Your rebellious children. You have graciously rewritten the law in Your blood, so that Your life that You give to us makes us acceptable in Your sight. Teach us that the ground is level at the cross, and no one is more or less deserving of Your free gift of eternal life. Help us to allow You to live Your life through us, that we might be reflections of Your love for those around us. Amen.