We’ve been reading what the law is and what its purpose is. We’ve learned that the law cannot save us or transform us. It cannot make us righteous and it cannot give us life. The law reveals sin (Romans 7:7), it shows us the holiness of God and our inability to reach that holiness without God. The law brings death (Romans 7:10) but Jesus conquered death when He gave up His life on the cross and rose from the dead in the Resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:57-58). God loves us so much, He chose to give us a part of Himself, Jesus Christ the Son of God. Jesus said this about Himself in John 3:16-18,
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.”
He took the consequences of sin, for anyone who chooses to believe that He is the Son of God and that He died and resurrected; He is the Christ, the Savior of mankind. Verses 1-4 read,
There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. 3 For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, 4 in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.
Not only did the Lord God take the consequence of sin, which is death away from us, but He also gave us life. He disabled the law for us. It no longer has the power to make us sin and die. We are not focused on the law anymore. That attention and effort into keeping the law leads to temptation, sin, and failure. We are not subject to the law. We can’t break laws where laws do not exist (Romans 4:15). He gives us life, new life, new selves, and a new character through His Spirit. Verses 5-11 read,
For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. 6 For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. 7 For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God's law; indeed, it cannot. 8 Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
9 You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. 10 But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11 If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.
The Holy Spirit isn’t set up in a tent within you, ready to leave at any moment. He is entrenched in you, deeply-rooted, and joined with you. He changes you in ways that the world cannot grasp. He loves us and frees us from the law, from our elemental desires for ourselves and from the constant moral war of the soul. He gives us peace with God, a relationship with Him which enables us to please Him. He gives us a new mind and heart and changes us from the lost sinner who cannot do good, even when she thinks she is, to the chosen child of God who delights the Lord and has become the image of her Father who is Righteous. Verses 12-17 say,
So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. 13 For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. 14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. 15 For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” 16 The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.
Did you know it is not your good works that please God, but your relationship with Him that pleases Him? Hosea 6:6 reads,
For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice,
the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.
As a parent, which delights you more, your child’s good grades or her hugs? Are you more pleased when she cleans her room or when she cuddles up next to you? Do you beam with pride when people recognize you in her? If she didn’t clean her room or came home with poor grades would you stop being her parent? Would you disown her because tripped up? I doubt you would. I think you might step in and teach her how and why to clean her room. You would sit by her side and figure out why she was unable to do well in school and help her do her best.
Those times of learning to become who we are meant to be are not always easy. It is a struggle to become who we are meant to be. Have you ever heard people warn you not to pray for patience? Why? Because the way to learn patience is by having to be patient. The way to grow faith is to exercise it. The way to learn kindness is to be kind when it is not natural. Strength doesn’t just happen. We become strong by struggling. We become conquerors by overcoming. Victory requires a battle. While eternity will not have tears, this present life is filled with suffering. Yet that suffering is infinitesimal when we compare it to the beauty of the person God is making us into, His glory, His very likeness, His sons. Verses 18-25 reads,
For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. 19 For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. 20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. 23 And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.
Read verse 19 again, it does not read the Son of God who is Jesus Christ; it reads sons of God, us! At the end of our struggle, we will be revealed as the sons of God, the image of Jesus Christ. Our suffering, the toil and labor of this life is all leading to the Day of the Lord. Jesus will come, every eye will see Him (Revelation 1:7), every heart will recognize Him. Some hearts will melt with fear and the realization that they were wrong. Others will leap with joy at our salvation. Every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is LORD! (Philippians 2:10-11).Then believers both living and dead will be lifted up into the clouds with Him (1 Thessalonians 4:17), revealed as His and changed instantly, perfected and complete (1 Corinthians 15:52). Then the rest of the people, those who finally believed too late will face the wrath of God and experience the death they chose when they rejected Christ (Revelation 14:19-20).
They live that death now and we live that life now. We are learning and becoming more and more the image of Christ, taking His character of love and reflecting Jesus to the world by the fruit of The Spirit so that they can know Him too. But it is not always easy to become who we were made to be. It is sometimes very difficult. We survive it, because we know who we are becoming, where we are going, and who we are going to spend eternity with. We are not perfect yet. Sometimes the struggle can be overwhelmingly difficult but it never has to overwhelm us. We are not alone. The Holy Spirit, God Himself is living within us and in the beauty that is our One Triune God communes with Himself so we can commune with Him. He is on our side. He wants our righteousness so much that He prays for us when we can’t do it for ourselves. He does all that in order to bring out the best for us and make us into His image so we can be recognized as His precious children and bring more of those people He loves home to Him. Verses 26-30 read,
Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. 27 And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. 28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. 29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.
This life can be hard but the love of God is greater! The struggle can be agonizing but God’s love is ecstatic. His love is joy, and that joy is our strength (Nehemiah 8:10). God’s Spirit is not just on you, He is not merely visiting you. He is indwelled in you, united to you and nothing and no one can rip Him out of you. He loves you profoundly and totally. His roots are too deep to ever get Him out entirely. He loves you too much to let you be captured, oppressed, and defeated by the world. Verses 31-39 say,
What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? 33 Who shall bring any charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? 36 As it is written,
“For your sake we are being killed all the day long;
we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”
37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.