Reading through the Bible together
This chapter is the climax chapter to Paul’s explanation of the gospel, and it is one of the great chapters in all of Scripture. In the very first verse, he summarizes all that he has said in the first seven chapters by stating: “There is therefore now no condemnation (but there is justification) to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” To be free of condemnation means that we are in Christ Jesus and that we do not walk after the flesh, but we walk after the leading of the Holy Spirit. Christ has made us free from sin and death.
Paul reminds us that our flesh is weak. However, Christ came in the likeness of sinful flesh and condemned the power of sin, so “that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us who walk not after the things of this world, flesh but after the things of the Spirit” (vs. 3,4). This is righteousness by faith. The carnal mind is against God and this leads to death. Remember that Paul said in Romans 7:14 that “I am carnal, sold under sin.” However, to be spiritually minded “is life and peace.” Those who are justified by faith have peace with God (vs.5-8).
Next, Paul demonstrates that spiritual life is possible when the Spirit of God dwells in us which allows Christ to live in us. When Christ lives in us, the old man of sin dies, and we are spiritually resurrected to live a new life (vs. 9-13). But if we continue living according to the flesh, we will die, as it said in Romans 7. But we have the beautiful promise that when we live a Spirit-filled life, we become the children of God. We can speak to God as our Father. Not only that, but just as Jesus is God’s Son, we having become God’s children, are joint heirs with Christ! What an amazing gift that God has given to us. The entire creation is waiting for the manifestation of the children of God, who are joint heirs with Christ (vs. 14-19).
There are the two beautiful promises that the Spirit makes our prayers acceptable to God and that God works all things together for good to them that love Him (vs. 20-30). As Paul completes this chapter clarifying the gospel, what is his conclusion? It is God’s love that justifies, and that no matter what tribulations we may face or what persecutions may come to us, as long as we have God’s justifying grace in our lives, we also have the promise that nothing can separate us from God (vs. 31-39). We will live with Him throughout the ceaseless ages of eternity!
Norman McNulty, M.D.
Neurologist, Lawrenceburg, TN, USA