Romans 8:1-4 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in sinful man, in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit.
It is so encouraging to read through Romans 8, just to reflect on what it really means to be a Christian – to be ‘in Christ’. And these first four verses lay it out for us so clearly with expressions like, ‘no condemnation’, ‘set me free from the law of sin and death’, ‘what the law was powerless to do … God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man’, and ‘that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us’.
When the Holy Spirit interrupts our seemingly ‘comfortable’, ‘carefree’ existence with the concept of the utter holiness of God, our Creator, and sets it against the sinful, self-satisfied reality of our fallen nature, this life-changing discovery causes us first to despair, then to repent and put our trust in Jesus, the only solution to our problem.
‘I take God at his Word indeed, Christ died to save me, this I read, and in my heart I find a need of him to be my Saviour’ (Dora Greenwell).
This is how it all works, and the Apostle Paul spells out what God did. He sent his Son to live a perfect life, in perfect obedience to all the requirements of his sacred law on our behalf, and then to die on the cross to bear, in our place, as our substitute, all the condemnation we deserve for our sin, and so set us free from this condemnation. On top of all this, he gives us his Holy Spirit to enable us to live in a new way in a new relationship with our holy God because we are in Christ. As he said back in Chapter 6:23, “the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord”, and as he went on to write to the Corinthians “if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” (2 Corinthians 5:17)
With all this in mind, it is no wonder the the author of Hebrews confronts us all with the very important rhetorical question: “How shall we escape if we ignore such a great salvation?” (Hebrews 2:3a)
– Bruce Christian