The Great Eight (Part 2)

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. 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, 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. (Romans 8:1-4 ESV). The first seven chapters of Paul’s letter to the Romans is a detailed treatise in which he summarizes the Gospel. In short he begins to define the key points of our restoration from the fall of man in Adam and Eve. He talks about holy God, sinful man, coming wrath, perfect Savior, Jesus Christ crucified and risen, justification by faith, and sanctification by faith. Then comes what many have called “the Great Eight.” Here, Paul sums up the message of Christianity in the great conclusion of our reading today: “Therefore [in view of all] that there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” That’s the essence of Christianity. That’s the central, foundational message of God to the world. This is what we announce. This is what we plead. This is what we lay down our lives to communicate to the nations and the neighborhoods. Take a moment and really read these words: There is therefore no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. We’ll look at this in several parts. Today we can see what the gift is and who enjoys it? Simply put the gift is “now no condemnation;” and those who enjoy it are “those who are in Christ Jesus.” The word “now” can have two different connotations. One is that finally everything is in place, everything has been done, finally, now I can receive what I was promised. A grandfather sends a package to his granddaughter and says, “Do not open until your birthday.” Every day the little girl says, “Now? Can I open it now?” “No, not now. Only on your birthday.” When it comes then she says, “Finally, now!” The “now” that comes after waiting. The other connotation for “now” is the now that comes before you thought it would. That same grandfather writes to his son and sends him a $5,000 check and says, “Son, you know that someday you will inherit my estate. But I know that now is when your needs are great, so I am sending you this in advance.” Here the “now” is not “finally now,” but, “already now.” Both of these meanings for “now” are not far away. “There is now no condemnation.” Is it “finally now” or “already now.” We can see them both in this central chapter. We’ll dig deeper tomorrow. However, today would you spend some time pondering this great declaration: We NOW have eternal life. It may not feel like you expected heaven to be like. In fact, you may feel like you’re in hell. You are not. You have eternal life and it is drawing you ever closer to home....

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