Romans 8 (No Longer Slaves Series)
Jason White

Romans 8 is perhaps the greatest chapter in all of the Bible! Through Jesus, we have victory over our old nature, the power of the Spirit for the Christian life, and a God who is always with us and can never be separated from!





Sermon Audio Transcript
Many of you know that my son and I went on a 26 mile hiking trip in the Ouachita Mountains back in May. It took 2 ½ days to make the loop & we had big backpacks that we carried & spent 2 nights on the mountain… it was a great trip overall, but it let me just say that when we first started, it became apparent that this was going to be a lot more challenging that we both thought it was going to be.We started out on the toughest side of the loop & had to climb up/down 6 different mountain peaks…they were steep. To make matters worse, we had those heavy packs on…and we weren’t used that… and they rubbed on your shoulders…they were just uncomfortable/felt like such a burden…And so, this is a picture of Eli right after we got started…we were dragging…complaining…we felt so burdened by the packs we were carryingLast week, we covered Romans 7, and this is the picture of the struggle that Paul was describing. His inability to carry out the law of God…it was burdensome, it was a struggle, he was trying and pushing Himself but admitted the frustration and bondage of trying to live by the law.After Eli and I got to the final peak that day, there was a spot just off the trail you could walk to and look out and see forever (SHOW PICTURE). This picture doesn’t do it justice, but I mean we saw an eagle flying and he was below us! But this was magnificent. We felt so free up there and so alive at this point as you can probably see on our faces…This is the apostle Paul as he begins to write ch. 8. This is the pinnacle this letter. Here’s what bible scholar, Robert Mounce says about it…With ch. 8 we arrive at what may be called the inspirational highlight of Romans. Here the apostle is swept along in a wave of spiritual exaltation that begins with God’s provision of the Spirit for victory over the old nature, breaks through the sufferings that mark our present existence, and crests with a doxology of praise to the unfathomable love of God revealed in Christ Jesus. Nowhere in the annals of sacred literature do we find anything to match the power and beauty of this remarkable paean of praise…We are not dealing here with mere theology. As Paul wrote, his pen gave evidence that he was caught up in an experience of profound worship and spiritual adoration.So this is an incredible chapter…and remember that Paul had just shared the struggle with trying to live out the law… as he walked up the mountain with that huge backpack of law on and the struggle he was having to get up the mountain…he failed over and over and was condemned over and over again for that failure. And so he cries out in v. 24, “Who will rescue me from this body of death?” And he answers in v. 25, “Thanks be to God who delivers me through Jesus Christ.” Through Jesus, he was now able to write from the mountain top with the backpack off, alive and free…and so listen to the very first thing he says…Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ JesusThe law was a ministry of condemnation…jut kept exposing our inability to carry out the law and live up to God’s standard, BUT b/c Jesus fulfilled the law for us and we enter into a spiritual union with Him when we put our faith/trust in Him for salvation, NOW there is NO condemnation for any of us who are IN CHRIST!That means that there is no condemnation for…• The gossip you spread about your best friend• The lies you’ve told• The people you bullied• Pornography you’ve looked at• The time you cheated on your spouse• For the divorce you went through• For the abortion you once had• The alcohol you abused• Letting down your father/mother• What that person did to you when they abused youWhy? V. 2…2 because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. 3 For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in the flesh, 4 in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. Jesus condemned sin for us through the cross so that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us! You are not having to prove yourself! You are not having to carry the backpack on your shoulders while trying to make it to the top of the mountain!You are already at the mountain top b/c of what Jesus has done by merit and has given to you by grace! V55 Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. 6 The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. 7 The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. 8 Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God. Paul is describing 2 different kinds of people here…those who are saved and those who are unsaved…If we don’t have Jesus in our lives, we are in the realm of the flesh – all we have is our own strength and power to try to live up to God’s standard…but as Paul has been saying all throughout Romans, it’s impossible to do! We cannot please God in our flesh!Some of us feel like we have more impressive flesh than others, and we in our minds try to look to God and say, “Look at me, I’m so much better than all of these people over here b/c of my ability to do certain things,” but God looks at those and says, “Filthy rags!” B/C before a holy and perfect God, your best before Him is filthy rags…we can’t please God…9 You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ. I meant it can’t get any clearer than that right there, right? We don’t belong to God based on how good our flesh looks…how many rules we follow…how respected we are by others in this world…It is only if His Spirit lives in us that we belong to Christ…this is the difference between being saved and unsaved. And we receive His Spirit by faith. So Paul is writing to Christians, those who have received it, so he is saying “you are in the realm of the Spirit and you belong to Christ,” and now he is going to show them and us the benefits of belonging to Christ through the Spirit…v.1010 But if Christ is in you, then even though your body is subject to death because of sin, the Spirit gives life because of righteousness. Wow, so in Christ you and I are fully alive now b/c we are made right with God by Christ! We no longer operate from a place of lack but from a place of fullness! And oh btw, that body will even be taken care of one day…V1111 And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you. One day, when you die, you will get a new body to go along with the new creation you’ve become on the inside of that body right now!12 Therefore, brothers and sisters, we have an obligation—but it is not to the flesh, to live according to it. 13 For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live. So b/c you are so different now being united to Christ through the Spirit, then you don’t have any obligation to the flesh! You did… you were under obligation to it b/c you were enslaved to sin and enslaved to the law…BUT NOW, you have been set free from sin and the law and have no obligation to it…Your obligation now is to the Spirit, who when you look to Him, will put to death all of the behaviors associated w/your old self and bring forth behaviors associated with your new life that you have in Christ!14 For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. Don’t think of this as action… “Okay, so when I am being led in my actions by the Spirit then I am his child, but when I am not being led by the Spirit then I’m not.” NO, this is talking about orientation. This is who you are…one in the realm of the Spirit & that makes you His kid! And here’s the kind of family you are in…v1515 The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” 16 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. As God’s adopted children, we have an intimate relationship with Him. He is not a hard, driving Father who you have to live in fear of, He’s your Dad and He loves you and wipes away all of your fear…And the Spirit who lives in you, is constantly testifying to you that you are His kid who He loves and is proud of! Remember when Jesus was baptized? The voice from heaven said, “This is my Son in whom I am well pleased.” This is what He does with you too!If you hear another voice, it’s not God…it’s Satan trying to condemn you. But remember there is no condemnation for those in Christ so God is not going around constantly pointing out your sin and how guilty you are…NO it’s been taken care of and the Spirit’s job is to testify to who you are now in Christ…a child of God! V1717 Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. How incredible is that! Co-heirs with Jesus…when we are told that we are adopted in v15 into his family, it is not a second rate status… we are co-heirs with Jesus and are sharing in that inheritance even right now since we have every spiritual blessing in Christ…but we will really share in it one day in the future…But Paul is quick to point out that this doesn’t mean we won’t experience suffering in this world. If Jesus himself suffered in this world, how could we expect not to suffer as well? BUT…v1818 I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. 19 For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. 20 For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God. 22 We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23 Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? 25 But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. I was telling you earlier about our hiking trip…and here’s the deal, after we got into our rhythm it was good, we saw some incredible parts of God’s creation and camped out and slept on the side of a mountain…it was great. BUT as soon as I woke up on that 3rd morning, I took one step out of our tent and realized that I had 2 huge blisters, bubbled up on my feet and I winced in pain!And we had 6 more miles to go. So we packed up and headed out and let me tell you, every single step I took (all 13,000 of them) hurt. But each time I took a step and felt that pain, I knew that I was one step closer to glory…to getting to the finish line and being able to share in the glory of having finished the entire loop.And when we got there, those present sufferings were not worth comparing to the glory being at that finish line…And that is not to minimize the suffering we all experience, it’s real, and it hurts, and it stinks…BUT one day we’ll share in glory…And here’s the other thing…even though I was suffering and in pain and looking forward to relief at the end, I was with my son. I was still enjoying the experience and knowing that I was not alone and with someone I loved and who loved me…and the same is true even as we suffer throughout this life with Christ in us…26 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. 27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God. Paul just keeps going with all of the benefits of the Spirit in us and all that we have in Christ now while we wait for glory. The Spirit is at work…He intercedes for us when we don’t know what to pray… He is prompting us and guiding us in accordance with God’s will…and next He says that b/c of that He is always working for our good…28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. B/C the Spirit is always at work, He is working for our good…even in difficult and challenging situations, He is at work for good. The suffering isn’t good…God doesn’t like that we suffer due to sin in the world, but He is BIG enough to even work for good in those times.29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. 30 And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified. It might look like as you look back over the history of the O.T. and O.C. that God’s plan wasn’t working…but Paul reminds us that that all was part of His plan to show us that we couldn’t get ourselves out of the situation we were in and that HE was going to have to do it. And that is what this N.C. was about…it was a unilateral covenant. God would do all the work of saving us. It wasn’t going to be dependent upon us but on Him…This is what Paul is reminding us of…that God through Jesus had a plan, and that He was going to do the calling and the justifying and the glorifying. It was Him through Jesus and by depositing the Spirit in us to accomplish everything that is being done and will be done…and we just receive it by His grace through faith.v3131 What, then, shall we say in response 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, along with him, graciously give us all things? 33 Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. 34 Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36 As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered 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 convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.Oh my goodness, this is how good the good news about Jesus really is!Because of the finished work of Jesus on the cross and the grace offered to us, we are brought into this spiritual union with Him that nothing in this world can separate us from!!!We are always in His love…We are always in His grace…We are always justified before God…We are always in His grip…And there is no stopping our future glorification one day!So smile…take a deep breath…relax…and enjoy your Dad through all that you have in Christ.And if you’ve never taken a step of faith to receive Jesus into your life, now is your chance to do so…