Sanctification, pt. 7 [conclusion]
This may be the greatest chapter in the Bible! If the Bible were a ring, I believe Romans would be the diamond and chapter 8 would be the focal point where the light sparkles thru!
We've been studying the misery of the fight between the flesh and the Spirit. In chapter 8 we move from misery to victory.
v. 1 is good. Look at vv. 38-39, the very end of the chapter...even better!
So the chapter begins as 'no condemnation.' Then it ends w/ 'no separation.' And right in the middle is v. 28 w/ all things working together for good...who could ask for anything more?
A broader view: Chapters 6-8 are all about sanctification - the process of God making us into something better for His glory. We've already seen the Christian life as it often is lived--a life of struggle. Now in chapter 8 we see it as it ought to be lived--a life of victory.
It's not that this is new information, it will sound familiar. It's motivation to do what we already know to do. It's inspiration to put our heart into it.
Most of us know a lot more Bible than we put into practice. The problem isn't knowing what to do, it's doing what we know.
Mark Twain was asked about the mysteries of the Bible, and said, "It's not the parts of the Bible that I don't understand that bother me, it's the parts I do understand."
7:24 "Who" shall deliver me, not what shall deliver me. V. 25, I thank God!
"O victory, in trying" No! In Jesus!
John Bunyan wrote,
"Run John Run, the law demands
but gives me neither feet nor hands
Better news the gospel brings
It bids me fly, and gives me wings!"
God has not only instructed us to live a holy life, but given us the power we need to do so.
Four Facts on moving from misery to victory:
1. Our new position.
v. 1 "In Christ Jesus" is Paul's favorite phrase. It describes our position as believers.
Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus:
‘At Ephesus’ is their physical location. ‘In Christ Jesus’ is their spiritual location.
And we had a spiritual location before we got saved.
1 Corinthians 15:22
For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.
And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;
"In sin" is a dangerous location. Three times in John 8 Jesus said 'you will die in your sin.'
In the flesh.
v. 8-9 of our text.
The true mark of a believer is that they have the Spirit. Both the spiritual and carnal Christian have the Spirit. And all of the Spirit. But does the Spirit have all of you?
Paul said to the carnal Corinthians, What? Know ye not that the Spirit is in you?
v. 8 There's no condemnation if you are in Christ and not in the flesh. You've changed positional locations!
When we got saved we were not just united with Christ...we were united in Christ! We are a part of Him, and of his body.
1 Corinthians 12:27
Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.
It's position based, not performance based.
ill.--If I asked Gary what he does for a living he could say, I'm in accounting. That says nothing about his performance of how he's doing there, just positionally where he can be found at work. He may be doing Enron style accounting, or price fixing, hoping for a movie role! Or he may be doing excellent, the senior accountant in the whole place...it matters not, he's in accounting either way.
And when the Bible says I am in Christ Jesus, it is my position, regardless of my personal performance.
It was to the carnal Corinthians Paul wrote...
1 Corinthians 1:2
Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus...
Why is this important? Because it is our position which guarantees our protection!
2. Our new protection.
"No condemnation." This is the heart and soul of the gospel. Jesus fulfilled the moral law w/ His sinless life, the ceremonial law with His sacrificial death, so that the debt of sin and penalty of the law has been paid in full for all who believe...no condemnation!
v. 3 'condemned'...there's the condemnation right there. If you and I are condemned, it is double jeopardy in legal terms. God won't condemn the same sins twice, and your sins have already been condemned in the person of Christ!
In Christ = not in danger!
Make sure you are standing where the flames of judgment have already swept thru!
3. Our new power.
v. 2 Two laws in operation here. Life and death.
7:21-23 These two powers work against each other. Death pulls downward and life pulls upward. Life is superior and more powerful. It's the long armed law that rescues us!
When you got saved a new power came surging into your life if you'll tap into it.
ill.--a jumbo jet is at the end of the runway, and it weighs many tons...it is subject to the law of gravity. Let's interpose the laws of lift and aerodynamics. The jet can now defeat the law of gravity because of the unique power and properties it has.
We're all subject to the law of death, but there's a more powerful law that overcomes it!
4. Our new potential.
v. 4 What is the goal of this passage? That we be sanctified, all God wants us to be...a holy vessel God can use.
v. 3 begins saying, 'what the law could not do.' Why couldn't the law sanctify me? Because the law is a mirror...it can reflect the need for change, but it isn't a magic mirror...it cannot bring about the change. It shows me I need to shave but it can't shave me. The law is like a yard stick. It can measure me and tell me I come up short, but it can't make me even one inch taller.
v. 3 'weak through the flesh'. My wife made me ribs recently. Anybody try to stab them w/ a fork and pick them up? You couldn't...it would fall apart! You had to support it from underneath...it was weak flesh! There was nothing wrong w/ the fork.
And there's nothing wrong w/ the law...the problem is our flesh. The law won't be able to bring us up in sanctification...there has to be a higher power to bring this all about.
3b God's Son! "For us" He did something for us.
4 "In us" He did something in us! "...might be fulfilled" is in the passive voice, meaning it's not us doing it. It's the Holy Spirit doing it in us and thru us.
So the Christian life is not us pulling ourselves up by our own bootstraps, not by making resolutions or trying harder...it's by yielding to the superior power of the Spirit which already indwells us.
ill.--suppose a scientist could cross a butterfly w/ a spider. They have different natures pulling against one another. One wants to fly up to the sky, the other wants to drop down a line into the dirt and darkness.
Our spirit and our flesh are quite the same situation.
On Sunday morning your spirit says you need God's House and His Word and His people in your life. Your flesh says you are tired, and it's your only day to rest, and you deserve it. The new nature wants to pick up the Bible, the old nature the remote...it's your favorite show coming up! [pay tithes / buy something you want - witness to someone / protect yourself from rejection]
v. 4 gives the answer. Walk in the Spirit.
Galatians 5 says if we do, we won't fulfill the lust of the flesh.
Walking in the Spirit is a conscious, daily decision to yield to the Spirit's control over your life. Now that's sanctification.
ill.--as a kid I loved to sit on dad's lap and 'drive' the car. As I got older I started to realize he was still steering w/ his legs. I asked him to let go. He did, and then we'd go out of control. Help! I would cry, and he would save the day.
Problem is, we don't usually yield to the Spirit's control until we're just about to crash!
Step 1: Admit, daily, that we don't have the strength.
Step 2: Ask for the Spirit to live it thru you.
Step 3: Believe by faith that it will work!
Our new position leads to new protection, new power, and our new potential!
The devil wants to dupe us into thinking we have to settle for the status quo. Romans 8 shows us we can know better!
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