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August 17 | Romans 8:1-6

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REFLECTION


Free Indeed

by David Thompson


The passage for today is one of the most concise passages on how we are to live by Christ (Spirit) and not by the Law of Moses. All of us in this world have a life sentence. No one can free themselves from the verdict of life without parole and ultimately to our death. However this is not necessarily true. If we look to the Old Testament, there was a system of sacrifices where animals were slaughtered and burned on the altar. It was said that the smell of these sacrifices rose up and pleased God. However, what are these sacrifices? They are blood sacrifices that signified what would someday happen to Jesus Christ. Even if the sacrifice could atone for sin at the moment of sacrifice, the human giving the sacrifice was only moments away from letting his sin nature take over once again and the process would have to be repeated. The Mosaic Law could never be followed perfectly by those with the "flesh nature." A person of the Old Covenant had no real hope.



In the eighth chapter of Romans, Paul writes that "Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." A reprieve, no less than a guarantee that there would be nothing held against us. This promise was given to all who are "in Christ Jesus." No life sentence to sin's death grip. And why is this? "Because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death." It's right there in black and white on page 2,467 of my Bible. We are given the key to open the life sentence cell and to celebrate what God, through His Son Christ Jesus, did on that awful day two thousand years ago. On that day, an absolutely perfect sacrifice was given for the sins of all who believe. So the Old Testament's imperfect sacrificial system was in most respects a foretelling of Christ's death on the cross.


So what is the payback, the deal, the bottom line so to speak? Once again we go to today's scripture passage, "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." Wait, perhaps you are thinking that you have to live every day totally in the Spirit. After all that seems to be what it says. However, recall that humans are not perfect. We make mistakes. Our hearts are in the right place but we mess up. I want you to be absolutely sure that you know that the death of Christ Jesus covered our sins for the past, present and future. Christ does not have to go to the cross multiple times to keep covering sins. It was a once and done sacrifice. Our goal is to live in accordance with the Spirit and yes, when we mess up, we confess our wrongs. The Bible tells us if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9). So don't give up when you slip. Consider where the sin came from and take care of it. He promises that "the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace." End of the story. Amen and Amen

 

God, we thank you so much that the new covenant shows us the above. We know we were lost and hopeless without you. Help us to internalize that we are once and for always saved. You are our salvation. Amen






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