Scripture text for Monday, April 26th, 2010: Romans 8:1 – 8:39
In Romans, chapter 7, Paul says, “I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do-this I keep on doing.” (Romans 7:18 – 7:19). “What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God-through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 7:24 – 7:25)
Now we come to chapter 8, verse 1. “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.”
I have always liked these verses in Romans because I can easily relate to Paul. It is like he was talking to me personally. I find myself to be a constant battleground, wanting to do good, but doing evil instead. Like Paul, I felt that there was no hope for my rescue. If you have ever visited the abyss of hopelessness, you know that it is a terrifying place.
Then, I got to verse 1 of chapter 8. The Amplified Bible says “There is now no condemnation-no adjudging guilty of wrong…” All my evil, all my sins, all are forgiven. Even though I am guilty, I will not be judged guilty. Even though I should be condemned to pay the price for all the evil I have done, there will be no condemnation. Jesus has freed me (and Paul) from the deadly grip of hopelessness.
Verse 1 goes on to tell me that this freedom from condemnation is offered to all “those who are in Christ Jesus.” Paul explains this in verse 9. “..And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ.” When you have the Holy Spirit living in you, you are in Christ. How can I be sure that the Holy Spirit is living in me? I believe that there is one sure test and this is found back in Romans 7:18. Paul says, “I know that nothing good lives is me…” Therefore, whenever I am in conflict, wanting to do good and fighting the urge to do evil, it must be something good in me that is not of me. It must be something different from me that is making me want to do good. It must be the Holy Spirit. The very conflict described by Paul in chapter 7, and experienced daily by all of us, is powerful evidence that there is something living in us, something separate from us, sent by Jesus from our Lord and creator. And, with that Spirit, there is now no condemnation. Thanks be to God – through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Devotion prepared by John Umbeck