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Lesson 9: No Condemnation *

Introduction: Let's review Paul's teaching for a minute. In Romans 5 Paul tells us that we are given eternal life as a result of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. Next, in Romans 6, Paul explains that this gift of grace does not mean that we should go on sinning. Just because we died to the law, we are not given a license to sin. Next, in Romans 7, Paul teaches that although we should choose to avoid sin, he struggles with his sinful nature and we should expect to have to do the same. Finally, we come to our study for this week. Even though our struggle with sin is real, Paul tells us that if we are in Jesus, there is "no condemnation." Let's jump into our study of this terrific assurance!

  1. No Condemnation

    1. Read Romans 8:1-2. From what have we been set free? (The "law of sin and death.")

      1. What do you think that means? (To be sure we understand the context, read Romans 7:21-25. We are no longer subject to the rule that if we sin (and we all have) we will die eternally.)

    2. Read Romans 8:3. Why did Jesus do this for us? (We could not do it. The Ten Commandments were "powerless" because of our sinful nature. We simply could not keep the law and earn salvation.)

      1. Notice that this verse ends, "and so He condemned sin in sinful man." What does it mean that Jesus condemned sin through His actions on our behalf? (The problem never was the law. The problem is our sinful nature. Jesus does not want us mired in sin. He condemns the sin in our lives. But, He gives us the way out of eternal death.)

    3. Read Romans 8:4. How are the requirements of the law met in our life? (Through Jesus. What we could never do, He did for us.)

      1. The last part of this verse is troubling. It seems to condition grace on not living according to the sinful nature. How can we not live according to the sinful nature when Paul has consistently told us that it is our inherent sinful nature, and not the law, that is the problem? (This gets back to our choice. Our sinful nature is always present. But God calls on us to choose to live by His Spirit, and not our sinful nature. We receive grace when we choose God's grace and God's Spirit.)

  2. Setting Our Minds

    1. Read Romans 8:5. Recall that in Romans 7:14-16 Paul tells us that he does what he does not want to do. What he wants to do he does not do. Do you think that Paul, when he writes these things, has his mind set on the right thing? (Yes. If Paul did not have his mind set on doing what Jesus wanted him to do, he would never write things like "I didn't do what I wanted to do, I did what I did not want to do." Instead, Paul would write that he did exactly what he wanted, and what his sinful nature wanted him to do.)

      1. Many times in the past I've written about "righteousness by attitude." When Paul writes in Romans 8:5 about setting the mind, isn't he writing about our attitude?

      2. How much control do you have over your attitude? (This gets back to the work of the Holy Spirit. You can choose. You must choose. But, what you are choosing is to live by the Holy Spirit, and not your sinful nature. Even those who choose to live by the Holy Spirit find that their actions do not always match up with their desires. Read again Romans 7:21-25 to fully understand our situation.)

    2. Read Romans 8:6. We all have a sinful nature. What does Paul mean when he writes "the mind of sinful man is death?" (This refers again to the choice of attitudes. Will we choose to follow our sinful nature and be governed by it, or will we choose to follow the Holy Spirit and be governed by Him?)

    3. Read Romans 8:7. What is at stake here? (Pleasing God. Bringing glory to God.)

    4. Read Romans 8:8. What do you think it means to be "controlled by the sinful nature?" When we learned in Romans 7 that Paul did things he did not want to do, doesn't that show that he was "controlled" by his sinful nature? (Engaging in sinful acts that are contrary to our desire to please God does not mean that we are controlled by our sinful nature. Other translations use the term "in the realm of the flesh." The idea is that our attitude is to choose our sinful nature.)

  3. Holy Spirit

    1. Read Romans 8:9. Does this help to answer the previous question about what it means to be "controlled" by our sinful nature? (Yes! This is really good news. If you want the Holy Spirit to live in you, and have evidence that the Holy Spirit lives in you, then you are not "controlled" by your sinful nature.)

      1. How important is it to have the Holy Spirit living in you? (Paul tells us that if we do not have the Holy Spirit, we do not belong to Jesus. This is a very serious issue, and a very great comfort. It is serious because we have not chosen grace if the Holy Spirit is absent from our life. On the other hand, if we have invited the Holy Spirit, and we see Him working in our life, then we don't have to be in doubt about who controls us.)

    2. Read Romans 8:10-11. Does this sound like a person who is free from sin? (The verse says that our body is "dead because of sin." But, the Holy Spirit gives us life. Just as the Holy Spirit raised Jesus from the dead, those who have accepted Jesus as their substitute will also be raised to eternal life!)

  4. How Should We Live?

    1. Read Romans 8:12-13. From what does our obligation arise? (Think about this. Jesus died for our sins. He gave us the greatest gift; victory over sin. We are obligated to fight the sin that keeps afflicting us. We have victory, why would we want to wallow in sin?)

      1. Are we alone in this fight? (By no means. The same Holy Spirit that gives us eternal life will put to death the sins in our life.)

    2. Read Romans 8:14. Have you previously considered the importance of the Holy Spirit living in you? (We are the children of God if we have the Holy Spirit in our life!)

    3. Read Romans 8:15. What kind of fear are we talking about here? (Have you noticed that when your life was controlled by your sinful nature that you worried about the results of your sinful decisions? You lacked peace? Living a life led by the Holy Spirit gives us peace and joy.)

      1. Is there more to this than simply avoiding the problems created by sin? (If the Holy Spirit can give you eternal life, if the Holy Spirit can aid you in avoiding sin, as a child of God consider the power available to you! Consider God's attitude towards you. How can you fear?)

    4. Read Romans 8:16. What is your spirit? Some teach that the "spirit" of humans is simply the breath of God. (See Genesis 2:7.) Does the "breath" teaching make sense in the context of Romans 8:16? (The Holy Spirit communicates with the thinking part of our body that He is present in our life.)

      1. Have you experienced this? That your mind knows that the Holy Spirit is working in you?

    5. Read Romans 8:17. In the next several verses, Paul discusses the idea of suffering in more detail. The suffering seems to arise because of our conflict with sin. Would the conflict with sin in our own lives (the doing what we do not want to do) be a cause for suffering? (Consider that Jesus resisted sin in His life. We are called on to undertake that battle.)

    6. Friend, the good news is that you are saved by grace alone if you choose to live a life led by the Holy Spirit. It is also good news that the Holy Spirit will help you to live a life that brings blessings to you and glory to God. Why not reaffirm right now that you choose God?

  5. Next week: Children of the Promise.
* Copr. 2017, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. All scripture references are to the New International Version (NIV), copr. 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society, unless otherwise noted. Quotations from the NIV are used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers. Suggested answers are found within parentheses. The lesson assumes the teacher uses a blackboard or some other visual aid.

© 2021 Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.
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