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Safe and Secure - Romans 8:1-11

Taught on

As the old saying goes, “It’s always darkest before the dawn.” That’s certainly true of Paul’s authorship of this book. He closes chapter 7 on a low note, only to crescendo to a swelling high point in chapter 8. “Don’t despair! You’re in secure hands and you’re safe,” Paul tells us. He reminds us of four facts that should settle every heart.

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9/29/2019
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Safe and Secure
Romans 8:1-11
Skip Heitzig
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Message Summary
As the old saying goes, “It’s always darkest before the dawn.” That’s certainly true of Paul’s authorship of this book. He closes chapter 7 on a low note, only to crescendo to a swelling high point in chapter 8. “Don’t despair! You’re in secure hands and you’re safe,” Paul tells us. He reminds us of four facts that should settle every heart.
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Heart & Soul: A Study through Romans

Heart & Soul: A Study through Romans

When the wrath of God meets the righteousness of God, where does that leave us? The apostle Paul says that we are marked by sin at birth but marked righteous at salvation. In this series through Romans, Skip Heitzig explains the essentials of Christian doctrine that can transform your thoughts, words, and actions. Move from sinner to saint, and from saved to Spirit-filled as you inscribe the essence of the gospel onto your heart and soul.

Outline

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  1. Our Punishment Is Done (v. 1)

  2. Our Position Is Defined (v. 1b)

  3. Our Power Is Dynamic (vv. 3-4, 9)

  4. Our Practice Is Different (vv. 5-11)

    1. The Unbeliever

    2. The Believer

Study Guide

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Connect Recap Notes: September 29, 2019
Speaker: Skip Heitzig
Teaching: "Safe and Secure"
Text: Romans 8:1-11

Path

As the old saying goes, "It's always darkest before the dawn." That's certainly true of Paul's authorship of this book. He closes chapter 7 on a low note, only to crescendo to a swelling high point in chapter 8. "Don't despair! You're in secure hands and you're safe," Paul tells us. He reminds us of four facts that should settle every heart.
  1. Our Punishment Is Done (v. 1)
  2. Our Position Is Defined (v. 1b)
  3. Our Power Is Dynamic (vv. 3-4, 9)
  4. Our Practice Is Different (vv. 5-11)
    1. The Unbeliever
    2. The Believer
Points

Our Punishment Is Done (v. 1)
  • In Romans 8, Paul encouraged believers to feel secure, no matter their struggle; he began the chapter with "no condemnation" (v. 1) and ended with no separation (see v. 39) from God.
  • There will certainly be an evaluation for believers (resulting in rewards), and condemnation for unbelievers (resulting in punishment), but the believer stands righteous before the Father because of His Son, who paid the price of sin for us. God punished you when He punished Christ on the cross, and if you have received that exchange, you're no longer condemned to be punished.
Our Position Is Defined (v. 1b)
  • In verse 1, we discover our position is defined "in Christ." This was one of Paul's favorite expressions and is frequently used to describe our relationship with Jesus.
  • All people are identified in either Adam or Jesus. We are all subject to sin because of Adam, but the way out of sin is to be in Christ (see 1 Corinthians 15:22).
  • Many people are interested in family heritage, and for better or worse, all people are linked physically, intellectually, and culturally to our ancestors. However, while this may be our past, Christ gives us a new future: He makes us a new creation (see 2 Corinthians 5:17); He removes condemnation (see Romans 8:1); He develops connections (see Romans 16:3); and He produces new expectations (see 1 Corinthians 15:18-22).
Our Power Is Dynamic (vv. 3-4, 9)
  • Beginning in verses 3 and 4, there is a shift in focus from "I, me, and my" to the Person of the Holy Spirit. Until this point, there have only been two references to the Spirit (see Romans 1:4 and 5:5), but in this chapter, there are roughly twenty references to the Holy Spirit, and we get a clearer picture of the Holy Spirit's role and work in our lives. The key to victory is walking in the Spirit; freedom comes from being in Christ and filled with the Spirit (see 2 Corinthians 3:17).
  • Throughout Romans, Paul showed how the Law, which leads to death, failed to control the conduct of people because of our weak flesh. The law of the Spirit supersedes the law of sin and death. The Holy Spirit is fully God in all aspects, filling the Christian and abiding with the Christian, conforming us into the image of Christ (see Romans 8:29).
Our Practice Is Different (vv. 5-11)
  • The Unbeliever
    • Unbelievers are earthbound, seek to gratify bodily appetites (see Matthew 6:31-32), are spiritually dead, and suffer condemnation.
  • The Believer
    • Believers are filled with the Spirit, yearn to live differently, aim to please God, and have no condemnation.
  • The purpose of the gospel is not to make people happy, but to make them holy. Our spiritual condition should match our spiritual position, which is only accomplished through sanctification, as we grow more Christ-like through the power of the Spirit.
  • As Christians, we know that there are three mindsets: natural, spiritual, and carnal. We are all born in the natural state and are subject to sin. If we try to live naturally after we're saved, we are carnal Christians, useless to God's kingdom.
Practice

Connect Up: Talk about what it means to be "in Christ." John Stott states, "The expressions 'in Christ,' 'in the Lord,' and 'in him' occur 164 times in the letters of Paul alone, and are indispensable to an understanding of the New Testament. To be 'in Christ' does not mean to be inside Christ, as tools are in a box or our clothes in a closet, but to be organically united to Christ, as a limb is in the body or a branch is in the tree. It is this personal relationship with Christ that is the distinctive mark of his authentic followers." Stott gives three points to ponder when we are in Christ: personal fulfillment, unity, and radical transformation.1 What are some of the other benefits and blessings of being "in Christ?"

Connect In: Being in Christ means that our lives should be different; we should live holy lives. What do you think the marks of holiness are? Billy Graham lists twelve, including: being of one mind with God, striving to be like Christ, loving God and others, etc.2 What more can you think of?

Connect Out: Knowing that there is a difference between believers and unbelievers, one seeking after bodily desires, the other seeking spiritual pursuits, how would you explain to an unbeliever the difference between the Christian and non-Christian without being condescending? Discuss the following:
  • "One beggar telling another beggar where to find food." (D.T. Niles)
  • "The salvation of a single soul is more important than the production or preservation of all the epics and tragedies in the world." (C.S. Lewis)
  • "Our business is to present the Christian faith clothed in modern terms, not to propagate modern thought clothed in Christian terms. Confusion here is fatal." (J.I. Packer)
1 John R.W. Stott, "In Christ:" The Meaning and Implications of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, July 15, 2013, http://www.cslewisinstitute.org/In_Christ_page1, accessed 09/30/19.
2 J.C. Ryle, 12 Marks of Holiness, June 6, 2007, https://billygraham.org/decision-magazine/june-2007/12-marks-of-holiness/, accessed 09/30/19.

Transcript

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Safe and Secure - Romans 8:1-11 - Skip Heitzig

[MUSIC PLAYING]

Let's turn in our bibles to Romans the eighth chapter, Romans chapter 8. Now over in England, there is a church that has a sign on the front door that reads, this is the gate of heaven. Enter ye all by this door. I think that's a great sign. This is the gate of heaven. Enter ye all by this door. But then underneath is a sign that says, this door is kept locked because of the draft. Please use side entrance.

Sometimes, we feel a little tenuous in our spiritual position while we read the book of Romans because we discover kind of the struggle that believers go through. I know a lot of people-- I love the book of Romans until they read it. Then there's a whole lot about the wrath of God. And there's none righteous, no, not one, et cetera, et cetera. All have sinned and fallen short.

And that is all the setup for the great truth of the gospel of the grace of God. And we're right smack dab in the middle of that. It's clear that Paul the Apostle wants believers to feel secure in Christ, safe and secure. No matter what struggles you go through, no matter what circumstances you encounter, he wants you as a believer to be filled with hope because of your security in Christ.

There was a man named Anthony Showalter who had a singing school down in Alabama. One night after classes, he went home to his room. And there were two letters waiting for him, both from former students. Both former students had lost their wives. They had both died. He read these letters back to back and was just overcome with grief and sadness for his two friends who lost their wives. And he wanted to write something to encourage them.

He sat down to write a letter to them. And a verse kept going through his mind out of Deuteronomy chapter 22 where it says, the eternal God is your refuge. And underneath are the everlasting arms. So he put pen to paper, started writing a poem that became a song, a song that you know, leaning, leaning, safe and secure from all alarm, leaning, leaning, leaning on the everlasting arms. That's an old song-- 1887. But it has such good truth, such fresh truth in it.

And it's that kind of truth that emerges in the chapter we're about to discover. It is safe and secure. We now come to one of the great chapters of all of Scripture. I would say it is the crowning chapter of the book of Romans. If you think of the Bible, the Scripture, as a gold ring, then the book of Romans is the three carat diamond on that gold band. And Romans chapter 8 is the sparkling point of the diamond.

Griffith Thomas said, this is undoubtedly the chapter of chapters for the believer. And William R. Newell, a great commentator on the book, said, there is scarcely a passage in the New Testament that is more delightful reading to the spiritual Christian than the eighth chapter of the book of Romans.

One of the reasons is that the chapter opens with no condemnation. And the chapter closes with no separation. Two great bookends for your life that no matter what circumstances you go through, no matter what chapters are written in your life, no condemnation, no separation.

And this is a welcome reprieve from all of the desperation that we discovered in chapter 7, that anthem that Paul cried out in chapter 7, verse 24, oh, wretched man that I am. Who will deliver me from the body of this death-- or this body of death? Compare that to chapter 8, verse 1. There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus. So you've got chapter 7. It's a cry of anguish. Chapter 8, it's a cry of victory.

One of the things that's noticeable about chapter 7 is all of the personal pronouns that we discover in it. In fact, if you just don't mind going back to chapter 7, I'm going to accentuate these for the sake of emphasis. If you look at verse 13, for example, of chapter 7 of Romans, Paul says, has then what is good become death to me?

Certainly not, but sin that it might appear sin was producing death in me through what is good so that sin through the commandment might become exceedingly sinful. For we know that the law is spiritual. But I am carnal, sold under sin. For what I am doing, I do not understand what I will to do that I do not practice but what I hate that I do.

If then I do what I will not to do, I agree with the law that it is good. But now, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. For I know that in me, that is in my flesh, nothing good dwells. For the will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find.

Six , verses I counted 19 personal pronouns. Me, me, me, my, my, my, I, I, I-- this guy has I disease. It is packed full of personal pronouns. The truths of Romans 7 are among the most depressing truths found in Scripture. They are heart-rending. Paul is being very raw, very honest about the frustration and the struggle we all know about, we all know about.

In Romans chapter 7, we feel the chains of bondage on our wrists and our ankles. In chapter 8, we hear those chains falling. I want to look at in this chapter principally the first few verses, but actually the first 11 versus altogether. I want to give you four facts that make us secure, four facts that tether us to safety. And each fact builds upon the other. They are facts about our punishment, our position, our power, and our practice.

The first fact that tethers us to safety is our punishment is done, our punishment is done. Look at the first verse. There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the spirit. Some people call verse 1 of chapter 8 the most hopeful verse in all the Bible.

Now make sure that you put a period, if it's not already there, after the word Jesus. The Bible that I just read to you, the New King James version based on the old King James version, has a comma after Jesus. So it reads, there is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, comma, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the spirit. That second part is not in the original.

So you're asking, I hope, well, how did it get here then? Well, look at verse 4. It tells you that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the spirit. It's the same phrase from verse 4 is in verse 1. Now years ago, the early church, when they made copies of the Scripture, they did it by hand. They couldn't highlight, copy, paste on their computers. They couldn't do that.

So they had to write it out by hand. When you write something out by hand, you are subject to human error. There are not many of them in the New Testament. There are amazingly few. But every now and then, you find what Bible experts call copyist errors. And we believe that chapter 8, verse 1 has one. You say, well, how did that happen?

Well, the guy's copying. And he's probably thinking, I need to show the relationship of verse 4 to verse 1. If I just leave verse 1 as it is, somebody is going to come along and read that and might think, I can just go ahead and live in my sin. I can do anything I want. There's no condemnation. I can just keep on living like I want to live.

So I'm going to help God out a little bit. I'm going to insert that clause from verse 4 into the margin next to verse 1. And as it got copied and copied, perhaps another scribe took what was in the margin and put it in verse 1, thinking that it had been omitted and was left in the margin.

You say, how do you know all that? How do you even know that's true? Because we have found many old manuscripts, many older manuscripts than the one the translation I'm reading from is based on. And not one of them has this clause in it in verse 1.

So you say, well, what difference does it make? Because it's the truth makes a difference. And here's the difference. If you keep that phrase in verse 1, when you read it, you will look inward. And you will think, boy, I hope I'm walking in the spirit, not in the flesh.

But if you remove that phrase like I think it should be removed, you look upward not inward. You look upward. And you think, boy, I'm glad God has me covered. There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus. Period. Not comma, period. Period.

[APPLAUSE]

Now, don't misunderstand me. It does not say, there is therefore now no mistakes that are made by those who are in Christ Jesus. We know that's not true. And if you don't know, your wife does, or your husband does. It does not say, there is therefore now no failures experienced by those who are in Christ Jesus. We know that's not true.

It does not say, there are therefore now no consequences for your actions for those who are in Christ Jesus. But it does say there is therefore now no condemnation. Big difference between consequences and condemnation.

So for example, Abraham. Abraham lied twice about his wife. Remember that story? He lapsed in his faith. Twice he lied. He suffered the consequences of that. He was rebuked by a pagan king. David committed adultery and murder. He suffered consequences for that. Bathsheba got pregnant. He sullied God's name among all the peoples around him.

Peter tried to kill a man. You go, I don't remember that. Well, actually, you do remember it. He cut off a guy's ear. He was aiming for his head. Thank God he was a fisherman, not a swordsman. He cut off his ear. Then he denied Jesus later on that night. He suffered the consequences of that. He went out and he wept bitterly.

Paul and Barnabas argued over a teammate. It split the friendship. It tore the relationship. It lasted years-- severed. They suffered the consequences. Every one of those examples suffered consequences for their sins. Not a single one of them suffered condemnation for their sin.

Now literally, the verse could be rendered this way. Therefore now not one condemnation. I like that. Therefore now not one condemnation. The word condemnation is a very strong word, a very rare word. Katakrima is the Greek word. It's rarely used. But it's a very strong word for judgment.

Now while there certainly will be a coming evaluation for believers, do you know that there will be an evaluation of your life at the end? The Bible calls that the judgment seat of Christ, the Bema seat of Christ. You will be rewarded for your service on Earth. Or the reward will be withdrawn, depending on motivation, et cetera. So that's coming.

And certainly, there will be a condemnation for unbelievers. I mean, we've read about that for a lot of these chapters of Romans introduced in chapter 1 verse 18. For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all and godliness and unrighteousness. So there is a coming evaluation for believers. There's a coming condemnation for unbelievers. But we who are believers will never stand in judgment like the rest of the world, will never face punishment for our sins because that already happened. That's already done.

And by the way, the United States of America so believes that, we have that in our Constitution. You go, what? I don't follow you. In the Constitution of the United States, the Fifth Amendment has what's called the double jeopardy clause, the law of double jeopardy, which states that a man cannot be tried twice for the same crime. Once a man has been tried and punished, can't be tried twice.

Jesus already paid the price for our sin. Therefore, God can never condemn you for that. There is therefore now no condemnation. This is what Jesus said. He said, he who hears my word and believes in Him who sent me has everlasting life. Did you get that? Not will have, has it right now, right now, present tense. He who hears my word and believes in Him who sent me has everlasting life and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.

Every now and then, I hear a phrase uttered by Christians. I cringe whenever I hear it. It's a horrible expression. It's the expression, God is punishing me. God's punishing me. Well, how do you know that? I stubbed my toe. God's punishing me. I got into an auto accident. Must be that God's punishing me.

God is not punishing you because God already punished Jesus on the cross for your sin. Law of double jeopardy-- not going to happen again. So our punishment is done. There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ.

Now let's look at our second fact of our position. Our position is defined. Look at verse 1 a little more carefully. There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are-- tell me what, those who are--

In Christ.

In Christ Jesus. In Christ Jesus. OK, here's the reason there's no condemnation. Because you have a new address. You have a new position. You are now in Christ Jesus. You know how important that phrase is? It is used 87 times, 8-7, 87 times in the New Testament, mostly by Paul. It's one of Paul's favorite descriptions for what a Christian is. He wants to describe what a Christian is. It's somebody who's in Christ Jesus.

Twice, Peter used that phrase. Luke used it once. But the rest of those times were all used by Paul. In fact, if you were to count up all the other equivalents of that phrase like in Him or in whom, now the phrase shows up 130 times in the New Testament. Because here's the deal. You are in one of two individuals. You are in Adam, or you are in Christ. That is you are affected by and identified with either Adam or Christ.

1 Corinthians 15:22-- in Adam all die. Even so, in Christ, all shall be made alive. So you and I who believe, we are in union with Christ. We are in communion with Christ. We are having a connection with Christ. If you take Christ out of Christian, what's left? Ian. In other words, you're nothing without Christ.

AW Tozer said, we do not preach Christ with a comma after his name, as though waiting for something else, or Christ with a dash after his name, as though leading to something else. But we preach Christ. Period. And because you're in Christ, there's no condemnation. Period. It's important that you get this connection.

A lot of us are interested in our heritage. I did this. I did that 23andMe thing where I found out where my ancestors came from. When I did that-- and the reason I did it is because it was a gift to me. So I said I'm going to do it? My wife said, why bother? I can tell you where you came from. I said, no, no, I'm going to really find out. Who knows? And she was right. She knew exactly where I came from. And the test showed that.

But we want to know who our ancestors were, what they did, what they accomplished, where they came from. Because for better or for worse, we are linked physically, culturally, intellectually to our ancestors but infinitely more, infinitely greater. When you are in Christ, everything changes. Everything changes.

Here's a sampling. Being in Christ makes you a new creation. 2 Corinthians 5:17-- if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. Old things have passed away. All things become new. Being in Christ removes condemnation. Chapter 8 verse 1-- therefore, there is no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus.

Being in Christ develops a new connection. In chapter 16 of Romans, Paul writes about my fellow workers who are in Christ Jesus. So it's like I'm in Christ. You're in Christ. We're in Christ. We have a whole new family connection.

And being in Christ produces a new expectation. 1 Corinthians 15, that great chapter on the Resurrection, he says, those who have fallen asleep-- that means kicked the bucket, died-- those who have fallen asleep in Christ Jesus can anticipate bodily resurrection. So our punishment is done. Our position is defined. Our new address is we are in Christ Jesus. That's huge.

One of my favorite authors, old, dead guy authors, over a century ago was FB Meyer. FB Meyer wrote several books. I've loved his books. And he used an illustration, true illustration, about two Germans who wanted to climb the Matterhorn. And so just for the modern audience, you need to know the Matterhorn is not a mountain in Disneyland in Anaheim, California. That's a replica of a real mountain in Switzerland called the Matterhorn that does not have a car that goes around it.

But they wanted to climb the Matterhorn in Switzerland. They hired three guides to help them, three guides. So there's a party of five going up the side of the Matterhorn. When they're going up, they decide on the steepest, most slippery part of the mountain to tether, to tie themselves together in a rope. So they start out with guide, traveler, guide, traveler, guide. So one guide is in the front, one is in the back, three and two.

As they're going up, the last man slips and falls, the guide. But the other four have secured pretty good toeholds into the niches of the ice. And they're holding firm. But then guy number four falls down. And when he falls, he drags number three and number two down. So all four men are fallen down tied to a rope to the head guide, who stands firm.

The reason he stands firm is because he had driven a spike deep into the ice. And he can hold onto that spike deep into the ice. And he is holding his ground, which enables the rest of the men to regain their footing. That's the story he tells. FB Meyer concluded the story saying, I am like one of those men who slipped. But thank God I am bound in a living partnership to Christ. And because he stands, I will never perish. He stands, I'm OK. He's firm, I'm OK.

[APPLAUSE]

So our punishment is over. It's done. Our position is defined. There's a third fact that makes us secure. And that is about our power. Our power is dynamic. Look at verse 2. For the law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.

For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own son in the likeness of sinful flesh. On account of sin, He condemned sin in the flesh that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

OK, there is a shift. There's a focus shift in chapter 8 from chapter 7 that's noteworthy. Remember all those personal pronouns in chapter 7? I, I, me, me, my, my? They're not here in chapter 8. There is a noticeable absence of personal pronouns. And in the place of that, the Holy Spirit is all over the chapter. He dominates the chapter. You could say chapter 8 is the Holy Spirit's chapter in the book of Romans.

Up until now, there have only been at the most two references to the Holy Spirit in the first seven chapters of the book of Romans, only two. One was obscure. One was pretty blatant. The first one is chapter 1, verse 4, where Paul speaks about the spirit of holiness. Could be a reference to the Holy Spirit, the spirit of holiness. The other one is chapter 5, verse 5, where he said, the love of God is poured out into our hearts by the Holy Spirit.

So in the first seven chapters, he mentions the Holy Spirit once, maybe twice. Now in chapter 8 alone, the Holy Spirit shows up almost 20 times. 19 to be exact, perhaps 20. So look at verse 4, for example. This is why this is important. That the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled. What's the next word?

In us, not by us, in us. You see the difference? It's not you. It's not your effort. It's not your work. It's fulfilled in us, not by us. Who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit, capital S, that is the Holy Spirit. So chapter 8 is all about the freedom that comes from being in Christ filled with the Holy Spirit.

Now I'm going to share a verse that'll now make sense to you. When Jesus was about to leave before His crucifixion, He told his disciples in that upper room, I'm leaving. You're not going to see me anymore. I'm going away. And they became exceedingly bummed out. They became so despondent. And then, He said, it is to your advantage that I go away.

If I was there, I'd be going, uh, excuse me. I don't think so. There's nothing better than having you, Jesus, second person of the Trinity, God in human flesh, next to me all the time. But he said, it is to your advantage that I go away. For if I go away, I will then send thy helper, the Holy Spirit. He will be with you. He will be in you. He will guide you into all truth-- the Holy Spirit.

Summary verse, 2 Corinthians 3:17-- where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. There is freedom. Now all that sounds good. But I hope you're asking, there is freedom? How? Well, I'm glad you asked. Verse 2 answers the question. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.

For what the law could not do and that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh. On account of sin, He condemned sin in the flesh that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

Now you're going, huh? What did he just say? Let me explain this. In verse 2, 3, and 4, he uses one word two different ways. The word is law, the word law. OK, same word in English, different meanings. So let me explain. Verse 2, when he says, the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death, that usage of the word law, he doesn't mean a law like a code, a regulatory code like the 10 Commandments or like the Old Testament law.

The word in verse 2 means a principle, a governing principle, a controlling principle or a driving force just like when we talk about the law of gravity, or the law of self-preservation, or Coulomb's law of electrostatics. We don't mean a written code. We mean a controlling principle.

Here's what it means. Within every one of us is an impulse to do wrong. It's called the law of sin and death. It's the impulse to sin that leads to death. But within every believer is a new, vitalizing force that Paul calls the law of the Spirit that moves us to do right. That's the first usage of the word law, a controlling principle.

The second usage of the word law found in verse 3 and 4, notice what it says. For what the law could not do and that it was weak through the flesh, God did. That law means the Mosaic law, the 10 Commandments, because there's no qualifier. It's not the law of the Spirit, or the law of sin and death. It's just the law. And when Paul uses this, the law, he's speaking of the law of Moses, the law of Moses.

The law of Moses, all the commandments in the Old Testament couldn't fix the law of sin and death. It tried to, but it failed. You know why it failed? Paul said, it was weak through the flesh. What does that mean? Nothing wrong with the law. It was all what's wrong with us. We couldn't keep it. People couldn't keep it. So God gave his laws.

And here's a little story. Children of Israel, when Moses went up to Mount Sinai, children of Israel said, Moses, you go up to Mount Sinai. We don't want to go. There's, like, lightning, thunder, bad stuff happening up there. You go. You go for us. And then this is what they said. Everything God tells you to tell us to do, we will do it. Yeah, right. Like never did they ever do that. But that's what they said. Whatever God tells you to do, tell us and we'll do it. That's a good thing to say. But they never really kept the law.

And God knew that. That's why God's response was this. He said to Moses, oh, that my people had such a heart within them. Oh, if that were only possible, but it's not possible. So the law of Moses was weak not because the law was bad, but because people couldn't keep it. It was weak through the flesh. So what do we do? We need a new law. We need a new principle.

Now would you agree that gravity is a law, right? It's one of the laws of nature, one of the laws of physics. It's gravity. It's an established law. It holds me earthbound. I may want to stand on a building. And I really want to soar. But if I jump off the building, will I soar? No, I will splat. I will splat not soar because of the law of gravity.

So I could be on the Earth. And I could say, there is no hope. I'm doomed forever because of this law. Oh, wretched man that I am, unless I have an airplane. Now would you agree that anything that weighs 175,000 pounds probably is not going to move? 175,000 pounds. That sounds pretty earthbound, right? 175,000 pounds of metal-- not moving.

Well, that's exactly what a Boeing 767 Series 300 jet weighs-- 175,400 pounds. That's without you or your luggage in it. That's pretty heavy. But it can fly. How can 175,000 pounds fly? There's a law of gravity.

Because you enact other laws that supersede the law of gravity-- the law of thrust, the law of aerodynamics, the law of lift. You can cock that 175,000 pounds of metal in such a way that air flows over the wings. And now, something that's so heavy can defy gravity by superseding the law of gravity with other laws.

So what the law of Moses could not do because it was weak by the flesh, God did by putting His Holy Spirit in people, dwelling in people. That's why I've always loved that little poem that I've shared over the years. Do this and live, the law commands, but gives me neither feet nor hands. A better word, the gospel brings. It bids me fly. And then it gives me wings. So the law, the principle of the Spirit law, supersedes the law of sin and death, the principle that holds me down.

But I don't want you to think the Holy Spirit is some force, or just some power. He's a person. He is the third person of the Trinity, equal in every way to the Father and the Son. Since the day of Pentecost, that person of God, the Holy Spirit, indwells and empowers every believer. This is the secret of our victory.

Your car, the car that you drove to church here today, works by the storage principle. Your car is propelled forward by the storage principle. Fuel is stored onboard. It is used by the internal combustion engine. When it runs out, you go to the gas station. Fill it up again, stored onboard, runs out. You fill it up again, stored, et cetera. Even if you drive an electric car, same principle. You store electricity. It runs out. You recharge it. That's the storage principle.

A century ago in large American cities, still in some cities around the world, there were large, electric cars, bus cars, that ran on a completely different principle, not the storage principle, the contact principle. Large metal arms went up touching wires that were above the streets. An electric current flowed through those wires. As long as contact was made, the car was propelled forward. So you got some cars that work on the storage principle, other cars that work on the contact principle.

Question-- how do Christians move forward? By both principles-- the storage principle, be filled with the Holy Spirit, the contact principle, abide in Christ. The word abide, by the way, means contact. Maintain a constant, living contact with Christ.

So you're in Christ. Stay in living contact with Him. You have the Holy Spirit available. Paul said, be being filled with the Holy Spirit-- both principles. So our punishment is done, our position is defined, our power, the Holy Spirit is dynamic, is a person, leads us to the fourth and final fact about our practice.

Now this fourth fact is a result of the first three facts. Because all of those are true, this fact is also true. Our practice, our practice is different. Look at verse 5. For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally-minded is death, but to be spiritually-minded is life and peace.

Because the carnal mind is enmity against God, it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. Even then or so then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God. But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you.

Now if any one does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His. And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin. But the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.

It's all about our practice. Our practice is different, right? Didn't he already announced in verse 4, we do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit? Now in the verses I just read, he's basically contrasting two different people-- the believer and the unbeliever. Don't make the mistake. He's not addressing the true mature Christian versus the carnal Christian. He's talking about saved or unsaved, the saints or the ain'ts. And you're one of those two, either a saint or you ain't. That is who he is talking about.

Unbelievers are totally earthbound people. They're only concerned about the here and now. They're concerned about gratifying bodily appetites, feeling pleasure, feeling good, doing things that they like. But they are spiritually dead. Jesus said in Matthew 6, do not worry saying, what shall we eat, what shall we drink, what shall we wear, for after all these things, the pagans seek. That's an unbeliever-- earthbound, gratifying the flesh.

Believers, though, think differently. Believers act differently. Believers live differently, or we should. Let me put it this way. We can. We can. If all of these three facts that I just read are true, then this fourth one can be true. It's available to us. We want to. I've never met a believer who doesn't want to live a holier life. And we can. We are given the ability because of the power of the Holy Spirit. We're different.

Paul doesn't just want us to have imputed righteousness. Paul wants us to have practical righteousness. So like one person said, if your religion hasn't changed you, I think it's time for you to change your religion. A lot of us make the mistake. We think, I think what God really wants for me is for me to be happy. He does not.

That's not God's primary objective isn't for you to be happy. You know what it is? For you to be holy. You say, you mean God didn't want me to be happy? Oh, God wants you to be happy. But you can't be happy unless you are holy. You want to be happy? Be holy. Those who are holy are the happiest people I know. The most unhappy people I know are the people who care nothing about being holy.

So our spiritual condition should match our spiritual condition. Our deeds should match his declaration of who we are in Christ with the power of the Holy Spirit available. Now that's a process. It's a process the Bible calls sanctification. Don't worry about the word. That's a fancy word that just means growing holier. Sanctification.

So this is how life works. You become a Christian. You're so excited. You learn about Him. You start walking with Him. And as you're walking with Him, something happen. And you fall down. You don't stay down. If you stay down and never get up, probably indicates you were never saved. But you get up again. You have friends to help you up and encourage you.

And you learn from that falling down. You learn from that mistake. You grow from that mistake. And you go on a little bit further. But you're going to fall down again and again and again and again and again and probably again. But each time, you're going to learn. You're going to mature. You're going to grow. And that is a process of maturing and getting holier. That's the sanctification process.

The key-- the key to maturity and all that is where your mind goes, what you think about. Verse 6, notice as we close-- for to be carnally-minded is death. But to be spiritually-minded is life and peace. Chapter 8, glorious chapter. Doesn't mean the struggle is over. All that struggle of chapter 7 that you said amen to. Yeah, I feel that way. Amen, chapter 7. Oh, wretched man that I am.

You still have a struggle. But it's different. It's different because the Holy Spirit enters the scene. So this what it's like. You're walking home from school. And as you're walking home from school, there's a bully. It's that person at school you didn't want to be around. He sees you coming. And he bullies you around. He's much bigger than you are. He knocks you down. He starts pummeling you, starts beating you up. You are defeated. And you know it.

But then you look up and you see coming behind the bully is your big brother. What do you do now? You get up. You stand tall. And you think, I can do this. I can be an overcomer, not because I'm strong, but because my big brother just showed up for this fight. So yeah, I'm weak in the power of the flesh and the struggle. Holy Spirit enters the scene. He's your big brother. He's going to take care of that bully. You can get up.

[APPLAUSE]

So don't live like the commercial I've fallen and I can't get up. Get up. Move on. Move forward. Get help. Let the body of Christ stand with you. Same struggle, but it's different now. Enter the Holy Spirit. Father, thank you for God, the Holy Spirit who lives within and empowers us so that we can be as Paul were right more than conquerors. So hopeful for us to realize that the punishment for our sin is done. When Jesus said it is finished, it's done. It's over.

Now we are in Christ. New position. New address. What we were unable to do even though the law said do this, do that, do this, do that, we couldn't do it. We keep failing. We have a whole new principle, whole new power. And that is the Holy Spirit living within us, empowering us to be different than we were before. Help us, Lord, to do that. Help us not to be afraid of the bully any longer. Stand up firm, tall, overcoming by your grace. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.

[MUSIC PLAYING]

How will you put the truths that you learned into action in your life? Let us know. Email us at mystory@calvarynm.church. And just a reminder, you can support this ministry with a financial gift at calvarynm.church/give. Thank you for joining us for this teaching from Calvary Church.

Additional Messages in this Series

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5/5/2019
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The Heart and Soul of the Gospel
Romans 1:1-7
Skip Heitzig
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Today we embark on a thirty-two-week journey through the book of Romans. Considered to be Paul the apostle’s magnum opus, this book is largely responsible for igniting the fires of the Protestant Reformation and the Wesleyan Revival. As Paul introduced himself to the church at Rome, he got right to the heart and soul of the matter—the gospel—the good news that presents Jesus Christ as God’s great answer to the pressing need of the human race.
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5/19/2019
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Unashamed!
Romans 1:16-17
Skip Heitzig
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Standing up for and speaking out about our faith in Jesus Christ can sometimes feel awkward and intimidating. Often our message is not received with glad faces or with open arms by the people we work with and live next to. As Paul was planning to visit Rome, he expressed eagerness rather than hesitation to herald this message. Why was that? The apostle gives us five reasons for his readiness and enthusiasm.
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5/26/2019
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Is God Mad?
Romans 1:18-32
Skip Heitzig
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The Wrath of God Is Revealed God is full of love, right? Right! That’s the good news. And Paul gets back to that theme and develops it fully in the chapters ahead. But first, there’s some bad news. Like a powerful prosecuting attorney, Paul made the case as to why we need the good news of Christ. God’s grace is necessary because of our guilt. In this section, we learn about the wrath of God—an attribute that many people can’t wrap their heads (and hearts) around.
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7/7/2019
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Four Mistakes Religious People Make
Romans 2:1-11
Skip Heitzig
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Jesus was not a religious leader. He was a righteous leader. And He was often confronting the religious leaders of His day. Likewise Paul found many enemies among the religious elite of his day, among both Jews and Gentiles. After announcing his theme of good news in Jesus, Paul promptly plunged into the bad news of God’s wrath—a subject that religious people sometimes love (but for all the wrong reasons). Paul tells us some of their most common mistakes.
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7/14/2019
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Hypocrisy Gets an Audit
Romans 2:17-29
Skip Heitzig
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All businesses, corporations, and individuals have blind spots. Auditors can help by giving a clear and unbiased reading of practices and procedures, and then give appropriate recommendations for change. Here, Paul played the role of auditing the hypocrite—the one who has spiritual style but no substance. Let’s consider the assets, the deficits, and the net appraisal of the one who wears a spiritual disguise.
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7/28/2019
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The Advantage of Having the Bible
Romans 3:1-8
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Those who have been raised in a home with spiritual foundations and the teaching of Scripture have an edge over those who were never exposed to such benefits. The advantage of having access to the Bible is enormous, but it is not a fail-safe. Paul addressed the Jews who were caretakers of God’s own words, and much can be applied to anyone who has the advantage of revealed truth but fails to take it to heart.
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8/4/2019
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How Prisoners Go Free
Romans 3:9-26
Skip Heitzig
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Freedom is a huge word for the Christian believer. Picture yourself nervously standing in a courtroom before a judge who has just read the pile of evidence against you. Just before the gavel strikes the bench proclaiming your guilt, a piece of evidence strikes his gaze and he unexpectedly announces your innocence. You can now go free! Here Paul explains how any person anywhere can find hope and freedom because of the gospel.
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8/11/2019
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Old Age; Young Faith
Romans 4
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Our skin may wrinkle but our faith never has to. Abraham’s faith was vibrant and youthful even when he was nearing one hundred years of age. As Paul points to the patriarch Abraham as an example for justification by faith, we can learn what it means to believe God through all the ages of life. How vibrant is your Christian faith? Have you let cynicism and doubt choke out your confidence in God?
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8/18/2019
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Our Benefits Package
Romans 5:1-5
Skip Heitzig
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Why is being a Christian so great? Every unbeliever you meet is asking that question as they observe your life. What are the benefits of living with a committed faith in Jesus? After explaining what it means to be right with God by believing in Christ, and after illustrating that principle with Abraham, Paul gives a short list of some of the benefits of a saved life.
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8/25/2019
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Unrivaled Love
Romans 5:6-11
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Modern wisdom continually tells us, “Love is a verb,” rather than a sentimental feeling. Love is a commitment that involves action. For the first time in the letter to the Romans, Paul introduced the word love and a very singular kind of love—God’s love for us. Wanting to show how secure we are in this salvation, he described the greatest demonstration of love—its proof, its provision, and its product.
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9/1/2019
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A One-Man Show
Romans 5:12-21
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Just one person can do a lot of damage, and conversely just one person can do a lot of good. Paul here showed the effect that Adam brought on by his rebellion and the effect that Jesus bought with His blood on the cross. One caused death. One conveys life. One brought guilt. One bought the gift of grace. The big question is, have you received the gift?
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9/8/2019
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Don’t Look Back
Romans 6:1-7
Nate Heitzig
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9/15/2019
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Winning the War with Sin
Romans 6:11-14
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There is not a person I know who doesn’t struggle with sin. Evil thoughts, bad habits, immoral impulses, and recurring temptations all rear their ugly heads, leaving us exhausted and disappointed in ourselves and wondering if any deliverance is possible. This struggle is real. The war can be fierce. How can we believers (who still have our old natures) win in these battles? Consider this four-step strategy.
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9/22/2019
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The Struggle Is Real
Romans 7:14-25
Nate Heitzig
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10/6/2019
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The New You
Romans 8:12-18
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Most people love new stuff: a new car, a new set of clothes, a new puppy, a new haircut, a new adventure. But the best new thing you could have is a new you! Being a Christian isn’t a temporary reformation but a total transformation. When the Holy Spirit gets hold of a person’s life, He begins the process of a total makeover—changing you from the inside out. As a Christian believer these are among the changes you can expect to see.
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10/13/2019
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The Steady Hand of a Caring God
Romans 8:28-30
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The world to many people seems to be a random place where anything can happen. But a believer can (and should) step firmly onto the soil of life. Why? Not just because God exists, but also because God cares! There is not a single atom nor molecule out of place in God’s universe; His hands and heart are steadily controlling your every breath. Let’s examine some of the richest truths about the quality of care from a loving God.
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10/20/2019
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A Midterm Exam: Five Questions to Test Your Understanding
Romans 8:31-34
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In the middle of any given course or semester, a test consisting of questions is given. This does two things: it measures the student’s grasp of the course materials, and it helps identify any areas that need work. Right in the middle of his sixteen-chapter book, Paul gives his readers a series of questions to jog our spiritual memory and face some wonderful realities about the love of God. Let’s consider five questions in these verses.
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There are 17 additional messages in this series.