- Message: There is so much going on in Romans 8! Some of the most popular scriptures that Christians talk about are found in this chapter but it comes together as one fluid thought when you read the entire chapter in context. It begins with “there is no condemnation for those in Christ”. My version actually says “no condemnation exists for those in Christ” and reading it this way jumped off the page for me! My whole life I have read this as a verb type of statement. “There’s no condemnation” sounded to me like a rule. “Don’t feel condemned- don’t be condemned” -as if condemnation was a feeling and somehow it was up to us to control it. This statement literally says it does not exist. It’s a statement of fact that says God doesn’t condemn those of us who are in Christ. As I followed this thought further, I thought about what it means to be in Christ, and why we feel condemned when the bible says it doesn’t exist. The rest of the chapter talks about our constant battle with the sin nature within us. Verse 5 says to walk in Christ is to live in the mindset of the spirit. To walk in the flesh is to walk in the mindset of self-gratification. Our mindset has everything to do with the direction we walk, and this directly determines whether or not we are condemned. According to this scripture, condemnation comes when we are not in Christ. We are not walking in Christ when we are walking according to our sin nature. Not the temptation of sin, but the intentional acting out of sin. Verse 11 says that “if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead lives in us, then He will also bring our mortal bodies to life”. I’ve always read this as a scripture pertaining to us leaving earth and going to heaven someday, but in this context it seems Paul is talking about our current life here on the earth right now. He’s telling us that our sinful nature is trying to kill us by trying to get us to focus on gratifying our selfish wants. But when we walk in Christ, (keeping our mindset on the Spirit) the Spirit brings us to life and defeats that sinful nature. It’s not that we won’t be tempted. It’s that when we are tempted we redirect our focus. Redirect our mindset from self-gratification to the mindset of the Spirit. This scripture makes a direct comparison of this to Jesus defeating death by resurrecting from death. When we walk according to our sin nature, there is condemnation, but when we walk according to the spirit there is no condemnation. The choice is not in how we feel. It’s in what mindset we choose to follow.
- Command: Walk in a mindset of the spirit, not in a mindset of self-gratification.
- Promise: The spirit of God will resurrect our souls from the death grip of our sin nature to the life of the spirit if we set our minds to walk in Christ.
- Warning: We can’t just expect this to happen just because we want to serve Jesus. We have to choose this mindset. If we don’t intentionally choose the mindset of the Spirit we will gravitate to the sin nature every time.
Application: This was a huge game changer to read this in full context. My goal for myself is to list some of my weakest areas and identify the mindsets behind them. For me some of these areas will involve toxic thinking, and other areas will be less spiritual sounding things like my mindset behind healthy eating and habits that contribute to my weight.