Sixth Sunday after Pentecost (July 16, 2017)
- First reading and Psalm
- Second reading
Romans 8:1-11 | New Living Translation (NLT)
So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death. The law of Moses was unable to save us because of the weakness of our sinful nature. So God did what the law could not do. He sent his own Son in a body like the bodies we sinners have. And in that body God declared an end to sin’s control over us by giving his Son as a sacrifice for our sins. He did this so that the just requirement of the law would be fully satisfied for us, who no longer follow our sinful nature but instead follow the Spirit.
Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit. So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace.For the sinful nature is always hostile to God. It never did obey God’s laws, and it never will. That’s why those who are still under the control of their sinful nature can never please God.
But you are not controlled by your sinful nature. You are controlled by the Spirit if you have the Spirit of God living in you. (And remember that those who do not have the Spirit of Christ living in them do not belong to him at all.) And Christ lives within you, so even though your body will die because of sin, the Spirit gives you life because you have been made right with God. The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, he will give life to your mortal bodies by this same Spirit living within you.
Here’s one of those places that I wish people would read further on. We have just gotten through this section where Paul claims everything he does is wrong – the right he should do he doesn’t and the wrong that he shouldn’t do he does. Who can save us from such a sinful nature? Jesus Christ. Because of what Christ has done for us and to those who belong to Christ, we now have no condemnation. Yes, we may have done wrong in the past, but the life of sin is not the norm for the believer. Why? Listen to what Paul writes next.
…because you belong to Him (Christ Jesus), the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death.
Here’s where I say that a continual life of sin is not the norm for the believer. We have in us and available to us the same power that raised Jesus Christ from the dead. It is the power of the Holy Spirit. Paul goes on to tell us and reminds us that the law (which is good) cannot save us because of our sinful nature.
God saved us through Christ who did what we could not do for ourselves. Christ satisfied the conditions of the law so that we may have life. This condition only applies however to those who no longer follow the sinful nature, but life in the Spirit.
Paul says to set our mind – not on the things of our sinful nature – but on the things of the Spirit. Why? “Letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace.” We talked about this last week – not on the blog – but at church. So many people are looking for peace. We often think of peace as the absence of conflict. There is so much more to peace than that. The Hebrew word is Shalom. Shalom is what God brings into the picture. When God created the world – he brought Shalom (order and harmony.)
What do you want to be controlled by? Do you want to be controlled by the Holy Spirit which leads to life and peace or do you want to be controlled by your sinful nature which leads to death – it never will please God.
Paul tells us that if we are in Christ, we are not controlled by our sinful nature, but we are controlled by the Spirit of God. He’s been driving home this point for a while. If we do not have the Spirit of Christ living in us, we do not belong to God. So be controlled by the Spirit for the Spirit gives you life – and Christ lives within you because you have been made right with God.