Romans 8:2 For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.
Free at last, free at last, thank God Almighty, we are free at last! The work of Jesus Christ on the cross accomplished what you and I could never achieved for ourselves. Under the Law, we could never reach the expectations of a holy God who requires perfection. The Law is restrictive, Christ is freeing.
Though we had the Law, in being unable to keep it we earned death. Because of our sinful nature, into which we were born, we never stood a chance at anything other than bondage and suffering. But in His love, God made a way for us to know freedom and life. In freeing us from the bondage of the Law, Jesus gave us true life and true freedom.
There is no reason to keep living as though we’re under the restraints of the Law. This is not license to sin, but rather freedom to obey God. True freedom is a life submitted to the lordship of Jesus Christ, and in this freedom there is life, peace, joy, and real fellowship with God. This abundant life is bought and paid for by Christ, our Redeemer, Savior, and friend.
Romans 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
Every single one of us has sinned. We’re all guilty before a perfect God and have no chance at perfection. We’re tainted from birth. That’s the truth. If it were the end of the truth, it would be a very sad existence that we lead. But, thankfully, there’s more to it.
Yes, we’re sinful. Yes, we’re unable to live up to a holy God’s standards and we’re headed toward death and destruction as a result. But there’s a hero to this story. There’s a Redeemer who sets us free from the condemnation that’s owed to us. We have been forgiven if we’ve put our trust in Christ Jesus.
But why do so many of us still live like we’re under that condemnation? Sometimes we’re our own worst enemies, piling on tons of guilt that isn’t ours to bear. Worse yet, some of us do so in the name of God, thinking it’s actually Him that’s given us this sentence to be carried out. But the Bible is clear, there is no more condemnation for us if we’re in Christ. We’re free from that bondage. If we’re living under self-imposed condemnation, it’s time to let it go and exchange it for the joy God wants us to have in Him.
Who is to condemn us? If it’s not from God and He’s the all-powerful, eternal Creator and Ruler of all things, then who can possibly do this to us and be in the right? No one. Trust in the Lord and freedom is yours. Condemnation is a thing of the past. Live like it.
Romans 12:11 Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord.
When doing good for others, we shouldn’t be doing it out of some sense of obligation or the idea that we’ll gain standing with God if we do good works. The same is true of when we serve the Lord. It should be a joy to serve others if we are really doing it with the right motives.
If we say that we’re serving God, but we complain or grumble about what we’re doing, then we don’t exactly come across as serving out of joy. What message does that send to those who are watching? This doesn’t mean to put on a fake smile either. If you’re serving out of obligation and have no real joy or zeal in doing it; what are you left to do?
Search your heart. Pray that God would convict you where you’re lacking in ferver that He might ignite a fire in you to do good. Study the Scriptures, seek God’s will, lay aside your own pride and approach Him with a humble heart. You’ll find that joy will come as you serve if you do it with the right motivation and with the help of the Holy Spirit.
Romans 12:10 Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.
Have you ever been part of a church that just didn’t feel like it was really living out the purposes of God? When that happens it often starts with a lack in the love department. If Christians can’t love each other, the fellow members of the body of Christ, then there will be no effective ministry.
Paul’s marks of a true Christian reflect not just how a Christian should act, but how Christians should treat each other. These were not instructions on how to treat people “out there”, but how to treat people “in here” first. Practicing the love of God and doing good works starts among family and then it spills out into the rest of our relationships. We must first love and serve our fellow believers.
This is one of the key reasons to belong to a local church fellowship. A church provides the opportunity to love and serve those who share a faith in Christ before going out and doing it among the people of the world. A church is a place to be equipped for ministry, and that starts with love and service from and toward your fellow Christians. Besides that, Christian unity is best perfected within the context of a gathering of believers who make up a family.
Love what is good, hate what is evil, love and serve your Christian brothers and sisters.
Romans 12:9 Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good.
What are the marks of a true Christian? We may sometimes wonder how to answer that question, but fortunately for us, the Apostle Paul already did in his letter to the Romans. Paul lays out a criteria for the true Christian. It’s not another set of rules to follow, and it’s not all-inclusive, but it’s worth taking a look at.
It’s no surprise that this outline of a true Christian starts with love. A Christian without love is ineffective and doesn’t present a very good witness. Paul commends his friends in Rome to be genuine in their love, to hate what is evil, and to hold on to what is good. This is good advice, but sadly not what many of us think of when we define the Christian life.
Let love be genuine. In the American church especially there is a tendency to put on a show that isn’t genuine when it comes to love and acceptance. We want people to believe that we care about them even when we don’t. But that’s not Christian love. That’s hypocrisy. Let your love be genuine. Work at it. If you’re struggling with showing someone love, focus on their good points and act out of that.
Hate what is evil. Again, to pick on the American church, we have become very much a part of the culture around us, even in our churches. We embrace the world’s things, even when they contradict the way of God. The only think we’re told to hate as a command is evil and sin. Instead we often love what is evil and hate what is good. That has to change.
Hold on to what is good. Keep focused on the things of God. Love the things that fit His character, follow after the things that please Him. This is the beginning of effective Christian living that presents a witness for Christ that others will want to know more about.