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The Way of Liberty

socialmedia@cityrise.org May 3, 2021 sermons, cityrise, Good News, houston, Roger Patterson, romans, West U Baptist,

The following is a manuscript of the sermon presented by Roger Patterson on Sunday May 2, at our West U Baptist Church campus. To view the sermon in full, please visit our YouTubpage.

Romans 8:1-4

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.  For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

As I said to you a few weeks ago, Romans 8 is going to introduce us to a new way…it’s the way of LIBERTY.  As a bit of review, let’s recall the questions asked in Romans 6 and Romans 7.

Romans 6:1-2

 What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? 

Paul is verbalizing what he anticipates some in his audience are asking…If GRACE REIGNS, are we free to do whatever we want? Does GRACE give us a LICENSE to SIN?  And you see his answer here that says, “BY NO MEANS!!!”

Instead, we are to offer ourselves to God, and the members of our body to him, as instruments of righteousness.

Romans 6:12-13

 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. 13 Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness.

Application: So, one of the most significant ideas in chapter 6 is that we are to step into the offering plate—we are to offer the members of our body…our hands, our feet, our lips, our tongues, our eyes, ears and minds to God for being used for him for what He desires.

Then in chapter 7, Paul asks a similar question, but this time it is about the role of the Law in the life of the believer.

Romans 7:7

 What then shall we say? That the law is sin? By no means! Yet if it had not been for the law, I would not have known sin. For I would not have known what it is to covet if the law had not said, “You shall not covet.” 

Over the past two weeks, we have looked at the role of the law of God in the life of the believer.  And it was here that we talked about being bound up in LEGALISM.

I defined legalism as this…

Legalism is…

one’s obligation to maintain rules to maintain a right standing before God.

Legalism strives to do good things and cultivate good outcomes, but is overbearing, harsh, shameful and judgmental.

And it was here that we saw 3 Topics to Deliver us From Legalism.

3 Topics to Deliver us from Legalism

  1. The Authority of the Law (Romans 7:1-6)
  2. The Ministry of the Law (Romans 7:7-13)
  3. The Inability of the Law (Romans 7:14-25)

And so, before we dig in any further, let’s keep in mind that Paul is trying to get us to see that the way of LICENSE isn’t the way to live right before God.

And the way of LEGALISM isn’t the way to live well before God.

And this leads us up to chapter 8, where Paul is going to show us a new way…the way of LIBERTY!

Now, chapter 8 is one of the finest chapters in all of Scripture. As a matter of fact…

James Boice states…

“With the words above (Romans 8:1-4), Paul opens what I consider the greatest chapter in Scripture.”

Quote: D. Martin Lloyd-Jones said…

“If Romans is a beautiful piece of jewelry made up of many pieces, Romans 8 is the chief Jewel – the loveliest of jewels.”

Quote: Charles G. Trumbull, wrote…

“The eighth of Romans has become peculiarly precious to me, beginning with ‘no condemnation,’ ending with ‘no separation,’ and in between, ‘no defeat.’ This wondrous chapter sets forth the gospel and plan of salvation; the life of freedom and victory; the hopelessness of the natural man and the righteousness of the born again; the indwelling of Christ and the Holy Spirit; the resurrection of the body and blessed hope of Christ’s return; the working together of all things for our good; every tense of the Christian life, past, present and future; and the glorious, climactic song of triumph, no separation in time or eternity ‘from the love of God which is in Jesus Christ our Lord.’”

It’s that good. And we are going to be spending at least SIX weeks in this chapter.

So, without further a doo, let’s jump into our outline and examination of the first four verses of this chapter. Here is our outline today…

The Life of Liberty…

  1. Enjoys 2 Great Blessings
  2. Through 3 Agents
  3. For 1 Goal

So, let’s look at this first one.

The Life of Liberty…

I. Enjoys 2 Great Blessings

Look again at Romans 8:1-2.

Romans 8:1-2

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.  For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.

In verses 1 and 2, there is a “negative blessing” and a “positive blessing.”

The negatively stated blessing is “NO CONDEMNATION.”

The positively stated blessing is “SET YOU FREE.”

And these are both important to note.

The word condemnation in verse 1 is not merely the converse of “justification.” In other words, as we have been saying, “To be justified means to be declared not guilty.”  Condemnation here isn’t simply the opposite of that of being declared guilty, but it’s more than that.

If you have been watching current events, you know that Derek Chauvin, formerly of the Minneapolis Police Department, was just found guilty of the death of George Floyd.  But Chauvin has yet to be sentenced and is to appear before the judge in late June for sentencing.

The word “condemnation” here, not only speaks of being “found guilty,” but also it speaks of the just punishment that guilt demands, and that sentence actually being carried out on an individual.

Now, remember, in the first few chapters of Romans, Paul was playing the role of the prosecutor of the Jews and Gentiles, demonstrating to every single one of them that they stand condemned.

But it is in Romans 3:23-24 we see both the bad, then the good news.

Romans 3:23-24

…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus…

So, the negative declaration is profound.

Romans 8:1

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

To be in Christ Jesus is to “NOT BE CONDEMNED.”  It’s to never experience the JUST PUNISHMENT ON SIN.

What a Great Blessing!  Because, to be IN CHRIST, to have your faith IN CHRIST, to be UNITED WITH CHRIST, means that you can never be condemned!

That’s the first blessing.

The second blessing, the positively stated blessing is “SET YOU FREE.”

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.

Do you see this way of liberty?  It’s the way of being set free from the law of sin and death…the ways of license and legalism.  We are no longer enslaved to sin or the law.

Remember, we saw these two profound truths in chapters 6 and 7.

Romans 6:10-11

For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God.  11 So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.

Romans 6 declares that Jesus died to sin!  He didn’t just die “for sin,” but “to sin,” to deal with the root problem. And we are to count ourselves as DEAD TO SIN!

Now, look at Romans 7:4.

Romans 7:4

 Likewise, my brothers, you also have died to the law through the body of Christ, so that you may belong to another, to him who has been raised from the dead, in order that we may bear fruit for God.

Notice it says, “Likewise.” Just as we died to sin, we also died to the law.

We died to since a license…that we can do whatever we want, because we are under grace. And we died to a since of legalism…having to perform for God, because of Jesus’ death on the cross.

The death of Jesus, and our union with him brings us liberty.

Quote: One writer declares…

“This liberation represents a radical shift for the Christian. Under the old order, before the coming of the Spirit, it was impossible to do the will of God, and if people’s lives are still dominated by that old order, to do his will remains an impossibility. But those who belong to the new order of the Spirit do the will of God from the heart.”

Application: My friends, there is a new way…it’s the way of liberty for our lives that leads to a sense of eternal security for every one of us it we will walk in it.

Now how does this way of liberty come to us?  How do we enjoy these two great blessings?

Let’s look at our outline once more.

The Life of Liberty…

  1. Enjoys 2 Great Blessings
  2. Through 3 Agents
  3. For 1 Goal

This freedom and these blessings come to us…

II. Through 3 Agents

Notice with me the three distinct personalities of the Trinity expressed here from the Apostle Paul.

Let’s read Romans 8:3-4.

Romans 8:3-4

For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

Q: What has God the Father done to bring Freedom to our lives?

A: God sent the Son.  The Father sent the Son.

The ESV says, “God has done.”

The NIV, says… “God did.”

Romans 8:4 NIV

 For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering.

God did what the law couldn’t do.  He gave the Son to be a SIN OFFERING.

Q: What else did the Father do?

The Father condemned sin in sinful man so that the righteous requirements of the law might be fulfilled.

Remember, this word condemned means that a sentence has been proclaimed and then pronounced.

2 Corinthians 5:21

For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

The just punishment was carried out. The Father made the Son to be sin, and he exerted the full punishment onto the Son, in order that the righteousness that the law demanded for our lives would be met.

And what did the Son do to provide us a way of Freedom?

There are two things that the Son has done…redemption and propitiation.

First, Jesus has provided redemption, purchasing us from enslavement to provide us our freedom.

Second, Jesus has become the sin offering, satisfying the wrath of God. Jesus has become our propitiation.

This is what Paul proclaims so well in Romans 3.

Romans 3:23-25

…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith…

Redemption: To be redeemed means to be purchased out of the marketplace, never to be sold there again.   This act would provide a slave their freedom. So, it’s here, that Paul uses a business term.

Propitiation: He then uses the religious term from the idol worship that took place throughout the Roman world. That term was propitiation and it was used to express how the worshipper would come to the temple to bring a gift that would satisfy the wrath of the deity.

Paul declares that Jesus is our propitiation, the offering that satisfied the just wrath for sin.

Illus: Now, some say, “Well, I thought God was a God of love. How can you talk about his wrath?”  I would say, “Read Romans again. So much of what Paul has talked about is how the wrath of God is being stored up and the wrath of God is being revealed.”  Because God is just, He must punish sin.  If our courts are to be just, the courts must extend their wrath upon the offenders. It’s the only way that just sentences can be executed.

And yet, God, is loving. He sent his Son.  And the Son, obeyed the Father. The Son, through his death purchased our redemption and satisfied the wrath of God. He is our propitiation.

Now, look here at this Third person of the Godhead, the Holy Spirit.

And what has the Spirit done to provide us a way of Freedom?

Quote: James Boice states…

“The third person of the Godhead is brought into the picture in verse 2 (‘the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death’) and in verse 4 (‘who do not live according to the sinful nature, but according to the Spirit’).  What has the Holy Spirit done for our salvation? He has joined us to Christ, so that we become beneficiaries of all Christ has done…By joining us to Christ, the Holy Spirit seals our salvation and makes possible the great declaration of this chapter: “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”

Summary of the Trinity: So, we see that God, in the persons of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit has made provision for our justification and sanctification. The Father justifies us through his Son and sanctifies us through his Spirit. His way of justification is not law but grace (through the death of Christ), and his way of sanctification is not law but the Spirit (through his indwelling).

Transition: Remember, we have a new way put before us…it’s not the way of license or legalism. Instead, it’s the way of Liberty.  And…

The Life of Liberty…

  1. Enjoys 2 Great Blessings
  2. Through 3 Agents
  3. For 1 Goal

The Life of Liberty enjoys two great blessings, through three agents…

III. For 1 Goal

Notice verse 4.

Romans 8:4

in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

What is the Goal of the life of Liberty?  The goal is that the righteous requirement of the law would be fulfilled in us.

What is this righteous requirement of the law?  Simply put, it’s obedience to God by loving him with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength and loving our neighbor as ourselves.

This isn’t perfectionism, but simply the work of the Holy Spirit producing His fruit in our lives. In essence, He reproduces those graces we see perfected in the life of Christ.

So, the goal, is that we would bear the fruit of the Spirit in our lives.

And do you recall this fruit? 

Galatians 5:22-23

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

I love that last statement – against such things there is no law. In other words, this is what holiness looks like.

F.F. Bruce states,

“Christian holiness is not a matter of painstaking conformity to the specific precepts of an external law-code; it is rather a question of the Holy Spirit producing his fruit in one’s life.”

So, let me see if I can tie a bow on all of this as we begin exploring this great chapter in the Scripture.

  • There is a different way to live…it’s not a way of license where we can do whatever we want and it’s not a way of legalism that is oppressive. It’s a way of liberty.
  • And in this way…it’s filled with blessings…Blessings of not being condemned, but experiencing freedom.
  • And this Freedom…this liberty comes to me through the work of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. And this liberty is both my “justification” where I know that I am declared “not guilty” before God…
  • And…this liberty is also about my sanctification…where I bear the fruit of God that the law couldn’t produce in me…the fruit of love…of joy…of peace…of patience…of goodness…of faithfulness…of gentleness…and of self-control.

Got it? 

Okay…yeah, I got it.

Now, here is the really hard question. Are you ready?

Do I experience this freedom and does my life demonstrate this fruit to others?

Here’s where I want you to press in with me for just a moment longer.

If your life is not consistently producing the fruit of:

Love     joy       peace   patience           goodness          faithfulness      gentleness and self-control …

Then it is likely that you have a sin problem.

You are either living a life of LICENSE – believing you can do whatever you want whenever you want and making up your own rules as you go along…

Or, you are living a life of LEGALISM – striving to live right through your own efforts and pursuits and putting all that on everyone else in your life as you go.  This way controls…this way is never satisfied…this way places shame on others.

It’s that simple.

So, let me ask…do you have a sin problem?

If so, let’s do two things:

  1. Let’s admit it, confess it and turn from it.

Let’s bow our heads together.

Pray: Lord, you have shown me that I am not bearing the fruit of the Spirit in my life.  I admit that. I confess that. I am sorry, Lord. Please forgive me.

  1. Let’s offer ourselves to God and ask God to teach you to walk according to the Spirit.

Pray: Lord, teach me to walk closely with you. Bear the fruit of your Spirit in my life.  Lord, teach me to know the voice of the Spirit and to walk with the Spirit.

I pray this in Jesus’ name.

 

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