Lesson 59 - Chapter 8 verses 1-8

Lesson 59 - Chapter 8 verses 1-8

The principle of chapter 8 is very simple: the plan of God is greater than any condemnation, any sin, any failure, any personal suffering or adversity, any historical disaster or any problem of life.  Our life in Christ is infinitely greater than anything else that life has to offer.  In other words, by the intake and application of Bible doctrine on a consistent basis we have something that is greater than life itself.  As believers, we can live above the circumstances of life.  Through spiritual growth and our own volition life never crushes us, destroys us or breaks us.  We may bend but we never break.  That is the principle in this chapter.

Verse 1

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

The word “condemnation” is mistranslated.  It should be translated “judgment.” Condemnation and judgment are two different things. Condemnation is the passing of the sentence; judgment is the execution of the sentence.  This verse is talking about execution. The sentence was passed on us at the moment of birth by the justice of God through the imputation of Adam’s original sin to the genetically-formed sin nature, resulting in spiritual death.  That is condemnation.  So it is wrong to say there is no condemnation when obviously there is condemnation. We are born condemned.  The Greek word used here for condemnation is “katakrima” meaning punishment following sentence.  We were sentenced at birth by the imputation of Adam’s sin, so we are already condemned.  So the word should not be condemnation, the word should be “judgment,” and it is referring to the Lake of Fire.   There is quite an elapse of time between the condemnation at birth and the judgment of the Lake of Fire.  The sentence for condemnation at birth is not carried out for those who have believed in Jesus Christ for salvation.

Verse 2

For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.

The word law in this verse is a reference to a principle.  Having become a believer by faith in Christ removes a person from the status of being a slave to the sin nature and being under the penalty of spiritual death.  This is accomplished through the ministry of God the Holy Spirit in placing us into permanent union with Jesus Christ.  Positionally freed from the rule of the sin nature, the believer is to now voluntarily place himself/herself under the rule of the Holy Spirit.

Verse 3

For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did; sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh.

Remember that the Law could not execute judgment upon sin.  The Law, though good, had a limited role to play.  The role of the Law of Moses was to demonstrate to Israel that eternal condemnation occurred at birth.  The Law further pointed the nation of Israel to the Savior Jesus Christ.  The word weak in this verse means “limited.”  God, on the other hand, is never limited and He is the only One Who can execute judgment upon sin, which He did upon His Son Jesus Christ at the Cross. 

Verse 4

In order that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit

The question we must answer is “what was the requirement of the Law of Moses”?  The King James Version says “that the righteousness of the Law might be fulfilled in us.”   The legal requirement of the Law is perfect righteousness.  This is a legal requirement which cannot be fulfilled in the energy of the flesh, specifically by keeping the Law.   The righteousness of the Law is actually God’s perfect righteousness, which can be obtained only by faith in the second Person of the Godhead, Jesus Christ. 

The legal requirement of the Law is fulfilled by a believer after salvation by advancement to maturity through the filling of the Spirit and the perception and application of Bible doctrine.  This is what we mean when we say that our experience should align with our status as Royal Family of God.

Verse 5

For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.

Believers who are dominated by the sin nature keep thinking about the things of the sin nature; but believers who are dominated by the Holy Spirit keep thinking about the things of the Spirit (Bible doctrine).  The sin nature dominates the soul through Human Viewpoint Thinking.  The Holy Spirit, on the other hand, dominates the soul through Divine Viewpoint Thinking. 

The Christian Way of Life is a life of thinking the thoughts of Jesus Christ.  Philippians 2:5, says, “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.”  The mind of Christ is the doctrine found in the Word of God, the only source of absolute truth.  In order to have the proper thinking, the believer must be consistently learning, believing and applying the Word of God to every circumstance in life.

God has given all believers a command to grow spiritually and He never gives us a command without giving us the means necessary to obey it.  God, therefore, has provided His written instruction book (the Bible) and the filling (mentorship/guidance) of the Holy Spirit.  Both are grace functions for every believer in this Age, regardless of education or I.Q.  Any believer with a positive attitude towards Bible doctrine can learn, believe and apply it accurately.

Verse 6

For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace.

Your way of life right now is being influenced by what you think.  Since you have free will, you can think whatever you want to think.  According to Proverbs 23:7, you are what you think.  This World System has a way of thinking that, generally speaking, is contrary to the thinking of God.  We call this Human Viewpoint Thinking.  This is what is meant by setting your mind on the flesh.  The flesh thinks human viewpoint unless it is influenced by Bible doctrine and the filling of the Holy Spirit to think divine viewpoint. 

In order to have Divine Viewpoint Thinking, you must know the doctrines taught in the Bible.  The more Bible doctrine you know and apply, the more Divine Viewpoint Thinking you will be able to utilize.  The less Bible doctrine you know, the more Human Viewpoint Thinking you are going to utilize.  The more Human Viewpoint Thinking you use, the more insecure and unstable you are going to be (temporal death of the believer in time).

Daily study of God’s Word keeps Divine Viewpoint Thinking fresh in the mind and helps counteract Human Viewpoint Thinking.  (Psalms 119:129-135)  Thinking your way through life with Divine Viewpoint Thinking will bring victory, peace, power and stability. (Isaiah 26:3-4, 33:6)  It also eliminates mental attitude sinning, such as maligning, character assassination, gossiping, jealousy, self-pity, resentment, etc. Vacillating between Divine Viewpoint Thinking and Human Viewpoint Thinking makes a believer unstable according to James 1:8.  An unstable believer is an unhappy believer.

Verse 7

Because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the Law of God, for it is not even able to do so.

There are three categories of thinking which are hostile to God: a) Sin - mental attitude sins are hostile thinking toward God, as are overt sins; b) human good; c) the function of evil which combines with human good to form the policy of Satan in the rulership of this world system and the function of the sin nature as the ruler of life. 

Subjecting oneself to the Law of God means to adhere to the principles and policies of God found only in the Word of God, the Bible.  The Bible reveals the plan of God and provides the basis for executing the plan of God.  Without the filling (guidance) of God the Holy Spirit believers cannot subject themselves to the policies and principles of God.

Verse 8

And those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

In view here is the believer under the control of the sin nature (in the flesh) because he has neglected the filling of the Spirit and he has neglected or rejected the teaching of Bible doctrine.  Only those believers who are filled with the Holy Spirit can produce divine good (good of lasting value).   The Greek word for “filling” has four meanings:

  1. To fill up a deficiency – without the power and guidance of the Holy Spirit, the believer has no ability to learn and apply Bible doctrine.  In other words, he is deficient of the doctrinal information necessary to execute the Christian Way of Life. (Colossians 1:25; I John 4:4)
  2. To be fully possessed – since God the Holy Spirit indwells every believer in this Age, the potential exists for him to be fully controlled (guided) by God’s supernatural power.  This means that a believer can reside in God’s plan by utilizing God’s system. (I Corinthians 6:19-20)
  3. To be fully influenced – if the Holy Spirit is allowed to fill the deficiency and fully possess a believer’s life then every area of that life will be influenced by the power of the Holy Spirit.  If the power of the Holy Spirit is rejected, the believer is going to be fully influenced by Satan’s cosmic system. (Galatians 5:16; Ephesians 5:18)
  4. To be filled with a certain quality – there is no higher quality that the integrity of God.  It is this quality that becomes resident in the soul of the believer as the Holy Spirit is allowed to guide, possess and influence the soul.  It is also this quality that leads a believer to spiritual maturity. (Ephesians 3:19, 4:10; Philippians 1:11; I John 1:4; Revelation 3:2)