KEY: 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. And so he condemned sin in the flesh. = Romans 8:3 [NIV]
In a dramatic statement of the Gospel at the beginning of Romans 8, the Apostle Paul (AP) uses the vivid imagery of being "in." Little 2-letter words often make a great difference. AP teaches us that three top personal priorities remain 'location, location, and location.'
First, AP affirms benefits of our being "in Christ Jesus" - free from condemnation, free from the law of sin and death, and now empowered by the "law of the Spirit who gives life [and resurrects life]" (v.1-2, and 11)
ü Condemnation is the work of Satan ["the accuser"]
ü Our own "self-condemnation" can either numb us or destroy us.
ü "Self-condemnation" fuels much of false religion
§ Pagan religions - enslaving through judgement
§ Secularism - rejecting spiritual evaluation
§ False "Christianity"
ü Liberation from condemnation is a priceless gift from God! [S]
Second, AP retells the Gospel story of Jesus Christ's amazing achievement "in the flesh." Often misunderstood, the "flesh" is the great spiritual battlefield. "In the flesh [John 1:14]," Jesus condemned sin (v.3), while not condemning us (v.1).
ü Religions often bash the flesh as our enemy
ü Philosophers and psychologists often blame the flesh for our flaws
ü Hedonists make the flesh into a 'god'
ü Simplistic Christians (NIV) equate "flesh" and "sinful nature"
ü The WORD became flesh to liberate and redeem our whole selves
Third, AP explains three huge benefits of the Spirit of God living "in us."
1. The righteous requirements of the law are fully met (v.4).
2. The authoritarian power of the flesh is broken by the indwelling, liberating Spirit of God (v.9).
3. The same Spirit who raised Jesus from the dead gives divine vitality to our own spirits and bodies (v.11).
CONCLUSION: The "in" place is the place to be. Therefore, three top personal priorities for us still remain 'Location, location, and location.'
In Christ Jesus, with no condemnation from him or us
In flesh that has been redeemed and liberated by Jesus Christ
And in ourselves, with the resurrecting Spirit of God pouring Godly vitality into our whole selves.