There are a lot of important verses in Romans chapter eight. Dealing with the new position of those that are in Christ Jesus. We must understand what the Bible is talking about when it says “those in Christ Jesus.” It is not talking about those that recite a prayer because they want to go to heaven but produce no visible fruit of salvation in their lives. It is talking about those that acknowledge that they are sinners and worthy of death but turn to Jesus in faith. Resulting in a tangible faith that produces a change within your life. Just praying a prayer without repentance does not place you in the group of “those in Christ Jesus.”
“Therefore, no condemnation now exists for those in Christ Jesus, because the Spirit’s law of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.”
Romans 8:1-2 HCSB ( https://www.bible.com/72/rom.8.1-2.hcsb )
The first two verses of this chapter are verses of hope. We have hope because we have been set free from the law of sin and death through repentance and faith in Jesus. Paul did not write this in the future tense but the present tense. If you are in Christ Jesus, there is currently no condemnation upon you because you are free, not one day will be free, but you are free from the law of sin and death. You no longer have to struggle to keep the law because you have a new law of life from the Spirit.
“For those who live according to the flesh think about the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, about the things of the Spirit.”
Romans 8:5 HCSB ( https://www.bible.com/72/rom.8.5.hcsb )
Here Paul gives us a great test that we can use to examine our hearts to see if we are truly in the faith; if we are truly in Christ Jesus. The test isn’t about how happy you feel or how much God has blessed you financially. The test is about what you spend the majority of your time thinking about. If all you care about is getting physically cared for or financially blessed by God; then there is a good chance that you have been found to not be among those that are in Christ. I must say that I am not judging you because that is not my responsibility. God and His word is your judge.
In reality, we all do think about the things of the flesh sometimes. It is only natural, but the things of the flesh should not be the things we focus on. In most modern societies it is almost normal that people will think about themselves and place their desires and beliefs as the dominant thing that they spend their time focusing on. So Paul simply says if you want to know if you are in Christ, look at what you focus your mind upon.
“We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God: those who are called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28 HCSB ( https://www.bible.com/72/rom.8.28.hcsb )
Vs. 28 is probably one of the most loved verses in the Bible and is also the most miss quoted and miss understood verses of the Bible. You have likely heard people miss quote this verse by saying the following “God works out all things for our good.” The problem is that Paul didn’t say that God works out all things for the good of everybody. There is a conditional statement attached to the first part of the verse that many drop when trying to encourage others. Paul says “of those who love God…,” everything is going to work for the good of those that love God.
How do we know if we love God? Many people will say that I go to church every Sunday and I even volunteer at the local soup kitchen to show them the love of God. This may be true and is good, but that doesn’t mean that you love God. Jesus tells us how we can know if we love God or not in John 14:23. “Jesus answered, ‘If anyone loves Me, He will keep My word…” John 14:23 HCSB. If you love Jesus you will obey Him. Another way to say what Paul is saying is “We know that all things work together for the good of those who obey God.” Not in a legalistic manner, but from a position of love.
“No, in all these things we are more than victorious through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that not even death or life, angels or rulers, things present or things to come, hostile powers, height or depth, or any other created thing will have the power to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord!”
Romans 8:37-39 HCSB ( https://www.bible.com/72/rom.8.37-39.hcsb )
Paul ends this chapter by talking about the Christian life as one of suffering. This doesn’t fit with the gospel that many are preaching today. From verse 31 until the end of the chapter, Paul talks about how believers will overcome all types of struggles in life because Jesus has already overcome all things. At the end of verse 36, he says, “we are counted as sheep to be slaughtered.” Paul definitely would not fit in with the prosperity gospel crowd. He knew that Christians, who are in Christ, that love God (obey God); would face hardship and suffering in this world.
Paul isn’t saying that suffering is godly, but instead, it is the natural outcome of people living for Christ in a fallen and depraved world. He goes on to say that nothing in the world, not even death itself, can separate us from the love of God. We are not just victorious, but we are more than victorious. Why? Because nothing that we face in this life, no matter how hard or painful, can compare to the eternity that we will spend in the presence of God. This victory is only for those that are in Christ Jesus.
For today, if you are struggling. Don’t lose sight of what matters, which is your relationship with Jesus Christ. There are many today turning away from God because of suffering and pain. Angry at God for not keeping them from having to suffer. The sad thing is that they believed a lie. They believe that God would give them everything that they wanted and they wouldn’t have heartache and struggles in life. Paul wants to encourage you to keep the faith and become more than victorious.