When my middle son was three years old, he spilled his milk during lunch. In his sweet preschool voice he exclaimed, “Oh no! Now Jesus has to die on the cross again!”

He didn’t get it. First of all, he didn’t understand the difference between sin & accidents. Beyond that he didn’t understand that the Jesus only had to die once, in which he paid the price for all sin.

Maybe he didn’t understand because I don’t live like I understand it either.

Sin. Flesh. Law. Condemnation. Righteous.

As I memorize and meditate on Romans 8, those words jump out and I’m not sure if I truly know their meaning.  If I am going to memorize these verses I can’t just learn the words in order, I need to grasp the concepts. The Truth:

  1. God created a perfect world.
  2. Sin entered the world.
  3. God gave us the perfect law (Romans 7:12)
  4. Law made us aware of sin (Romans 7:7)
  5. Our flesh weakened the perfect law (Romans 8:3).
  6. God in the flesh, Jesus, fulfilled the righteous requirement of the law (Romans 8:4)
  7. We live by the Spirit…no condemnation (Romans 8:4)

So then, the law is holy, and the commandment is holy, righteous and good. {Romans 7:12}

What shall we say, then? Is the law sin? Certainly not!  Indeed I would not have known what sin was except through the law. {Romans 7:7}

That’s a summary but do I really know what these words and concepts mean?

Think of our traffic laws. The law of speed limits requires me to follow the posted speed limit. The consequence of not following this law (and getting caught) means paying money for a speeding ticket.

Following the law=right; Not following the law=guilty.

In the church we use the words “righteous” and “condemned” when talking about keeping the law. God’s law required perfection…100% fulfillment…righteousness. If you did not keep the law, you were condemned.

“Condemnation” in the Greek is “katakrima” . Which means “an adverse sentence or verdict”. Interestingly, the antithesis to condemnation is “salvation”.

“Righteous” in Greek is “Dikaios” (“dik-ah-yos”). It means observing divine laws (laws of God). The definition I found most interesting was “following the ways of God”.

Reminds me of the goal of this blog…to be God-centered. My desire is to not follow the ways of “Heather” and be self-centered, but to “follow the ways of God” (aka righteousness) and be God-centered.

Is it possible to be righteous on my own strength? Can I follow the ways of God 100% of the time? 

No. In my own flesh it is not possible to be righteous. So I’m condemned…

However, salvation, the antithesis to condemnation, is my answer. God sent His Son (God in the flesh) to fulfill the law 100% for me. His flesh paid the price my flesh would not be able to pay.

Once I have accepted and believe that Jesus died once and for all then I have access to His Spirit. I can “follow the ways of God” through the power of His Spirit.

I can be God-centered because God is in me through His Spirit.

I am no longer under the law of sin. I am no longer condemned (guilty). I am free to live in the Spirit through Christ’s death.

Suddenly the words I am memorizing have meaning and stick…

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life will set you free in Christ Jesus, from the law of sin & death. {Romans 8:1-2}

These words that seem like mumbo-jumbo now are rich and deep and life-giving:

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. {Romans 8:3-4}

I don’t want to be the little girl who “spills her milk” and claims that it is so extreme Jesus has to die for me again.

I want to grasp the depth of my sin, but also rejoice and be free in the fact that I am no longer under the law of sin.  I want to experience the freedom of living in the Spirit. Grace.

I want to “follow the ways of God” (aka “righteousness”) not by my own doing but through the indwelling of the Spirit. My hunger and thirst to be God-centered will lead to true, lasting fulfillment.

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. {Matthew 5:6}

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