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Facts & Freedom

Romans  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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The Good News is exclusive for those in Christ

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Facts are good, aren’t they? Isn’t it great to know that there are things that are true whether we agree with them or not- whether others deny them or not? The facts are not swayed by an opinion or a mood, but they are certain.
Likewise, freedom is good. But we often try to redefine freedom to fit our personal viewpoint. Freedom is not “no rules” - that’s anarchy. Freedom is not relative truth- that’s just nonsense. As Christians, we can understand freedom to be as God defines it- that is, as He has designed it. Free from the trappings of sin. Free from the guilt and penalty that sin requires. Free, not for who we are or what we’ve done, but because of who God is and what He has done.
I want to ask you something; Are you free? Now, I know that we are living in the great USA which we call the “home of the free,” yet even the freedom we have in this country has limits. Think about it- we have rulers who have limited our freedom to assemble - granted, for a cause we agree with (life), but nonetheless, what we may have thought to be secure is being revealed as in fact very fragile. We are at the mercy of a virus and beyond that flawed human institutions to restore said freedom. And if freedom in the USA is fragile, how do you see your freedom when it comes to eternal matters? Are you truly free?
Last week, we talked about living in the balance between “Living Right and Rightly Living.” This week, we will examine a truth that is central to Christian living. Now, we’ve already talked about it, talked around it, argued for it, but as we dive in today, I hope that it is solidified in your heart and mind.
What is it? The Gospel (true freedom) is Good News only for those who receive it.
Let us look then at the Facts and Freedom
Paul gives us a summary statement in verse 1 from which we’ll draw out the hard facts emphasized in the passage we read.
Romans 8:1 NASB95
Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

Fact #1 Freedom is Given

Therefore: (remember when we see the word therefore, we ask, “what is it there for?”)
Remember what we studied in chapters 6 & 7- Let us remember the conflict, the struggle that we face daily to live to Christ and not allow sin to rule in our lives. Let us remember that we are constantly being made aware of the sin that is in us. It is with this backdrop that we can say, “therefore” or “even though”
Even though we are aware of our sin and we battle that temptation
Even though we do not deserve the grace of God
There is NOW no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
Do you know what “condemnation” means?
Discuss: What does “no condemnation” mean for you?
it means “judgment due” or “penalty owed”
It’s like your mortgage note which says, “What is rightly owed”
But here we have the statement, there is now NO condemnation - what was owed has been paid, not looked over, not dismissed, but PAID… hold onto that.
Verse 2 gives us what this freedom is: free from the law of sin and of death. (we’ve spent a good deal in weeks past discussing this, so we won’t really dive in here, but we need to understand that this freedom was given because of Christ. It isn’t earned or deserved, but given.)
Look here at verse 3 - what the Law could not do, God did!
We were dead in our sin- the debt was too great for us!
When I played football in school, there was always a lot of “talk” that took place. You know, trash-talk. Guys would be making threats, claiming that they were going to ‘lay you out’ or whatever. You know… but I remember a common retort was this: “Your mouth is writing checks that your body can’t cash!”
Friends, we are sinners and we cannot accomplish in our flesh that which we so desperately need.
BUT GOD, condemned sin in the flesh when He poured His wrath upon Jesus. (read 2x)
Discuss: What does it mean that God condemned sin in the flesh? ()
Today is Palm Sunday- we are entering the week that we mark the anniversary of Christ taking that condemnation on the cross.
Look, humanly, we look at the gruesome events surrounding Jesus’ crucifixion- the beatings he took before being forced to carry his own cross to which they would nail his body to…
But, the physical torture that we see in crucifixion does not compare to the suffering and anguish of enduring the unmitigated wrath of Almighty God as Jesus took my penalty and your penalty upon Himself.
God executed our judgment on Jesus SO THAT
the requirement of the Law would be fulfilled in US!(4)
That means that we stand before God as holy and pure-
Our debt has been paid- we are free from the obligation that sin has put upon us.
That we are now pleasing to God, not an affront to Him.
That we stand before God and receive the judgement of Christ- that is we are called children of God!
And as children, we are heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ (17)
Do you hear me? Because Christ took the penalty for our sin, we can enter into God’s presence NOW and share in His glory for eternity!! And that is freedom- we don’t deserve it nor can it be won by us.
Freedom is Given by God. But secondly, we must note that

Fact #2 Freedom is Exclusive

Looking back to our summary in verse 1, we see that there is no condemnation for THOSE WHO ARE IN CHRIST JESUS.
The freedom Paul is talking about is for a certain people…
It’s amazing how we look at freedom in America- we see it as individual freedoms we enjoy because we are citizens of this country. We have freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom to assemble, freedom to work, freedom to vote, etc. These freedoms do not exist in all countries. Freedom that we have is not extended to everyone across the globe.
Likewise, eternal freedom is for those who are in Christ Jesus.
I’m reminded of Peter’s statement to Jesus () at a time when many followers turned away from Him. Jesus asked him, do you want to leave too? And he responded, “Where would we go? You have the words of eternal life” and likewise in -Peter testifies while in jail, “There is salvation in no one else...”
Muhammad did not take your penalty
Buddha did not pay your sin debt
No works-based religion will earn your spot in God’s Kingdom
Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. (8)
Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. (8)
Paul actually spends a good amount of time explaining this fact- Let me read verse 6 to you.
Romans 8:6 NASB95
For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace,
Let me rephrase this for you; If your hope and motivation is your own personal desires- the passions of the flesh as Paul outlines in , it will lead nowhere but to death. You can chase all kinds of things in this world, but unless you have trusted in Jesus wholly, then you are a slave to your sin. You are not free.
Over and over again Paul contrasts those who are free through Christ and those who are not.
It’s peace and life contrasted to death
It’s joy and acceptance verses rejection and despair.
Christ is the answer. He is the ONLY One who gives salvation and freedom.
Any other ‘path’ is a lie. God’s Kingdom is exclusive. Unless you have been sealed by the Holy Spirit, you cannot enter in.
Discuss: What makes freedom exclusive?
Discuss: What is the difference between having a mind set on the flesh and a mind set on the Spirit?

Fact # 3: Freedom is Available

Paul uses a lot of “Ifs” in his address here- several conditional statements. And here is what I want to tell you this morning:
Freedom is available to you today. Salvation is available to you today. Because of what Jesus did for you, you are free to be free. But you must be in Christ.
Jesus has already done the work- He has already paid the price and IF you will repent, turn from your sins and trust wholly in Christ, He will give you the salvation and freedom that you so desperately need.
You might be thinking, well I’ve gone to church my whole life, of course I’m free!
Let me remind you of what Paul said in verse 9
Romans 8:9 NASB95
However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him.
“Have you received the Holy Spirit?” Does the Holy Spirit dwell within you?
Because if not, you do not belong to God. (9)
It is not enough to know about God or to acknowledge God. I’m asking you, does the Holy Spirit dwell in you?
You might ask, How do I know? Paul says that if the Holy Spirit is in us, then we are living according to the Holy Spirit- we are being led by Him.
That means that you are compelled by and under obligation to do that which is of God because the Holy Spirit of God is leading your life. There is a difference in our thinking- it’s not that we bring God with us wherever we go, but rather that God leads us wherever we go.
Here is what Paul says this looks like- IF we are led by the Spirit, we have a personal relationship with God in such that we cry out “FATHER!” because we have been adopted into God’s family. And IF we have been adopted into God’s family, then we stand before God as co-heirs with Jesus. We have His righteousness- his holiness, his perfection given to us so that we are not simply ‘off the hook’ for our penalty, but rather we are given to share in God’s glory with Him now and for eternity.
Romans 8:1 NASB95
Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
Do you have that? Or do you see God as impersonal and far off? Friends,
Do you have that?
Or do you see God as impersonal and far off?
Friends, freedom is available only through Christ. Our relationship with God is intended to bring freedom! Freedom from sin and the law. Freedom now and through eternity.
Let us pray.
Have you received the Holy Spirit?
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