Paul has just explained that, even with our best efforts, we are too weak to obey God’s laws. The problem is that our natural desires and feelings so often cause us to do wrong things.
Therefore, Paul says, there is no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus. In other words, they are not just free from the power of sin (their wrong and evil thoughts, words and actions). They are also free from the judgement against sin, and its punishment.
We ask how that statement follows from the subjects in chapter 7. Paul has just confessed the power that sin has over his own ‘flesh’. He is using the word ‘flesh’ as a word-picture for the weakness of the desires and feelings of his own body. We know that for the rest of our lives on earth, we will have those desires and feelings. So we ask how we can be free from sin in this life.
The answer is that Christ’s people should not be under the control of the ‘flesh’ (8:7-9). They may still feel the same desires and feelings, but now the Holy Spirit directs their lives (Romans 8:4-6; Galatians 5:16).
So, to avoid sin, Christians must constantly ask themselves what God wants them to do. They should understand that they cannot simply follow their natural desires and feelings. When they do wrong things, they must confess their sin to God (1 John 1:9). God wants both to forgive them, and to change their behaviour completely (Galatians 5:16-25). That complete change is only possible when a Christian allows the Holy Spirit to guide and to direct his life (8:2).
Next part: God's law, which makes us free (Romans 8:2)
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© 2017, Keith Simons.