God is for You | Romans 8:31-39
Future Glory Over Present Suffering | Romans 8:18-30
Changed by God | Romans 8:1-17
Acceptance Over Performance | Romans 7:7-25
The Law and Spirit | Romans 7:1–7
Our Identity in Christ | Romans 6:15-23
Dead to Sin, Alive to Christ | Romans 6:1-14
Obedience of Faith
Do you struggle to understand how the Trinity is at work in your life? As we continue our sermon series Dying to Live, David Marvin shows us some practical ways that Jesus, the Holy Spirit, and the Father impact our faith.
Welcome, everybody in the room, everybody joining us online. My name is David. I have the privilege of leading and directing The Porch on Tuesday nights. I'm so excited to continue this series Dying to Live. We're looking at Romans, chapters 6-8. Today we're going to jump into chapter 8. I'm going to read the passage, starting in verse 1 of chapter 8, written by the apostle Paul. We're going to go through 17 verses. I'm going to read them up top, so, if you have not had a quiet time, you are about to get it in right now. In verse 1 Paul says:
"Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. 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 [a payment]. And so he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. Those who live according to the flesh…"
Paul is about to contrast those who live according to the flesh versus the Spirit. By flesh… That's not a word we use a lot. He just means the sin nature. Those who live according to what comes naturally, who do what they want whenever they want with whomever they want versus those who are led by this new Spirit, the Spirit of God in their life.
"…have their minds set on what the flesh [the sin nature] desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God's law, nor can it do so. Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God.
You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ. But if Christ is in you, then even though your body is subject to death because of sin, the Spirit gives life because of righteousness. And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you.
Therefore, brothers and sisters, we have an obligation—but it is not to the flesh [our sin nature], to live according to it. For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live. For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God.
The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, 'Abba, Father.' The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory."
This past Friday… I have a 5-year-old son, and we were going on his first Adventure Guides campout. Adventure Guides is like Indian Guides or Indian Princesses, if you grew up doing that. We were going to go on his first ever campout. So, I did what any dad does, which is go full send making sure everything needed to have a great time and make great memories would be taken care of.
So, I got us a tent. I got him a sleeping bag. I got my sleeping bag. I got everything planned out. I got like 14 different flashlights so he would have whatever one he wanted to have. I planned the whole evening, took off early from work, drove out there early. I said, "Where do you want to go to dinner? We'll go wherever you want." Which is really safe when you're 5, because there are two options: McDonald's and Chick-fil-A. So, we found the Chick-fil-A. "Get whatever you want."
After that… "Do you want some candy? Do you want Sour Patch Kids? Whatever it is. We're going to have an amazing time." We get to the campout. Things are going great. He gets to stay up as late as he wants, which was 10:30, the latest he had ever stayed up in his entire life. "Do you want a s'more? Of course you can have a s'more. You can have two s'mores. We're going to have an amazing time."
Everything was going great, and I tried to make sure everything would be smooth so we'd have great memories that were made together. In fact, here's a picture I threw on the 'Gram out there. First campout. This is right before bed at, like, 10:35. He's delirious in the left picture, for sure, but he's also loving it. We're sleeping in this small tent, just he and I together. We go to bed. Everything is great…until 3:45 in the morning when I hear him say, "Dad! Dad! Dad!"
I wake up, and he's like, "Can you open this water bottle? My tummy hurts." Then he begins to throw up all over this tiny little tent. So many emotions go through, like, "Wow! That is a shocking amount of throw-up in this moment," and also, "How do we clean this up?" and "It's going to be okay. You're okay. Hey, drink some water." So, I'm cleaning it all up, trying to scrape it off, trying to get it outside of the tent so we can get some sleep again together. Everything had been going so smoothly, and then this.
What does that have to do with Romans, chapter 8? Nothing. I just needed some sympathy. No, not at all. Romans, chapter 8, is Paul's transition out of Romans, chapter 7, where he spent the last 40 verses, and he walks through the most common human experience trying to follow Jesus, which is, "I want to follow God with all of my heart. I've trusted in Jesus. I believe the Bible, and I want to do everything it calls me to do. I want to be the man it calls me to be, but I can't. It's not because of the problems on the outside; it's because of something on the inside."
In other words, what was an obstacle to having a great camping experience was not an obstacle on the outside; it was a problem coming from the inside. Paul is going to say that, similar to what is an obstacle for having a good time at a campout, to live a good life in this life the problem doesn't come from the outside; it's a problem on the inside.
He spent the last 40 verses of chapter 7 building this incredible tension he's about to relieve. Some of the verses he writes are incredibly relatable, coming from this tower of the faith, the apostle Paul, who wrote more of the New Testament than anybody else, but what he writes in chapter 7… If you missed it last week, you have to go listen and check it out. Let me read a couple of verses that everyone in here can relate to.
Paul says in chapter 7, verse 18, "I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature [in my flesh]. I want to do what is right, but I can't. I want to do what is good, but I don't. I don't want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway." If you've followed Jesus for any amount of time, you have realized and experienced what the apostle Paul is saying.
"Man, I love Jesus. I'm trying to follow him, but there is something broken, and it's not coming from the outside; it comes from the inside. I love Jesus, but I still lose my temper. I don't want to be someone who lusts after people who are not my wife, but I find myself wanting to and doing so. I don't want to be controlling over my kids, but I find myself unable to not." The apostle Paul would say, "Welcome to the human experience."
He builds all this tension, and in verse 24, it's the climactic verse of the chapter, where he says, "Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death?" Paul says the problem is not on the outside; it comes from the inside. Then in chapter 8, all that tension gets relieved. He begins to walk through the Christian life and what it looks like and its implications, and he points out three different persons of the Trinity…what Jesus has done, what the Spirit is doing, and what the Father has done and is doing.
I want to walk through and highlight some of those things, because he begins to walk through how you and I, in Christ, have been changed and how all that tension between "I don't do what I want to do, but I do the things I don't want to do…" All of that gets relieved. So, I want to go slowly through the text again and highlight it. I'm going to start in verse 1 and walk through what the Son has done, what the Spirit has done, what God has done, and highlight those things.
Verse 1: "Therefore, there is now no condemnation [no judgment, no guilt] for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. For what the law [or what obedience or what following the rules] was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh [the sinful nature], God did [God accomplished] by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering [to be a payment for sin].
And so he condemned [not you, but] sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law [the standard that was required] might be fully met in us [not by us], who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit." The first idea Paul brings up is when you put your faith in Jesus, when a person trusts in Christ, whether they have that tension and that wrestle of not doing what they want to do… The Son frees them from condemnation.
The Son frees us from condemnation. When you accepted Jesus as a sin offering, or as the payment for your sin, past, present, future… "I accept what you did on my behalf, dying in my place. After living the life I never could, you died the death I deserved, and I accept that was payment for my sin." Paul says you have been placed out of the realm of condemnation and set free, and now guilt, condemnation, any feelings of that you have… Those are not true. They are lies, because Jesus the Son has set you free from condemnation.
Paul brings up "In Christ…" Not in you, not in behavior. Paul's favorite term to describe the Christian position, the new life, is in Christ. It's a term that's used in the Bible 83 times, and 80 of them are by the apostle Paul. He says there is now in Christ no condemnation, sharply distinct from chapter 7. Chapter 7 has 40 personal pronouns used. It's all about "In me, me, and me, and me." Then he transitions and says, "Thanks be to God. Now in Christ there is no condemnation." If you feel condemnation, it is a lie. It's a pretty staggering, shocking thing.
He says the way we get right with God… This is what Christians have always believed. If you're not a Christian, this may help you. Christians have never taught that obedience and following the rules is a way you have a right standing with God. Christianity teaches that you could never earn your way to have a relationship with God. It's only by what Jesus did as a payment for your sin and accepting that payment that you have eternal life, you have right standing with God. You are free from any condemnation in this life regardless of your behavior, and that standing does not change. That's distinct from every other world religion.
Our world, honestly, doesn't fully understand how Christianity is distinct and separate. Every other major world religion…Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam…teaches it is based on your behavior, the number of times you pray, alms you give, sacrifices you make, behavior and good deeds that you do, that you have a good standing with God. Christianity teaches the opposite. No amount of behavior could ever change that. Only by accepting Jesus and what he did on the cross as payment for your sin and his resurrection from the dead as proof of that payment.
Our role is to accept, and when that happens, Paul says you are placed in Christ. All condemnation for the rest of your life is gone. God has, if you will, extended a divine pardon to humanity to cover all of every person's sin. In our country we have something called the presidential pardon. It's the ability for the president of the United States to extend a pardon to any person for any crime that has been committed and pardon them from the sentence they received.
In the history of our country, there has only been one occasion where a person declined the presidential pardon. It was in 1829. It was a guy named George Wilson. He was arrested and tried for killing a postal worker delivering mail. He robbed the postal worker and killed him. He was arrested, tried, and convicted of killing this man and sentenced to death by hanging. Now, George Wilson had friends in high places, and some of them were connected to the president of the United States at the time, President Andrew Jackson.
So, Andrew Jackson extended a presidential pardon to George Wilson. George Wilson did something that, prior to that time, had never happened before. He was extended the pardon in the judicial system, in jail, and they said, "You're free to go. You've been pardoned." He said, "Nah. I don't accept it." Now, we don't know why. There were conclusions drawn of he believed somebody was going to break him out or he believed it would be an admission of guilt, but he declined, and they didn't know what to do. They were like, "We told him he could go home and leave the jail, and he was like, 'Nah, I'm good.'"
The court sent the case all through the court system, and it went all the way to the Supreme Court. "What do you do when a person rejects a presidential pardon?" Here's what Chief Justice Marshall declared: "A pardon is an act of grace, proceeding from the power entrusted with the execution of the laws [the president]… [But] delivery is not complete without acceptance. It may then be rejected by the person to whom it is [given]; and [we have] no power in a court to force it on him." "The president issued a pardon, but we will not force the person to accept and receive that 'no strings attached' free gift pardon."
The Bible teaches, Christianity says, and what Paul is teaching is that God has issued a divine pardon to all of humanity, not through their behavior but through being placed in Christ and the payment on the cross. He didn't just pardon; he also provided a payment. Our role is to accept that, and when you and I do, all condemnation, shame, and guilt are no longer feelings that have any truth behind them, because you have been set free. The Son sets us free from condemnation.
Then Paul goes into the role the Spirit is playing inside of our lives. When you trusted in Jesus, this happened. He says, "Those who live according to the flesh…" That's I do whatever comes naturally, do whatever I want. "…have their minds set on what the flesh _ [their sin nature] _ desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace.
The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God's law, nor can it do so. Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God. You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ. But if Christ is in you, then even though your body is subject to death because of sin, the Spirit gives life because of righteousness. And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you…" Which it is, if you've trusted in Jesus.
"…he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you [bringing life]. Therefore, brothers and sisters, we have an obligation—but it is not to the flesh [sin nature] , to live according to it. For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live. For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God."
There is so much to unpack. I don't have time, and I wish I did. Paul is saying when you were placed in Christ, his Spirit was placed in you, and he is now seeking to lead you in this life to life and peace.
The Spirit leads us to life. You may not have ever thought of it. What Paul says is the Spirit of God is actively at work in the people of God's lives. He walks through how he begins to lead. Another translation for the word leads is beckons. He begins to prompt, to move, to encourage, to beckon you toward life. This is why Christians live differently. Not because they have to in order to earn God's love; it's because they are different. They've been given a new Spirit that begins to lead them to life.
It's not dissimilar to this. My son is also on a 5-year-old soccer team that I coach, and he had his first game a couple of weekends ago. So, we got the team together. Everybody practiced. I'm teaching them how to play the game. The game day comes, and we get destroyed. I mean, destroyed. At one point, the ref stopped keeping score because it was so bad. It was 12-0, plus some.
At one point, a kid on the other team runs down the field and does a sliding kick into the goal. If that wasn't bad enough, he then gets up and runs in front of the fans, which was like eight people, and does a sliding knee slide with the Superman. He's 5! It was like, "I don't know whether to be angry or just impressed that we get to play with Pelé here."
I assumed that had to be the best team out there, so, "Let's go back and learn how to play at practice this week, and then we're going to come play this team." Boy, was I wrong. The next Saturday we had a game, and we showed up, and this team was unbelievable. They beat us 13-0. They were out there running plays. The coach was over there saying, "Get in the diamond formation." I was like, "The diamond formation?" In the second half, they only played (it was four on four soccer)…
They had mercy, and they were like, "We're just going to keep three out there," and they had to pass it eight times before they could score. We still got scored on by our own selves kicking it into the goal. It was like, "I have failed all of you as a coach." I found out after the game the other team's parents had hired a professional coach. I know. It's like, they're 5. Somebody has an idolatry problem here, people. I'm kidding. If that's your team, good on you. Can we get a two-for-one deal? Because our team could use some help.
But all along the way, that coach was teaching and instructing them and telling them, "Here's what you do, and here's how you pass the ball, and here's how to kick the goal." Unlike our team that's picking dandelions and just concerned about the juice box, he's walking through, "Here are drills you do," and coaching them on how to succeed.
The apostle Paul all throughout the Bible, and here, says this is the Spirit now at work in your life. He is coming in and prompting and encouraging to help you succeed at moving in the direction of life, of relationships that flourish, of peace in your heart, of experiencing the purpose God has for you. I mean, there are times… If you follow Jesus, you know this.
There are times the Spirit interrupts your regularly scheduled program and begins to prompt and say, "I don't know if I would have said it like that." Or afterward, you do say something, and you're like, "Man, I'm justified in that," and he begins to say, "I think you need to ask for forgiveness for that." You're like, "Man, I don't want to ask for forgiveness for that," and he's like, "I think you need to ask."
Or "I don't think you should buy that. I know it's on sale and nobody else…" You just begin to experience prompting. Or "I think you should share your faith with that person. I think you should take that bonus and give it to this opportunity." He just begins to come in. It's a part of following Jesus. He beckons and prompts, because it's the Spirit actively at work, leading.
How do I know if it's the Spirit's prompting? Well, Paul here says that it involves the mind. He begins to work through the mind. The Bible teaches that one of the ways the Spirit transforms us is through the thoughts in the mind and setting the mind on things of the Spirit. In Romans 12:2 it says you are transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may be able to discern what the will of God is.
God is in the business of changing our thinking to how he thinks to be better able to discern and do what he says. He changes the direction of our minds, which changes the direction of our lives. What does that look like? It certainly involves knowing and studying Scriptures, because the Holy Spirit always prompts, beckons, leads in a direction that is consistent with the Scriptures. The Spirit of God never contradicts the Word of God. In doing so, we familiarize ourselves with "These are the truths, the voice of God." The Spirit is going to direct and prompt.
So many people… I work with young adults. I hear it all the time. I see it every week on Instagram or on whatever social media. Everybody is obsessed with "I want a word from God. I came to church. Man, Pastor, that was a word today." Everyone is obsessed with a word from God, yet so few people read the Word of God. Here's why this matters. If you don't know the Word of God, you will not be as easily able to detect promptings from the Spirit of God. Here's why: because you're not familiar with his voice.
We have people in our lives… There are relationships we all have where we would say, "I know them to the point where if you told me a story they had told you or something they told you to pass on, I would be like, 'That sounds like something they would say.'" Then there are people we know so well that if we heard someone say, "Oh, they told me to do this," we'd go, "That doesn't sound like something they would say. I know them. I know their voice."
So many Christians often live not knowing the Word of God, so then they're not able to detect "That sounds like something he would say. I'm pretty sure this is what God is leading me, prompting me, beckoning me to do, because I know the Bible, and it sounds like something he would say." They become just weird, prophetic… "I feel like God told me to buy a roast beef sandwich." It's like, "That doesn't sound like something he would say." I'm not saying he couldn't. That doesn't sound…
They miss the times where the Spirit is prompting, saying, "You're on a two-hour flight with this person. I think you should share your faith." "I don't know what that was. It couldn't have been the Spirit. That probably was just… I don't know." They don't know the voice of God, because they don't know the Word of God, so they can't detect, "Man, that sounds like something he would say." Paul says the Spirit is going to prompt and lead you, and when he does, it's always consistent with the Word of God.
The work of the Spirit… Again, this is coming out of chapter 7, where Paul says, "There's something broken in me naturally, yet God is working to bring something supernaturally about in my life." It's similar to this. At my house, we have something called flower beds in the front yard. Now, flower bed, in my opinion, is a bad description or title for flower beds. Why? Because, naturally, my flower beds don't grow flowers. They grow weeds.
I think they should change the name to weed beds, because it's a more accurate description of what naturally takes place there. In other words, apart from a person, someone on the outside (my wife or myself), coming in and planting something new and life and beautiful (aka, flowers), those beds are not in and of and naturally on themselves going to grow any flowers, because they're weed beds. They naturally produce weeds. So do you. You probably never thought about it like that, but it's the truth.
In a similar way, you and I naturally, like a flower bed, grow weeds. You and I naturally grow sin. Apart from the person of God and the Spirit of God coming in and producing what you and I don't naturally on our own, which is not the flowers but things of beauty and new life, you and I will not grow them. It is a work of God, work of the Spirit, to bring about what naturally you and I do not. Paul says that is what the Spirit of God through those promptings, through his leading, and overarching… That is what he's doing in your life. He is working to bring about life and produce what you and I naturally on our own cannot.
So, the Son of God frees us from condemnation. The Spirit of God leads us to life. Then he goes into what the Father has done. "The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again…" "What are you saying, Paul?" He's saying you no longer live like, "Man, if I don't do good or if I do do good, that determines my relationship with God." No, you're not a slave. You are a son.
"…the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, 'Abba, Father.'" I'm going to come back to that word because it's a really important word. "The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God…" These next words were so powerful to me this week. "…and co-heirs with Christ…"
The inheritance of Jesus, the sinless, perfect Son of God… The standing he has is yours if you are a follower of Christ. The inheritance awaiting him is yours if you have put your faith in Jesus. "…if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory." Paul brings up the topic of adoption, that you and I have been adopted by the Father and are God's children.
The Father adopts us as children. He brings up adoption. This is an important distinction to understand. When Paul brings up adoption, what his audience would have thought is different from what our audience would think. Why do I say that? Because when we think adoption, we think babies, we think children, we think orphanages. Those things didn't exist. Orphanages and humanitarian aid efforts to move children into adoption by parents… Those didn't exist in the first century in Rome.
His audience didn't think children. They didn't think babies. When they heard the word adoption, they thought adults. Why do I say that? Because the most common form of adoption in that day and age would have been adults adopting another adult, someone they saw of promise or heir. What do I mean? Did you know the most common transition or succession for the emperors or the caesars of Rome was not from their bloodline? They could have handed it to their kids.
They would do what often happened in that day and age, where somebody would go, "Yeah, my kids are definitely not responsible enough to handle this," so they'd look around and be like, "Oh, Bob. He looks like a young strapping lad. Let's transfer everything to Bob." So much so that the majority of the emperors… When they would transition and go from one emperor to the next, they would look around and say, "I'm adopting him."
Julius Caesar… You may have heard that term. He was the very first emperor of the Roman Empire. When he was about to die, he wrote in his will, "I would like to adopt Caesar Augustus. He's not related to me. We have no blood, but he looks like somebody who would be responsible." In that moment, when they were adopted, all of the rights, privileges, and standing of a natural child were transferred, and though they had no human relationship with that person, they were seen entirely under the legal status of adopted. "All of the privileges and rights of a natural heir are yours."
His audience is hearing, "When you trusted in Jesus, all of the privileges and natural rights that were conferred and deserved by Christ are yours." But he doesn't just leave it at a legal reality. He brings it into an intimate understanding of not just legally and status-wise you have that. He begins to describe the relationship Christians are invited to and have with their Father and uses terms that are incredibly intimate. Why do I say that? He says when you were adopted in as sons, now you have the Spirit inside of you that cries out "Abba, Father."
Now, you may have heard this before, but I want you to think about it. The New Testament was written in Greek. Abba is not a Greek word. It's an Aramaic word. When Paul wrote this verse, it's as though he was saying, "Man, it's like the Spirit cries out 'Father.' No, it's more than that. It's more intimate than that." He couldn't think of a word in the Greek language that could accurately describe the emotional relationship that you and I, as Christians, have with Father.
He spoke Aramaic, and everyone spoke Aramaic, so he just rips this word out and says, "We're going to use that term, and I'm not even going to use or worry about the Greek, because it's 'Abba, Father.'" Now, what does Abba mean? Roughly, it's a more intimate, less formal… The closest synonymous word would be something more like Daddy or Papa. It's borderline irreverent, and it certainly was irreverent for Jewish men and women.
Certainly, for most of Paul's life where he was extremely Jewish, an incredibly religious religious leader, he never would have used the term Abba for Father when he talked to God. They had a word for approaching God, and it was the Name. "I'm praying to the Name." Paul becomes a Christian, and everything changes. The first person who uses the term Abba (Daddy, Father) in the whole New Testament that we have any reference of, even outside of the New Testament, was Jesus.
In Mark, chapter 14, he's praying, and he's hours away from death. He prays, "Abba," or "Daddy, Father, Dad." "Everything is possible for you. Take this cup, yet not what I will but what you will." "Dad, please don't let this happen." Paul now says the same intimacy Jesus experienced, the same intimacy Jesus was invited to, that Jesus had, is yours in Christ. God looks at you and invites you to see him as intimately loving with his favor toward you because you are a child of God. It's a pretty staggering, simple truth that most of us hear but few of us actually live in reality of.
Paul would say you have been given not just the standing of Christ, but the relational status God has invited you to. My son on that campout… I was so excited leading up to it, and it wasn't because I was excited to sleep on the ground. It wasn't because I like sleeping without air conditioning. It wasn't because I like the not even mediocre eggs that come from a camp mess hall. It's because I was so excited to spend time with my son, to be together, to make memories, and to be with him.
Paul describes a relationship that, for many of us, at least for me, I know… He describes a father who's so intimate, who wants to be with you, who wants to walk with you, who wants you to know, "Here's how much I love you. Here's how I see you. It doesn't change. You are my son. You are my daughter. My favor is always toward you. Nothing can condemn you. Anyone who tells you you're condemned is telling you lies, because you're my boy." It's hard for me to fully believe. All of us have journeys with parents and imperfections and the truth that God is not the reflection of our earthly fathers, he's the perfection of them.
In conclusion, the Son frees us from condemnation, the Spirit leads us in this life, and the Father has adopted you as an heir, as a son. All of this, all the work God is doing is accomplished by him. We've been hammering home in this entire series that the Spirit is the one, God is the one who accomplishes what we could not even if we wanted to.
This past weekend, like I said, I was camping, and the next morning, after the 3:00 a.m… We wake up, and my son still wanted to go on the hike. You're kind of torn as a father there, because you're like, "Oh man. I don't know how that's going to go. Are you sure you're feeling up for it?" All of the boys were going on this hike. "All right. Let's give it a try." So we hike up. We're over at Possum Kingdom Lake. We get to the top, and we see this incredible view. There we are.
Five minutes into that hike, he was still sick. He was still throwing up. He didn't want to turn around, but he also couldn't keep going, so I put him on my back and said, "All right. We're going to piggyback. We're going to walk up." The times where he could walk, I'd hold his hand and walk with him, and I took him up. He was at a place where he wanted to make the journey, but physically and personally and individually he could not on his own. No effort, no amount… Even though he wanted to do that and go there, he could not on his own, no matter how hard he would have tried.
The Christian journey is one where the God who is there says, "Even if you have the desire to live the life of Christ, it is one you cannot do on your own, but I, like any loving father… Through the work of my Spirit and through what Jesus, my Son, did on the cross, I'm going to carry you to a place that you may have the desire to go, but you do not have the ability. But you don't have to worry, because I am going to lead you there. All of the children of God are led or carried by the Spirit of God through the work of the Son of God, a part of the family of God, and I'm going to lead you."
That's what he's doing in the Christian life. You may not realize it, you may not feel like it, but this is the journey he has you on. This frees us from having to perform for God. It frees us from having to pretend like everything is perfect in life, because anything good in my life he's responsible for. Everything good that will be about my life or produced in my life he is responsible for. I may have the desire to do it, but I cannot do it on my own. I am incapable.
My role is to walk in dependence and surrender with open hands and open heart. "God, take my life. Use it. I can't get there on my own. Will you carry and lead me?" That posture over and over is the one that God, at different speeds and different ways, begins to bring about the life of Christ. As we said, you can't live the life of Christ. Only Jesus can do that. But you and I, through surrender to him, can experience him bringing about and carrying us to where we could not make it on our own. Let me pray.
Father, I thank you that you have made a wide open door through the cross for anyone listening to this message or listening in the room to have a relationship with you. Sin is no longer an issue because you dealt with it on the cross. There is no barrier other than acceptance. So, I pray for anyone who has never had a moment they've received and accepted what you did on their behalf, that today would be their day. I pray you would allow us to experience you producing more and more of the life of Christ in us, in our hearts. Start with me.
That you'd make us more like Jesus, more in tune with the Spirit of God and his beckoning and prompting, and you would allow us to walk in the freedom that Paul, staggeringly, introduces us to. "You don't have condemnation. You're a child of God. The inheritance of Christ is yours. The standing of Christ and the intimacy with the Father in heaven is yours." So, would you be bigger than all of the lies and all of the ways that is difficult for us to grasp and hold on to and accept? We love you, Christ. Amen.