5.31.12 - New community, a place of no condemnation
Daily Scripture: Romans 8:1-11
So now there isn't any condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 2 The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and death. 3 God has done what was impossible for the Law, since it was weak because of selfishness. God condemned sin in the body by sending his own Son to deal with sin in the same body as humans, who are controlled by sin. 4 He did this so that the righteous requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us. Now the way we live is based on the Spirit, not based on selfishness. 5 People whose lives are based on selfishness think about selfish things, but people whose lives are based on the Spirit think about things that are related to the Spirit. 6 The attitude that comes from selfishness leads to death, but the attitude that comes from the Spirit leads to life and peace. 7 So the attitude that comes from selfishness is hostile to God. It doesn't submit to God's Law, because it can't. 8 People who are self-centered aren't able to please God.
9 But you aren't self-centered. Instead you are in the Spirit, if in fact God's Spirit lives in you. If anyone doesn't have the Spirit of Christ, they don't belong to him. 10 If Christ is in you, the Spirit is your life because of God's righteousness, but the body is dead because of sin. 11 If the Spirit of the one who raised Jesus from the dead lives in you, the one who raised Christ from the dead will give life to your human bodies also, through his Spirit that lives in you.
In verse 1, Paul echoed Jesus' words: "God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him" (John 3:17). As The Message puts it, "Those who enter into Christ's being-here-for-us no longer have to live under a continuous, low-lying black cloud." Paul said there are basically two kinds of people: those oriented away from God and toward self, and those oriented toward God (living by the Spirit). The second group form Christ's new community, living in peace.
- Verse 5, like some of the other Scriptures we've read this week, can trigger fear and condemnation unless we understand what it's saying. The Common English Bible captures the thrust of Paul's thought well by talking about what our life is based on. How have you sensed your life shift, over time, from being based on self-interest to being based on the principles God's spirit teaches you? Where is the "growing edge" of your life right now—in what areas is that shift (not without struggles) taking place?
- In verse 3, Paul wrote that God sent "his own Son to deal with sin." Moralistic religion often reinforces condemnation by telling us that it's entirely up to us to "deal with sin" in our lives. How can trusting that Jesus has already dealt with our sin, and rid us of condemnation, free up our energy to live out the positive principles of service and community God calls us to? How can you keep your faith focused on Christ and the good he offers you, rather than focusing on the bad you don't want to do?
Lord Jesus, as a member of your new community, I choose to focus on you and the power of your convicting, reconciling love, rather than on myself and my feelings of shame and despair. Thank you, Jesus, for making this new life possible. Amen.