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In this blog, there will be a variety of material: thoughts on Bible books, book reviews, historical characters, aspects of Scottish church history and other things.

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Romans 8:1-4 – New Life means New Obedience

Paul reminds his readers that if they are spiritually united to Jesus they are no longer under divine condemnation. Instead they have been set free from the divine law that condemned them for their sins. This does not mean that they had become sinless, nor does it mean that they could ignore God’s requirements. Rather they were now under the control of the Spirit who leads them to live holy lives.

What do such persons look like? They practice the righteous requirement of the law through the enabling of the Holy Spirit who has given them spiritual life. This is another way of saying what God promised in the new covenant when he said that he would give his Spirit to his people and they would have his law written on their minds and hearts. This is the heavenly Father’s will for their lives – obedience to his law.

Paul’s brief description of the Christian life in these verses indicates that its basic features are shared by every Christian. Of course, there are some aspects of the Christian life, such as the possession of spiritual gifts, which differ between Christians. But in the main, they all have the same blessings that are part of salvation and engage in the same practical outcomes of having the Spirit. Their sins have been forgiven because the Father judged Jesus instead of them, and then sent the Spirit to change them into obedient followers.

The evidence that one is in a healthy spiritual state is that he or she loves to keep God’s law. There are three attitudes to God’s law and each reveals where we are in God’s sight. One is legalism, which is attempt to live by the law without God’s grace, and he disapproves of it; the second is license, which is the assumption that God’s laws don’t matter, and he disapproves of it; the third is love for his laws, which means that we have the same attitude, in a far lesser degree, as he has towards his own law.


What is sanctification? Loving conformity to God’s law. What is heavenly mindedness? Loving conformity to God’s law. What is Christlikeness? Loving conformity to God’s law. What is true spirituality? Loving conformity to God’s law.

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