Free At Last

Bible Book: Romans  8
Subject: Salvation; Victory in Christ; Freedom; Memorial Day

Free At Last

Dr. J. Mike Minnix
Introduction

Romans 8

Today I want to speak on freedom, but not political freedom. I want us to consider another kind of freedom, one that is more important and more secure. I am speaking of the freedom of the soul – a freedom on found in Christ.

Today we consider Romans, chapter 8 in a message in have entitled, Free At Last. Martin Luther King spoke in Washington, D.C., on August 28, 1963, delivering what has become one of the best known speeches in American history. He concluded with the words, “Free at last, free at last, thank God Almighty, I am free at last.” King was speaking of racial and social freedom. There are several varieties of freedom in life. There is freedom from illness. What a great blessing it is to be free of physical illness in your life and that of your family. There is financial freedom. Again, one must be truly blessed to be free of financial encumbrances. There is political freedom. Freedom from tyranny, freedom from despot rulers, is a wonderful advantage in life. There are numerous types of freedom, but you get the general idea. But one must say that the greatest of all freedoms is spiritual freedom. Now, granted, spiritual freedom may not sound like the greatest of all freedoms, and I must admit that most people do not view it as such, but it is the most wonderful of all blessings. I want us to see this truth today in a message entitled, Free At Last.

To understand this subject, let’s look at Romans, chapter 8. Without a question, this chapter stands out like a great mountain peak in the Bible. It rises up like Kilimanjaro, jutting up with sparkling lights glittering like diamonds. One man drew an analogy saying, if the Word of God were a ring, Romans would be the diamond, and Romans 8 would be the sparkle glittering from that great shining stone.

Let’s look at Romans 8 and consider some key verses.

Now, to understand Romans 8, one must grasp Romans 7. Romans 8:1 contains the word “therefore.” When you see the word therefore you have to ask what it is there for! Always, the word therefore refers back to something which preceded it.\

In Romans 7 Paul speaks of the struggle one has with sin. In Romans 8 he discusses the success one can have over sin.
In Romans 7 Paul addresses the agony of the flesh. In Romans 8 he addresses the victory in the Spirit.
In Romans 7 Paul presents the trouble in dealing with oneself. In Romans 8 Paul presents the triumph one can have in oneself!

What a contrast! Paul is going from confusion (Why do I do the things I do, and why do I not do better?) to speaking of being a super-conqueror!

What Paul presents in chapter 8 is a picture of spiritual freedom. You might ask, “Freedom from what? What does spiritual freedom mean?” That is what we are about to consider.

I. Freedom from Condemnation - 8:1-11

The child of God is free from the condemnation of failing to keep the Law of God. Every person knows that he or she fails to keep the law - even if it is a weak, human level of morality which has been established for oneself. We can’t even keep our own weak, feeble laws, much less keep the high, holy stand of God’s Law. But, when we come to Christ, we are freed from all Law. We are not freed because of anything we do or did, but because of what Jesus did for us!

To be sure, those without Christ are already condemned. Look at John 3:18, “Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son.” The case cannot be any plainer than that. If we believe in Him, we are not condemned. If we believe not, we are already condemned. How wonderful the freedom of the soul that rests in the finished work of Christ on the cross for us.

A. The Son of God Entitled Us   versus. 2-3

Christ entitles all who come to Him to be set free from the Law and from the penalty of sin associated with the Law. The entitlement to this freedom is not our doing, it is His. It is not, “Do, Do, Do!” it is “Done, Done, Done!” Christ has finished the work of redemption at the cross and nothing we do will add to it!

B. The Spirit of God Empowered Us verses 4-10

But how do we live for Him? We live for Him by the power of the Spirit we have in Him! The same Spirit that raised Him from the dead lives in us. He enables us to do what we cannot do in ourselves. We see this in Philippians 2:13, “For it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.”

The Holy Spirit is mentioned in Romans no less than 26 times. In Romans 8 the Holy Spirit is mentioned 19 times. This chapter contains more references to the Holy Spirit than any other chapter in the Bible. Why? Because this chapter discusses victory and victory can only be found as we are yielded to the Holy Spirit of God!

II. Freedom from Obligation 8:12-17

Life can be described in three ways. You do not have the Spirit (seen in vss. 5-8); You have the Spirit (seen in vss 9-11); and, The Spirit has you! (seen in vss. 12-17). Naturally, the greatest of these in found in the latter verses. Freedom is found in allowing the Spirit to truly and totally have us.

A. Occupation Explained

The Spirit of God indwells every true believer. He occupies the life of the Christian. When I came to Christ, I died and Christ is my life. “Christ in you, the hope of glory!” Paul wrote these words, “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20, NKJV)

Some time ago there was a social/political movement in America, and in some other parts of the world, called the Occupy movement. People sought to move in and set up tents and occupy an area to protest against the government or business leaders. I already have an occupy movement – it is the occupation of the Holy Spirit in my life and it is the only occupy movement I care about!

B. Obligation Excluded

We have no obligation to the flesh. We are freed from ourselves. Let me explain. We have been adopted into God’s family. This adoption means that we need not go back to our former way of life. We owe nothing to the life of poverty that we knew before the Father of Heaven took us out of the slums of sin.

Image a child whose parents are deceased. The child is living in total poverty. There is no future in his present condition. But, someone who is rich beyond imagination comes along and adopts this child. He is moved from poverty to wealth in a moment’s time. Everything the rich parent has, the child now is heir to. That is who we are. We were in the poverty of sin, lost and without hope. The, Jesus came! He saved me, put me in the family of God, and made me an heir to all that He has. My former life holds no grip on me. I am under no obligation to the flea infested mattress I used to sleep on. I owe no obligation to the dirty streets I wandered down each day. I rest now in the arms of the Lord. I am His sheep. He carries me in His arms. I eat at His table. Hallelujah, what a Savior!

Often people will complain that genetics and upbringing prevent them from serving God. Actually, in Christ we are freed from all former ways. If only the individual will grasp the idea of the freeing power of the Holy Spirit over all past experiences, knowledge, failures and life experiences. Truly accepting what God has given frees you and makes you new in Christ.

A little boy was adopted into a wealthy family. They bathed him. They fed him. Then they took him up to his room and told him to get ready for bed. A short time later, his new parents tip-toed into his room and found him lying on the floor. They woke him up and asked why he was on the floor. He said, “I didn’t think I was supposed to get up on your bed.” Tears came to the eyes of those parents. They lifted him and pulled back the clean covers and placed him that pristine sheets. “Dear son,” they said, “this is YOUR bed!”

Child of God, you are under no obligation to the old life – not the words, the deeds, the impulses or thoughts of your former life. Get off the floor and into all that God has given you!

III. Freedom from Frustration 8:18-28

The whole earth is frustrated. The earth groans with a desire that the original purpose for which it was created be fulfilled and realized. So do we! We groan in this life! We experience frustration with life, with people, with circumstances, even with ourselves. But the child of God cannot be ultimately frustrated! We will be victorious. We overcome every frustration in the final analysis through Christ. Look at Romans 8:28. Everything in this life will be used by God to work together for our good and His glory.

A. The Groaning of the Creation vss. 18-22

The earth is experiencing the curse brought on by the sin of man. The earth is cracking open with earthquakes. The storms swirl and rip across the land. Tsunamis rush sea water across the shorelines. The earth desires to be redeemed – renewed – remade!

B. The Groaning of the Christian vss. 23-25

The believer groans because the curse brought on this world affects us even after we are saved. If we meet a madman on the street, we may be killed just as quickly as anyone else. If we are in the path of a storm, we may be swept away as quickly as anyone else. As these things happen to us and our families, we groan. Sometimes we hardly know how to pray. Somebody knows what I’m talking about! You’ve been there. Oh, the groaning in the Christian life and in our prayers.

C. The Groaning of the Spirit vss. 26-28

But, my dear Christian friend, the Spirit of God is working in you. Even when you don’t know how to pray, the Spirit of God in you takes the correct message to heaven. If all you know to do is fall down and weep bitter tears, but you do so in faith before God, the Spirit translates those tears into heavenly words and carries them to the father. My, my, what a wonderful thing God has done for us by placing His Holy Spirit – literally, the presence of Jesus – in us.

IV. Freedom from Separation 29-39

We are more than conquerors. Nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ. Absolutely nothing!

What we have here are five unanswerable questions.

A. God is for us, who is against us? (v. 31)

Without the introductory clause, I can think of quite a few adversaries such as the world, flesh and the Devil. Paul's question is "If God is for us" –– the God who foreknew, predestined, called, justified, and even glorified us, if that God is for you –– "who is against us?" "With God on our side, who can be against us?" (New Jerusalem Bible). Our English word "if" gives the idea of possible doubt, but the original language implies no doubt. The "if" in this passage is a first class condition indicating certainty. It has the idea "if as is the case," or "since." Philippians 1:6, "For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus." The LORD God is not going to stop until He has conformed us to the image of His Son. "God is for me." He is not hostile. God is for sinners who come to Him and receive His abundant grace. Since "God plus me is a whole person" what does it matter who may be against me. Our text assumed that the Lord is on the side of His people. Our confidence is in God alone. We have peace with God because we have been reconciled (8:1; 5:1-2, 5). God is for us in a way that produces His highest "good" in our lives and accomplishes His eternal purpose. Since God is for us, all things work together for our good.

Let me give you a verse of scripture to write down and memorize this week: "The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the defense of my life; whom shall I dread?” (Psalm 27:1). Those words will give you encouragement this week, every week and every day. No foe can prevail against people who supported by God! Since God is for us, what difference does it make who is against us? Here is encouragement and assurance in our times of suffering: God is for me and not against me!

B. If God graciously gave His Son for us, will He not freely give us all things? (v. 32).

How can we be certain God will meet all our needs? We are certain because of His supreme act of love. "He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?" (v. 32). The cross proves the generosity of God. God gave up His most treasured possession in heaven for us (I Peter 1:18-19). Even though there existed a very special and unique union between the Father and the Son, the Father still "gave Him up for us all."

God graciously gave His Son as a free gift. Jesus reminds us in John chapter ten that this was also His volitional choice –– He gave Himself "for us." He was delivered up for our transgressions. The words "for us" have the meaning "in the stead of." Substitution is included in this passage. He died in our stead or in our place. Christ stood in our place. He died as our substitute. He did it "for us all." No one is going to get left out who places true faith in Christ. This is not universalism. The "us" refers to born again Christians. Cf. Gal. 2:20; Rom. 4:25.

He has given us His Son - do you think He is going to hold back anything else we need to live the Christian life? God will never turn to someone He has delivered through the sacrifice of His Son and say, “I no longer love you and I no longer want you as my own." We are forever secure in His everlasting love and grace.

C. Who will bring any charge against God's elect? (v. 33)

Christ, our Advocate, pleads our case before the Father. Our conscience accuses us, the Devil never ceases, carnal Christians grumble, we blow it, but no charge against us will stand! Why? No charge will stand because Christ paid it all!

Yes, there are many who will attempt to bring a charge against us before God, but God is the Judge and He has already acquitted me (v. 33). Since "God is the one who justifies" our justification can never be removed.

2 Corinthians. 5:21 reads, "He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him." God has taken us to court to show us that there is no condemnation for those who are "in Christ Jesus" (8:1). Now if God is not listening to these accusations, then why should we? "Since it is God who justifies, the believer's justification can never be overthrown" (Morris, p. 337). He adds in a footnote by Dodd, "The only cure is 'justification by faith' - the faith that the infinite love of God in Christ takes charge of our whole life, sins and all."

D. Who shall condemn us? (v. 34)

Sometimes our hearts condemns us, but it is Christ, not our heart, that matters in the final analysis. "Who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us" (v. 34). The only one who has the right to condemn us is Jesus Christ and He died for us! Jesus Christ now lives in us. We have His life and power imparted to us. He lives His life in us – the risen, overcoming, victorious life!

Now let me share something very important with you. Christ is either your judge or your Savior. If He is your Savior, you have felt His call, and you have surrendered to Him by faith. Without Him, you stand condemned already. Which are you today? You can come to Him today and trust Him as your Savior. You can know the victory I am describing right now, at this very moment!

Those of us who have accepted Christ as Lord and Savior are free from separation. We will never be separated from our relationship to God in this life or the life to come. A. T. Robertson well said, "Our Advocate paid the debt for our sins with his blood. The score is settled. We are free (8:1)."

E. Who will separate us from Christ’s love for us? (v. 35)

The answer is evident – NOTHING!

Sure, in this life we will suffer, but our suffering and labor is never in vain. We are victors. But, we are more than victors and more than conquerors. A conqueror is someone who goes in and fights a battle, defeating the enemy and taking the spoils. We are more than conquerors because we have received the spoils without putting up a fight. Jesus fought the battle for us. We have received all and everything through Him. A conqueror is someone who may be defeated in a subsequent battle. We can never be defeated because our Lord won the battle once for all. Oh, what a joy to live in this world knowing that here is:

No Condemnation
No Obligation
No Frustration, and
No Separation!
Conclusion

How can I experience this freedom as a reality in my life? I need to acquire what Christ accomplished! How? Through the Spirit. Look at 2 Corinthians 3:17, “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” Freedom is found where the Spirit is around! We need to let go and let God’s Spirit have control of our lives. There is freedom there. There is freedom there. There is freedom there!

Far out at sea a man was standing by the rail of a small ship. He was filled with anxiety as he watched a mass of billowing clouds illumined by shafts of lightning. Just then the skipper of the vessel came along. Noting the troubled expression on the face of his passenger and the black sky in the distance, he quickly offered some words of assurance. "You're not concerned about that storm, are you?" he inquired. "If you are, you can relax and forget your worries. It has already passed, is going in the other direction and can do us no harm!"

Now we are free - there's no condemnation;
Jesus provides a perfect salvation:
"Come unto Me," oh, hear His sweet call,
Come, and He saves us once for all. (Philip Bliss)