Rom 7:24 O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?
Rom 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit
Listen to what brother Matthew Henry has to say about Romans 8:1..........
"I. The apostle here begins with one signal privilege of true Christians, and describes the character of those to whom it belongs: There is therefore now no condemnation to those that are in Christ Jesus, Rom_8:1. This is his triumph after that melancholy complaint and conflict in the foregoing chapter - sin remaining, disturbing, vexing, but, blessed be God, not ruining. The complaint he takes to himself, but humbly transfers the comfort with himself to all true believers, who are all interested in it. 1. It is the unspeakable privilege and comfort of all those that are in Christ Jesus that there is therefore now no condemnation to them. He does not say, There is no accusation against them, for this there is; but the accusation is thrown out, and the indictment quashed. He does not say, There is nothing in them that deserves condemnation, for this there is, and they see it, and own it, and mourn over it, and condemn themselves for it; but it shall not be their ruin. He does not say, There is no cross, no affliction to them or no displeasure in the affliction, for this there may be; but no condemnation. They may be chastened of the Lord, but not condemned with the world. Now this arises from their being in Christ Jesus; by virtue of their union with him through faith they are thus secured. They are in Christ Jesus, as in their city of refuge, and so are protected from the avenger of blood. He is their advocate, and brings them off. There is therefore no condemnation, because they are interested in the satisfaction that Christ by dying , made to the law. In Christ, God does not only not condemn them, but is well pleased with them, Mat_17:5. 2. It is the undoubted character of all those who are so in Christ Jesus as to be freed from condemnation that they walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit. Observe, The character is given from their walk, not from any one particular act, but from their course and way. And the great question is this, What is the principle of the walk, the flesh or the spirit, the old or the new nature, corruption or grace? Which of these do we mind, for which of these do we make provision, by which of these are we governed, which of these do we take part with? "............
So brothers and sisters, by which of these are we governed? By which of these do we walk in? Do we walk in the path of grace? Or do we continue to walk in the path of condemnation? We are free men indeed. This army of prayer warriors that Christ is raising up is not an army of slaves to sin, but an army of freed slaves. Freed from the power of sin. Freed from the destruction of corruption. We are free to sing the glories of the Living God in a world that is dying. Just as the slaves that threw of their shackles and followed Spartacus and struck terror into the heart of the Roman Empire, we are so much more than them, for we did not throw of our own shackles, they were taken from us. And by no mere man, but the man Christ Jesus. He delivered us by the bloody battle field of Calvary.
Yes brothers and sisters, we must stand before the cross and look up. Up there is the victory, up there is the triumph up there my God and yours blotted out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and has taken it out of the way, nailing it to the cross.Having stripped rulers and authorities, He made a show of them publicly, triumphing over them in it. (col 2:14-15) As we look up there, we turn from our own sin, we do not run from it. We look up and see our sin upon the cross in the form of Jesus. And as we gaze up, we see our sin defeated as our Saviour cries out Father , Forgive them, for they know not what they do. And as we look up, we hear the final death blow and destruction of our sin It is finished.
If we will be warriors and march in that glorious army of the redeemed ,then brothers and sisters, come away from Oh wretched man that I am. Come away and walk in the glorious light of Calvary, of freedom. We look at our sin and in our audacity we struggle to overcome it and this becomes the thrust of our lives. And amazingly we are often proud of this, proud to be missing in action. Proud to be absent without official leave. Proud that we live in an eternal struggle against sin, proud that we are not like the wicked world. Proud that we have a conscience and do not sleep well at night. We choose to dwell under condemnation, we choose to allow the enemy to control our lives , we choose to remain silent because the accuser of the brethren whispers in our ears you are nothing but a wretched man, look at yourself, look in the mirror, cast your eyes upon your sin and see that you are worthless in this battle. No brothers and sisters, look to Jesus, not to yourself. Look up, look up, look up and see your freedom. If we listen to the enemy of our souls, the accuser , the condemner, then we nullify Calvary in our lives and take ourselves out of the battle.
The Lord says Look to me, I am the author and the finisher of your faith. Shall we begin in the Spirit and attempt to finish this journey in the flesh? Brothers and sisters, if you would join this ancient army, this army that was and is and is to come, if you would march in lockstep with Gideon and with David and with Joshua, if you would run towards Goliath, if you would take on ten thousand and slay them all, if you would kneel down in the arena of life as the lions approach, if you would take your place with the heroes of faith then it is high time that we take our eyes of of ourselves and look up.
God in heaven, our Heavenly Father has said Yea, I have set my King on My holy hill, on Zion. I will declare the decree of Jehovah. He has said to me you are my Son, today I have begotten you. Ask of me and I shall give the nations for your inheritance and the uttermost parts of the earth for your possession. The work is the Lords brothers and sisters, we are His army and we have been called to fight. Joshua was commissioned to take the land. David declares I am not afraid of ten thousands of people who have set themselves against me all around.
And the Prophet Micah says Will Jehovah be pleased with thousands of Rams, with ten thousands of rivers of oil. Shall I give my first-born for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul. He has shown you oh man, what is good. And what does Jehovah require of you but to do justice and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.
Brothers and sisters, when I look up I see humility. I see my Lord humbled and naked for the whole world to see. Nothing hidden. When I look up I see justice. I see sin condemned. Oh brothers and sisters when I look up I see mercy . Mercy for me, mercy for me, mercy for me. I do not see my own condemnation, I see my Jesus. Yes, I see Jesus. There is therefore, now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who walk not according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.
Oh what a glorious freedom. Free indeed, free indeed , free indeed. Free indeed to stand and fight. To battle even unto death, with my fellow freed men. I pray today that those whom the Son has set free will push the doors of their captivity of wretchedness, that they would realize their freedom, that they would reckon their freedom and walk out of their cells into the glorious sunlight of no condemnation and join the Lords army in these the final days of the battle, one more battle in the war that is already won.
Why would we chose to stay in our cells after being freed? Why would we not choose to walk in the power of the Spirit, the power of the Spirit that Peter and Stephen walked in? Is it because we are afraid of the confrontation? Directly after Pentecost Peter confronts the crowd. By the power of the Spirit of God he now speaks. He is not denying Jesus, He is confessing Jesus with great boldness and his words cause them to be stabbed in the heart. This phrase, in the Greek means to penetrate, to violently agitate, to pierce. You see brothers and sisters, if we walk in the Spirit like Peter did, like Stephen did, we will be used in the front lines of the battle . Yet many of us have no desire to be in the front line of the battle. It is much safer to remain in our cells of wretchedness and introspection. On the front lines there is no neutral place.
It is victory or it is death. Do we really want to live that kind of life. Can we stand before the living God , right now , and say, yes Lord we are willing? It was victory for Peter as he saw 3000 added that day, it was victory for Stephen as he spoke and in Acts 7 we are told that his audience were cut to the heart. The time , brothers and sisters, has come for us to arise and stab men in the heart and see men saved or to cut to the heart and be stoned. We have no time left for neutrality. Do we really want this power? Do we really want this power? If we do, if we truly want this last day revival, this modern day reformation ,then you ask, what must we do, let us look and see what brother Stephen did
Act 7:55 But being full of the Holy Spirit, looking up intently into Heaven, he saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God.
Act 7:56 And he said, Behold, I see Heaven opened and the Son of Man standing on the right hand of God.
Act 7:59 And they stoned Stephen, who was calling on God and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.
Act 7:60 And kneeling down, he cried with a loud voice, Lord, do not lay this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep.
Brothers and sisters, it is time for us to look up. Let us gaze upon Jesus and let our gaze be uninterrupted. Let us look intently into heaven and we will see the Glory of God come down. Oh Lord let your glory fall upon the sleeping church.