In our fellowship this last Sunday, we took a break from our study through John’s Gospel to look at Romans 1:16-17, and simply consider the “good news;” the Gospel. It’s always refreshing to take time to ponder the pervasive power of God’s forgiveness and grace!
If you read the Bible from the beginning, you know that by page 3, we’ve blown it.
At the first temptation to exert our own will over God’s will, we caved. I say “we,” because if you’ve seen two, you’ve seen them/us all. But God (and it’s worth noting how frequently this idea of “but God” shows up in Paul’s writings), Who is rich in mercy and grace, immediately made known His plan to redeem that which had just been lost (*read Genesis 3). When we arrive at the cross and the resurrection of Jesus Christ, we finally see fulfilled the means of procuring and securing the redemption promised and set in motion so long ago in the garden.
In Romans 7:15-8:1 the Apostle Paul similarly connects these same truths by acknowledging the devastating bad news of his (and by extension, our) lost condition because of sin, then immediately following it with the explosive joy found in recognizing his (and our) new position/condition because of Christ’s finished work. “There is therefore (because of the finished work of Christ) now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus!” And, as he continues: “The Law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the Law of sin and death.” Truly, whom the Son sets free is free indeed! (John 8:36)
Freedom in Christ begins with being made free from the penalty of our sin in regard to our salvation – those in Christ no longer have to live in fear of judgement when we stand before the Lord (then). But what’s more, we are free to live out our lives (now) in the knowledge that though we will stumble along the way – and we will (see Romans 7:15-24), we can rest in the knowledge that His grace, afforded us by Christ’s finished work, covers us abundantly (Romans 5:20).