READ | SERMON NOTES
Summary l At the end of Romans 7, there is a desperate cry, “Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?” (Romans 7:24). If the book were to end at this point, we would be in total hopelessness. Chapter 8 brings hope as Paul describes our new life in Christ.
Romans 8:1-11 describe life in the Spirit. The verses contain a thesis statement (vs.1-2), an explanation (vs.3-8) and describe who a Christian is (vs.9-11). Romans 8:12-17 describe our sonship and the significance of our relationship with God.
Freedom from sin and death (Romans 8:1-4)
We are incapable of attaining salvation through the law. But we are not condemned because we have died in Christ. Those who belong to Him escape death. Freedom in Christ is available to us now. God the Father delivered us by sending His Son to fulfil the law and God the Holy Spirit applies the benefits of this salvation to us. The Triune God works actively together to redeem us. What are some of the areas that enslave us? Does guilt, anxiety, or a sense of failure hold us in bondage? What sins are we struggling with?
The first discipleship lesson is that obedience is a necessary part of Christian life. We need to take the first step to accept what God has done for us. We acknowledge that freedom from sin comes from God and that no one is beyond God’s reach. God’s resurrection power is available to all, for only the Spirit can bring forth new life.
Fulfilment in new life in the Spirit (Romans 8:5-11)
Non-believers walk according to the flesh (vs. 5a), set their minds on the flesh (vs 6), are hostile toward God (vs. 7) and cannot please God (vs. 8). In contrast, believers set their minds on the Spirit (vs 5b), leading to peace and life. What do we focus on for fulfilment? Is it pleasure, power, success and significance? What brings true fulfilment? Vs 9-11 describe the Christian who, through the power of the Spirit, is made alive and has eternal life. Who is in charge of your life? Who calls the shots?
The second discipleship lesson is that the power to live a Spirit-led life is available to us. We are alive in God. Reject lies that our identity and self-worth depend on anything other than God’s love for us. Human success, physical appearances and other transient pursuits will not bring fulfilment. Only life in the Spirit frees us from bondage.
Fellowship with the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:12-17)
We have a choice: to live according to the flesh or by the power of the Spirit. The former lives to please oneself without any thought of God or others. On the other hand, knowing that we are indebted to God and empowered by the Spirit, enables us to make right choices. Our obligation is to the new life, reflecting our identity in God. As children of God by adoption (vs 14-17), we receive all rights and have our debts cancelled. As believers, we have been chosen, adopted and loved as heirs to God’s promises. We are now intimately connected to the Father as His children.
The third discipleship lesson is we can cry out to our Abba Father (vs.15). Do not forget who we are in Christ. When tempted, the Spirit gives testimony of what is already true. Live moment by moment in the power of the Holy Spirit.
Five practical steps to walk in the power of the Holy Spirit:
- Walk intentionally – choose to walk consciously with the Spirit in a God-honouring way.
- Walk continually – always and everywhere.
- Walk humbly – depend on and submit to the Holy Spirit.
- Walk obediently – willingly and joyfully from our heart.
- Walk prayerfully – seek God’s help, asking for the Spirit’s empowerment.
(Sermon notes by Angela Goh)
PONDER | REFLECTION QUESTIONS
- Read Romans 8:1-17.
- How does Paul connect Romans 8:1-4 with the main themes found in Romans 7?
- Ponder the seriousness of sin and the reality of God’s judgment carefully.
- Freedom From Sin And Death
- There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus!” (Rom 8:1).
- Share what it means for you to be “in Christ”?
- How have you experienced freedom in Christ?
- Fulfilment In New Life In The Spirit
- List the series of contrasts in Romans 8:5-11.
- How can you tell the difference between those who are concerned with the “flesh” and those concerned with the “Spirit”?
- How would you describe your Christian life?
- Share how you find fulfilment in life in the Spirit.
- Fellowship With The Holy Spirit
- Paul begins Romans 8:12-17 by saying that we are in debt, not to the “flesh” but to God.
- How can you live this week in the specific knowledge of being in debt to God?
- Share how you can intentionally walk in step with the Holy Spirit.
- Paul explains that the Christian discovers a new identity, picking up Israel’s vocation in the Old Testament: adoption.
- How is adoption a wonderful image of the work of God in the lives of believers?
- Spend some time sitting in silence, giving thanks and praise for being in debt, not to sin and death but to God. Offer short prayers of thanksgiving, giving glory to God for adopting us as his children.