Liberty in the Spirit
in hope of Glorification

In a Brief Survey of the Epistle of Paul to the Romans
Based on sermons preached in PCC Worship Services, July 2003 to Sep 2005
Part 32c of 83

 

1  There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit….” (Romans 8:1-11).

[The apostle Paul is, in the first eleven verses of Romans 8, explaining how he finds liberty to live the Christian life despite knowing that he still struggles against sin. His secret, simply stated, is his apprehension of four spiritual benefits purchased by Christ for him, namely justification, regeneration, glorification and adoption. We have considered how he rests upon justification and the new life. In this third instalment, we must look at how he finds liberty through the hope of glorification. —JJL]

3.  Freedom & Assurance in
 Hope of Glorification

Paul says:

11 But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.

Paul, you will realise, is still speaking about the indwelling of the Spirit. Not only does the Spirit quicken your soul and sanctify you, … He also ensures that you will be raised again from the dead one day. Today we continue to struggle with sin because a remnant of corruption remains in us. This remnant is largely in our bodies. This is why Paul says that sin dwells in his flesh and in his members.

When will we have complete victory over sin? It must be when our bodies are also renewed. Yes, when you die, your body will no longer be a source of temptation. Your soul will be made perfect in holiness. But you will not be complete without your body!

When will you be complete and perfect? It will be when your body is raised again from the dead—when the corruptible puts on incorruption and the mortal puts on immortality (1 Cor 15:53)! When our bodies are raised again, it will be incorruptible and we will be without sin— body and soul! What a glorious prospect!

This is why Paul is assuring us of the Resurrection! Indeed we are not only assured of the Resurrection, we have a guarantee! And it is not just a verbal guarantee. It is a guarantee with His being!

This is what Paul is saying: if the Spirit who raised Christ from the dead dwells in you, He will, of course, raise you up too!

Elsewhere, Paul makes it clear that the Holy Spirit is God’s deposit and guarantee that we will one day be made perfect in righteousness. He says in Ephesians 1:13:

“… after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, 14 Which is the earnest [or deposit and pledge] of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory” (Eph 1:13-14).

What a glorious thought. We have an inheritance waiting for us in heaven.

We are all anxiously waiting to receive it because we know that until then we cannot fully glorify or enjoy God as we desire to do in our heart. This is why we feel wretched today.

But thanks be to God, we have His guarantee that we will receive the inheritance in full one day. We will receive it in full at the Resurrection! But today, God has already given us a foretaste of it. He has given us a portion of the inheritance as a pledge to His promise!

When you buy a house, you give a substantial deposit to indicate that you are interested in it. This is your earnest. God is not buying anything from us. Instead He wants to give us something of infinite value; and He has given us an earnest to guarantee that He will keep His promise. This earnest is the Holy Spirit who is already at work in us. What greater assurance do we need from our heavenly Father?

We can have no doubt that God will give us our eternal inheritance. We can have no doubt that He will raise us up again at the Last Day.

This is the Father’s will. This is a goal of the Son’s ministry. Listen to the testimony of our Lord:

38 … I came down from heaven, [He says] not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. 39 And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day” (Jn 6:38-39)

It is the will of the Father that we will be raised again. It is the culmination of the Son’s ministry. It is the guarantee of the Holy Spirit indwelling us. We will one day be raised incorruptible. We will one day glorify and enjoy God without any hindrances at all. Oh what a glorious day to look forward to!

Conclusion

Here again are the three things that encourage us in our Christian walk despite our struggles. First, there is no condemnation to them who are in Christ Jesus. Second, the Holy Spirit has not changed our hearts, but is indwelling us and changing us day by day. And third, the Holy Spirit is given unto us as God’s guarantee that we will one day glorify and enjoy Him perfectly.

What shall we say to these things? Listen to Paul’s own conclusion:

12 Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. 13 For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. 14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God” (Rom 8:12-14)

God willing, in our next study, we will consider what it means to “mortify the deeds of the body,” but for now let us take heed to some of the things we have discussed thus far.

First, as there is no condemnation to them who are in Christ, let us walk confidently in Him. Let us serve Him with the assurance that God will not be unrighteous to forget our labours of love.

Second, as the Spirit has changed us and indwells us, let us not walk by our own wisdom. Let us live with a consciousness that we are the temple of the Holy Spirit. Let us not walk after the flesh, but after the Spirit. Let us feed our soul with the Word. And let us take heed to the prompting of the Holy Spirit through our conscience.

Third, as we have a guarantee that we will be raised incorruptible one day, let us look forward to that glorious day patiently. Let us pray that that day may soon come. But let us believe that that day will come and so let us walk by faith and by hope without getting discouraged at our failures today.

But once again, allow me a word with you if you are reading this article, but you are still walking after the flesh. Realise that the benefits which we talk about this day does not belong to you, no, not until and unless you repent of your sin and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ for your salvation.

May I again urge you not to remain complacent! When the apostle says, “There is no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus,” he is saying at the same time: There is condemnation to them which are out of Christ Jesus. The Lord Jesus Himself says:

“He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God” (Jn 3:18)

If you are outside Christ, you are a condemned man. God has condemned you and all that you do is condemned. Oh do you not see that you have no hope apart from Christ because you are a sinner. But Christ was condemned for sinners such as you. If you know yourself to be a sinner, will you not flee to him that He may give you life everlasting? Amen.

—JJ Lim