by Darrel Cline (darrelcline biblical-thinking.org)
Chapter # 8 Paragraph # 1 Study # 1 May 15, 2007 Lincolnton, N.C.
(312)Thesis:The freedom from condemnation is absolute.
Introduction:Last week, as we wound up our study of chapter seven, we noted that Paul came to a singularly important conclusion as a result of his own personal struggles against the dominion of Sin in his body: that, though he serves the Law of God with his mind, the victory over Sin is by the grace of God through Jesus Christ. The conclusion we draw is that he was teaching that the "mind's" contribution to "victory" is its focus upon the God of all Grace and what He has done through Jesus Christ. The mind has no "power" over the actions of the body; it only has the "power" of focus and the alternatives of "focus" are "Law" or "Grace". The mind's focus upon the Grace of God results in the dominion of the Spirit over the body and the mind's focus upon the Law of God results in the dominion of Sin over the body. Thus, at any given point of time, we are either "focused" upon God's willingness to act on our behalf, or we are "focused" upon our "responsibility" before God to act on His behalf.
Now we come to chapter eight. It begins with a broad conclusion regarding Paul's teaching in chapter seven. That conclusion is that there is no condemnation to them who are in Christ Jesus. But, there are some issues.
I. The Meaning of "Condemnation".
A. The word is only used by Paul and he only uses it in Romans.
1. It is an intensified form of the typical word for "judgment".
2. Here is a singularly important reality: nowhere does any biblical author teach that any person will not be "judged"; but, whatever this intensified form means, in each of the three places where Paul uses it in Romans it is something from which certain people are exempt.
B. The verb form of this intensified version of "to judge" is used in contexts where the issue is not being "judged", but being "shown to be qualified for rejection" (Matthew 12:41) because those to be rejected refused the solution for their sins.
1. The word often goes beyond "proving the qualification for rejection" to the "imposition of the penalty for being so qualified" (Matthew 20:18).
2. It is always the immediate context that reveals whether the "point" is that a person is being shown to qualified for rejection or that he is being subject to rejection.
C. Paul, in Romans eight, is dealing, not with whether we are "qualified to be rejected", but whether we "will be rejected."
II. The Content of the Text.
A. The AV has the words "who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit", but the NASB does not.
1. This is a reflection of the manuscripts that lie behind the translations.
a. The AV is a translation that rests upon certain manuscripts which were available in the 17th century.
b. The NASB is a translation that rests upon a comparison of a vastly larger number of available manuscripts and a set of decisions that have been made in light of the fact that there are variations between those manuscripts.
2. The problem this raises has been variously "handled" by people throughout history.
a. The problem is this: what did God actually say and how do we know?
b. The problem can be handled mindlessly by simply claiming that the text you have is the "right" one.
c. The problem can be handled by investigation of both the external facts regarding the manuscripts and the internal facts of the context.
B. The text should not have the words "who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit" for both external and internal reasons.
1. The external facts lean heavily in the direction that the words were added to the text by a later copyist for some reason.
2. The internal fact is that the phrase makes no sense.
a. The text raises the issue of whether a person will be "condemned" or not.
b. The added phrase makes the issue a question of whether a "perfect" person will be condemned, or not.
c. But the context is not dealing with "perfect" people; it is dealing with a defeated person.
d. There is absolutely no "point of contact" between the idea of victory by the grace of God and the idea of freedom from condemnation by "performance" issues.
1) "Condemnation" is only addressed three times in Romans.
2) In two of those three times, the solution is "justification".
a) Justification is always presented in the Bible as the result of "vicarious", outside-of-you, activity accomplished by Jesus Christ.
b) Sanctification is presented in the Bible as the result of "vicarious", inside-of-you, activity accomplished by the Spirit of Christ.
c) Condemnation is associated by Paul with "justification", not "sanctification", because "condemnation" is being relegated to eternal Gehenna and "sanctification" is related to placement within the Kingdom.
III. The Surrounding Theological Declarations.
A. Romans 4:8; a declaration made in the midst of the issue of "justification".
B. Romans 8:33; a declaration that has within it the issue of "justification".
IV. The Declaration Itself.
A. The phrase "in Christ Jesus" was developed out of the Romans five issue of whether a person is "in Adam" or "in Christ" as the heads of humanity.
B. The phrase means that it is the qualifications of Jesus Christ that make a person free from condemnation so that the only way condemnation can occur is if there was a flaw, or lack, in the provision of Jesus Christ.