Free in Christ

Therefore, there is now no condemnation
for those who are in Christ Jesus,
because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit
who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.
Romans 8:1-2 (NIV)

For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. Romans 8:3-4 (NIV)

I was encouraged recently to read an article in a Christian magazine about how churches in the USA are reaching out to inmates in penitentiaries. A church will be given access to a prisoner and will visit, send letters and cards, and help them celebrate birthdays and Christmas. They are committed to helping the person when they are paroled by finding housing, helping them find employment and continuing to witness in various acts of love and, of course, helping them find a church home.

Our verses today speak to the privilege of every child of God concerning their salvation. What we all owe to our Creator is perfect and perpetual obedience to all He commands. None of us can possibly offer to God a sinless life and so we come under the condemnation of the law when it says (Ezekiel 18:4),

“The soul that sins shall die”

When we become Christians the righteousness of Christ is given to us (1 Corinthians 1:30). We are considered as righteous as our Lord Himself. The reason Jesus came into history and lived a perfect sinless life was to provide for us the righteousness the law required but we could not attain. In dying for us He took all the punishment our sins deserved. A wonderful poem was written to develop this truth and is as follows. May it bless your heart as much as it blesses mine each time I read it.

A debtor to mercy alone, of covenant mercy I sing;
Nor fear, with Thy righteousness on,
my person and off’ring to bring.
The terrors of law and of God with me can have nothing to do;
My Savior’s obedience and blood
hide all my transgressions from view.
The work which His goodness began,
the arm of His strength will complete;
His promise is Yea and Amen, and never was forfeited yet.
Things future, nor things that are now,
nor all things below or above,
Can make Him His purpose forgo, or sever my soul from His love.
My name from the palms of His hands eternity will not erase;
Impressed on His heart it remains, in marks of indelible grace.
Yes, I to the end shall endure, as sure as the earnest is giv’n;
More happy, but not more secure, the glorified spirits in Heav’n.

-A. M. Toplady

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