There's only one place for the devil as far as the saints are concerned; that's under their feet. Jesus wants to give us an experience where we can bruise Satan under our feet and reign over sin, the flesh, and the devil.
In the seventh chapter of Romans, the Apostle Paul spoke of the great battle he put forth trying to battle sin in his heart and how sin was stronger than his will. It was stronger than the whole inner man. There was no good thing in his flesh. Even with all of his education and with all of his understanding of the Law, Paul was still bound in the fetters of sin till he found Jesus Christ on the road to Damascus. There he found the great deliverance and the One who could set him free and give him victory over sin.
In Romans 8:1-5 we read: "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin [a better translation says an offering for sin], condemned sin in the flesh: That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit."
In other words, the fifth verse is telling us that what we're getting is what we are going after. It is just that plain. I am sorry to say, but it is true, that ever since there has been religion, there have been people professing religion who did not have it. We may talk big with our lips, but what we are going after is what we are acquiring. Everybody who really is desiring to be spiritual is spiritual. Somebody might say, "That's pretty point blank." Well, let's leave it just as the Bible put it.
Let's read verses 5-9: "For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded [a better translation says fleshly minded] is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind [the fleshly mind] is enmity against God: for it's not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his."
I would like to remind us of the necessity of possessing the Spirit of Christ. We're living in a day and time when there's a lot being said about the name of Christ. Matthew, Chapter 7, lets us know that many, many preachers are going to come in that day and say, "Didn't we do many wonderful works in thy name?" Jesus will say, "I never knew you." This coincides with our text, "If any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his."
Condemnation - The Worst Nation
The first verse of Romans, Chapter 8, says, "There is therefore now ..." Now is a present tense word; and this is just letting us know that, through the salvation that Jesus Christ came to bring, we can so live before God that we don't come into condemnation. I know that the religious world has succumbed to the power of sin. The standard of holiness and righteousness has been "tossed out the window" and allowances have been made for sin in almost every brand of religion. However, if we will get the real experience of salvation that God has ordained for us to have, and walk by the rules of it, we will never come into condemnation. God is able to save us from sin and keep us free from sin every day of our natural life while we are awake. We don't have to worry about it while we're asleep. When death comes, we can lay our armor down, because we're going to a place where there will be nothing to tempt us or try us throughout the ceaseless ages of eternity.
Therefore, when the Apostle Paul wrote to the Romans, he was bringing forth a strong Gospel and letting those people know there is therefore no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, or in other words, those who have a real experience with Christ. They had been baptized by one Spirit into that one body in Christ, the church. So Paul told them if they would walk after the Spirit, they would never come into condemnation.
Jesus taught the same thing in John, Chapter 5, where He let us know that if we will have part in the first resurrection (a spiritual resurrection), and if we will walk in the light, we won't come into condemnation.
If we look back in the seventh chapter of Romans, we will see a picture of the struggles of mankind under the power of sin, and there's condemnation on every side. I heard one individual say one time that condemnation was the worst nation in the world, and I think it is. There's nothing worse than condemnation.
I believe that many people would like to live holy and righteous but don't know how. There are many who undoubtedly would accept this great salvation, but false teachings have led them in a path where they have sought the experience with Christ, yet they have failed to gain that which Paul was talking about in Romans, Chapter 8. It's still necessary that the Gospel be preached. Through the foolishness of preaching the Gospel, men and women are saved. The reason they are saved is because the Gospel unfolds God's way and God's plan of leading mankind from a life of sin.
Paul set forth two truths in the first four verses of Chapter 8. Let's read verses 1 and 2 again: "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death." That's the same law of sin and death that he talked about in Romans 7:21-23, and it's nothing more than the law of sin in our members. As long as there's sin in our heart, we're going to obey it in the lusts thereof; according to Romans 6:12, it's a fixed law.
The reason people keep sinning is that sin is in the heart, and as long as sin is in the heart, we're going to add more sins to sin. However, through Jesus Christ, Paul let us know that we can be set free from the law of sin and death. That condition can be changed. Paul was set free from it and was no longer under a bondage like many are under today when they say, "Sin you will, sin you must, and sin you can't help it."
The Tyranny of Sin
Let's read Romans 8:3 in the light of verse one. Verse one said there is no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus. There is no condemnation for sin because sin had been condemned (verse 3). To better understand the work of Christ, we need to look first at sin's hold on mankind. Throughout the Scriptures, sin is personified as dwelling in the flesh, not merely in the body, but in the unregenerated human nature of mankind. The Bible tells us that when we commit sin, we become the servant or the slave of sin. Sin is personified as a tyrant. When we commit sin, our very nature is corrupted by that sin, and sin reigns in our life as a tyrant; we're under sin's power. Paul called it "the law of sin and death." We can change our mind and try to work our will all we want, but as long as we are in sin, we are under the tyranny of it. If we are not in the Spirit, we are in the flesh; and if we are in the flesh, we are in sin.
Jesus spoke these words in Luke 11:21, "When a strong man armed keepeth his palace, his goods are in peace." He was speaking of the devil working through the power of sin in the sinner's heart. He said when a strong man armed keepeth his palace, his goods are in peace. He wasn't talking about the peace that we have; but rather, He was speaking of when the devil gets us to allow sin into our heart, he doesn't need to worry about us ever getting free from sin, because there's nothing we can do and there's nothing any man can do for us: we are bound, and his goods are at peace. The devil does not worry about all the religious moves that man makes, nor does he worry about the traditions of man, the many catechisms, or other religious teachings, because there's nothing that man can do for himself or for one another. That strong armed man keeps his palace (speaking of an individual bound in sin through the work of sin and Satan).
The devil laughs at attempts of the law and moralities of all sorts to cast him out. He will go through water baptism, catechism classes, schools of theology, and forms of religion of all kinds. The devil will go through every bit of it, and we will end up like the majority of those in religion: after we have done everything that church people can do, they will let you know that you are still a sinner. They are advocating this over the television and the radio. After they have finished their message, telling you all about the great work of salvation, they make sure that you understand that, even though you confess your sins and accept Christ as you Saviour, you are still a sinner, and you are still bound by the law of sin and death. I pray that God will help us to see that there's something greater than that force.
When Jesus pictured the strong man keeping his palace, He was letting us know that the palace is the heart and soul of man. Speaking to the Christians, John wrote in 1 John 4:4, "Greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world." When the devil is in our heart, the power of sin has hold of our life. It makes no difference what religious moves we make we are still bound.
The Law's Weakness
In Romans 7:24, the Apostle Paul let us see the pitiful plight of those who desire to be free from sin and can't find deliverance. He said. "O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? You know what Paul had gone through before he made that cry. He was the most strict of the Pharisees. He knew the law forward and backward. He could have said, just as the rich, young ruler, "All these things have I kept from my youth up." He sat at the feet of Gamaliel and received a great education.
Paul had great influence and a strong willpower. When he set his mind to do something, no one changed it. However, with all the strong willpower, all the religion he had, and all the knowledge of the law, he cried out, "O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death." In essence, Paul was saying, "I am bound, and I am in a dead condition, cut off from God. I cannot live right. Nothing that I have laid hold of can help me. There's nothing in my flesh, nothing in my religion, and nothing in my education that can deliver me."
He didn't cry out very long until God looked down from Heaven on the road to Damascus. Jesus spoke out of Heaven, and right then Paul knew there was a greater power in that One speaking to him that neither the Pharisees nor the Mosaic Law knew anything about. Paul said, "Who art thou, Lord? What will you have me to do?"
Paul cried out, "Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?" He sadly admitted the futility of all his efforts to shake the foundation, or the dominion, of sin in his life.
Real salvation makes us able to have the righteousness of the law fulfilled in us; however, we need to know what the righteousness of the law is.
Someone may ask, "Why could the old law not put an end to sin?" The law condemned sin in that it brought God's judgment against sin; it put a sentence on it. The law condemned men who had committed sin to hell, but it could not cast sin out or deprive sin of its power. The law cried for purity. All through the Mosaic Law, we were to be pure and holy and clean in our morals and to be upright in our living. The law cried for purity, but it could not give an ounce of it. Also, the law enjoined obedience, but it could not create obedience. According to Romans 8:3, the old law's weakness was through the flesh. The law was good, just, and holy, but it didn't have power to work through the sinful nature of man. The law's weakness was in the flesh: your flesh and my flesh. It was strong in laying down judgment, but it had no power to help man in any way. Also, man was in such a shape that he could not help himself.
Carnal Man Is Not Subject to the Law of God
The only ones to whom the law could appeal were those already in rebellion. The law speaks to sinners, and sinners are already in rebellion. Romans 8:7 says, "Because the carnal mind [or the fleshly mind] is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God..." The law could only speak to rebels: men and women in whose hearts sin was running rampant.
Someone may question, "Are you saying that all sinners are in rebellion?" That's what sin is. When ministers and laity alike say that they sin more or less, they are telling you that they rebel more or less. Sin is rebellion against the law of God. As long as sin is in our heart, we are under the power of sin; we are under the law of sin and death. That carnal, fleshly mind that we have will not be subject to the law of God. Therefore, the kind of people that the law had to speak to were those already in rebellion.
We might add that a discrowned king, whose only forces to conquer his rebellious subjects are in rebellion themselves, is not likely to regain his throne. Let me explain: God has been discrowned as King where he has been ruled out of the heart of man. Man has gone his own way and rebelled against God; he is in sin. Now the King comes along and asks man to keep His statutes and let Him reign. The only ones to whom He has to look to get any help are those hearts where the rebellion of sin is running rampant. That kingdom will never get set up under those circumstances. God never got it set up under the law because sin was in the heart. Man was in a state where he could not keep the law of God, and the law had no power to change man's condition because it had no ability to bring a new element into our humanity. It appeals to lost, sinful humanity, but it is ineffective in being able to deliver man from his sinful state.
The sinful heart of man rebels against the law of God. This is why the message must be sent forth declaring that we must be born again. Unless we are born again, sooner or later, we are going to rebel against the law of God, rise up against it, walk out on it, and have nothing to do with it. Furthermore, when we rebel against the law of God, we will soon start fighting those who preach it.
Why did they hate Jesus? They didn't hate Him because of the color of His hair or the way He wore His clothes. They hated Him because of the message He preached. he laid requirements on them, but the false religions in that day had let them get by. They hated Jesus. The only way they thought they could stop the message was to hang Him on a cross. Little did they know that when they hung Him on the Cross, they were not stopping anything. They were just turning it loose to be spread to the four corners of the earth, and the same thing is true today. People can't do one thing against the cause of Christ. Everything they try to do to oppose it only spreads it, if God's people live right and do right.
The law had no ability to bring a new element to sinful humanity. In many realms of religion, they are crying unto men and women to measure up to God's law. The cry of the law to lost, sinful humanity is a lost cause. Unless man gets changed, he will never keep the law of God, forced or otherwise. The law appeals to the conscience and the reason of man by declaring what is right. It appeals to the will of man and to the understanding by exhibition of authority. It appeals to the fears of the prudent by setting forth the consequences.
An Offering for Sin
Way back in the council halls of eternity...before God ever created man, he saw what a condition man would get into. And thanks to Him, He made a way to redeem man before He ever made him.
Let's read Romans 8:3, "For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh [the weakness was in men], God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and [an offering] for sin, condemned sin in the flesh." We want to see the wisdom of God in moving to relieve mankind and to change mankind's pitiful condition. Every one of us who came to the age of accountability committed sin, corrupted our nature, and perverted our relationship with God.
What did God do about it? God's work in Christ was that of sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to condemn sin in the flesh. How did God condemn sin in the flesh? By Christ's own perfect life. If we understand this, then we can understand the Psalms and Romans, Chapter 3. These are the texts that false teachers use when they try to fight holiness. They quote Romans 3:10, which says, "As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one." That was the condition before Jesus came. All mankind had fallen into the quagmire of sin except for some holy men whom God had set aside as prophets and patriarchs that he could work through. Surely the Scripture is true which says there is none that doeth good, there is none righteous, no, not one, until Jesus came. Therefore, God's work in Christ to condemn sin was, first of all, by Christ's perfect life.
Someone may say, "Well, that's over in Romans, Chapter 3, which is in the New Testament." If we read the whole chapter, we will find that Paul was quoting the Old Testament. he was telling them that there were none righteous back there, but he went on to tell how Jesus came. When Jesus came, there was One who lived right.
He was the Son of God; however, He was a man just as other men in that He had a flesh to keep under. The law was all right, but the weakness was in the flesh. So God sent His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh. Jesus came down, born of a virgin, and grew up to manhood. He grew up just as all children and young people grow up. God made it very plain that He didn't let Jesus come like the first Adam. If Jesus had come like the first Adam, He couldn't have helped us, because we are the fruit of the womb. Therefore, Jesus came born of a woman. He was to pass through the baby stage, the childhood stage, the adolescent age, and on into manhood. God sent His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, the same flesh that every sinner has in that sense. He came in the realms of sin, wearing the same flesh that had been weakened by the power of sin.
Christ was without sin; however, He had the same kind of weak flesh as people who want to blame the weakness of the flesh for not serving God. The devil will give us a thousand excuses why we don't serve God, but in reality, we don't have one excuse. There's no one anywhere who has heard the Gospel who has any excuse for not living right every day.
The Scripture calls Christ "the Son of God," and He certainly was. He was all God, and He was all man; but God sent His Son in the likeness of sinful flesh. In other words, He had the same kind of flesh that you have. He was just as liable to commit sin and just as tempted.
You may ask, "Do you want to drag Jesus down to our own level?" No, I'm really telling you what the Bible says. One reason why people don't get help is, they see Jesus as high and lifted up, and man as just another creature. They feel there's no way that they can be like Him because He was different than they are. No, when He came down, He came right down where we were. He didn't get any more from Adam that we did. He had the same kind of flesh and the same kind of nature that we have. He was in the likeness of sinful flesh.
What was He going to do? he was going to show the world that a man with weak flesh could have the Spirit of God in his heart and could live holy and say no to every temptation the devil hurled at him. The difference between Him and us is that He didn't make any excuses. He just went to the Father. Right in the midst of sin, He resisted sin's power and defied its results. This likeness of sinful flesh that He had was like a door constantly open to all temptations. The Bible didn't say that He was just in temptation, but it tells us that He was "in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin" (Hebrews 4:15). God is giving us a picture of how He condemns sin in the flesh.
What do we need to be able to live without sin? We need somebody with weak flesh just as we have who has been born of the Spirit of God. We need a man or woman with flesh just as we have with the Spirit of God in our inner being. We can walk just as Jesus did.
To take away sin, the power of the sin of the past must be cancelled and the guilt must be removed. The wall of partition between God and man that sin has brought must be torn down. Therefore, this required more than His obedience. However, I want us to see the first thing He did. He came and lived the life. We let the devil cause us to fix up all those excuses and say, "God knows my weakness." He knew Jesus' weakness, too; however, Jesus was without sin, even though He had every weakness that we have.
Strength in the Spirit
Well, how did Jesus overcome all sin in the flesh? His strength wasn't in the flesh; it was in the Spirit. To take sin away, it took more than a life of obedience. Jesus lived an obedient life, and he condemned sin in the flesh by the perfect life He lived. he knew that a man with weakened flesh such as we have could live pleasing to God, and that he could so live that he could always do those things which please the Father. However, if Jesus was going to remove the guilt of the sins of the past in our lives, He had to do more than just obey. Therefore, He went to the Cross. After He lived a life of perfect obedience where no one could find any fault with Him, God took Him before the governor, the captain, and the high priest. Every one of them said that they found no fault in Him.
The Bible says that when He went to the Cross, he became sin for us and died in our stead. He bore every one of our sins, and He pardoned the sin of the whole world. Through Him, the guilt can be removed and the wall of partition between God and man can be removed. Through the perfect sacrifice of Jesus Christ, we can come in old-time repentance, confess our sins, and find a pardon.
He has promised that he will remove every one of our sins as far as the east is from the west. Then, if we stay right there, we can be justified. Being justified means nothing more than that we can be brought to God. He not only removes our sins, but also He tears down that middle wall of partition that was between us and God. This partition, or veil, that separated us because of our sin, is removed, and we can be brought to God. He signed our pardon with His own precious blood.
Romans 4:25 says that he rose again for our justification. In other words, when we take Him as our Substitute, our Sacrifice, our Savior, the guilt of the past is gone. The veil between us and God is removed, and we are brought to God. Then we're able to come to God, talk to God, and really have a rightful relationship with God. This is what the Bible calls justification. No one but a justified person can come into God's presence. It took the blood of Jesus Christ and His death on the Cross to remove the sins and to take the veil away.
In 1 peter 3:18 we read, "For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God..." This is justification: we are brought to God. The way has been opened up so that our sins can be removed. Everything that was between us and God has been removed. Jesus paid the price on Calvary where we can take Him as our Saviour and our Substitute. When we beg forgiveness, He will remove our sins; and when He removes our sins, we are justified: we can come to God, and He has nothing against us.
People who are in the darkness of false religion are made to feel that there has to be a priest, a pope, or a preacher between us and God. However, Jesus is the only mediator between God and man. he died on Calvary's Cross and shed His blood to open up the way where we can be delivered from our sins and brought to God. We can come right to God justified before Him.
Victory Over Temptation
What was God's work in Christ to redeem mankind? God sent Jesus to live a perfect life to show us how to live holy. What do we need to live holy? We need Jesus in us. Jesus was a man with the same kind of flesh that we have, and He lived right here on the earth and met every kind of temptation.
Somebody said, "Yes, but you don't know my problem." How foolish and how silly the devil can make us look sometimes. He almost gets us to a place of stupidity when we think that our burden is heavier than Jesus' burden was. He was tempted, and He bore His own burdens He was a young man just like anyone else. He was tempted with the opposite sex, tempted to get married, tempted to have a home, and tempted to have a family. However, it wasn't God's will for His life. If this isn't true, why did He, in essence, pray, "Father, remove this cup and let me go another way. However, not my will but thine be done." He was tempted in all points.
Too many times, we think that because He was the Son of God, nothing bothered Him. The same things bothered Him that bother us. He was tempted in all points, yet without sin. Therefore, God's work in Christ was to send a man to live a perfect life. Then after He lived a perfect life and proved the fact that a man in weak flesh could live a life pleasing to God through the Spirit of God, He went to Calvary's Cross and died to remit the sins of our past. He did such a good job that He opened up the way where we can come and take Him as our Sacrifice and our Substitute. We can come, and He will take us right to God. We can stand justified and clear with a conscience void of offense toward God and man, free from condemnation.
God not only sent Christ to condemn sin by obedience and by sacrifice, but He also sent Christ to condemn sin by moving and working in our hearts and lives.
Romans 8:1-2 reads: "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death." We are born again when we start a new life, and we start a new life when we are born of the Spirit of Christ. When He puts the Spirit of Christ in us, we will follow His steps; we will walk as He walks. Christ sacrificed His life and opened up the way to bring us to God, clear and clean. We are justified, not by anything that we have done, but by the blood of Jesus Christ: His sacrifice, death, burial, and resurrection.
Our Scripture text in Romans 8:9 says, "If any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his." Do we have the Spirit of Christ? I want us to see that we must be born of His Spirit. We can possess His Spirit and have his Spirit within us. He will give us power and ability to live even as He lived right here in this present world.
He let us know here that the Spirit of life put a new government in our life. He said in Romans 8:2, "For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death." It's the law of the Spirit that makes us free from the law of sin and death. The blood remits the sins that are past and opens up the way for us to come to God, but we will never be free from the law of sin and death until we get God's Spirit.
Necessity of the Spirit
Romans 8:9 doesn't say that if anyone doesn't have the blood applied, he's none of His. Having the blood applied is necessary, but the Spirit of Christ is as necessary as the blood. "If any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his." Let's look at the universality of that text. It says, "If any man"; that means no one belongs to Christ who doesn't have the Spirit of God, and if he doesn't have the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His. This lets us know that the Spirit is the starting place. Being baptized in water is not the starting place. We don't belong to Christ until we have His Spirit. The sacrifice of Christ just opened up the way to bring us to God.
Now when we come to God, we must invite His Spirit into our heart and life; there is where the victory comes. We can thank God that Christ, who conquers for us, also conquers in us. When He lived on this earth and when He went to Calvary's Cross, He conquered sin and death for us; however, with all that conquering for us, we will never be a conqueror until we let Him come into our heart. Then He will conquer in us just as He conquered for us. That's why Revelation 3:20 says, "Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him..." The same Christ who conquered for us will conquer in us, if we will allow Him to come into our heart and life. Oh, how men and women need to understand this!
Paul teaches the same truth in Romans 5:6, "For when we were yet without strength..." I want us to see that there's more to an experience of salvation than just having faith in the shed blood of Jesus Christ, confessing that Christ is our Saviour, and being baptized with water. If we don't have the Spirit in our life, we're yet without strength.
In Ephesians, Chapter 3, Paul prayed that we might be strengthened with God's might by His Spirit in the inner man. It is the Holy Spirit who gives us strength and gives us life. We can plead the blood, we can confess, but until we're quickened by the Spirit we are still dead. We can go in the baptismal pool, but we will go right back into sin very soon if we don't have the Spirit of Christ. It's the Spirit that quickens; it is the Spirit that giveth life.
Paul said in Romans 5:6-8: "For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
That doesn't sound as if we're sinners now. Often we hear preachers say, "We are all sinners saved my grace." No, I'm not a sinner saved by grace. I am one who used to be a sinner, and now I am saved by grace. When we were yet sinners, Christ died for us, and that's wonderful; however, there's more to it. Verses 9-10 reads: "Much more then, being now justified by his blood [His blood justifies us, remits the sins of the past, brings us to God, and clears us so that we can have audience with God.], we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life."
See, it took His death to save us and justify us from the sins of the past, but it takes His life to save us from the wrath to come. His life is His Spirit, and we have to have the Spirit of Christ within us. If we don't get the life of Christ, or the Spirit of Christ, within us after all the reconciliation that God has made, we will go right out and commit sin and go under the wrath of God again. Therefore, His death reconciles and saves us from the wrath that God had on us for the sins of the past. Now His life (His Spirit within us will save us from wrath to come; not only the wrath to come in eternity, but also the wrath of God that could fall on us today if we're still a sinner. The blood of Jesus Christ, His death, and the power of His resurrection saves us from the guilt and the power of the sins of the past, and His Spirit , or His live, within us saves us from the power of sins in the present. There is no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus.
The great message of Christ's work in us has been lost and widely curtailed in the preaching of this modern Gospel, while the message of Christ's work for us has taken the place of the whole Gospel. Colossians 1:27 speaks of the mystery of godliness and the mystery of real salvation. What is it? Christ in you, the hope of glory. There's no hope of glory right here, and no hope of glory in the future without a living Christ in our heart and life. In Romans 8:2 Paul called it the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus. Also, he let us know in Romans 1:1-4 that the Spirit of Christ is the Spirit of holiness. Right here is where holiness begins.
Let's read Romans 1:1-4: "Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God, (which he had promised afore by his prophets in the holy scriptures,) Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh; And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness..."
Partakers of God's Divine Nature
The Spirit of Christ is the very Spirit of holiness; and if any man hath not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His. Right in the very region where men had ruled, Christ communicates a new nature.
How do we get a new nature? Second Peter 1:4 tells us that we are partakers of God's divine nature. What is God's divine nature? God is a Spirit, and when His Spirit comes into our heart and life, we are a partaker of God's divine nature. If we will follow that new nature (or follow the Spirit, as Paul called it), it will be as natural for us to live holy and righteous as it was natural for us to commit sin when we had a sinful nature. God makes us clean and makes it easier for every one of us. We could never truly appreciate Christ's gift to man until we recognize that He not only died for our sins, but He also lives to impart the principle of holiness by His precious Spirit.
He let us know that Christ came to condemn sin, by living a righteous life. A perfect life in this weak flesh went to Calvary's Cross; He suffered, died, and rose again to relieve us from the guilt and power of the sins of the past. Since he lives, He can impart to us His Spirit; and when His Spirit comes into our heart and life, He will conquer in us just as He conquered for us.
Summing it all up, what is salvation to do for mankind? Some people seem to think that it's just to line us up with some church organization so that we can say that we belong to a church and be sure that we have a preacher to bury us when we die. No, this salvation was given through Jesus Christ for one purpose: that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us. God gave the law back there that He wanted man to obey. Salvation came so that through Christ's great work on Calvary's Cross, at the resurrection, and at His ascension back to glory, His Spirit in our inner man can make us to fulfill the righteousness of the law.
Again, let's read Romans 8:3-4: "For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh [For what was all this work done?]: That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit." The whole scheme and plan of salvation is so that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us.
Now when we speak out against false religions, we're not speaking against personalities or people; but we're speaking out against teachings and systems that are misleading, confusing and deceiving the multitudes. People talk about salvation and about Christ's great work; then they turn right around and say that we cannot please God, we can't keep His law, and we can't obey Him. Well, the whole essence of God's salvation was that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us. That was the whole plan, and we want to tell you with all kindness that if this is not being done in our heart and life, we don't have salvation yet. Thank God, for every move that we've made, but many of us need to dig a little deeper.
What is the righteousness of the law? If we would ask that question today, we would get various ideas, but let's get Paul's answer in Galatians 3:21, "Is the law then against the promises of God? God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law." Righteousness and spiritual life are synonymous. The righteousness of the law is the real life of the law. The Bible lets us know that the Law of Moses was dead in that it was void of the Spirit. All this was done that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us.
Paul said that if there had been a law that could have given life; then righteousness would have been by the law. Therefore, the righteousness of the law is the real life of Christ, in other words, we living as God wants us to live. Jesus came to give us life and to put His Spirit in our inner man. When His Spirit is put there, the righteousness of the law will be fulfilled; we can really live. The old Law of Moses said, "This do and thou shalt live." However, when Christ came, He said, "I am come that ye might have life. Live and you will do this."
Our Scripture text reads, "If any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his." The devil will try to get us to just do better; however, there's no work of salvation really enabling us to have power over sin until the Spirit has wrought His work. We may have been saved twenty-five years; but if there are needs in our spiritual life, we just can't decide that we're going to do better.
It's still the Spirit's work in our heart and life. This is why the letters in the Revelation were written to the seven churches of Asia. There He lets us know that He will not have any one but overcomers. To them that overcome, there is a blessing; and to them that will not overcome, there is nothing but a curse. He ended every letter by saying, "He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Sprit saith unto the churches." In other words, we who have been born of the Spirit of God can understand spiritual things.
I know that many are clinging to the blood of Jesus Christ, and we thank God for His blood. It has done its work, and it had its part in redemption; but if any man has not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His.
Perhaps we have our problems worked out. Perhaps we are financially fixed where we don't need to worry about that. We many be in good health, so we don't have to worry about that. However, I ask, "What are we hanging our eternal welfare upon? We may have faith that He is our Savior, and we may have been baptized in water, but remember that if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His. When he said, "Any man," that includes you, me, the Pope, and any other preacher anywhere else.
Let's get right back to the heart of the thing: The heart of this thing is in the spirit that we manifest. It's not what we know, what we teach, where we go, what we say, how we act. All those things are necessary; but what about the Spirit of Christ? You see, God in Heaven never intended for us to "go out" an unfinished product. On the radio, I heard a man preach a good message on the Name of Jesus. It was a good message, proclaiming the name of Jesus and the power there's in it; but when he got down to the end, he begged for people to come and confess Christ and be baptized. Then he stressed the invitation a little further by saying, "If any of you want to join the church, come on down here." Can you see what I'm talking about?
I believe there were sincere men and women in that audience. They may have gone and pleaded the blood; but if they weren't truly regenerated, if they weren't a partaker of Christ's Spirit, they are an "unfinished product"; and when they try to go out in the world and live victoriously, they're going to be defeated. We need to stay before God until we are regenerated and we possess Christ's Spirit. If we get Christ in this weak flesh, we have the same power that He had. We can live as He lived, walk as He walked, and have the victory that He has ordained us to have.