Something that really bugs me is when people call themselves Christians, but don’t see the need for their Christianity to affect the way they live their lives. Basically they want to live for their flesh and the devil every day of the week (except maybe Sunday) and still have the end reward of heaven… as if that was all we are living for, anyway.
I’m all for grace… it’s pretty much the most amazing thing in my life! But I hate how we use grace to justify partaking of stuff that is essentially destroying our hearts. It seems we weigh our actions based on whether they’ll cause us to lose our salvation or not (and if we’re in the “eternal security” camp, we’re really sitting pretty), rather than making our decisions based on what’s going to draw us into deeper relationship with Jesus.
All that to preface my appreciation for Romans 8:1 & 3-4
There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For what the law could not do… God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteous requirements of the law might be fulfilled in us who live according to the Spirit.
The first part is really familiar… “no condemnation to those who are in Christ.” But we leave off the qualifying aspect of walking according to the Spirit. Verses 3-4 make it even clearer that Jesus fulfilled the law, paid the price, for those who live according to the Spirit! I just don’t see room in this passage for living however we want and then sneaking into heaven under a cloak of “grace.”
Now, understand, in no way do I think these verses are advocating an “earn your way into heaven” mentality. To me, it’s so much more about who has control of our lives. Are we allowing our flesh to pull us around by the nose, or is Holy Spirit the One who motivates our life choices? Because, from what I read in this passage, if it isn’t Holy Spirit, then we’re not in Christ. And if we’re not in Christ, that’s not good.