The Christian life is a life of freedom and joy. We are told we can come confidently to the throne of Grace (Hebrews 4:16). But when do we lose this privilege? Are there sins that can keep us from God? Can we walk away from the grace that has been delivered to us? How secure are we, anyway?
We’ll be spending a lot of time in the most comprehensive chapter in the Bible on the topic: Romans 8.
He Has Set Us Free
What, exactly, does the Bible mean when it says:
“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.” -Romans 8:1-2
You see, we are utterly free from the law of – ‘If you sin, you will die’. God Himself, who is all knowing and all powerful, has pardoned us, and promised us eternal life. Now, no sin will ever be counted against us again. We still sin, but the counter has been reset to zero, and God took the batteries out.
We’re secure because God has forgiven us.
He Has Given Us the Spirit
Who do these insane promises apply to? Who are these people who are freed completely from condemnation? Is anyone who prayed a prayer free? Can we just sin and enjoy forgiveness, and not worry about serving God?
Let’s look again at 8:1.
“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” -Romans 8:1
Who is it that is “in Christ Jesus”?
“You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.” -Romans 8:9
Only if you have the Spirit of Christ, do these promises apply to you. Which brings us, once again, to one of my all time favorite doctrines: regeneration. Regeneration is a work of the sovereign grace of God to change the heart, mind, and will of a sinner into that of a believer. It is the moment the Holy Spirit enters and takes up residence in the believer. Without this indwelling of the Spirit, we are incapable of believing.
“no one can say “Jesus is Lord” except in the Holy Spirit.” -1 Corinthians 12:3
So follow me. If someone is not regenerate they do not have the Spirit, If someone does not have the Spirit they are not in Christ, and if someone is not in Christ they are not freed from the law of sin and death. While many may claim that they know Christ, some are deceived. Anyone can say they’re Christians, but only those who have the Holy Spirit belong to God.
“For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.” -Romans 8:14
These people, who now love God and no longer have a heart that is rebellious, will never ultimately walk away from Him. Anyone who does walk away, proves they were never regenerate to begin with. We will have eternal life only “If indeed the Spirit of Christ dwells in us”.
We’re secure because God gave us His Spirit.
He has Planned It All
“And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.” -Romans 8:30
Please note two things about this chain of events: 1. They are all past tense. 2. Not one of them is a work of man.
In God’s mind the glorification (conformity to Christ’s image in eternity) of His elect people is already as complete as their predestining. As far as God is concerned, everyone who is in Christ is as good as glorified.
Secondly, since man didn’t predestine himself, call himself, or justify himself, to say we can stop God from the final step is just silly. Salvation is, in every way, of the Lord. There is nothing we accomplish, contribute, or decide that helps God save us. This is what grace means. Grace is God lavishing His love and mercy on people who, not only don’t deserve it, but never even wanted it.
We’re secure because God has planned it.
He Won’t Let Us Go
“For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” -Romans 8:38-39
If you can think of something that doesn’t fit in this list, you’ve found the loophole. Paul did us a pretty big favor with that last one. I certainly can’t think of anything that isn’t “in all creation”… besides God of course, and speaking of God:
“Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies.” -Romans 8:33
We’re secure because God won’t let anything take it away.
He Gave His Son
“For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.” -Romans 8:3-4
Because we couldn’t obey, God has taken the punishment owed to believers and placed it PERFECTLY on his Son. He has, in effect, “condemned sin in the flesh”. And now the righteous requirements, the very perfect life that Christ lived, is fulfilled vicariously in us… those who walk in the Spirit. This is the finished work of the atonement.
Christ’s sacrifice removes every sin from every believer. His obedience gives us a perfect standing before God. And His resurrection guarantees that we will be raised to glory.
“If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.” -Romans 8:11
Christ is not trying to save people. Christ has saved His people. And every person for whome Christ has died, has eternal life. The promise of God to His elect is not a temporary conditional security.
We’re secure because Christ is a perfect Savior.