The Deliverance of the Wretched Man
Within the body of the caterpillar one can discover by means of a microscope a distinct but undeveloped butterfly. As the butterfly nature develops the caterpillar body must be put off. The crawling earthly nature must give place to the new and higher life within.
We have listened to the cry of the wretched man, “Who shall deliver me out of this body of death” Rom. 7:24, then we heard his shout of triumph as he looked away from self to his Deliverer “I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Rom. 7:25.
This note of victory is carried on in Chap. 8 until as we reach the close of the chapter we fling out the challenge to all opposition as we ride in the chariot of grace, more than conquerors thru Him that loved us.
We have left the land of bondage in ch. 3, we enter the land of Beulah in ch. 8 “where the sun shineth night and day, where the orchards and vineyards all belong to the King of the Celestial country and we are licensed to make bold with any of His things. Our ears are now filled with heavenly noises, and our eyes delighted with celestial visions” (Pilgrim’s Progress).
As we journey together through this chapter we will notice three exceedingly precious facts.
1st—We are in Christ.
2nd—The Holy Spirit is in us.
3rd—God is for us.
The first four verses give us a sort of summing up of all we have had in the previous chapters and also form an introduction to the whole chapter. Notice—
1. Our Position in Christ, vs. 1.
“There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus.”
When we are in Christ Jesus we are outside the range of condemnation, it can never reach us there for Christ has already been in it and passed through it and is now beyond its power.
There was no condemnation to Noah and those with him in the ark. The waters of judgment piled up outside and the ark passed through the mighty flood but not a drop was felt within. Noah was beyond its reach there.
2. The Power of a New Life, vs. 2
In Christ Jesus we are not only safe from judgment, but we have by the Holy Spirit of God a new life that sets us free from the law of sin and death. The butterfly life (to use our illustration) has power to soar in the sky and delivers from crawling in the dust—the only thing the caterpillar life was capable of doing.
3. The Powerlessness of the Law, vs. 3
The law was a good workman but he had very poor material to work with. It could never make bad sinners good. But the gift of God’s own Son and His death for us on the cross did what the law never could do. It placed us beyond condemnation for Christ stood condemned in our stead. Sin was judged at the cross in the incarnate manhood of the Son of God and now we can sing,
“Settled forever sin’s tremendous claim
Glory to Jesus, yea, blessed be His Name.”
4. Practical Righteousness, vs. 4
As sinners we had no righteousness but now in Christ we have the righteousness of the law fulfilled in us as we follow the leading of the Holy Spirit of God for Love is the fulfilling of the law.
1. How does Noah’s position in the ark illustrate our position in Christ?
2. What that the law could not do has Christ done?
3. What is the fulfilling of the law.