The title of this short post comes from Romans Chapter 8, which follows Paul’s discussion of the struggles that Christians have with remaining sin. In chapter 7, Christians acknowledge that the Law of God (summarised in the 10 Commandments) is good, holy, just and spiritual, but Christians see that they are still not living consistently with this good law. They do not do what they now want to do, but do the things that they now do not want to do. After describing this tension, Paul (at the end of Chapter 7) points Christians again to Jesus Christ, who alone is their hope. Chapter 8 continues with an explanation.
There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, who walk not according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law was unable to do, in that it was weak on account of the flesh, God did. He sent his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and concerning sin condemned sin in the flesh so that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For those who are according to the flesh regard the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit the things of the Spirit. For the mind of the flesh is death, but the mind of the Spirit is life and peace. In fact, the mind of the flesh is enmity toward God. For it does not submit to the law of God, for it is not able. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
This is Paul’s (and the Spirit’s) reassurance that Christians — those who are born again (live by the Spirit) — are not condemned even though they have remaining sin in their lives They are sinner-saints. To walk (live) according to the Spirit is to be a saved person. They certainly have new attitudes and behaviours, but the main point is that they trust Christ as the one who has, on our behalf, met the righteous requirements of the law. To walk according to the flesh is to remain a non-Christian and to retain that position of rebellion and enmity toward God and Christ. For the Christian, remaining sinfulness is to be fought against, but it cannot condemn or separate the Christian from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus.