I will like you to grab your Bible as we look into some exciting but revealing Truths in the Gospel of Grace. I once read the argument of someone who was against the teaching of GRACE! This was his argument:
‘Although the Bible says there is therefore no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus…people skip the other part of this verse which says ….for those who walk not after the flesh but after the spirit’!
This person now explained that Romans 8:1 simply means there is therefore no condemnation only for those who strive to live a HOLY LIFE before God!!! Hmmn….
Now listen carefully: whenever you see the words ‘flesh and spirit’ used in the New Testament, don’t be too fast to conclude that it is referring to ‘sin and righteousness’!
Now let us explore that verse of scripture again.
‘There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus,…who walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit’! (Roman 8:1)
First, I will like you to know that according to the Original Greek version for this verse, the last phrase was an interpolation! It was not found in the original text of Scripture! I’m referring to the phrase that says; ‘…for those who walk not after the flesh but after the spirit’! This phrase was most probably an addition by some Translators!
Don’t just swallow what I just said like that! Confirm for yourself! Check Bible commentaries. Or visit Bible websites. The only thing that was written in Romans 8:1 is this: ‘THERE IS THEREFORE NOW NO CONDEMNATION FOR THOSE WHO ARE IN CHRIST JESUS!’ Any other thing you see in this verse was an addition!
You see, some Translators could not bear the Truth that ONCE SAVED equals FOREVER SAVED! It was therefore necessary to them to introduce an ‘explanatory comment’ from the fourth verse and interpolate it into the first verse of Romans 8:1. Take time out to explore other versions of Scriptures (e.g. NIV, Good News Bible, etc.). You will see that they did not add the last phrase!
Now, let us go to the fourth verse where this phrase was lifted from.
‘That the righteousness of the Law might be fulfilled in us, WHO WALK NOT AFTER THE FLESH, BUT AFTER THE SPIRIT’! (Romans 8:4)
Now this was the verse where that last phrase was lifted from. Now listen carefully; walking after the FLESH does not mean walking in SIN! Neither does walking after the SPIRIT directly mean walking in RIGHTEOUSNESS! Hmm… Walking after the flesh simply means BEING UNDER LAW! while walking after the Spirit means BEING UNDER GRACE! To really understand this, flip your Bible to Galatians chapter 3.
Paul was annoyed with the church in Galatians and he opened this chapter by referring to them as FOOLISH GALATIANS! Hmm…then in the next verse, he asked a very important question!
‘This only would I learn of you, ‘received ye the Spirit by the works of the Law or by the hearing of Faith’? (Gal 3:2)
Do you understand that? He was asking them that; ‘did you receive the Holy Spirit by BEING UNDER LAW or by BEING UNDER GRACE’! (Galatians 3:2)
This was a rhetorical question! he was annoyed that they were still under the Law even though the Law couldn’t give them the Holy Spirit!!! Now see how he expressed this annoyance in the next verse:
‘Are ye so foolish? Having BEGUN IN THE SPIRIT……are ye now made perfect BY THE FLESH? (Galatians 3:3)
Did you see the words ‘Spirit and Flesh’ used in that verse? I’m sure you can see what it means already! This was what Paul was saying:
‘…Having begun by simply believing Jesus as your Lord and Saviour, why do you now think it is the works of the Law that would make you justified before God! Why can’t you rest on the finished work of Christ on the Cross for you and Believe you are now SONS of God and stop behaving as SERVANTS of God’!
Hmm… Read verse 5 yourself if you are really following! (Read the Amplified Version and Message Version too). Now Paul explained in vs 6 and 7 that Abraham’s Justification before God was NOT as a result of his self-effort but simply by BELIEVING God! Paul went on to explain in vs 8 and 9 that God justified Abraham simply by BELIEVING so that we Christians will understand how God justifies us today!
Hmm…now tell me; did you see anything relating to SIN and RIGHTEOUSNESS in all that we just read? NO! It was all about LAW and GRACE!
So when Paul said in Romans 8:4 ‘….who walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit’… he was referring to those who don’t stick to the Law but who appreciate the finished work of GRACE!
Now let me conclude this post by taking you to the very first place where the word ‘BORN AGAIN’ was first mentioned in the Bible. It was in the long conversation (recorded in John 3) which occurred between JESUS and NICODEMUS!
In vs 3, Jesus said …except a man be born again, he cannot see the Kingdom of God.
In vs 4, Nicodemus asked what Jesus meant by being born again.
Now follow carefully as we see Jesus’ response in the 6th verse!
In vs 6, Jesus said …that which is born of the FLESH is FLESH is FLESH…and that which is born of the SPIRIT IS SPIRIT
I believe you now know what these words ‘Flesh and Spirit’ refer to!
Nicodemus was a Pharisee! (John 3:1). He was a FULL practitioner of the Law! So, when Jesus told Nicodemus to be born again (John 3:7), He was simply telling him to move from being under Law to being under GRACE! Hmm….it was in this same chapter of discussion that Jesus quoted the most popular verse in the world!
‘For God so loved the world that He GAVE His only begotten Son….that whosoever BELIEVETH IN HIM… (not whosoever fulfils the Law) should NOT perish, but have EVERLASTING LIFE! (John 3:16)
Please note that the ACTUAL definition to being BORN AGAIN is stated clearly in Galatians 4:5…! (Lol, I guess you are flipping through your Bible eagerly).
‘TO REDEEM THEM THAT ARE UNDER THE LAW, THAT WE MIGHT RECEIVE THE ADOPTION OF SONS’!
Being born again is all about moving from Law to Grace!!! Hmmm….need I say more? With this explanation, I join the Translators of Romans 8:1 to say; INDEED there is therefore NO CONDEMNATION for those who are in Christ Jesus….who walk not after the FLESH (the works of the Law)…but after the SPIRIT (the finished work of Grace on the cross of calvary)!
Remain in His Grace.