In this first of multiple posts we will explore Romans Chapter 8, which has been referred to as the cathedral of the Christian faith, the tree of life in the midst of the garden of Eden and the highest peak in a range of mountains by Bible scholars. It is by far one of my favorites passages in the Bible. It is something akin to “Salvation from start to finish in 39 verses.” The scope of the chapter is breathtaking in its implications for a disciple of Jesus. It reveals the trajectory of the Christian journey from justification to our future glorification. It unfurls the realities of the trials and sufferings we face in life and the majesty of God’s love that provides eternal assurance for the believer. We’ll start by looking at Romans 8:1-4.

I love that Paul doesn’t start with the imperatives, the how-to’s of sanctification in this chapter. He wants us to soak in the indicatives, restating the beauty of our justification, the way things actually are for those that are in Christ, our current status. That’s why verse one thunders with glorious news for us, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus!” That is the foundation for our sanctification. The penalty for our sin has been dealt with in Christ. The “new way of the Spirit” that Paul mentions in Chapter 7, is the new way that we go about our progress in holiness. And that is made possible because in Christ the threat and fear of future condemnation has been removed.

That is the framework, the context, for where our progress in holiness needs to take place. Rooted in the reality of our justification, the ground of sanctification becomes fertile soil for the life-giving Spirit to do his work to bring about holy and happy obedience so that we can bear fruit for God. We’ll keep exploring the first 4 verses of chapter 8 over the next few days.