So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death. Romans 8:1-2
We are talking this week about the bad habits we have formed in our lives and how to fight against them. One thing that can hold us back from fighting against these bad habits is shame. Shame keeps us from acknowledging our bad habits and leads to isolation. The truth is, however, that there is no shame in Christ. When He died on the cross, he conquered sin and death and covered all of our shame.
The apostle Paul writes about freedom in Christ in Romans chapter 8. "So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus," Paul declared victoriously (verse 1). He then continued, "And because you belong to Him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death" (verse 2). Reread those verses again and claim that promise. "Now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ." There is no condemnation. Let this promise wash over you and any shame you may be feeling. In Christ, there is no shame, even when you are stuck in one bad habit after another. Why? Because Christ offers healing and freedom. Paul continues to explain that Christ, through his death, conquered sin, shame, and death. When we place our faith in Him, His life, death, and resurrection cover our sin and shame and replaces them with peace and life. My friend, God, offers freedom from a life stuck in bad habits and sin. We have to turn to Him for help, hope, and healing. We can also turn to pastors, other Christ-followers, and professional counselors to help us as we fight.
Are you feeling discouraged today? Perhaps you are frustrated with yourself because you found yourself again doing that thing you promised you would never do. Whatever that is, I promise you that there is hope. That hope is that Christ offers healing and freedom, and if we place our faith in Him, we have the hope of eternal life in Christ where one day sin will be no more and, we will live with Him forever and ever. And until that day, God is restoring and strengthening us in our faith.
Spend some time reading through the verses from the Going Deeper section listed below. Read the verses out loud. Then, pray. Ask God to help you as you seek to fight against the bad habits you have formed. Thank Him that there is no shame in Christ. Finally, reach out for help. Reach out to a friend or family member. Get involved in one of our Living Free groups, which are care and recovery groups designed to help address the struggles and needs that each one of us has in life. Groups range in topics including addiction, loss, broken marriages, finances, boundaries, and so much more. Remember, you were not meant to live life alone, and there is no shame in reaching out for help.
Read Romans 8:1-17 (NLT)
So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death. The law of Moses was unable to save us because of the weakness of our sinful nature. So God did what the law could not do. He sent his own Son in a body like the bodies we sinners have. And in that body God declared an end to sin’s control over us by giving his Son as a sacrifice for our sins. He did this so that the just requirement of the law would be fully satisfied for us, who no longer follow our sinful nature but instead follow the Spirit.
Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit. So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace. For the sinful nature is always hostile to God. It never did obey God’s laws, and it never will. That’s why those who are still under the control of their sinful nature can never please God.
But you are not controlled by your sinful nature. You are controlled by the Spirit if you have the Spirit of God living in you. (And remember that those who do not have the Spirit of Christ living in them do not belong to him at all.) And Christ lives within you, so even though your body will die because of sin, the Spirit gives you life because you have been made right with God. The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, he will give life to your mortal bodies by this same Spirit living within you.
Therefore, dear brothers and sisters, you have no obligation to do what your sinful nature urges you to do. For if you live by its dictates, you will die. But if through the power of the Spirit you put to death the deeds of your sinful nature, you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God.
So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, “Abba, Father.” For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children. And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering.