Sunday August 7, 2022 Romans Week 62 Romans 12:3-8 “Straight Thinking on Spiritual Gifts”

Sunday – August 7, 2022

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Word On Worship – Sunday – August 7, 2022

Romans 12:3-4
For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith.

The subject of spiritual gifts is relevant and vitally important to Christians today. Some evangelical Christians believe and teach that spiritual gifts are no longer applicable, that spiritual gifts were given for the church in its infancy. If this is so, how can spiritual gifts now be extinct when the Book of Romans clearly teaches they are necessary for the functioning of the church? While some may differ as to whether all the gifts are necessary in this age, it is very difficult to understand how none of the gifts are needed.

If I understand Paul’s teaching correctly, spiritual gifts are needed as long as we are living on this earth as members of the body of Christ. Spiritual gifts are those endowments of power which enable us to carry out the vital functions of our body life in Christ as members of His body. These endowments are a supernatural enablement so that supernatural results are produced. It is only when our Lord returns, when the church is taken up into glory and fully perfected, that the need for spiritual gifts will cease. Paul’s teaching assumes that teaching about spiritual gifts is both basic and fundamental to Christian living. Peter likewise looked at the exercise of spiritual gifts as a crucial matter. We should take spiritual gifts no less seriously than did the apostles.

But why does Paul tell us that we are to think “so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith”? There are several reasons. First, we live and walk by faith. Faith is essential in our service and in the exercise of our spiritual gifts, just as it is in every other aspect of our lives. Second, the results of our ministry may not be evident or apparent to us, or even to others. The results of the ministry of spiritual gifts are spiritual. They may not be revealed until eternity. We must act on the basis of faith, even though the results are not visible to us. The results of our ministry may be unseen, and faith deals with the unseen.

Because the exercise of a spiritual gift may be unseen, faith is required. Most often the ministry of spiritual gifts is described in terms of the function of the human body. In the human body some members are visible and prominent such as the hands and the eyes. But there are other unseen members like the heart and lungs, which while being unseen are essential to maintain the body. These unseen members are the “vital” organs. Likewise, the vital members of the body of Christ may very well be unseen. Each member of the body of Christ plays a part in the work of the body, as a whole. This the Christian believes by faith and demonstrates to the glory of God.

Sunday July 31, 2022 Romans Week 61 Romans 12:1-2 “The Route to Renewal”

Sunday – July 31, 2022

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Word On Worship – Sunday – July 31, 2022

Romans 12:1-2
Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

The more I meditate on the words of Paul in Romans 12, the more I see that he has outlined God’s way of reversing the process of mental and moral decay outlined in Romans 1. God revealed something of His character and attributes in the creation of the world. People should be able to look at creation and see not only that it was created by a Creator, but that this Creator has a divine nature and eternal power. This revelation of God’s nature and power requires man’s response in worship and adoration. But instead of falling down before God in worship, men either rejected this revelation or exchanged it for that “knowledge” which suited their own sinful inclinations and desires. Humanity put God down and elevated themselves to His place of glory, honor and praise.

How could the adverse effects of sin be reversed? Only through the grace of God, manifested in the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ. The process by which that renewal takes place is outlined in Romans 12:1 and 2. God has now revealed Himself in the person of Jesus Christ (Hebrews 1:1-3). He has revealed not only our sin but His righteousness. He has offered to all who will believe forgiveness of sins and eternal life by the pouring out of His mercies. These mercies are the subject of chapters 1-11 of Romans. On the basis of this great revelation of the kindness and severity of God, Paul has called upon believers in the Lord Jesus to respond in a way appropriate to the revelation we have received- in worship.

We are to offer ourselves as living sacrifices to God. We are to honor and serve Him, living holy and obedient lives. Those who respond in worship as Paul has urged will enter into the life-long process of renewal and restoration. The grip of this age will loosen and the process of transformation will begin by the renewing of our minds. The result of such a sacrifice is that both our bodies and our minds will begin to be conformed to Christ and His image, to the praise of His glory.

The point of this passage is to urge each Christian to offer himself to God as a thank offering, based upon the mercy and the grace of God which has been poured out on those who believe. Have you trusted in Jesus Christ for salvation? Have you experienced the mercies of God? If so, then have you offered your life to Him, as a sacrifice, for His glory and praise? Just as men are called upon to make a decision concerning salvation, Paul calls on believers to make the decision to worship God by offering our lives to Him who has loved us and given Himself for us. I urge you to do this today, because of His manifold mercies.

Sunday June 12, 2022 Romans Week 54 Romans 10:1-21 “Human Responsibility and Salvation”

Sunday – June 12, 2022

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Word On Worship – Sunday – June 12, 2022

Romans 10:2-3
For I testify about them that they have a zeal for God, but not in accordance with knowledge. 3 For not knowing about God’s righteousness and seeking to establish their own, they did not subject themselves to the righteousness of God.”

Many are familiar with the comedian Jeff Foxworth and his routine “You might be a redneck if…”. A series of one-line descriptions, that if true of listener, indicate the reality they really are a redneck. It is all in good humor, until you recognize he may be referring to you.  Rednecks are not the only ones who may be ignorant of their true identity. Many religious people, some even zealous, consider themselves spiritual smart, but in fact are truly ignorant of the Scriptures. Let’s take short quiz and see where we may find ourselves.

Even though you are a biblical scholar, you may be ignorant of the Scriptures. The Jews considered themselves to be experts concerning the Law (Romans 2). But in the final analysis, they were ignorant concerning the Law. The gospel which they rejected is that which Paul has taught from the Old Testament. Those who took it upon themselves to oppose and correct Jesus were the religious leaders and the biblical scholars of that day. And yet Jesus repeatedly rebuked them for their ignorance concerning the Scriptures. Why was it that the scholars were so ignorant and that people whom they considered “ignorant” were able to understand the Scriptures?

Because when you reject what is clear and compelling in the Scripture, but choose to focus on that which is obscure, or trivial you are ignorant of the Scripture. The Deuteronomy 30 text Paul referred to gives vitally important principles which should guide us in our study of the Scriptures, particularly in our study of the Old Testament of which the Jews were ignorant. First, we must study the Scriptures not as an academic exercise of the mind, but in order to know and to practice what God wants us to do. Many wish to study the Scriptures as an intellectual exercise. They want to deal with truth academically and philosophically, not to obey it. When we view the Bible as something to only know, rather than as something to believe and to do, we have lost sight of its purpose.

Also, our study of the Scriptures should focus on God and the righteousness and salvation which He provides in Christ. Those who correctly searched the Scriptures found Christ there. Those who searched for Christ in the Old Testament Scriptures looked for His coming and recognized Him when He appeared. Our study of the Old Testament should be Christ-centered. Israel’s failure was not in studying the Scriptures but in how they studied them. May God grant that we would study the Old Testament more to find there the same gospel revealed in the New Testament. And may we find there, more and more, the person of our Lord Jesus Christ. To God be the glory.

Sunday April 10, 2022 Romans Week 48 Romans 9:1-5 “A Burden for the Lost”

Sunday – April 10, 2022

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Word On Worship – Sunday – April 10, 2022

Romans 9:3-4
For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, those of my own race, the people of Israel.”

Imagine, if possible, Adolf Hitler writing a history of the Jews. It could hardly be taken seriously by anyone wanting to read an objective, historical account of this race. How could a Jew-hater and a Jew-killer be trusted to deal truthfully with the historical material? After his conversion, Paul was viewed as a traitor at best by his fellow Israelites who had been his colleagues in earlier years. Reaction to Paul was immediate and intense, as seen in Luke’s account of what took place in Damascus after Paul’s conversion in Acts 9.

It did not get better as time passed; it only got worse. The more Paul grew, the more boldly and broadly he proclaimed Jesus as the Messiah. And the more the gospel Paul preached was received by Jews or Gentiles, the more their opposition and animosity grew. Paul refused to separate himself from Judaism but rather proclaimed the gospel as the fulfillment of God’s promises to Israel. It would all explode when Paul made his way to Jerusalem, not long after he penned this letter to the Romans.

With all honesty, Paul can say his response to Israel’s unbelief and very real peril is that of sorrow and grief. These are the responses of love, not of bitterness or vengeance. In spite of all the Jews have done against Paul, he still loves them and finds no joy in their downfall. It is not enough for Paul to feel sorry for his people. If it were possible, he would wish to be like Christ, sacrificing himself for the salvation of his fellow-Jews and bear the wrath of God in their place. While this would not be nor could be, Paul nevertheless unveils his heart toward the Jews. If he must speak ill of this people, he will find only grief and no pleasure in doing so.

Are you burdened for the salvation of lost souls? More importantly, is your burden for the lost like Jonah or Paul? Are you more interested in seeing the comeuppance of those who have become your enemies because of their lifestyle, culture or politics?  Paul is unlike Jonah who desired to see his enemies sizzle in the flames of divine judgment (Jonah 4). He is like Abraham who had compassion on the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah and pled with God to spare the city for the sake of a few righteous (Genesis 19:16-33). Ask God to give you a burden for the lost as Paul had, with humility and compassion. Pray that the love of Christ will control you to such an extent that you show His love even to those who mistreat you, who deserve His judgment and by such grace, prove the words of Christ to be true- “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.” (John 15:12)

Sunday March 20, 2022 Romans Week 46 Romans 8:35-39 “More Than Conquerors”

Sunday – March 20, 2022

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Word On Worship – Sunday – March 20, 2022

Romans 8:37
But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us.”

In September of 1995, the world-famous Harlem Globetrotters suffered a rare defeat on the basketball court as they toured Europe with a team made up of several former professional basketball stars. The 91-85 defeat in Vienna, Austria, ended the team’s winning streak at twenty-four-years, that is, not games! The team had won an astounding total of 8,829 straight exhibition games since their last defeat before that in January, 1971.

Christians want to think of victory in terms of winning. We like to think that Christ’s power and purposes are most evident when we win, when we overcome our opponents. Paul simply underscores a principle which has always governed God’s work: God uses apparent defeat to produce ultimate victory. God uses the suffering of His saints to make them conquerors—more than conquerors. We are victorious when we suffer the calamities of life, in faith, trusting in God, knowing that He is accomplishing His purposes through our affliction. Our confidence must not end when the going gets tough. The testing of our faith really begins here.

The expression “overwhelmingly conquer” needs to be pondered. The Bible does not promise to make “copers” of us, but conquerors. It is not enough to muddle through life merely enduring our adversity. God does not promise to take us out of our afflictions, but He does promise that we will emerge from them victorious. We will be victorious in the sense that we will grow in our faith, hope and love. We will conquer in that we will become more like Christ due to our sufferings. We will conquer in that God’s purposes will be achieved through us and others will see the grace of God at work in our lives.

How does one overwhelmingly conquer? I think I have a small grasp of what this means. We overwhelmingly conquer as the sons of God. When God created man, Adam and Eve, and put him on the earth, he was created to reflect God’s image. The fall greatly marred this image of God in man. God has purposed our salvation to restore this image. Paul has written in verse 29 that we are predestined to become conformed to the image of Christ. Man was originally to reflect the image of God by subduing the earth and ruling over it, in God’s name. We, as the sons of God, with Christ, will have a part in the conquest and restoration of the earth. This is that for which all of creation eagerly awaits (8:20-23).

Sunday March 13, 2022 Romans Week 45 Romans 8:33-34 “Gods Answer to Guilt”

Sunday – March 13, 2022

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Word On Worship – Sunday – March 13, 2022

Romans 8:33-35
Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies; who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us.”

Most of us know what the courtroom is like from watching on television. At the front of the courtroom, the judge is seated. He will be the one who hears the testimony, views the evidence, and pronounces the verdict. To the left of the judge, the prosecution is seated. The task of the prosecutor is to make accusations against the accused and to prove the charges are legitimate. To the right of the judge sits the defendant—the one who is to be accused. And at the side of the accused is seated the counsel for the defense, whose job it is to argue on behalf of the accused in his defense.

Just as God has ordained that there is no other Savior than Jesus Christ, so there is no other Judge than Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ has two roles. The first is that as Savior, second is that of Judge. All who receive Him as Savior need never fear facing His sentence of condemnation as the Judge of all the earth. Those who reject Him as Savior most certainly will be condemned by Him as their Judge. These two roles of our Lord—Savior and Judge—are both claimed by our Lord (John 3:17, 5:22, 5:27, 12:47-48).

At first it seems that Jesus’s words are contradictory. He did not come to judge, and yet He will judge. This difficulty is easily explained in the light of our Lord’s two comings. The purpose of our Lord’s first coming was not to come as the Judge to condemn sinners. The purpose of His first coming was to make an atonement for the sins of men. But when He comes again, He comes to judge the earth and to condemn all who have rejected God’s salvation through His shed blood. The Lord is either one’s Savior or one’s Judge. If He is your Savior, He will not be your Judge, who will pronounce God’s condemnation upon you. If you reject Him as Savior, He will most certainly be your Judge.

It is this truth—that God has made Jesus either one’s Savior or his Judge. Ponder this courtroom scene for a moment. Outside of faith in Jesus Christ, every man is a guilty sinner. When judgment day comes, he must sit in the defendant’s seat, the seat of the accused. The Lord Jesus Christ is the Judge, the One whom the sinner has scorned and rejected. The Lord Jesus is also the prosecutor and the accused sinner has no defense. But salvation changes all this. The forgiven sinner need not sit in the defendant’s chair because the prosecutor cannot press any charges. The Father, the Judge, has already pronounced us to be righteous, justified by faith. How could the Judge condemn us? Jesus Christ has already been condemned in our place. He was raised from the dead, and He now is at the right hand of the Father interceding for us. No one can rightfully condemn us, the One who was our Judge has become our Justifier.

Sunday February 27, 2022 Romans Week 43 Romans 8:30 “For the Glory of God”

Sunday – February 27, 2022

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Word On Worship – Sunday – February 27, 2022

Romans 8:29-30
For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.”

Throughout history, controversy has raged over the question of whether Christians can lose their salvation. If all the texts in the Bible were clearly on one side or the other, there would be no controversy. But there are texts that seem to support each side. I have found when you come to any difficult passage in Scripture, there are guidelines to assist us with their interpretation. Interpret the more difficult text in light of clearer texts. Also, consider each text in its context and in light of the flow of thought of the passage. And, interpret individual texts in light of the overall teaching of Scripture on a subject, comparing Scripture with Scripture.

When it comes to the security of our salvation, I believe that the clear, unambiguous passages of Scripture come down strongly on the side that if God has saved us, He will keep us to all eternity. It’s easier to explain the texts that seem to say that you can lose your salvation in light of the clear texts that say you cannot, rather than the other way around. And, as Romans 8 shows us, the security of our salvation flows out of Paul’s overall doctrine of salvation.

Before the foundation of the world, God planned our salvation: He foreknew and predestined us to salvation. As a result of these sovereign decisions, at some point in our lives, He effectually called us and justified us, so that now He is working to conform us to the image of His Son. In the future, we will be glorified, fully conformed to Christ, who will be preeminent over all. It’s all designed for His glory. This is summed up by in the final result of being “glorified,” which Paul puts in the past tense to show that it’s as good as done. God has predestined it to occur in line with His purpose. In Romans 5:2, Paul stated, “We exult in hope of the glory of God.” The same focus is reflected in 8:18, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” If His sovereign purpose for the glory and supremacy of Jesus Christ is certain, then our future glory with Christ is certain.

Every good parent wants his children to feel secure in his love. Our heavenly Father wants you to know that your salvation is secure because He originated it by setting His love on you and predestining you to salvation before the foundation of the world. He effected it by calling you to salvation and justifying you when He brought you to faith in Christ. He will bring it to completion when Christ returns and you are eternally glorified with Him. Your salvation is secure because it is bound up with God’s eternal purpose of glorifying His beloved Son.

Sunday February 20, 2022 Romans Week 42 Romans 8:29 “How All Things Work Together For God”

Sunday – February 20, 2022

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Word On Worship – Sunday – February 20, 2022

Romans 8:29
For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren…”

We have all received an email from some person in a foreign country who wanted to give us $10 million. All we would have to do is send our bank account numbers and they would deposit the money. If you count on that promise as true and reorganized your life around the hope you would receive that money, many would rightly question your sanity. So how can you know that Paul’s promise in Romans 8:28, that “God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose,” is true? What if that promise is about as likely as the one from the guy promising to give you $10 million?

You can only bank your life on Romans 8:28 if you know for certain that it’s true. Paul explains why (“For”) you can know that verse 28 is true- because God works all things together for good for us because our salvation is part of His predetermined eternal purpose to glorify His Son. Verse 29 specifies what “good” in 8:28 means. The “good” that God is working toward through all our trials is that we be conformed to the image of His Son. He saved you so that Christ would be the firstborn among many brethren. God saved you so that you will make much about His Son. Our salvation is all about the supremacy of Jesus Christ.

The Old Testament has prepared us for this concept. The God who is sovereign is the One who has “prearranged” history. God sometimes tells men of His plans, as He told Abraham of the blessing of mankind through his seed (Genesis 12:1-3). When the prophets foretold men of God’s predetermined plans, they often used the past tense to highlight the certainty of the event. The coming of Messiah is but one prophetic theme progressively unfolded in the Old Testament, with increasing detail, as God’s predetermined plan is unfolded.  He has not only chosen His children in eternity past, but He has predetermined a plan whereby all His children will be conformed to the image of His “first-born,” Jesus Christ.

God’s foreknowledge and His predestination are linked together. They are inter-dependent. God’s ultimate goal is not to save men but to glorify Himself. In order to do this, God purposed to save some. Those He purposed to save, He also determined to sanctify. He is glorified when those He saves are like Christ. God’s eternal decree, His all-inclusive plan established in eternity past, had to include not only the choice of those whom He would save but also the process through which He would bring them into conformity to the image of Jesus Christ. His glory is linked inseparably to our good, and we can be sure that He will accomplish His purposes—for our good to be sure, but most of all for His glory.

Sunday – January 16, 2022 Romans Week 37 Romans 8:9-13 “Alive in the Spirit”

Sunday – January 16, 2022

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Word On Worship – Sunday – January 16, 2022

Romans 8:9-10
However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him. If Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, yet the spirit is alive because of righteousness.”

The most important question that you ever need to answer is, “Do I belong to Christ?” If you belong to Christ, all of God’s promises are “yes” for you in Him (2 Cor. 1:20). If you belong to Christ, you are reconciled to God, your sins are all forgiven, you can enjoy fellowship with Him every day, and you know that if you were to die today, you would be with the Lord in the glory of heaven forever. So, do you belong to Christ? One of the main reasons for studying Romans 8 is to give assurance to we who believe that we belong to Jesus Christ for time and eternity.

Paul divides all people into just two categories: Those who are “in the flesh” and those “in the Spirit.” There is no category for fence sitting Christians, who claim that Jesus is their Savior, but not their Lord. While the process of bringing every area of life under the lordship of Christ is lifelong, every true Christian is involved in that process. If the direction of your life is not, “Jesus, You are my Lord and I submit all of myself that I am aware of to You,” then you are not a Christian in the vital sense of that word.

Being a Christian is not a matter of going to church or believing certain doctrines of the Christian faith or trying to live by certain moral standards. Of course, true Christians do all of those things, but the vital thing is that the Holy Spirit has caused you to be born again. Jesus said this very plainly to Nicodemus, a Pharisee and ruler of the Jews. Talk about going to church—this man went to the temple to pray several times a day. He never skipped a religious observance to go watch the “big game”! Talk about believing in certain doctrines—he had memorized large portions of the Hebrew Scriptures. Talk about morality—this man was scrupulous about keeping the Ten Commandments.

But Jesus’ opening words to him were (John 3:3), “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” He went on to say (John 3:7), “Do not be amazed that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’” Peter spoke of the same thing (1 Pet. 1:3): “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead”. When we are born again, the Holy Spirit imparts new life to us and takes up residence in us. The mark of being a Christian is the Holy Spirit dwells in you and you now belong to Christ.

Sunday – January 2, 2022 Romans Week 35 Romans 8:1-4 “Dealing with Guilt and Sin”

Sunday – January 2, 2022

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Word On Worship – Sunday – January 2, 2022

Romans 8:1-2
Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.

We come to a chapter that has often been called either the greatest or one of the greatest chapters in the Bible. Many have pointed out that it begins with “no condemnation”, ends with “no separation” and in between there is “no defeat”. Personally, I’ve come to Romans 8 again and again when I’ve been discouraged or depressed. If you struggle with guilt or with sin, if you’re going through trials, read Romans 8. If you’re struggling with assurance of your salvation, Romans 8 has the answer. Interestingly, while Romans 8 exhorts me forward in my faith, there is not a single command in the chapter. Philipp Spener truly said that if the Bible were a ring and Romans its precious stone, chapter 8 would be “the sparkling point of the jewel”.

There is a noticeable shift from Romans 7 to Romans 8. In chapter 7, “I” is frequent, the law is prominent, and sin is dominant. In chapter 8, the Holy Spirit is frequent (more than any other NT chapter), God’s grace and persevering love are prominent, and victory over sin is dominant. Right out of the gate, Paul deals with two very practical issues: guilt and sin. As we saw in chapter 7, believers fight an inner war. That is why Paul’s teaching in Romans 8:1-4 is fundamental to the Christian life.

The Christian need not be overcome by guilt or by fear, due to his sins. The cross of Jesus Christ is the solution from sin and its condemnation, for all who are justified by faith. The death which Christ died was for all of the sins of the one who receives His work, by faith. The righteousness which the Law requires and which we find impossible to achieve, God achieves in and through the Christian, through the prompting of and power of the Holy Spirit. In Christ and through the Holy Spirit, God has delivered us from the penalty and the power of sin.

There is no condemnation! What a wonderful truth to the ears of every believer. While our Lord’s death at Calvary delivered us from condemnation, it also delivered sin to condemnation. In Christ, God condemned sin. God condemned sin in the flesh. The flesh was the “handle” sin found to lay hold of us and to bring us under condemnation. When God sent His Son, Jesus Christ, He came in the flesh. He came in the likeness of sinful flesh. And when He suffered the wrath of God and the penalty of death in the flesh, sin was condemned in the flesh. In that very realm of the flesh, in which it seemed sin could not be defeated, God overpowered sin, condemning it in the flesh. Because of Jesus Christ, we are not condemned. Because of Him, sin is condemned, and in the flesh. For the Christian, the shackles of sin are surely broken.