Romans 8:1-3 Freedom from Guilt

Author: Dr. George M. Flattery

Romans 8:1-3 Freedom from Guilt

man looking outside by window

NAS Romans 8:1 there is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. 3 For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, 4 in order that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. 5 For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.

(Rom. 8:1 NAS)

Thoughts from Romans 8:1-3 Freedom from Guilt

Guilt is one of the major problems faced by people everywhere. From countries all over the world, people write to us at Network211 about their struggle with guilt. Their feelings of guilt are due in part to a bad conscience. People are not escaping the pangs of conscience as easily as it sometimes appears.

The Bible gives us God’s standard for our actions. Our conscience is not always a reliable indicator of what is right and wrong. Sometimes our conscience is in harmony with God’s Word, condemning actions that are wrong in God’s sight. At other times, our conscience may needlessly condemn us because God does not. In such cases, we need to be enlightened by the Word of God and the illumination of the Holy Spirit.

It is better not to violate our conscience even when it is unenlightened. There was a debate in Rome over whether or not to eat certain foods. To the Romans, Paul wrote: “But he who doubts is condemned if he eats, because his eating is not from faith, and whatever is not from faith is sin” (Romans 14:23). We must continue to search the Word and be taught by it.

All people have sinned (Romans 3:23). All people need a Savior. When we accept Christ as Savior and begin living for Him, we are no longer under condemnation. The apostle Paul wrote: “1 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death” (Romans 8:1-2). Not only are we free from condemnation, but we can also live with a clear conscience.

In my next “thoughts we will talk about being pardoned from guilt and how to be delivered from feelings of guilt. Even though we are not stricken with guilt, we may encounter someone today who is. We can address the problem with them.

More Thoughts from Romans 8:1-2 Freedom from Guilt

Our text is a wonderful Scripture indicating that there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. With this in mind, we are giving some thought to steps we can take to be free from feelings of guilt.

We will consider step one of four steps today. Step one is, as much as possible, to “make things right.” This step has several aspects. First, we can admit our sinfulness to ourselves. Often it is more our pride that keeps us from taking this step than it is the harm we have caused. To admit our weakness strikes at that pride.

Second, we should confess our sins to God. David was an adulterer and a murderer. Yet, because he repented, God was able to say that David was a man after His own heart. In Psalm 32:5 David says: “I acknowledged my sin to You, And my iniquity I did not hide; I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the Lord’, And you forgave the guilt of my sin.”

Third, sometimes it is helpful for us to confess our sins to others, particularly to those we may have wronged. James 5:16 states, “Confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed.” This is an important principle, but it can easily be overdone. Sometimes “confession services” overemphasize trivial matters and can stir up pride.

Fourth, if anyone has stolen or harmed something, he or she should restore what is possible. The restoration was a common practice in the Old Testament (Leviticus 6:4-5). Our courts today often dictate what reasonable settlements are. However in many cases what has been lost or destroyed cannot be restored.

These are possible steps in some cases, not a set of legalistic rules. Mainly, we need to be guided by the Word of God and the Holy Spirit. He will help us when we have done anything wrong to do the right thing.

More Thoughts from Romans 8:1-2 Freedom from Guilt

As believers in Christ, we are not under condemnation. Nevertheless, there are several steps to take to be free from guilt and feelings of guilt. We discussed step one in my last thoughts, which is “male things right.” Today, we will consider step two, which is: Accepting God’s Provision.

We can in a measure restore to others what we have taken from them, but only the death of the sinless One satisfies the justice of God. Through Christ God has paid the penalty for our sins. The apostle Paul said: “that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:19).

The marvelous truth is that God has provided a way for us to be free from guilt and condemnation. That way is simply to believe in Jesus Christ as our Savior and to follow Him faithfully. This is difficult for many people to accept. Unfortunately, many who labor under feelings of guilt try to “work” their way out of their problem. Although we can be obedient servants and cooperate with God, the deliverance is His gracious gift.

A pastor told me about a lady who aborted her baby when her husband threatened to take her life if she did not. She cannot gain victory over her sense of guilt. Whether people judge her to be right or wrong in what she did, she can be free from guilt. She can simply express her sorrow to God and accept God’s provision for her freedom from condemnation and guilt.

In my next thoughts, we will consider step three in being free from guilt. That step is to “forget the past.”

More Thoughts from Romans 8:1-2 Freedom from Guilt

Paul says: “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” With this text in mind, we are studying steps that we can take to be free from guilt. We have commented on two steps: (1) making things right, and (2) accepting God’s provision. Today, we will present step three, which is “forgetting the past.”

Psychologists differ on the importance of the past. Some insist on repeatedly recalling the past so that we can learn better reactions to past experiences. Others are more concerned with the present and the future. Although the past has shaped us, we should commit it to God, learn what we can, then forget it.

Paul writes: “Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13-14).

One might object, “But my past is too bad to forget.” Notice, however, who made the above statement. It was Paul who kept watching over the clothing of those who stoned Stephen (Acts 7:58). It was he who was on his way to Damascus to persecute the church when he was saved (Acts 9:21). It was he who contended with Barnabas over whether or not to take John Mark with them a second time (Acts 15:39) and then later discovered that Mark would become profitable (1 Tim. 4:11). It was he who suffered a thorn in the flesh to keep him from being proud (2 Corinthians 12:7). It was he who would forget the past and press on toward the goal.

How can we forget? The best way to forget is to willfully focus our minds on beneficial things. With the help of the Holy Spirit, we can direct our attention. We can look to the future rather than the past. Jesus atoned for our past sins, so we can live with the assurance that we are not under condemnation.

More Thoughts from Romans 8:1-2 Freedom from Guilt

When we are in Christ, we are not under condemnation. “Paul writes: “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.”

With this in mind, we are discussing steps that we can to cooperate with God in keeping us free from guilt. We have discussed “making things right,” “accepting God’s gracious provision,” and “forgetting the past.” Today, we will think about “walking in the Spirit.”

When we are saved, we become “partakers of the divine nature” (2 Peter 1:4). Our Triune God dwells in us. As long as we allow the Holy Spirit to guide us, we will not do the things that cause us to feel guilty. By yielding to the Spirit, we can win the battle with our lower nature.

To the Galatians, Paul wrote: “16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. 17 For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law.” (Gal. 5:16-18).

Unfortunately, we do not live perfect lives. Fortunately, for all who are in Christ, we can come to Christ in repentance and faith. God will forgive us, and we will be free from any condemnation. This means that we can be free from feelings of guilt. God does not want us to live with condemnation and guilt. So He has made a way for us to be free from feelings of guilt.

More Thoughts from Romans 8:1-2 Summary

When we are in Christ, there is no condemnation of us. God gave His Son to die for us so that we might be redeemed and set free from all condemnation. God wants us to accept with gratitude what Christ did for us. When we fully realize this great truth, we will readily be able to live without feelings of guilt.

This does not mean that we can live recklessly and without concern that we are doing the will of God. The apostle Paul wrote this to the Philippians: “work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure” (Philippians 2:12-13).

We have discussed these four steps in being free from guilt: (1) make things right, (2) accept God’s provision, (3) forget the past, and (4) walk in the Sport. We cannot save ourselves, but we can live according to God’s will. As we do these things, it is God who is working in us.

Our part in being free from guilt is to accept what God has done for us and will do in and through us. If we do not accept His provision, we may live under the oppressive burden of guilt. Guilt can be a very destructive force in our lives. In contrast to this, we can accept God’s provision and live in the light of what He has done for us. The choice is ours. We can choose to follow God and lead others to do so as well.

George M. Flattery, Ed.D., is the founder of Global University and Network211.

Excerpts transferred from a series originally posted on Dr. George's Facebook.

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