Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1)
What a great way to start a reading from God’s word! Paul has been alternating a little between the seriousness of our sin and the amazingness of God’s grace. This verse contains a great statement of the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ: there is no condemnation for the Christian. This is one of the most amazing statements that there can be. No matter who you are, what you’ve done, what you are doing, or what you will do, those who are in Christ - Christians - do not stand condemned before God. Is there any better news than that?
Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord! (Romans 7:24-25)
We’ve spent a lot of time over the last few Sundays seeing how serious sin is - leading to death - and how amazing God’s grace is to us - leading to life. These last couple of verses are a turning point in this part of Paul’s letter to the Romans; in chapter 8, we start to see some of the freedom that comes from knowing God. At this point, however, Paul expresses his desire to so what is right, but wrestles with knowing that he still does wrong. How can he be rescued from this? Who will deliver him from death? Only God can, and only God does, through Jesus Christ.
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:23)
This is a fantastic summary of the good news of Christianity: the only thing we can earn is death, but God’s gift to us is life. It’s a life we can only have through faith in Jesus Christ. And what a life it is for us - eternal life. It’s the promise of something so wonderful and so amazing that we can’t earn, we can’t buy, we don’t deserve, yet God gives it to us.
For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace. (Romans 6:14)
How should we live as Christians? If we are made right with God through faith in Jesus, and our sin - our wrongdoing - is not held against us, does it matter what we do? If God’s grace to us so amazing, perhaps we should actually do more wrong so that we can see God’s grace even more. Is that right?
Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 5:1)
Paul has just told us that we are made right with God (‘justified’) through our faith in God. Because of that, he says, we have peace with God. As news goes, this is incredible - where there was once conflict, we are now at peace. It’s the good news the angels brought at the first Christmas: ‘Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favour rests.’ (Luke 2:14).