Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.
Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God.
Christians live with hope, which is the expectation of good to come. Optimism is the understanding that there is present good, also. How can we be optimistic in a world full of pain?
This week we will read through Romans chapter 8 to answer that question.
Our first clue comes in the first eight verses, where Paul tells us that our minds are able to be reoriented away from the “flesh,” or the desires of the sinful nature, and towards “the Spirit,” the righteous desire of God. So our first reason for optimism in this chapter is our free will to submit to God. “Free will to submit” sounds like an oxymoron, but submission to God’s will is the only way to break free from the law of sin and death. That freedom is possible through Jesus’ death.
So what does it look like to live by the Spirit rather than the flesh? The flesh is driven by greed, vanity, and self-preservation and so it limits and distorts us. We make decisions based on our own satisfaction. Our minds are stuck in a rut from thinking “me, me, me” all the time. To live by the flesh is to be stunted and misshapen, like a plant that is trying to grow in shade. Jesus broke through the canopy above our heads and let sunlight fall on our leaves, and now we can stretch out our limbs and grow into our full selves.
Reason for Optimism 1: We are free to submit to God and live by the Spirit.