Unless otherwise noted all Scripture references are taken from the NET2 translation.
“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 2 For the law of the life-giving Spirit in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and death. 3 For God achieved what the law could not do because it was weakened through the flesh. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and concerning sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, 4 so that the righteous requirement of the law may be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.” Romans 8:1-4
Returning to Romans 6:21-23 we are reminded of what tells us in Romans 8:1-2, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 2 For the law of the life-giving Spirit in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and death.” For in vv. 21-23 the Apostle speaks of 2 distinct differences standing between light and darkness; evil and righteousness, “So what benefit did you then reap from those things that you are now ashamed of? For the end of those things is death. 22 But now, freed from sin and enslaved to God, you have your benefit leading to sanctification, and the end is eternal life. 23 For the payoff of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
In Romans chapter 7 Paul does speak of a tremendous struggle that takes place in the life of one who obviously does not know Jesus Christ. Jesus provides life-giving grace that stands in stark contrast for one who lives in the bondage of sin because of the daily struggle with temptations to sin. And it is important for every Believer to understand what James says about the freedom experienced in Jesus Christ, “Happy is the one who endures testing, because when he has proven to be genuine, he will receive the crown of life that God promised to those who love him. Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted by evil, and he himself tempts no one. But each one is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desires. Then when desire conceives, it gives birth to sin, and when sin is full-grown, it gives birth to death.” James 1:12-15. No, there is no struggle with sin by a Believer, but there is life in Christ for what Paul instructs in Romans 8:1 is true, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 2 For the law of the life-giving Spirit in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and death.” Sin is not the issue and death is no more because we are saved by His marvelous grace when His gift of faith is exercised.
Two Distinct Possibilities
Eternal life or eternal death is possible for everyone and the choice is clearly obvious. One night long ago Jesus met with a man named Nicodemus and Nicodemus posed a question, “Nicodemus said to him, “How can a man be born when he is old?” John 3:4a and Jesus replied, “Just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life. For this is the way God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world should be saved through him. The one who believes in him is not condemned. The one who does not believe has been condemned already because he has not believed in the name of the one and only Son of God.” John 3:14-18.
The 2 possibilities in this life are clearly distinct and chosen by everyone: life and death. To reject or to deny Jesus Christ is death; eternal separation from Him, but to believe in Him is eternal life’ eternity in His presence. How difficult is this? However, not everyone will choose to follow Him for as Jesus says there are two paths to be followed in life: one is broad and one is narrow. The broadway leads to death and the narrow way leads to life, but few will find the narrow path. “Enter through the narrow gate, because the gate is wide and the way is spacious that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. How narrow is the gate and difficult the way that leads to life, and there are few who find it!” Matthew 7:13-14.
Recently, a terrible tragedy took place that claimed the lives of several people. Among them was a very famous individual and the others were simply ‘average’ folks like most of us. Like some, I raised the question about the relationship that these folks may have had with God. I was fascinated by the negative response that some had because of the concern shown by some who cared. “Why should anyone question the spiritual lives of those who died?” My response is simple, “I can do nothing for those who died because their eternity is sealed already, but for those who are still alive they must make an eternal decision before death arrives at their doors.” This is the reason for my concern which poses this question, “How are you going to get to Heaven?”
Jesus is Lord.