The Gospel Experienced 5-8
The Gospel is not just news to tell it is to be experienced in our lives. The gospel brings about a brand new life, peace with God, access to his grace and the hope of eternal glory (5v1-2). As we journey through this life we will also experience suffering (5v3) but the love of God demonstrated in the cross assures us of our final and complete salvation (5v10).
This is all possible because of our unity with Christ. In our birth we were untied to Adam, full of sin and awaiting death. Through our new birth we are united to Christ, forgiven our sin and awaiting glory (5v17-18). Not only have we a new life we are now part of a new righteous family (5v19).
However our new life does not mean an end with sin and the struggle with sin (6v1-23).
Through our unity with Christ the penalty of sin is destroyed (6v4), we are no longer slaves to sin we have been set free (6v6b-7) which makes it possible for us to now live a new way (6v10). This new life means we have a new master, God, (6v11) who helps us to deal with the ongoing presence of sin (6v13). The sentence of sin is gone but the struggle is still there.
Through the gospel we have been set free to live a new way and serve a new master (6v18). When we were born we were slaves to sin unable to do right (6v20), but now through faith we are slaves to God able to choose what is right (6v22). We no longer have to sin. This life will lead to ongoing holiness and eternal life to come (6v22b).
The issue of sin is serious it spoils our life, it spreads to others and it separates our relationships with others and God. So how do we deal with it? Chapter six shows us how we deal with the ongoing struggle with sin chapter 7 warns against trying to beat it by being more religious (following the law). The law is powerless to change us or save us (3v20), in fact all it does is reveal our sin (7v7) and show us our desire to disobey (7v8).
More rules will never make us better people (7v18-19), it only condemns us it never changes us (7v23). Instead we remember Christ who rescued us from the law (7v24-25) so we can live a new way the way of the spirit (Chapter 8).
In Christ there is now no condemnation (8v1) the penalty of sin is gone but the presence of sin is still there. We now have been given the Holy Spirit who enables and equips us to live God's new way (8v9-10). The spirit empowers us to actively deal with sin, putting to death the misdeeds in our bodies (8v13), and reminding us of our new relationship, adopted into God's family (8v15). Even with the presence of sin and the struggle with sin the Spirit reminds us that we are still his children (8v16) and so we need not fear his condemnation (8v15).
Not only will we struggle with sin we will also face suffering (8v17). All creation suffers (8v20) and so does every person (8v23), this is a result of the wider effects of sin and God's judgement on the world of sin. But those who are Christians look forward to a day of 'release' when creation will be set free (8v21) and we will be set free (8v23b). As we wait for that great day the spirit sides with us helping us to pray for what we need.(8v26).
The struggle of sin and suffering is very real and can cause us to loose sight and give up. But the gospel assures us that what God starts in us he will continue (8v29-30). If God gave us his son he will give us everything else that we need (8v32). In fact there is nothing in all creation, not sin not suffering, not even Satan will be able to separate us from God (8v35, 39).