Romans 8:1-4

Romans 8:1-4


Ask God to guide your discussions and to experience his presence as you read his word together.

Malcolm X once shared in his autobiography about the Earth’s most prominent evil, which he identifies as racism. Above all evils is the humiliation that the oppressed feel. He writes of “the malignant superiority complex - The problem is not civil rights, but human rights, respect as human beings, that is what American black masses want - That is the true problem - We don’t to be shrunk from as we are plague-ridden, or rolled up in slums like animals, we want to live in an open and free society in which we can walk with our heads up, like men and women of dignity.”

What Malcolm X identifies here is helpful. Not only do black Americans want to be free from the “malignant superiority complex,” but also free to live in such a way that provides dignity, respect, and opportunity.

What do you think about freedom?  Is freedom something that you often think of in negative terms (what you are freed from?), or do you usually consider it as well from the positive (What you are released to do?)?

How would only focusing on one aspect of freedom (positive or negative) lead to a less-than-full version of freedom?

The eighth chapter of the Book of Romans is one of the preeminent passages in scripture of what the Christian life looks like “in the spirit.”

Right before this section, Paul showed the readers that even though they are Christians and are fully saved by God - a problem remains - indwelling sin (Romans 7:15). Simultaneously, there is something new about Christians - There is a newfound ability to recognize sin for what it is, and a power from God, that is accessible, and allows us to fight against it.

The new condition as a Christian - our “double nature” can be confusing, disorienting, or discouraging - So Paul takes a pastoral approach to show the reader that the primary way to orient our lives as Christians is to live in and by the Spirit.

In this text, Paul begins by reminding the audience that there is no condemnation in Christ for Christians. This means no condemnation in two senses - judgment and punishment. Paul goes on to explain that with this truth comes absolute freedom. Freedom from sin and death, and freedom to the law of God. (Verse 1)

The very thing we could never do (follow God’s law) is not totally and completely accessible to us. (v2)

Paul explains that this is true because of Christ’s work on our behalf. God sent his Son to become human and become a sin offering - but it doesn't stop there. God did this to defeat sin's effects and remove it from our lives completely - “in order that the righteousness requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who walk not according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.” (v4.)


Read Romans 8: 1-4 aloud.


Begin by examining the text together. What do you notice? What stands out? Who are the main characters? How are they characterized in the passage? What is surprising or hard to understand?


  • How would you define condemnation? Are there times in your life when it feels like too much, and thoughts of condemnation sneak in?  
  • Christians are always in danger of forgetting this passage's central truth and essence. “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”
    • What adverse effects can happen in the life of a Christian if this is forgotten?
      • One negative effect is an “over-belief” that we need to prove ourselves, and the weight of this burden crushes us and hurts us in the face of reproval, rebuke, and criticism. It will usually present itself as defensiveness.
      • A second negative effect is a lack of motivation to live a holy life, and we only obey God’s law out of fear and obligation. We still think we need to “earn it” in some sense but recognize it’s unattainable and are crushed the same way as #1 but with a different motivator. 
      • Which of these two resonates with you the most?
  • With this amazing truth - no condemnation comes freedom. Jesus’ work on our behalf has freed us from the effects of sin AND the power of sin. 
    • Can you identify past areas in your life where the Spirit has been working to free you from the power of sin?  What have you recognized and sought out God’s power to deal with? Where have you experienced victory?  Share with your group.
    • Are there any areas that you have not taken to God? Places that feel too powerful to deal with? Where might you ask the Spirit to continue working with and in you? 
  • Knowing that God has freed you from sin - What do you want to ask God to release you to? What do you sense God wants to do with your newfound freedom?  Share with your group. 


Close your time by thanking God for Jesus’ sacrifice that equipped us with power over sin and against sin. Pray for your continued growth in the Gospel that sets you free from the power of sin and for the Spirit to constantly remind you that there is no condemnation for those in Jesus Christ.