I know we all have favorite verses, but did you ever use a verse of scripture out of context? Did you ever use part of a verse? I believe we all have. The bible is set up in most cases with numbers and sections that make it easier to quote and remember. Yet if we are not careful, we can use certain scripture out of context. The term of this correct use scripture is called biblical hermeneutics. Typically the verse that defines biblical hermeneutics is 2 Timothy 2:15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
One particular verse that some will use out of context is those who quote Romans 8:1. What usually happens is that many quote the first part of this verse and tend to exclude the second part.
Romans 8:1a There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus…
The second part makes a distinction of those who are in Christ Jesus. This is important because if one walks in the flesh and quotes this verse; they do so out of context.
Romans8:1b…who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
Here is Romans 8:1-8 (KJV)
Romans 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.
3 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:
4 That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
5 For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.
6 For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.
7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.
8 So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.
Are we to please God, or are we to please ourselves and other men? If we put this into context, think of the rising trend of those professing Christians that believe they may remain in their homosexual lifestyle, yet not call this sin. They will quote Romans 8:1a, yet ignore Romans8:1b. We must also consider those professing Christians who believe they can fornicate before marriage and then quote Romans 8:1a, yet ignore Romans 8:1b. For the sake of covering all the bases, what of those who believe that they can remarry after divorce. They too will quote Romans 8:1a, yet in their own minds, are they walking in the flesh, or are they walking in the Spirit?
I think it is essential to understand the difference of living in the flesh as opposed to living in the Spirit. Freedom from sin and death is important to know. In Romans 8:2-5, we see that it is the power of the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ who was full in Spirit and came in the flesh to free us from the carnal nature of the flesh so that we live in the Spirit. Carnal living is what defined us before life in Christ.
We did not understand this life of Spirit before we have a new life in Christ. Yet, we are still in the flesh and we can at times walk in the flesh as Paul write about in Romans 7. Yet, we have the Spirit to guide us, convict us and reside in us to battle the flesh. We should be eternally grateful that this life of the flesh is only a short amount of time on this earth, and we should be equally grateful that God provided the Holy Spirit to take us to our eternal home when the flesh finally dies.
The danger is walking in the flesh without ever acknowledging that we are walking in the flesh. This is the person who says that they can remain in the homosexual lifestyle and not call this sin. This is for the couple who says that pre-marital sex is just an action that will eventually happen anyway once they marry. If that were the case, why does God have such a high regard for marriage? God calls it adultery for those who divorce into remarriage. Instead of remaining in singleness after a divorce, a spouse after divorce most often will say that God wants them to be happy. Therefore, they remarry to appease their flesh rather than remain in the Spirit. They are not walking in the Spirit because their actions and lifestyle is of the flesh. We must question those that walk in the flesh and continue to do so without repentance. They lack a regenerated heart.
Human sexuality is a gift from God for the flesh, yet if we use this gift without living in the Spirit, there is condemnation. We know this because human sexuality is reserved for this life and not the life to come. If we make sexuality a priority in our lives, we make this sexuality into an idol. Human sexuality is reserved for marriage between a man and a woman and God called this was good. Once human sexuality exits into any other area other than marriage, it is a fleshy desire of sin.
We can narrow it down to happiness vs. holiness. Living in the flesh is for those who seek and desire happiness. Living in the Spirit is for those who seek and desire holiness. If God wanted us to be happy, He would have said so. Instead, God wants us to have joy. If we remain in the flesh we will experience this desire of happiness as it pertains to the flesh, yet happiness is temporal and unfulfilled. Joy comes through holiness by living in the Spirit. This is eternal joy that can be experienced in this life and the life to come.
Gal 5:16 This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.
17 For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.
18 But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.
19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,
20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,
21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
24 And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.
25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.
In Christ’s love and joy,