by Andrea Elizabeth
“Rom 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.”
When I was a Protestant I remember more emphasis on the first part of that verse than the last. The last seemed an automatic result of being in Christ which is what happened after belief.
As an Orthodox Christian I put more emphasis on the condition of walking by the Spirit, which is what miracle working Saints do. If I’m sinning, or being selfish in the flesh, then I don’t take “no condemnation” for granted. This is why it is uncomfortable for me to write “In Christ” at the end of correspondence. I don’t assume I’m walking after the Spirit.
The spiritual person mortifies his flesh (v. 13) and suffers with Christ (v. 17). It is likewise uncomfortable for me to assume any suffering is with Christ and not from living selfishly.
But I do have hope. ““Rom 8:24 For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? Rom 8:25 But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.”
Hope that God will forgive and fix me. “Rom 8:26 Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.”
Is it because I’m exclusively elected and others have no hope? My Church says no. Christ wants all to be saved. Does he elect all? Verse 29 says it’s the ones he foreknew. So for the ones he knows will be his sons, he guides.
Can they fall away? There’s too many other places that say they can, like the parable of the sower. I can see that it is easier to forego suffering, whether it is grieving over mistakes, enduring persecution, or caring about others. I could walk away and lose myself in more pleasurable things and forget the tug of righteousness. But Christ would not disappear. Others can will him to disappear, and he will accommodate them, but I am too much of a realist. I can’t pretend for very long stretches, anyway. To sin is to pretend and turn away. I’m a revolving door.