Reversing Death's Sentence

The Gospel is the “power of God for salvation.” He provides life and deliverance through the “faith of Jesus Christ” for everyone who responds to the message with repentance and faith. Death passed from Adam to all men, whether “within the law” or “apart from the law” since “all sinned and lack the glory of God.” Now, “apart from the Law,” the “righteousness of God” is revealed for “all men who believe, for there is no distinction.”

Before the revelation of his “Righteous One,” all men stood condemned by the “righteous requirement” of the Law, whether Jewish or Gentile, yet God has reversed the sentence of death through the “redemption” provided through Jesus - (Romans 3:21-28, 8:1).

Tombstone sunny day - Photo by Elimende Inagella on Unsplash
[Photo by Elimende Inagella on Unsplash]

Because of human mortality and moral weakness, the Law could not justify anyone before God. Still, what the Mosaic Law could not do, God achieved by “
sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin.” Thus, he “condemned sin in the flesh.” God used the very thing that condemned humanity – sin - to reverse the death that all men deserve - (“Jesus condemned sin in the flesh”).

What distinguishes believers from unbelievers is the Gift of the Spirit. If anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.” The Spirit compensates for human weaknesses by enabling us to fulfill the “ordinance of the Law.” Even though our bodies are “dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness” that comes from the “faith of Jesus.”

We remain mortal, still subject to suffering, temptation, and death. However, that is not the end of the story. Each of us has been given the Spirit as the “first fruits” and the “guarantee” of the future resurrection, the reversal of death’s ominous sentence:

  • If the Spirit of him that raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he that raised him from the dead will give life also to your death-doomed bodies through his Spirit that dwells in you” – (Romans 8:1-11).

The problem is not our bodily existence, but mortality and human frailty because of sin. Our sins have placed each of us under the sentence of death and transformed us into creatures of “flesh” enslaved by our baser instincts. This is what Paul means by “flesh.” However, this grim reality will be reversed when our bodies are “quickened” by the Spirit, and we inherit immortality.

In Chapter 8 of his letter to the Romans, Paul focuses on the future resurrection. It is pivotal to our redemption. Everlasting life and glory mean bodily resurrection and life in the New Creation. The indwelling Spirit attests that we are the “sons of God,” “heirs,” and “joint heirs” with Jesus. We are subject to suffering and death now, but we will also be “glorified with him” in the coming resurrection - (Romans 8:12-17).

The faith proclaimed by Jesus is forward-looking. Salvation and glory are received in the future when Christ arrives in power and raises the dead. The “sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that will be revealed to us.”


The creation also is “waiting for the revelation of the sons of God.” Adam’s sin did more than condemn humanity to sin and death; it also sentenced the Universe to disease, decay, and death. The “whole creation is groaning and travailing in pain.” However, it “likewise will be delivered from the bondage of corruption” when the “sons of God” are resurrected. The resurrection of the body is an act of new creation – (Romans 8:18-25).

We “groan within ourselves waiting for the redemption of our bodies” - our resurrection. Just as God raised Jesus from the dead, so He will give “life to our death-doomed bodies.” The future bodily resurrection is foundational to our “hope,” but it is a “hope not seen,” NOT because it is invisible, but because it is in the future.

Through His Son, God triumphed over sin and death for us despite our sins, weaknesses, and mortality. His cancellation of our well-deserved judicial penalty is an act of sheer grace. Because of the obedient death of Jesus, God has reversed the claim of death held over us by our Adversary and Accuser.

God “works all things together for good to them who are called according to purpose.” Since He “foreknew” those who belong to Him, He also “marked them out beforehand for conformance to the image of His son.”

The text does not state that God “causes all things,” but that He “works” in all things to bring about “good” for His children. Paul was highlighting the faithfulness of God. Despite our frailties, failings, and Death’s claim on us, He brings us into the “image of His Son,” salvation and glory. As Paul exulted:

  • If God is for us, who is against us? He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how will he not also with him freely give us all things?” – (Romans 8:32).

No one can successfully bring any legally binding charge against the children of God since the same “Righteous One” who died on our behalf and was “raised from the dead” now reigns from the “right hand of God to make intercession for us.” Nothing can separate us from the love of that magnitude, not even death.

When God resurrected Jesus, He reversed Sin’s sentence of condemnation and death which held mankind in bondage and fear. Death still occurs for believers, but it will not have the final word on the Last Day when the Judge of all the Earth declares, “There is no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus.”

  • Victory over Death - (The arrival of Jesus will mean the end of death, our resurrection, and our receipt of immortal bodies - 1 Corinthians 15:24-28)
  • He Abolished Death - (Paul reminded Timothy of the resurrection of Jesus and his victory over death since false teachers were denying the future resurrection of believers)
  • Spirit and Resurrection - (The Gift of the Spirit is the first fruits of the bodily resurrection and a foretaste of the promised New Creation)

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