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. No Condemnation

NO CONDEMNATION

When contemplating what to write on Pastor’s corner, I thought, why not do one on my ‘favourite Bible verse’. This got me strangely thinking, ‘what is my favourite Bible verse’? Over the years it has changed, depending where I have been in my spiritual walk. So I had to do some head scratching as I have so many favourite Bible verses.

But, I guess one of my favourite Bible verses of all times is still Romans 8:1 (ESV) 1 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Romans 8 is most definitely one of my favourite sections of Scripture as I have memorised it over the years without even trying to. It has simply by constant use become part of my life.

I believe that Romans 8:1 is maybe the most comforting verse for all believers.

Let me present to you just what is at the surface of this text. We can dig deeper and write chapters on its theology, but focus with me on the highlighted words and may the Lord Himself  by His Spirit be our teacher on this text.

 

"There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus."

"Therefore" can be viewed in a two ways. Whenever you see the word ‘therefore’ you have to ask what it is there for.  First, it connects with all that has been said from chapter 3:21. An inference is now deduced from the whole of the preceding discussion. Because Christ has been set forth "a propitiation through faith in His blood" (3:25); because He was "delivered for our offences and raised again for our justification" (4:25); because by the obedience of the One the many (believers of all ages) are "made righteous," constituted so, legally, (5:19); because believers have "died (judicially) to sin" (6:2); because they have "died" to the condemning power of the law (7:4), "there is therefore now NO CONDEMNATION."

But "therefore" also has a close relation to what immediately precedes Romans 8. In the second half of Romans 7 Paul describes the painful and ceaseless conflict which battles within him on a daily basis. The things he ought not to do, he does – and the things he ought to do, he does not. What a wretched position to be in. We share his thoughts, right? As Christians we feel as if we are standing under condemnation daily as we struggle in our Spiritual walk. Because of this, the word ‘therefore’ is the most glorious connecting word for us, as it offers us hope, victory and a future. In chapter 7:24 Paul cries out: 24 Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?” Then Paul comes forth with this glorious answer, Christ has delivered us from this body of death, as there is ‘therefore’ now no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus.

 

"There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus."

The qualifying ‘now’ implies there was a time when Christians, before we believed, were under condemnation. This was before we died with Christ, before we died judicially (Gal 2:20) to the penalty of God's righteous law. This ‘now,’ then, distinguishes between two states or conditions. By nature we were "under the (sentence of) law," but now believers are "under grace" (Rom 6:14). By nature we were "children of wrath" (Eph. 2:2), but now we are "accepted in the Beloved" (Eph. 1:6). Under the first covenant we were "in Adam" (1 Cor 15:22), but now we are "in Christ" (Rom 8:1). As believers in Christ we have everlasting life, and because of this we "shall not ever come into condemnation."

 

"There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus."

Condemnation is a word of tremendous importance, and the better we understand it, the more we will appreciate the wonderful grace which has delivered us from its power. In the halls of a human court this is a term which falls with fearful knell upon the ear of the convicted criminal and fills the spectators with sadness and horror. But in the court of Divine Justice it is vested with a meaning and content infinitely more solemn and awe-inspiring. To that Court every member of Adam's fallen race is cited: "Conceived in sin, shaped in iniquity, condemned." Each one enters this world under arrest – an indicted criminal, a rebel in chains, living on death row till our final judgment. How, then, is it possible for such a one to escape the execution of the dread sentence? There was only one way, and that was by the removal from us of that which called forth the sentence, namely SIN. Let guilt be removed and there can be "no condemnation."

Has guilt been removed from the sinner who believes? Let the Scriptures answer: "As far as the east is from the west so far has he removed our transgressions from us" (Psalm 103:12). "I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions" (Isa 43:25). "You have cast all my sins behind your back" (Isa 38:17). "Their sins and iniquities will I remember no more" (Heb. 10:17).

But how could guilt be removed? Only by it being transferred. Divine holiness could not ignore it; but Divine grace could and did transfer it. The sins of believers were transferred to Christ: "The Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all" (Isa 53:6). "For he has made him to be sin for us" (2 Cor 5:21). Because He was condemned in my place on the cross, I am free, but only in Christ Jesus.

 

"There is therefore no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus."

The "no" is emphatic. It signifies there is no condemnation whatever. No condemnation from the law, or on account of inward corruption, or because Satan can substantiate a charge against me; there is none from any source or for any cause at all. "No condemnation" means that none at all is possible; that none ever will be. There is no condemnation because there is no accusation (see 8:33), and there can be no accusation because there is no imputation of sin (see 4:8).

 

"There is therefore no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus."

In chapter 7 Paul shares his personal conflict which is an indication that even somebody like Paul was not spared the internal warfare he there describes. But here in 8:1 the apostle changes the number. He does not say, there is no condemnation for me Paul, but "to those who are in Christ Jesus." This was most gracious of the Holy Spirit. Had the apostle spoken here in the singular number, we should have reasoned that such a blessed exemption was well suited to this honoured servant of God who enjoyed such wondrous privileges; but could not apply to us. The Spirit of God, therefore, moved the apostle to employ the plural number here, to show that "no condemnation" is true of all in Christ Jesus.

 

"There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus."

To be in Christ Jesus is to be perfectly identified with Him in the judicial reckoning and dealings of God. And it is also to be one with Him as vitally united by faith. Immunity from condemnation does not depend in any way upon our "walk," but solely on our being "in Christ."

There is no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus. "In Christ" is the believer's position before God, not his condition in the flesh. "In Adam" I was condemned (Rom 5:12); but "in Christ" is to be forever freed from all condemnation.

Hallelujah!!

So, through the ages the anthem of all Christians should ring, as depicted in the song below: ‘Christ alone, cornerstone…’ We have no other rock than Him, as it is only in Him that we can say: ‘I am not condemned’.