This morning I finished reading Romans chapter 8. The chapter begins with the verse, ‘there is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.‘ It’s good news on the heels of the reality of our struggle with sin which Paul reflects upon in chapter 7 – ‘I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing that I hate’ (Romans 7:15 ESV).
I identify with Paul, I don’t want to lie, yet in tight situations, my first response is to color the truth (lie). I want to love sacrificially, but at the first test of my devotion, I protect my own interests before others’. I desire to honor my parents and my husband, but I am often my worst self in relation to them.
So there is good news for me (us) in the truth of chapter 8 of Romans. There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ. To be in Christ is to be a follower of his – to have accepted God’s atonement for our disobedience by the death and resurrection of his perfect Son (and reflection of God’s own character Heb 11) on our behalf. Once in Christ, the truth of the words of Romans 8 are truly freeing. Let me explain.
God is the only one who can condemn – he is the one we’ve disobeyed by neglecting his laws and denying his existence and rightful authority over our lives. But once we’ve accepted Christ’s payment for our sins on the cross, our slate is wiped clean. We are not condemned, because Jesus was for us.
Yes, we still struggle to obey God’s commands, but the Spirit of God takes up residence in us as soon as we accept his atonement and submit to his authority over our lives. We struggle with sin, because the Spirit of God is in conflict with our spirit – but the Spirit of God is the victor. The Spirit of God reveals our selfishness, disobedience, etc. and in the moment we are tempted to despair, he reminds us that the word of God tells us to confess and repent and we will find forgiveness (I John 1:9 ESV). Our lives become a continual confession to God and we gradually reflect more and more of his character.
The joy I feel this morning comes from remembering my true state in Christ. If you are ‘in Christ’ today, I encourage you to take note and be free from self-condemnation. (If you are not, choose to accept his gracious offering of Christ today.)
If God is for us, who can be against us? Who shall bring any charge against us? Who is to condemn? Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? (Romans 8: 31, 33-35 ESV)
We need not fear anyone if God is for us! If God does not bring a charge, no one can! If God does not condemn, there is no condemnation, for he alone is the judge. Who shall separate us from the love of God?
For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:38-39 ESV).
Yay and Amen!