“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.” (Romans 8:1-2) Are there any more hope-filled, awe-inspiring, jaw-dropping words in the Bible??
Now, to let this sink in for a moment, I’m going to deal with specific things from these 2 verses from what we’ve seen in our series in Romans 5-8:
“No condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus”:
The last time we saw the word ‘condemnation’ in this series was in chapter 5. Paul wrote, “And the free gift is not like the result of that one man’s sin. For the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brought justification” in Romans 5:16, and he wrote, “Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men” in vs. 18. You’ll notice that both times it’s mentioned, it’s mentioned in connection with Adam’s sin and the righteous judgment that God placed on our sin through Adam. Condemnation. It’s a word that means “strong disapproval; censure; sentencing.” As Dave Quilla mentioned Sunday, most of us have never heard an earthly judge declare “found guilty, and the sentence is _________.” But before our heavenly judge, we are condemned because of our sin. God looked upon us with strong disapproval, censured us from His presence, and sentenced us to eternity apart from His mercy, grace, and kindness.
But (the best word in the New Testament), in Christ Jesus (those united with Christ by faith), “there is therefore now no condemnation.” Notice, ‘now.’ Notice ‘no.’ This means that the ‘now’ reality of God’s attitude towards you if you are in Christ, is strong approval, welcoming, and freedom. A dark cloud does not hang over you lie like Eeyore. Those clouds have been removed so far that it’s as if they never existed. Your God, now in Christ, looks upon you with favor and joy and peacefully relates to you.
But wait, there’s more…
“The law of the Spirit of life has set you free from the law of sin and death”:
In Romans 7, Paul wrote about being set free from the law. But he also said that the law was “holy, righteous, and good” (vs. 12). So, if we’re freed from the holy, righteous, and good law, why is there another law called “the law of the Spirit of life” in Romans 8:2? Well, I’m glad you asked.
The law of sin and death is the law of condemnation. “The wages of sin is death, but (there’s that word again) the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23). See it?
The law demands perfect obedience to gain eternal life. Our sin dominated us so thoroughly that we could not obey the law perfectly. Condemnation was our sentence. But in Christ Jesus, by faith, we are set free from this law of sin and death. And another law rises to the forefront, the law of the Spirit of life. In Christ, God accredited Jesus’ righteousness to us as if we had perfectly obeyed God (even though we hadn’t). And, the law of the Spirit of life says, “the wages for a perfect life is…life!” So, in a very real way, in our union with Christ, God mysteriously and wonderfully treats us as if we lived a perfect life of obedience and grants us all the blessings that come from a perfect life. And this all happens…because of Christ’s perfect life and death in our place and because He was raised from the dead (for His perfect life, I might add).
But wait, don’t we sin every day, and doesn’t God get mad at us?
This is why we must cling to the truths of Romans 5-8. In our union with Christ, God no longer determines our relationship with Him based on our sin, our fickle love for Him, or how we feel in the morning. God relates to us solely on our union with Christ.
This means, yes, we will sin each day (see Romans 7:13-24). But, in Christ, our sin doe not condemn us anymore. It does not have the power to snatch us from our Father’s hand. It has lost its teeth and its threat. And yes, God is not honored by our sin, and God disciplines accordingly. But while our daily relationship with God is affected by our sin (we can grieve the Holy Spirit…see Ephesians 4:30), our eternal standing with God never changes because of Jesus.
Won’t this make me eager to sin more? Like, take this grace for granted?
Well, that was Paul’s argument in Romans 6. If we’re in Christ, we’ve died to sin’s power and penalty, and we will no longer stay in it. Instead, we find something fascinating…it is truly God’s kindness that leads us to true repentance (see Romans 2:4).
It is here that we learn a great principle of God’s dealings with us, and it should change our dealings with others: free grace and sacrificial love are the greatest motivators to change in the history of the universe. Let me ask you some questions: what challenges you more, someone telling you how bad things will be in your life if you keep doing the same things or someone loving you, forgiving you, and walking with you to help you change? When you know you’ve blown it, what’s more helpful, someone standing over you proclaiming judgment or someone forgiving you and saying they’re not going to leave?
Friends, people don’t know what to do with that type of grace and love. It is the greatest motivating force in the universe because it’s birthed in the mind and heart of God. It’s how God works in His people (see Moses, King David, Saul of Tarsus, and the Prodigal Son). Grace upon grace changes us from faith to faith. It’s why marriage is such a glorious picture of Jesus and His church…the world does not have categories for relationships filled with grace and sacrificial love. This is why the church is to treat one another with grace and sacrificial love.
Dave Quilla did such a great job on Sunday going through Romans 8:1-11. I was encouraged by what I just wrote during his sermon. The Lord just kept washing over my heart with “there is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” What a gift!!
This coming Sunday, we will study Romans 8:12-25. Buckle up, take a deep breath… going to be like a fire hydrant because there is so much to cover (joint heirs with Christ; Spirit of God; future glory). Oh my!
From the Cheap Seats:
- Hmmm…are the Padres a touch cocky?? Well, after their big trade, they got swept by the Dodgers. And don’t take the time to listen to Manny Machado’s comments afterward.
- Not a bad debut Eerling Haaland. Since it’s my favorite EPL team, here is the highlight reel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=omteyqu8Bwo.
- I believe Erik ten Hag will turn around Manchester United…but I hope not for a long time.
- Why does the NFL news always have something to do with OBJ? Why can’t we worry about the players around at the beginning of the season? Speaking of the NFL…their new streaming options are affordable.
Have a great week, living under the freedom from condemnation that your Savior has delivered to you.
To watch or listen to the sermon described in this post, please click here.