There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
Love. That. Verse.
That’s the essence of Christianity. That’s the central, foundational message of God to the world. This is what we announce. This is what we plead. This is what we lay down our lives to communicate to the nations and the neighborhoods: No condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. – John Piper
We hear Romans 8:1 all the time, but how often do we remember that it’s linked to Paul’s confession in chapter 7? Paul has this war between what he wants to do and what his flesh wants to do. His inner man delights in God’s law, but his flesh seems determined to disobey. Therefore, there is no condemnation for him in Christ.
It’s a weird connection, but it’s essential. The confidence we have that we are not condemned exists – not in spite of our inner tension with our failing flesh – but because of that battle between flesh and spirit. The very thing that makes us feel condemned is evidence that we’re not.
Think about it: before you had an inner man who delighted in the law of God, did you feel bad about your insincerity in worship? Did you feel convicted by your sin? No. The irony is that back when you were perfectly at peace with being at war with God, you were actually under condemnation.
Now, now that you see the battle within you – be encouraged. There is no condemnation for those who are filled with the Spirit of God.
I struggle with condemnation.
Reading Romans this morning I realized that I tend to think of condemnation as a feeling: a sense of shame and rejection. But that’s not what it is at all. Condemnation is not a feeling, it is a reality. It’s what happens when you are judged and found wanting. To be condemned is to be found guilty.
God gives us no promise of never ‘feeling’ condemned, but He does promise us that – if we are in Christ – He will never declare us guilty. That feeling will never be based on reality.
If we are in Christ, we have already served our sentence. We were hidden away inside Jesus, in Him when He hung on the Cross and was condemned in our sinful flesh.
We are free from the sentence of death, we are judged and cleared before God because of Jesus. No matter how we feel, we can bank on this truth: we are not condemned.
I’ll steal some words from Johnny P to help us feel the joy of this news:
When you suffer physical pain…your own thoughts, the devil, Job’s friends say, “It’s punishment. You are under God’s condemnation. That’s why you are suffering so much.” How are you going to survive that assault? Answer: With Romans 8:1…
What are you going to do if your children break your heart? We will find ample reason for thinking it was our fault. …So how will you keep going? Answer: Romans 8:1. In the end you don’t have to sort that out. Your standing with God does not hang on your figuring out how much was yours and how much was not. Your standing before God as a loved and forgiven child is this: There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. With that freedom, you will admit your failings freely and you will humble yourselves before your children and God may heal.
On and on we could go. No condemnation and ministry. No condemnation and peer pressure. No condemnation and sexual temptation. No condemnation and pride. No condemnation and racism.
Gosh. My singleness, my struggles in relationships, my current sin tendencies – these things are not evidences of the condemnation of God. God is not punishing me for past failures. He did that already. He punished me for past, present and future sins on the Cross.
There is therefore, now, no condemnation for me in Him.