We have all suffered under the guilt, power, and condemnation of sin. We all know what a cruel taskmaster sin can be. We all have experienced the misery, heartache, and suffering that sin can cause us – how it destroys our relationships, our life, our souls. But there is good news!
“There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit” (Romans 8:1). The word “therefore” indicates that Romans 8 is a pivotal chapter. What Paul writes here is based on all that he wrote before in the book of Romans: The condemnation of the whole world (1-3), the blessing of salvation for all through faith in Jesus Christ (4-5), the moment we died to sin to live for God (6).
In the more immediate context, Chapter 7, Paul describes his life before becoming a Christian. Sin ruled his life. He was spiritually dead, separated from God by sin. At the end of the chapter, he cries out in desperation to be delivered and thanks God for the only One who can deliver him – Jesus Christ, our Lord (vv. 24-25).
Therefore, now there is no condemnation in Christ! What a beautiful, wonderful, inspiring, encouraging thought – no condemnation! Every sinner wants to hear those words. Imagine yourself before a judge having been convicted on many counts of violating the law, having served for years in the penitentiary on death row, but on this day the judge pronounces you, “Not guilty!” That means that you are pardoned, forgiven of all your crimes, no longer under the sentence of death, free to enter back into society to live your life.
Well now that is a physical picture of the spiritual things Paul is writing about here – we are pronounced “Not guilty!” by God, forgiven of all our sins, no longer separated from God, free from the rule of sin to live a new life of righteousness. We no longer walk after the flesh, but after the Spirit. That’s what we have in Christ!
Romans 8:1 “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.”
Two of the most comforting words you will ever hear are these – “no condemnation”. We all know we deserve condemnation, yet there is nothing we can do to deliver ourselves from it without Christ Jesus. He alone paid the price for our sins by His perfect sacrifice upon the cross (Isaiah 53:5-6; 2 Corinthians 5:19, 21; 1 Peter 2:24). So, think about these two words “no condemnation”. Ask yourself:
This phrase is used to refer to the world we will inhabit in eternity with God (2 Peter 3). It is not a mere cleansing, renewal or restoration of our present world like what God did with the waters that covered this planet in the days of Noah. Peter draws a clear contrast between the destruction of the old world and the coming destruction of the present world. Our present world is reserved for fire. “The heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up… all these things will be dissolved” (vv. 10-11). Our present world will one day be gone (Matthew 24:35); there will be no place found for it (Revelation 20:11). But we have another place Jesus has prepared for us in His Father’s house (John 14:1-3; cf. Hebrews 11:16). This inheritance is “reserved in heaven” for us and is not just new in time but in kind, “incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away” (1 Peter 1:3-5; cf. Colossians 1:5). The new world will be spiritual, heavenly and eternal not physical, earthly and temporary as is our present world (2 Corinthians 4:16-5:11).
The king of Bezek was defeated by Judah and when they caught him they cut off his thumbs and big toes. He said, “Seventy kings with their thumbs and big toes cut off used to gather scraps under my table; as I have done, so God has repaid me” (Judges 1:7). There are at least two lessons for us in this story.
One, even the seemingly most insignificant parts of the body are important. This is true in regards to the physical body. To lose our thumbs would make it quite difficult to handle things and to lose our big toes would be crippling. But, this is also true in regards to the spiritual body of Christ, His church.
Robert Dodson is the Preaching Minister for the Northwest Church of Christ.
6059 Azle Avenue
Fort Worth, TX 76135