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!
Robert Dodson is the Preaching Minister for the Northwest Church of Christ.
6059 Azle Avenue
Fort Worth, TX 76135