Monday, June 18, 2012

No Condemnation

If you are anything like me, you regularly (sometimes daily) come back to the truth of Romans 8:1, which says “there is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” And if you have ever taken a bible interpretation class or listened to your pastor explain the context of a specific passage you know that whenever we see a “therefore” we must always ask what it is there for. Clever, I know. But it’s catchy and helpful isn’t it? So what is this “therefore” talking about in Romans 8:1?

It’s talking about Romans 7. We all know Romans 7, right? It is the passage where Paul recounts the tension of the new man versus the old man. Sin still plagues him. He knows what he should do and yet he still does the opposite. Romans 7 is a reminder to us that sin is a vicious, life-sucking enemy that doesn’t know when to let go.

Who can relate to the tension and struggle of Romans 7? Let me be the first to raise my hand to say “I can.” How many times have I lashed out at my husband in anger, cussed at a driver who got in my way or cut me off (bad, I know), gossiped about a person I didn’t like, or harbored bitterness in my heart against someone who has wronged me? Deep down in my heart I know these are sinful responses. But sometimes I do them anyway. The good I want to do I don’t do, and the bad just keeps hanging on. Romans 7 is filled with tension and struggle with sin and then Paul delivers the hammer of gospel hope for all believers—if you are in Christ those sins do not condemn you.

And that is why Romans 8:1 is so refreshing and encouraging. Yes, I sin. Yes, I still have lingering issues that don’t seem to go away. Yes, I hurt people with my tongue and my actions. But because of the atoning work of Jesus Christ on my behalf those sins do not secure my fate in hell. Instead, I am resting on the fate of another—Jesus Christ.

Romans 7 left to itself can be a startling reality. Enter Romans 8 and we have the hope that Jesus paid it all for us. You might feel overwhelmed by your sin and the battle in your soul today, but you can bank on this truth—Christ has won that battle for and you are not condemned. You may feel convicted and remorseful, and rightfully so. But you are not condemned. Preach this amazing truth to yourself when you feel the water of condemnation rising up around your weary head.
“There is therefore no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”

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