“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Romans 8:1
Beautiful words! But they do not stand alone. It is flippant to think we are not worthy of that condemnation. I’ve recently heard from several, in different contexts, that “man is basically good;” if that is true, then this statement would be unnecessary, or at least, hold no punch. In order for this statement to carry the weight it deserves, to know its truth, we must recognize that we own something deserving condemnation. The beauty of grace is that Jesus bore our condemnation for us, serving justice perfectly.
The “therefore” at the start of chapter 8 refers to the truths explained in prior chapters: we are all sinners, and deserve the wages of death, yet “as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” “For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.” (Romans 3:10-12,23; 5:21; 8:2-11)
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9 This is no cheap ‘overlooking,’ or ‘that’s-OK’ forgiveness. God’s justice was served at the Cross, where our loving Savior, Jesus, took the wrath we deserve. Hallelujah! Because of this, we have no condemnation! We have a mind of life and peace! I am no longer a slave to sin! God’s Spirit testifies with ours that we are His children! My current suffering promises future glory! God’s Spirit helps me in weakness! God works all things together for my good because I am in Him! And nothing can separate me from His love! All because of Jesus. I am a debtor to His amazing grace. (Romans 8)
Lord, may I keep my mind set on, and live according to, the Spirit, not the flesh. Cause me never to slip into thinking I do not deserve condemnation, but always to bow in gratitude before Your grace that bore the punishment for me.