Scripture Reading: Romans 7:24-8:4
“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 8:1)
Whereas Isaiah 43 is my favorite chapter in the Old Testament, Romans 8 is my favorite chapter in the New Testament. This week and next week we will look at selected passages from this glorious chapter in God’s Word.
Paul had been wrestling with the internal battle between the flesh and the Spirit — “I do not understand my own actions, for I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate” (7:15). Can you relate to Paul? I certainly can. He finally cried out — “Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?” (7:24). Paul admitted his condition — “wretched man that I am!” But he knew the answer to his problem — “Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (7:25).
Romans 8 begins with this almost beyond belief statement — “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Can you really grasp what is being said in this verse? We have been taken outside the realm of any conceivable state of condemnation. And, it is impossible for us to be put back in that state again. We have been set free from our guilt. We have been forgiven of all our sins — “For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death” (8:2).
We all have regrets and failures. We have disobeyed God on many occasions — “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). There was a time when we faced condemnation because of our sins. But now we are free of all condemnation — “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Why is this the case? “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” (8:3b,4). Christ came in the likeness of sinful flesh and yet remained sinless. He came in the flesh to condemn sin. Our sins were laid upon Him. The judgment of our sins was placed upon Jesus Christ.
When we grasp the meaning of what is being said here, there is no place for guilt. We have been forgiven of all our sins. “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” None!
Isaac Watts summed up the meaning of this verse in his hymn, “And Can It Be?” with these words:
“No condemnation now I dread: Jesus, and all in Him is mine! Alive in Him, my living Head, and clothed in righteousness divine. Bold I approach the eternal throne, and claim the crown, through Christ my own. Amazing love! How can it be that Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?”
Lord Jesus, it is hard to grasp that all my sins have been forgiven. You paid for everyone of them. I am no longer a condemned sinner. Because of Your atoning work, I am not only forgiven, but I am also righteous in the sight of God because Your righteousness has been imputed to me. I have no condemnation to dread because You bore it for me. “Amazing love! How can it be that Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?”
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