There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. 3 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, 4 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. 5 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. 6 For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. 7 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. 8 Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
9 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. 10 But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11 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 8:1-11
Romans 8 is one of my favorite chapters of the Bible. Romans itself is a key book, and had a major impact in the lives of St. Augustine, Martin Luther, and John Wesley. Others have been moved by this book for many years.
I believe the whole Bible is the inspired, inerrant, and infallible word of God. Even so, most people will agree that the passage from the Old Testament, “Esau is a hairy man,” (Genesis 27:11) is perhaps not as inspiring as “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (v. 1). Both are part of a larger context. And there is actually much to learn from the passages from with they come. But for now, I will focus on Romans 8. Perhaps Genesis 27 will come sometime later.
The implied truth of Romans 8:1 is that those who are not in Christ Jesus have no promise or hope of escaping God’s condemnation. That is a sobering idea, one we must first acknowledge and understand. There is a problem we have in our natural and sinful state. We do not honor God as we should. We do not obey his commandments. We do the very things God forbids. Speaking of fallen man’s condition, Paul puts it this way:
For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things. – Romans 1:21-23
Before we get to quick to dismiss our culpability in this regard, let’s be honest. Again, Paul speaks, “Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things” (Romans 2:1).
We typically fall off the road of righteousness in one of two ways. Either we believe we have no need for a Savior – how very sad – or we believe we have no hope, and all we can expect from God is condemnation. In either case we need a Savior. We need some way to escape the condemnation of God. And Jesus offers us that escape. If we are “in Christ” we are not condemned.
Whether it is as we take our last breath, or in the dark night of the soul, we can experience a terror of conscience that makes these words so precious: There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Jesus’ resurrection power is at work in us. Jesus’ resurrection provides proof of God’s faithfulness.
Let’s start this week with a deep appreciation for God’s faithfulness, our standing in God’s favor, and the bold confidence of faith in Jesus. Whatever else may come our way, our eternal salvation has been secured by Jesus. We live from that truth into a future of hope, life, and peace.