Updated: Aug 7, 2020
There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Romans 8:1
You really have to read Romans 6-7 to get the full benefit of this breaking news in 8:1. Romans 6 is like, "Why would you sin if you're set free from sin?" and Romans 7 is like, "Because I'm at war with myself." And Romans 8 cuts through that painful (but honest) inner dialogue with a solid fact: in spite of the war within, and in spite of the fact that we choose sin even when we understand that it's the stupidest choice in the world, when we trust him with our lives, God isn't going to condemn us for making a mess of them.
Instead, he's ready and able to meet our mess head on with a big huge smile.
The beauty of the gospel - by gospel I mean what God has done for us in Christ - is that it is vast and powerful enough to encompass even the war that goes on in every believer all throughout life - the war between the spirit that is alive in the resurrection of Christ and the flesh that is still dead, waiting for resurrection.
The war that makes you hate yourself for willfully, persistently sneaking over to the enemy's side and nibbling on his filthy grub.
As stupid and yucky and shameful as this is - and God knows you do it - the gospel is specifically designed to target and root out that very paradox in you (in us all) and slowly but surely ween you off of the enemy's poison to make you hungry for (and satisfied by) Christ.
It doesn't foil his plan that we're habitual traitors - his plan is precisely aimed to make loyal the hearts of traitors whom he has chosen and redeemed.
That's why Paul says "there is no condemnation." God in his creative joy says, "Wait - before you drag this criminal off to pay for his crime, let me turn him into something else. Something not guilty."
So, as Paul says later in the chapter (8:31-34), if God is the one to bring charges, and he's decided not to, so who's left to condemn us? No one. God is literally the only sinless, pure, and holy one in the universe who could press charges against our sin. And (here's the breaking news again) he's not going to.
So, there is no condemnation. It just isn't there. Silence in the court. The prosecution has no opening statement, no case, no evidence, no witnesses, because the entire judicial system of God's heart loves you and wants you for his child. He wants to be with you and to know you and be known by you.
Think for a minute about what those two words mean. NO CONDEMNATION. It's not a cop out. It's not a sorry substitute for the awesomeness you know you should be capable of. It's exactly what you need to get started living the life you want to live and becoming the man or woman you want to become. You’re clean because God has washed you with his presence, and you’re free to keep refreshing yourself in that water. That’s your life, in him. That’s how he deals with sin. He just loves.
Really, a far worse crime even than the treason we commit every day in the enemy's camp is our own tendency to blurt "No! I'm guilty!" into that golden echo of grace and condemn ourselves in court, contradicting the judge himself after he has declared forgiveness, grace, and full restoration, calling into question his justice and his rightness. This "tramples" the Savior and "outrages the Spirit of grace," offending him far worse than any sin of the flesh we might commit (Heb 10:29). There’s no hope in that.
But even that offense is wiped clean by his presence the moment we trust his grace enough to open ourselves to him.
We're at war, and God knows it. He's planned for it. Don't be ashamed of it. Take him way in there, to see all of you. Trust God to be for you, not against you. That's what he's here to do - that’s what he made you for. But more on that later...for now, just breathe in deep the air of the one who chooses day after day not to condemn you.
There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
Claim it. Before you head into your day, write down the words "no condemnation" on a piece of paper and put it in your pocket or, better yet, put it on your phone where you'll see it each time you make a call or text. When you see or feel that little note, remember those two words. NO CONDEMNATION. And think about what they mean to you. If you want to share your thoughts, I'd love to hear them. But more importantly, tell God what you're thinking.