Fulfilled in us | Romans 8:3-4
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. Romans 8:3-4
NO CONDEMNATION! YOU ARE FREE!
That's the banner God waves in your face when you sin. I believe the first thing he wants you to know each time you fall and are lying there with your face on the ground, convicted, guilty, condemned, is that he is 100% on your side in this. You can page through all the reasons sin is wrong later and figure out the plan for how to never stumble like this again. But if you're going to stand back up again and stay in the game, you've got to have a reason to do so. A helping hand to grab onto. That's what "No Condemnation" is. It's his hand outstretched to you, right in the mire of your own mud. Exactly where you need it.
And the reason he reaches down to pick you up is that he wants you for his own. This is the purpose for which he has set you free, and it's what allows him to not even want to think about condemning you. He loves you.
So very much.
And God has what it takes to put massive muscle behind that emotion. Which is what this next section is about: "For God has done what the law could not do."
It's simple. God is stronger than your sin. He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world (1 John 4:4). And he's here to prove it - in your life.
So what did God do that the law could not do?
First, he sent Christ - his Son - God himself - to become a man and die for you. There is, in fact, condemnation for sin. It went down in the body of Christ as he died and was buried.
Buried. Your sin. His body. All of it down in the grave. Condemned.
And then he rose, free from sin and death. And you were there with him - your life, your future, your person, your soul, your everything - rising from the dead to new life. (See Romans 6.)
And the upshot of this "new life" is that now your spirit is fit for God's presence. You're no longer dead, unclean, impure - you're acceptable. So acceptable, in fact, that God has seen fit to tabernacle inside you by his Spirit. So when you're in the mud, he wants you out of there as fast as possible. Because he has united himself to you.
And why would he do that?
So that everything God wants for you could become a reality; the righteousness required by the law will be FULFILLED IN YOU. He is, for your own sake and to demonstrate the wealth of his grace, making you into the person he always intended you to be by training you to hate your sin and desire purity and love and green. He's making you into the real you - the one he envisioned and loved before the earth was made. The real you is the offspring of his word, and his Word and his Spirit are bringing that you back to life.
He knows better than anyone how sin ravages our minds, our bodies, and our lives. He knows how powerful sin is because he fought it to the death. And he is here to rescue us by making us hate sin and love what is right.
Your obedience - the desire for it and the increasing ability to accomplish it - is his gift to you.
Remember that when boiled down to its essence, God's law is love. And so he begins that process of training you to obey by beginning there, at the law's essence: he loves you. Enough to not want to condemn you. Enough to set you free. Enough to die with you. Enough to live with you.
I know when you sin you feel ruined, polluted, violated, like a giant "Do Not Enter - Hazardous Waste" tape is plastered all over your forehead and wrapped around your body. "Condemned. Do not enter." Black mold. Termites. Rotten beams.
But he is no respecter of sin or its crafty schemes. He condemns the sin in you. "Damn you," he says to your sin, "you're on my property." And then he rips down the tape and moves in, perches right there in the middle of the place where you know the worst stuff happens. Your heart. Your mind. That's where he lives because he loves you. He burns away the trash and he washes out the mold. He sets up rooms for himself, with two comfy chairs in each room. One for him and one for you. He wants to live with you inside of you, and your weaknesses, your fears, your faults and failings, and especially your sin, are all perfect reasons to go there where he lives, no condemnation, and let him remind you that he loves you.
And that his love actually works. He's making all things new, starting right here inside of you and inside of me. The work of God in the world starts here.
Claim it: Today, take one thing you find unacceptable about yourself. Just one thing. It doesn't even have to be the worst. Find a quiet place and sit there, and ask God to invite you to sit with him in the deep places of your heart. Once your there, pull out that unacceptable thing. Hand it over to him. Ask him if he still loves you. Listen. And if you have trouble hearing, open up Romans 8 and read the end of the chapter (v. 31-39). Let him speak back to you his word..."no condemnation...nothing can separate you from my love...not even this..." Leave that unacceptable thing there, exchange it for his love, and take his love with you today. Fixate on that as the foundational characteristic of your relationship with God, not on your own weaknesses, faults, and sins.