"Therefore, there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus because, through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life, has set you free from the law of sin and death. For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so He condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit." Romans 8:1-4.
Ahhh! Romans 8!
Like a breath of fresh air in a stuffy room comes the grand climax of Romans 8. The first seven chapters of Romans are gloomy and depressing, but for a reason. Paul must make clear how desperate our situation was until God stepped in with His solution.
In one grand act of intervention, God sent His Son into a hopeless and helpless world to rescue us from our plight. No condemnation! What magical words after setting the scene of our despair. But how many believers are still trapped in their insecurity and fear because they have failed to embrace those two liberating words!
The woman who was caught in adultery and dragged before Jesus for sentencing knew what it felt like to hear His words, "Neither do I condemn you. Go, and leave your life of sin." She had just been pardoned by none other than the Son of God and escaped the death penalty to go free, both from guilt and from the life that had imprisoned her for so long.
It was not Paul but God Himself who had pronounced the whole of mankind "Not guilty!" But how could He do that? Someone had paid the debt and set all the prisoners free. It was the season of Jubilee then, the time for setting prisoners and slaves free and we are still living in that season until Jesus comes.
But what if we sin again? No condemnation! What of those who have committed heinous crimes against humanity? No condemnation! What about those who died before Jesus came? No condemnation! What of those who have not yet been born? No condemnation! What about those who have never heard about Jesus? No condemnation!
Jesus died for the sin of the world - before the foundation of the world. What does that mean? From God's perspective, although He sent His Son into the world at a point in time, and He died on a specific day in history, the effects of His death are for all people for all time. Does the mean that all people are automatically saved? Of course not! God's forgiveness must be personally appropriated to become effective in our lives.
God's holy law can do no more than show us where we have gone wrong. Only the power of God's Holy Spirit can set us free from the power of sin to live a new life of righteousness in Christ Jesus. The struggle is over. The voice of condemnation has been silenced. Whose voice do we hear when we feel condemned? It is not the voice of God nor the voice of conscience because God has pronounced over us, once and for all, His verdict, "No condemnation!" It is the voice of our enemy, repeating what he hears about himself.
By offering Himself as an atoning sacrifice, Jesus both agreed with God's verdict that all people are guilty of breaking His holy law, and He accepted in our place the punishment that God required. God carried out His sentence on Jesus that we might go free.
"...God was reconciling the world to Himself in Christ, not counting people's sins against them..." 2 Corinthians 5:19.
Do you believe that? Have you received His verdict? You are free! Like His words to the guilty woman, Jesus says to you, "Neither do I condemn you. Go, and leave your life of sin."
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