Ahh, Romans 8 is one of my favorite chapters in the New Testament. It’s packed with rich doctrine, life-giving promises, and how to live by the Spirit. Last time in Romans 7, we ended with Paul’s plea, “Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?” (Romans 7:24) Paul’s mind was at war with desiring to do the right thing but finding himself doing the wrong thing. Who was going to help him in the war against his flesh? Who will help us in the war against our flesh? The answer is in Romans 7:25 – Jesus Christ! And now since we have Jesus Christ, God gives us a beautiful promise in Romans 8:1:
“So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.”
If you have accepted Jesus as your Savior and surrendered to Him as your Lord, there is good news for you: you are no longer condemned! This means that there is no eternal punishment for you. You are a child of God. And because you are a child of God, the Father sees you as He sees Christ. “For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight.” (Ephesians 1:4) Holy means we are set apart and blameless means without spot or blemish. This means that God sees us as sinless, spotless perfection. God sees us just as if we’ve never sinned! We learned in Romans 7 that under the law we are condemned and defeated but now we are dead to the law and alive in Christ. And in Christ there is no condemnation. Not now, not ever.
Many Christians (including myself) feel guilty after we sin; that is guilty to the point that we are no longer free. We have a great Accuser who stands before God accusing the brethren day and night because we still have sinful habits and tendencies (Rev. 12:11). He whispers in our ears how imperfect we are, how we are not enough, how worthless we are because we can never live up to how God wants us to live. Because we believe these lies we think that God is going to punish us or that we need to punish ourselves for our behavior. And then fear, anxiety, worry, discontentment come upon us. There is a great truth to break these lies in Romans 8:33-34, “Who dares accuse us who God has chosen as His own? No one – for God himself has given us right standing with himself. Who then will condemn us? No one – for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and he is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading (interceding) for us.” When we feel the accusation, we can say, “God has justified me!” When we feel the condemnation, we can say, “Jesus has died for me, raised to life for me and now He intercedes for me!” The punishment for our sin has already been dealt with and we no longer have to punish ourselves for sinning. 1 John 4:18 says, “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” God’s love is perfect and because we are in His love, we no longer have to fear punishment. We are not condemned! Therefore, when we sin, we have a Savior to turn to. We can boldly and confidently come to Jesus and let Him wash our hearts with His perfect love. When His love for us is realized, truth sets us free. Fear, worry, anxiety, and discontentment are replaced with love, joy and peace.
Does this mean that we continue in sin and that God is okay with it? Paul would say, “no way!” As we learned in Romans 6, we are dead to sin and the flesh and are set free from living a sinful life. However, in this human body, it’s inevitable that our old nature tendencies will pop up. God knows our frame and that we are imperfect but He desires more for our lives. Living a sinful life does not bring glory and honor to the God who saved us. Our flaws, failures, and sinful tendencies should lead us to the foot of the cross where Jesus is always waiting with open arms of grace. Those of us who belong to Christ do not have to live in the conflict and confusion that Paul was expressing at the end of Romans 7. When the flesh comes knocking and trying to have control of our lives, we have Jesus Christ, our Advocate to help us (1 John 2:1). Christians are not perfect and there are times when we give into our flesh. But guess what, Jesus does not condemn us when we sin. We are free to constantly run back to Him so that He can cleanse us, strengthen us and help us fix our eyes on Him once again.
Because you are in Christ, let these truths sink into your heart:
God never turns His back on you.
He’s never disappointed in you.
He will not punish you.
He will never condemn you.
When we realize this truth, we can walk in the freedom that He desires for us.
You can struggle, but you’re not condemned. You can fall, but you’re not condemned. You can trip, but you’re not condemned. You can stray off the path, but you are not condemned because God has said He will not condemn those who are in Christ Jesus. When Jesus saved you, he didn’t say he would take away all your problems. No, but he did say this. In your problems, there is no condemnation. In your struggles, there is no condemnation, in your failure, there is no condemnation. In your going astray, there is no condemnation. – Dr. Ray Pritchard on Romans 8:1