Read the Bible in 2011 ◊ Week 4: Sunday
“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.”
Several years ago when I was teaching a women’s Sunday School class, we came to Romans 8:1. One of the women who was a Christian surprised me by asking, “What does it mean that there’s no condemnation?” I knew she understood the Gospel and she would have known her sins were forgiven, but I realized something else was going through her mind, and she deeply needed personal assurance. I spoke directly to her, “It means whatever you did this morning that you should not have done, there is no condemnation. It means whatever you left undone yesterday that you should have done, there is no condemnation.” Tears came to her eyes as she listened, and I saw the weight of the burden of being unable to perfectly keep God’s Law lifted from her. That was God’s work and God’s truth that He used to help His child once again understand His grace.
Why is it so hard to ‘get’ grace? We substitute the feeling of condemnation for the reality of no condemnation. All bear true moral guilt and without Christ all are justly condemned by God, but for those who are in Christ Jesus there is no condemnation, for He was the offering for our sin and He was condemned by God.
There are numerous reasons we substitute feeling for reality—our default setting is works and pride, and for some that easily translates into thinking they’re capable of handling life on their own, while for others, who perhaps have lived with outer condemnation by others for a long time, their inward thinking now reverberates with expecting punishment because they’re not perfect.
We have to comprehend this. We have to understand the grace of God—all that He has provided for us in Christ. How do we ‘get’ grace? Through having our mind renewed by the Word of God: the Bible. Go back this week and read Romans. What do you learn about your sin? God’s Law? Jesus? Underline the name of Jesus Christ, and notice the phrases, in Christ, of Christ, through Christ.
We also need to speak God’s Word to each other. We need Christians, as the woman that Sunday morning did, to tell us once more all we have and all we are in Jesus Christ. Too often the church speaks the words of the world to each other, even cloaking them in a façade of spirituality, and that is deadly. We hear enough of the cacophony of the world from the world—let us as Christians speak God’s truth to each other.
We also need to live God’s Word with each other and demonstrate God’s truth to help undo the harm of past relationships in which we were condemned. There may also be those in our present circumstances who speak and treat us with condemnation—a supervisor or co-worker, relatives or neighbors. Christians should provide both antidote and prevention of the effect of these lies, not only with each other, but also with those who are not believers.
Romans is so important in giving us an understanding of our salvation. I intended to do only this one post on Romans 8, in addition to the one on Romans 7–8, but I find there are still things I want to say, and I’d like to write a bit more on Romans 8, as I revisit this letter for the Sunday Bible reading.
Go back and reread those first four verses of Romans 8. For those who are in Christ Jesus, the requirement of the Law—the condemnation for sin— has been fulfilled for you. The condemnation you deserved has already been borne by Christ Jesus. Whatever the world or your feelings may tell you, this is the reality.
“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”
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Original content: Copyright ©2011 Iwana Carpenter