Peninsula Community Church
August 21, 2016
No Longer Condemned
Romans 8:1-5 – There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. 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. For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit.
I love Romans 8. I love it because it is regarded by many Christian scholars as the greatest chapter of all the Bible. In fact, in reading many of the commentaries on Romans, Chapter 8 has been described as “the mountain peak” of Scripture and “the chapter of chapters for the Christian believer.” Many commentators quote a German author by the name of Spencer who many years ago said “If Holy Scripture was a ring, and the Epistle to the Romans a precious stone, Chapter 8 would be the sparkling point of the jewel.”
For me personally, Romans 8 and in particular Romans 8:1 is one of those passages that have been used in my life to stake a claim to Christ’s promise of hope and the abundant life here on earth, as well as the life to come. You see, for such a long time I felt condemned on several levels. For one, I believed that if I just followed all of the rules everything was going to be ok. Boy was I wrong. I followed the rules, did what was right, and yet things continued to fall apart in my life. The result was a sense of failure and a sense that God could not do what He said.
Not only was I being condemned by my actions but I was also being condemned and judged by those around me. Although it was not always a reality, I felt that people would discourage and judge me rather than build up and encourage me. I allowed the voices of others to determine what I would do and be, rather than being obedient to Christ’s plan for my life. The downside is that I became more concerned about what people thought about me than being obedient to God. When I failed to live up to what people thought I should be, I began to sense a huge level of condemnation and judgement being imposed upon my life.
When I came to Christ I felt a bit betrayed and lied to as the pastor implied that everything would be great if I just followed the rules. The rules were different but the emphasis was on keeping the rules and not on a relationship with Christ. As a believer, I turned to Scripture but because of my religious background and the teaching I received, I was once again condemned because I never felt I could live up to the all of the rules and the requirements that were laid out. I was being counseled that I needed to follow all of the rules and be obedient. That all sounded good and it sounded right so I began to attempt to follow the rules and be the obedient person I needed to be. The problem however is that I would read the Scripture to see what the rules were rather than to determine who God was. The result was that my life sounded much like the words of Romans 7. The things I wanted to do I didn’t do and the things I didn’t want to do I did (Romans 7:13-20). It was a battle royal for my mind and my heart.
The battle continued to rage within me until I grew in the Lord and in my understanding of the Gospel. I came to a couple of conclusions that began to change my life. I would like to share these with you. First of all, I discovered that the law/the rules were weak and were powerless to accomplish what I needed (Romans 7:5-6; Romans 8:3-4). My study and my understanding led me to see that the law was a good school master (Galatians 3:24 ASV). It was a good teacher but it was powerless to make a difference in my life.
I love the commercials from Life Lock Security company. You may have seen them. In particular I love the one where there is a bank robbery in progress. Those in the bank look to the guard on duty to help them. His response is that he is not a security guard he is only a security monitor. Because he was only a monitor he was powerless do anything about the robbery. I love what happens. During the robbery, he leans over to those on the floor and says “oh yeah, there’s a robbery.” The law in itself was a good monitor for sin and was good at pointing to sin in our life but it continued to be powerless to do anything about the sin. The work of the law was critical in that it served to detail the boundaries of our life. We need boundaries and we need guidelines but those guidelines do little to change our heart or our mind. We need something different. We need Christ.
That brings me to second thing I learned. To live a life without condemnation is a choice. The choice is centered and focused on how we live. Paul offers us two choices. We can live by the spirit or we can live by the law (Romans 8:4-8). You see the law according to Paul brings sin to life. We must understand that the law did not create sin because sin was was a part of man’s life long before the law was given to Moses by God. In fact we see sin full blown in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3).
In our final moments here I would like to look at this phrase. But I would like to look at this phrase in reverse in order to build a case for God’s grace and the freedom that comes as a result of His work on the cross. Paul stated“Therefore there is now no condemnation.”
We begin with the term condemnation which is defined as (1) the expression of very strong disapproval or (2) the action of condemning someone to a punishment. It is to be condemned or judged. Condemnation is a legal term in that you are given sentence equal to your crime. Paul has already declared the penalty for sin was death. Remember his words. The wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23). But through Christ there is eternal life thus the penalty of sin of has been paid. It is for that reason there is no condemnation for us. No sin a believer can commit; past, present, or future – can be held against him if that sin has been forgiven, since the penalty was paid by Christ and righteousness was imputed to the believer. And no sin will ever reverse this divine legal decision.
The second word is this passage is the word “no”. In Christ, there is NO condemnation. In the New Testament when writers wanted to emphasize a particular word, they would put it at the beginning of the sentence. That was their way of saying, “This is important.” In the Greek the first word is not “therefore.” The first word in the Greek is the word “no.” The fifth word in our translation is first in the original because Paul wants to emphasize in the strongest possible way that there is no condemnation. That’s why he took the word “no” and moved it to the front. There is therefore, no condemnation. You might translate it this way: “There is no condemnation—none whatsoever—for the believer in Christ Jesus. Secondly, Paul uses the strongest word possible for the word no in the Greek language.
Do you know what that means? We may stumble, we may fall, we may trip, we may make a thousand mistakes, we may sin and we do, we may get off the path, we may go astray, we may have a thousand problems, but for the believer in Jesus Christ, there is, therefore now, no condemnation because God has said it is so. 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.
The third word in this passage is the word “now”. The gift of no condemnation comes to us as a gift but a gift that must be received. Now speaks of a future hope but a present reality. The word now “distinguishes two conditions of a man, namely, his condition under the law, and his condition under grace,—that is, his natural and his supernatural conditions. For by nature we are children of wrath, but now God has rendered us accepted in the Beloved. This benefit was effected the moment you accepted Christ as your Savior. The “now” contrasts the believer’s new state with the old, which had passed away. Hallelujah!
And finally there is the word “therefore.” The word therefore is a powerful word that must not be taken lightly. It is a word that directs our attention to something that comes before. In this case the word points us back to what Christ has done for us. I love the way Romans is laid out. He begins in Romans 1 & 2 by defining the life without God. H continues to show us why we need Christ and He shows us the way of escape And the power of change that comes to us.
For an audio of this message go to http://pccministry.org/media.php?pageID=14
Copyright © 2016 All Rights Reserved Robert W. Odom