Rom. 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
After describing the struggle of trying to live somewhere between the Law and the flesh, Paul brings us to this place of freedom. This is the life which is lived entirely in the Spirit, the one which has been united with Christ. It is only when we are in Christ Jesus that there will be no condemnation.
The joy of this scripture is the fact that there can be a place of no condemnation for Jesus’ followers. After describing the on-going struggles that can occur in the lives of religious folks Paul brings us to this place where we can be genuinely set free and don’t have to live with on-going condemnation which can come from never quite measuring up to the Law. However, if we simply focus on condemnation we will get this wrong. The main point is that we are to be in Christ Jesus.
We are invited into a intimate fellowship with God by becoming “partakers of the divine nature.” (2 Peter 1:4) It is the indwelling of the Holy Spirit that makes this possible, welcoming us into fellowship with the Triune God. Any attempts to be righteous outside of this relationship with simply fail. That’s where we suffer from our condemnation.
On a practical note this means that when we try to do the right things without being in Christ, we will be condemned. I’m afraid that this is where we have been lacking in the area of discipleship. How many churches are really taking the time to help people to grow into the spiritually mature believers that God has called us to be? Paul understood that there were struggles along the way — he had experienced them himself. He spent a number of years being discipled before he ever went out to plant new churches. He knew what he was talking about - and he had struggled with being obedient to the Law. He had devoted himself to living in that black and white area of knowing exactly what was the right thing to do and what was the wrong thing to do and yet he found himself condemned. How could that be? Because it’s impossible for us, on our own, to simply do the right thing. We will never be able to measure up! That’s the reality. At the same time God has provided a way for us to measure up — not on our own perfection, but on the perfection of Christ. He came so that we could be restored into a right relationship with God.
Daily indwelling “in Christ Jesus” is required for us to experience no condemnation. The Law begins to fade away in comparison with knowing Christ — because God is the author of the Law! When we know the author on an intimate level then the motivations of God become our motivations and our responses come from a heart filled with him. That’s why there’s no condemnation.
If we are living with a sense of condemnation we need to reevaluate our personal relationship to Christ. Learn to abide and dwell in him. Ask the Holy Spirit to draw you into that place of genuine fellowship with God. This is where the struggles end and peace is found and therefore there is no condemnation.
Lord, I am overwhelmed with gratitude for all that you have done. Amen.