“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Romans 8:1 (NIV)
I do. Unfortunately, self-condemnation is a default for me and, if I let it, it can wipe out my confidence as a woman, wife and mom.
Thankfully, I’m just as familiar with God’s promises as I am with Satan’s lies. My heart has heard Jesus’ gentle reminders of His love and goodness, like His “there is now no condemnation” promise in today’s key verse.
However, although I know this truth that He speaks over me, I’ve learned that it’s up to me to pause and respond to it. If I don’t keep my ears tuned to His voice and my mind set on His thoughts, I forget His promises.
Condemning thoughts come back in and drown out the confidence I have through Christ.
One morning I was struggling with self-condemning thoughts and God guided me to these words written in my morning devotion: “Do not listen to voices of accusation for they are not from Me.”
I opened my journal and responded from my heart:
Hello Lord. You know I often feel disappointed in myself and call myself names. You know my feelings have been hurt by someone’s comments. Comments that cut me down and stole my confidence. Instead of feeling worthy, I feel like a loser. I hear You telling me not to listen to voices of accusation. Thank You for this reminder right when I needed it.
The devotion continued, “Pause before responding to people or situations, giving My Spirit space to act through you. Hasty words and actions leave no room for Me.”
Again, I reached out to Him:
Lord, You know I spoke unkind words to my friend. Thank You for gently reminding me to “pause before responding.” You are so faithful to speak truth to me. Thank You for these words—a reminder of what You want from me. I needed this today, right now.
If left to defend ourselves from self-condemnation or the condemnation of others, we’d be defeated every time. Thankfully we don’t have to defend ourselves. In fact, God’s Word promises, “the Lord himself will fight for” us. (Exodus 14:13-14, NLT)
We have the greatest defender in God and His Word. His truths re-build confidence that condemnation breaks down.
Our part is to know God’s promises, respond to His truth, and believe it! Staying saturated in His Word and taking time to listen to His voice is the only way we can overcome condemnation. Reading devotions, digging into books on our specific area of struggle, participating in Bible studies and talking to Jesus through prayer helps re-build the confidence that is ours in Christ.
As we take the time to listen to Him today, let’s ask Him to remind us that He is with us, He loves us, and that it’s true: “There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” And, that means you and me!
Dear Lord, when I forget, please remind me that I am not condemned. Help me to keep my eyes and thoughts on You. And to accept Your Word as truth so my confidence stays strong in You. In Jesus Name, Amen.
Arthur Schoonveld, Author, reframemedia.com
Scripture Reading — 1 Corinthians 15:20-28
Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. — Romans 8:1
One evening, after a Bible discussion at a local rescue mission, a young resident asked me if we could talk. He told me about some of the things he had been involved in and how he had made a mess of his young life. With tears in his eyes he asked me if God could ever forgive him. His guilt was tearing him up inside.
Guilt can rob us of our peace of mind and take the joy out of our lives. In Psalm 32 King David outlines what guilt did to him—and what it can do to any of us. David writes, “When I kept silent [in the guilt of my sin], my bones wasted away . . . . Day and night your hand was heavy on me; my strength was sapped . . . .”
But because of Jesus’ resurrection, we can get rid of our guilt. We don’t have to go through life looking over our shoulder, afraid that our past will catch up with us. We don’t have to live with guilt; we can get rid of it by confessing whatever we have done.
The apostle John affirms, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins” (1 John 1:9). The apostle Paul says virtually the same thing: “There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”
If you are burdened with guilt, come to the Savior, confess, and ask for forgiveness. If you don’t know how to pray, ask someone to pray for you. There’s forgiveness for all who come to him.
Lord Jesus, thank you for paving the way so that we can be forgiven. Forgive our sins today, we pray, in your name. Amen.
Therefore there is 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
The greatest danger today in all the talk about faith-based social organizations is that Christians will begin to think about their faith the way the world does. For over twenty years, I have battled in my own mind not to think this way, because the temptation is tremendous, and comes from outside and inside the church.
The world views Christianity and other religions as useful, depending on what social, psychological, or physical benefits it may bring. In other words, the world doesn’t assess Christianity in the categories of true or false, but in the categories of useful or harmful. The world does not think of Christianity as divine revelation but as human opinion. The world does not believe that God must reveal our deepest need, and then provide the remedy in Jesus Christ. The world believes that we know our deepest needs and that religion can be respectable if it helps meet them.
The danger that Christians start to think this way is huge and deadly. A reporter interviews a pastor, and immediately defines, by his questions, the categories for explaining Christianity: “What are you doing about affordable housing? How do you help people get jobs? What’s your strategy for improving health care?”
Those are valid questions. But if you let the secular mind determine your starting point and then define the categories for explaining Christianity, then you will promote the erroneous notion that the church of Jesus Christ and the gospel of Jesus Christ are not an authoritative revelation from God that is true and necessary, but instead, an activity of man that is useful.
I begin this way because I am going to come back in a few minutes to point to some of the sweet, precious, practical effects of truth from our text. But I want you to know from the outset, and to feel, that if you start where the world starts — by thinking you know your real needs and that God is useful in meeting them — you will not know what Christianity is.
The Essence of the Christian Faith
The essence of Christianity is that God is the supreme value in the universe, that we do not honor him as supremely valuable, that we are therefore guilty of sin and under his omnipotent wrath, and he alone can rescue us from his own condemnation, which he has done through the death and resurrection of his Son, Jesus Christ, for everyone who is in Christ. Knowing this, if what we promote is housing, jobs, healthcare, sobriety, family life, minus this message, we are not Christian — we are cruel. We comb man’s hair in the electric chair and hide his freedom in our hands.
“The essence of Christianity is that God is the supreme value in the universe.”
Romans 1–7 lays it all out. I tried to sum it up last week: holy God, sinful man, coming wrath, perfect Savior, Jesus Christ crucified and risen, justification by faith, sanctification by faith. And now Paul sums up the message of Christianity in the great conclusion of Romans 8:1: “Therefore [in view of all that] there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” That’s the essence of Christianity. That’s the central, foundational message of God to the world. This is what we announce. This is what we plead. This is what we lay down our lives to communicate to the nations and the neighborhoods: no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
Let’s look at it in two parts: What is the gift and who enjoys it? The gift is: “now no condemnation;” and those who enjoy it are: “those who are in Christ Jesus.”
What Is the Gift?
The word “now” can have two different connotations. One is that finally, everything is in place, everything has been done, finally, now I can receive what I was promised. A grandfather sends a package to his granddaughter and says, “Do not open until your birthday.” Every day the little girl says, “Now? Can I open it now?” “No, not now. Only on your birthday.” When it comes then she says, “Finally, now!” The “now” that comes after waiting.
The other connotation for “now” is the now that comes before you thought it would. That same grandfather writes to his son and sends him a $5,000 check and says, “Son, you know that someday you will inherit my estate. But I know that now is when your needs are great, so I am sending you this in advance.” Here the “now” is not “finally now,” but, “already now.”
Both of these meanings for “now” in Romans 8:1 are not far away. “There is now no condemnation.” Is it “finally now” or “already now.” We can see them both in Romans 8. Look at verse 3: “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 [there’s the word!] sin in the flesh.”
Finally Now No Condemnation
So here is the finally now. All those years the law commanded and the law condemned law-breakers and the law pointed to a righteousness and a sacrifice that would someday come (Romans 3:21), but the law could not remove condemnation from sinners. If there was to come a time when sinners could experience “no condemnation!” — when the ungodly could be justified by faith — then God would have to do something besides give a law. And what he did was send his Son in human nature, as our representative and substitute and there on the cross in the suffering of his Son, God condemned sin!
Whose sin? Jesus had none (see “likeness of sinful flesh,” verse 3) — not his, ours. This is the gospel. This is Christianity. All of us were under God’s condemnation because of our sin. But, as Romans 5:6 says, “While we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.” What does that mean — he died for the ungodly? Now we see what it means in Romans 8:3. It means that God poured out on his Son the condemnation that we deserved. He condemned sin (my sin!) in the flesh (Christ’s flesh!). Do you believe this?
Therefore, finally, now, there is no condemnation. Now that everything has been done that has to be done to absorb the wrath of God. Now, finally, there is no condemnation.