No Condemnation

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.     Romans 8:1

In his youth, Dan Rather got a job working weekends for a pastor named Ted Lott, who ran a one-man radio station in Huntsville, Texas.  Since Rather was there alone from 5 PM to midnight, he prevailed on Pastor Lott to allow him to put on a long-playing record at 6 PM, hop into the mobile unit, drive to a dairy bar for a take-out supper and be back at the station before the record was over.  Rather recalls:
The first time we tried the plan, the record featured Lott’s itinerant preacher brother, who did a little guitar plucking and quoted a little Scripture.
I put the record on, hopped into the truck and raced down to the dairy bar, where there was a new girl working I hadn’t had the opportunity to get acquainted with.  So I said to myself, it doesn’t matter whether I eat here or at the station, as long as I get back before the half-hour is up.
I’d been there 20 minutes when the phone rang.  It was Pastor Lott.  He said, “Rather, have you heard our station any time in the last twenty minutes?”  I told a little white lie and said that there was a long line at the hamburger stand.   He said, “You get back to the mobile unit and listen to the station.  Then get back to the station and fix it.  And then you’re fired!”
I went out to the truck, turned on the station, and there was Pastor Lott’s brother saying, “Go to hell … go to hell … go to hell ….”
Merv Griffin with Peter Barsocchini, From Where I Sit, quoted in “All in a Day’s Work”, Reader’s Digest

As one looks at the background to today’s text, one is rapidly impressed that St Paul was having quite a struggle.  You might say that he was downright frustrated.  It just didn’t seem to work. He wanted to do what was right. He wanted to be God pleasing. He recognized what would be the most God-pleasing thing to do and he really wanted to please God.

Instead, he was disillusioned.  He just seemed to end up doing exactly what the opposite of what he wanted.  He would make a mistake. Or he would have the best of intentions and they would just collapse into a mess.  Or perhaps as he was attempting to change a bad habit, but as time would drag into weeks, he would lose heart and give up.

Or maybe he tried to say something nice to someone, and the words just didn’t come out right, and he offended the person or made himself look very foolish.  Or like what happened to Dan Rather in the story I opened with, what would have been harmless, normally it would have worked, it just so happened on that day, the needle would skip, and would skip at such a place.

As St Paul himself put it, “when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand.”  Perhaps you know what it is like.  You end up looking foolish, or embarrassed, or humiliated, or guilty.

And the thing is, is that some of these little incidents can be quite serious.  Over and over again, comes the message, “you failed … you failed … you failed …” just like that needle stuck on a record.  And when it is a habitual sin that you are trying to get rid of, or it was something that ended up quite a mess because you really did something that was quite wrong, even though your intentions were well-meaning, and now you have a burden of guilt that slams you in the head every time you think about it – the stuck needle on Dan Rather’s record can sound all too familiar echoing through your conscience, “go to hell … go to hell … go to hell …”

That’s what Paul is talking about near the end of Romans chapter 7, just moments before he swings into chapter 8, verse 1.  But before he gets there, he has one more bridge to cross: All his built-up frustration tears a cry from his throat, “Wretched man that I am!  Who will deliver me from this body of death?”  Hear the desperation from the depths of his being! Hear the plea from a man at the end of his rope! Hear the cry of a man burdened down with the frustrations, the guilt, the failures of trying so hard and still not making it!

But Paul has an answer, one that literally blows the top off the pressure cooker and releases all that pent-up emotion, “THANKS BE TO GOD THROUGH JESUS CHRIST OUR LORD!”  Can you understand what makes this little exclamation so important to Paul??

That’s what Romans 8:1-10 is all about.  As a matter of fact, that’s what ALL of Romans 8 is all about!  This singular chapter is one of the most wonderful chapters that the Bible has – you really ought to be acquainted with it – in fact, you really ought to know it by memory, it is such a powerful and such an important collection of promises by God through His apostle.  And that chapter begins with:

Tennis elbow and golfers buy line viagra elbow can cause pain, itching, loss of sensation, and an unattractive appearance. This period sildenafil 10mg is called “withdrawal”. That is the reason, they are called tadalafil overnight shipping generic medicines. Through Website:- Many software and electronic gadget vendors have their websites to serve their customers. “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”  What is the “therefore” all about?  It’s the result of something – the result of what?  This one verse is built on something that has gone on before – in fact, all seven previous chapters.  And THEY are the result of what this season of Lent is all about:  for God so loved the World that He sent His Son [John 3:16] – God made Him to be sin Who knew no sin, so that we might become the righteousness of God [II Corinthians 5:21] – God shows His love for us in that while we were yet sinners – enemies! – Christ died for us [Romans 5:8-11].

Yes, YOU, St. Paul, who was so frustrated as you attempted to do what was right; yes, YOU, who sit out there in the pews, who feel that you are failures because all your good intentions get blown apart; yes, YOU, Jim Lindemann, who carries the burden of guilt of never quite measuring up to what you would really like to be.  Jesus really died, for Paul, for YOU, for ME – for US.  God really does want us!!

And with what Jesus has done, He really does forgive us – forgive us to such an extent that it no longer exists.  His forgiveness is echoed in that marvelous woman, the famous nurse, Clara Barton.  Clara Barton was never known to hold resentment against anyone.  One time a friend recalled to her a cruel thing that had happened to her some years previously, but Clara seemed not to remember the incident.  “Don’t you remember the wrong that was done to you?”  the friend asked Clara.  “No,” Clara answered calmly, “I distinctly remember forgetting that.”

Imagine the wonder in Paul’s voice as he says, “There is therefore, now, no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus!”  It is the kind of realization that can make you feel positively giddy and light headed.  It is such a release from that burden of failure and the fear of failure, of guilt and humiliation.

What a joy it is to be able to hold your head up again.  To hold it up with a confidence that is backed-up by Baptism.  Because of what Jesus did on that cross, you actually become a child of God!  When you and I with Paul lay before the Lord every heartbreak, every rebellion, every failure, every selfishness, every craving, every greed, every passion, every guilt, and all the rest, and Jesus stamps across every single one, “canceled in full,” it can become bewildering.  To have carried around these things for so long, you almost feel obligated to carry them still, and yet when you finally discover just how complete is Jesus’ forgiveness, what an absolute freedom that brings.

And then you discover the difference between just merely saying that God forgives you of your sin, and that God makes you His very own child.  God has literally put away your rebellion and sin, you are no longer under condemnation literally to the point where He just can find no reason why YOU shouldn’t be – couldn’t be – his child!

At this point you might rightfully say that, man, that is far and away more than you could ever hope for!  It just seems too good to be true!  And you know what?  Even God isn’t satisfied with that either!  So here, Jesus sets His table, because there is no greater way that God could prove that “There is therefore now no condemnation” than for Jesus Himself to come right here in person, in His Body and His Blood, for you – for YOU.

Had even the slightest condemnation be still left over, then God would have to come here in judgment, because He is the holy God Who visits wrath upon rebellion and sin.  You wouldn’t survive even one communion, when God – God the Son, God pure and absolutely righteous – personally touches you and your life.  The very fact that communion CAN happen bears witness to the fact, that “there is therefore now no condemnation.”

Now you understand the tremendous sense of relief that Paul rejoices in, in this opening verse of Romans 8.  But that is still not enough.  “Therefore now no condemnation” is merely the doorway to all that Romans chapter 8 is talking about.  Because when you have no condemnation, then you now have God Who has the freedom to do all kinds of things in your life, strengthening and empowering, bringing blessing and joy, filling you with hope and a future, letting you discover how He shapes your whole life into a marvelous tool to touch other people’s lives, sharing with them the awesome release available in Jesus.

Why else do you come to Communion, except that Jesus enters you with His very being, so that you know that He is a part of you, just as much as that bread and wine become part of you; and YOU are part of Him.  You come here, so that you realize all over again, just how much Jesus really does go with you.  This simple bread and wine joined to your own body declares that Jesus will participate in your life, involved in every thing that you do, every thing that happens to you – EVERYTHING!

In Baptism, it’s the same thing, except this time it is with the Holy Spirit entering you.  This is powerful stuff!  With God this involved in your life, you just aren’t the same any more – no way!  No one can have God personally touch him in such dramatic ways without something happening – God is just too powerful.

But what a joy all is!  That’s why today is traditionally called “JOY” Sunday – because we have so much to simply rejoice about, especially as we prepare to enter the last weeks of Lent and review all that Jesus really did for you – and me.  All because it is there on that cross that God formed the foundation of why “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”

1 thought on “No Condemnation”

  1. Oluwafemi Owoeye

    Yes Yes, there is no condemnation in Christ Jesus. I see condemnation as a weapon of Satan to drawing people into bondage.
    1. Bondage of guilt
    2. Bondage to sin
    3. Bondage of negative voices/ suggestions.

    It is imperative for us to come to the consciousness of our Liberty in Christ Jesus.

    The Bible says in Galatians 5:1
    Stand fast therefore in the Liberty wherewith Christ hast made us free, and be not entangle again with the yoke of bondage.

    The Bible also says in 2 Corinthians 3:17
    Now the Lord is that spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is Liberty.

    It is so evident that those in Christ have been set free from bondage of guilt, sin and other tactics of Satan..

    Condemnation steals our peace and doesn’t allow our faith to grow…

Leave a Reply