One of the great promises and privileges found in the entire New Testament of the Bible is from Romans 8:1 – “There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” No condemnation means “without judgment.” God has pronounced a verdict, and that decision is final. Christians have been united to Christ by means of God’s Spirit. Think about the implication of that reality. Since God does not condemn us, there is no need whatsoever to condemn ourselves or other believers.
Since no condemnation is our reality as Christians, we are to believe this promise of God and swim in its wonderful privilege. Believe that the sin issue has been taken care of once for all through the life and death of Christ. If you do not feel forgiven, then put yourself in a position to believe. Let the Holy Spirit of God take the redemption of Christ and apply it to your life. Allow God’s Holy Spirit to do His work of giving life to you in a very real and practical way. It would be silly to go into the bathroom, turn on the shower, and then just stand in the middle of the bathroom without getting under the showerhead. It would be silly because you did not put yourself in a position to actually become clean. You may believe that a shower and using soap and shampoo would make you clean, but if you do not actually avail yourself of the privilege of actually taking the shower but just stand there and look at it, you will not really be clean. We must all put ourselves in a position to experience the privilege of knowing our wonderful state of cleanliness and no condemnation by actually reading the Word of God on a regular basis; by praying in the Spirit on all occasions; by practicing the silence and solitude necessary to receive the cleansing work of the Holy Spirit.
Let’s use the picture of marriage to help us understand both our reality and our responsibility. A man and woman are declared “married” in a formal wedding ceremony. The couple then works out their shared union together over a lifetime. The minister does not pronounce condemnation at the ceremony; he declares a blessing. But from that point forward the two people must work on their marriage. They must believe their relationship is important enough to warrant putting themselves in a position to grow together by intentionally doing things like creating date nights and conversations on the couch; by learning and appreciating and participating in the other’s interests and life. God is not opposed to effort – He is opposed to the notion that we save ourselves. Just as we do not marry ourselves and pronounce ourselves a married couple, so we do not save ourselves. But having a marriage license does not mean there is no effort to be done in the relationship. A marriage is both a legal reality, and a kind of mystical union between two people.
It is a beautiful thing to be in a relationship where there is no condemnation. Because of Jesus Christ we are free to be the people God created us to be: forgiven and no longer burdened by sin’s condemnation. An apropos description of the church is that they are the community of the redeemed. Since followers of Jesus possess redemption they now have the freedom to serve the church and the world without worrying about what others think. There is no fear because our position is secure in Christ. Ornery people do not have the last word – God does. And God has pronounced that there is no condemnation for the believer in Jesus.
Let this verse of Romans 8:1 be your constant companion by putting it to memory and using it throughout the day to remind yourself of your standing in Christ. Mull it over at night as you fall asleep. Bring it to mind as soon as you wake in the morning. Then watch the Holy Spirit take those sacred words of Scripture and transform you from the inside-out. May it be so.