I think that I am like most people. I do not enjoy pain. And yet there is a sense where most pain serves a purpose. You know the things like going to the dentist, recovering from surgery and even pulling a splinter. And let me not forget that other types of pain also produce character in the follower of Jesus. Yet, I think that most us would avoid pain if we could choose. Yet, when we can see the outcome, it seems easier to handle.
Our study of the first seven chapters of Romans was a reality check. It is through this section that we are reminded that we are no different, when it comes to sin, than those that reject God. We are reminded that we need what Jesus accomplished on the cross just as much as anyone else. It is also a hard pill to swallow the truth that God loved us in the depths of our rebellion of Him. One focus of these chapters is to strip the self-righteousness from those who would profess to be followers of Christ. This is not an easy truth to embrace. Yet, when we get to chapter 8 we realize that benefit. The Apostle Paul also provided glimpses of this truth in chapters 1-7. The one phrase that stood out to me in Romans 8 is found in the first verse. “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 8:1)
The Bible is very clear, that whether we realize it or not, we are accountable to God. That has been the primary emphasis in the first half of Romans. The reality that there is nothing that we can do to change this could leave us hopeless. The reality that each person at some point in the future will stand before God, the righteous judge, to give an account for their lives is sobering. Consider for a moment, standing before the Righteous Judge and having to give an account for your life. Yet, the Gospel is really God’s solution to this predicament. Out of love, the Father sent the Son to offer His life in our place. The end result is that when we accept what Jesus has done for us, His sacrifice is applied against our offense. And legally we are no longer under condemnation. This reflects that glory of this first verse in Romans 8. Go ahead and read it again slowly.
Have you ever had anyone do something for you? One time I got my truck stuck goofing off on the Oregon Coast (a story for another time.). As the tide came in it looked like my truck would be ruined. Yet a guy came by and at what seemed like the last moment, pulled us out. I was so appreciative for this needed help. I offered to pay him. Yet he would not accept. A thank you did not seem like enough. Now, if you have a situation like that in your life you know what it is like to have the needed help of another. That is exactly what God has done for us and as a result the legal consequences of our sin, past, present and future have been taken care of. We, as a result, have also become heirs to numerous other blessings of God in our lives.
I don’t know about you, but grasping the powerful truth of “No Condemnation” makes we want to live for Jesus. How about you?
-Pastor Joe Parkinson