Transforming Power; The Work of God on Behalf of Man
“1There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus.2For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. 3For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, 4that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. 5For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. 6For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. 7Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. 8So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God.9But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His. 10And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.12Therefore, brethren, we are debtors—not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. 13For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. 14For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.” (Romans 8:1-14).
Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible translates the word condemnation from the Greek this way, Katakrima (2631 – pronounced “kat-ak’-ree-mah”) an adverse sentence, and Katakrino (2632 – pronounced “kat-ak-ree’-no”) to judge against. As we consider these translations, we need to keep in mind that it is Holy God that condemns, judges against sin, and the sinner in an adverse way. But, according to Paul’s testimony above there is no adverse judgment toward those who are in Christ Jesus. How is that possible? Sin is still sin and Holy God is still holy. There is no compatibility between the two. It is possible because God condemned sin in the flesh and nailed the flesh of Jesus to a tree as propitiation for those who seek God’s forgiveness through Him.
As we think on these things, we must realize that the message of the Bible is that there are not different ways of becoming righteous before Holy God, but only through the sacrifice of His Son Jesus. No amount of good works, in whatever form, will satisfy God’s adverse judgment against sin. Jesus said, “14 As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. 16For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. 18He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. 21But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.” (John 3:14-21 NKJV).
Paul began this part of his letter (chapter eight) with the word “therefore” as he looks back upon what he wrote previously in the first seven chapters. Namely, that justification is by faith alone based on God’s overwhelming grace. He assured his readers, those who had (have) come to faith in Jesus (which includes you and I), that no sin, past, present, or future can or will be held against them (us). Those sins have all been placed on Jesus. Paul wanted this to be the confidence of his readers. Their assurance, he writes, was (and is) to be found in their conduct of life. If they were walking in the Holy Spirit and not living in the flesh (in the carnality of an unregenerate mind) they assuredly belonged to Christ.
As we begin this new year we should remember that Jesus was born to die. No other person was ever born for this exclusive reason. Jesus, the son of Mary and God, is God’s only accepted sacrifice for man’s sin, for your sin, for my sin. The blessed truth is, “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus.”
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Lian Muan Kim
Koinonia Baptist Seminary – Yangon, Myanmar