No Condemnation

No Condemnation

Undemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do by sending his own son in the likeness of sinful flesh. And for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh in order that the righteous requirement of law might be fulfilled in us who walk not according to the flesh, but according to the spirit. The word of the Lord. Thank Last week, I gave the example of your friend gets her driver’s license and Her grandparents buy her a new car. It has heated and cooled leather seats. Sunrift, all-wheel drive, the sports package. And you really do want to rejoice with her, but you’re also envious, a little upset that you’re still working to get your old beat-up car paid for. And then the law of God comes. And the law of God tells you that you’re a terrible friend. You should be super excited and grateful for your friend, and you’re not. And the law tells you more than this. You’re actually a terrible person.

You’re supposed to love your neighbors, your spouse. You’re supposed to delight in their good. You’re supposed to rejoice wholeheartedly with them. And your feelings are hurt. That seems harsh, judgmental. That’s the law. The standards are the standards. Coveting is coveting. Hey, too much sun. It’s your fault you got sunburned. You should know better. What are we to do when we look at our friend with a big smile, but inside a little voice says, You’re such a phony. You have to pretend to be happy for her. And we know at some level it’s true. I really want to be happy. I don’t know, maybe it’s 80, 20, 70, 30. I want to rejoice with her. Most everyone here has felt their own inadequacy, maybe even right now. You don’t measure up to be what you know you should be, fill the self doubt at yourself or maybe angry at someone else. What Paul tells us here in Romans 8 is true and absolute liberation from this. As followers of Jesus, we have been set free from this judgment against us. I am not left in my own strength trying to make up in myself to be a better person, to pay a debt I have no resources for.

And because we have received Jesus’s not guilty verdict, because the Holy spirit now dwells in us, we are free indeed. We’re free to live a life pleasing to the Lord. Not autonomous, but a life in him. That’s what we have been given. Chapter 8, it picks up several themes that Paul has already been talking about, certainly out of chapter 5, other places. This chapter, it starts and it ends with words of assurance. It starts with no condemnation and it ends with no separation. Chapter 8 is all about the Holy spirit. 21 times in this chapter, the spirit is mentioned. And for perspective, Paul mentions the spirit five times in the first seven chapters, eight times in the rest of the book from here. After a lot of bad news, we get the good news, which is both for now and for the future. We’re looking at this good news for now. Verse 1, There is, therefore, now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. This particular Greek word for condemnation is It’s used by Paul here and only two other times in Romans 5. It’s a legal term of judgment. Passing sentence, judicial pronouncement of guilt.

It is the opposite of justification. In justification, you are given a verdict, a status of not guilty, not condemned, being in right relationship with God through faith in Jesus Christ. Hear this from Romans 5. There Paul says, The free The gift is not like the result of one man’s sin, referring to Adam in the fall. For the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation, this verdict of guilty for all humanity. But the free gift following many traspasses, brought justification. Romans 5:18. Therefore, as one traspass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and Life for all. You go to court, you’re guilty as can be, and someone comes in and pays a fine for you. The judge takes the payment, boom, declares you not guilty. If you go out and handcuff yourself and sit in the back of a police cruiser, he can say, Get out of there. There’s no longer a warrant for your arrest. You’re not guilty. Move on. Paul continues, verse 2, For the law of the spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. Law of the spirit, what does he mean there?

Well, it could be speaking about the right purpose of the law of Moses, or it could simply be shorthand for the gospel. On the former New Testament scholar Tom Wright, he said, The intention of the law to give life is finally and gloriously achieved when by the spirit, God gives resurrection life to all those who belong to the Messiah Jesus. But the law is good. It’s sin that has made it to be powerless. But that was not the intent of the law. The gospel or the law of Moses, however you wish you take it, both brings an end to this Jew-gentile division that was plaguing the early church that Paul wrote so much about in here in Roman. Because everything has been done by Jesus, and the spirit now writes the intent of the law on our hearts. We do not need to follow the kosher laws, the ceremonial laws. Jews and Gentiles have the same spirit, the same Lord, the same baptism all in Christ. Well, what’s this law of sin and death then? Christopher Ashton, Testament scholar, he said, The law of sin and death is a compressed way of summing up what the law of Moses does to the unregenerated sinner.

That means the penalty that everyone owes, what you have to pay if you are not in Christ. And he goes on, and I put this in your bulletin. He said, The basis of our rescue is the death of the Son on the cross. The application of the rescue to our lifestyle is by the Ministry of the spirit. Both are necessary. No one benefits from the cross without receiving the spirit. No one receives the spirit who is not justified by the blood of the Son. How does this tie together? Christ for us, Christ in us. By our being united to him, it’s vital to us. Union with Christ. The spirit applies in us all that Jesus has accomplished for us. It’s important to keep in mind that we are not moving in and out of condamation all the time. That’s what we think. It’s like, I’ve sinned. I feel terrible. I must be condemned. No, you sinned. You feel terrible, but you are not condemned. That’s the good news. If you are in Christ, the penalty has already been paid for. Confession, repentance, certainly. But this is a gift that flows out from the spirit dwelling in you.

It flows from being in Christ. Now, the Holy spirit indeed will convict you of sin, and that’s very specific. You were yelling in anger, you You said something hurtful to someone else. And the spirit convicts us to bring us to repentance, but we are no longer condemned. That’s been paid for. Now, Satan will condemn you. His name actually means accuser. He loves to use the law to accuse you of what you’ve done wrong. And it’s not just the wrong acts you’ve done, it’s directed at you as a person, who you are. It comes and forms and says, I can’t believe you just lied to him. You’re so worthless. Why would he even want to be your friend? You’re awful. You’re a liar. You’re dirt. Why are you even here? This we are to war against with our justification. If we belong to Jesus, the spirit brings specific acts of wrong to convict us, to be sure, but not to condemn us. He does not want us to persist in sin because he loves us and he’s bringing about our good. Whereas the evil one wants to use this to bring about our great harm. A very familiar verse, 1 John, 1 John 1:9, we all know it.

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, to cleanse us from all unrighteous. Why does God forgive our sin? Because he’s merciful and compassionate. While that is true, the text says, he is faithful and just. Hear that word just. It’s an issue of God’s justice. He’s faithful to his justice. In his mercy, in his compassion, he sent his son, and Jesus paid the penalty. You are forgiven because the debt is paid, not because he just wants to give you one more chance because he’s a nice guy. See the difference? At some point, you’re just like, How many times can I keep coming with this and blowing it before he just He says, I’m tired of this. I’ve had enough. The end of my mercy. He’s faithful and just. It’s been paid for. That is the basis of our forgiveness. Paul tells us in Colossians 2 that God made alive us together with Jesus, having forgiven us all of our trespasses. How? By canceling the record of debt that stood against us with all of its legal demands. This he laid aside, nailing it to the cross. No condemnation.

It’s finished. Do I really believe this? That’s the struggle. Now, some people have what I call a scolding tone. They always need to be correcting. People must see how they’re wrong. Now, it can come from a place of pride where I think I’m better than you. But it can also come from a heart that lives in condemnation. I feel condemned, so I condemn everyone else, too. Misery loves company. Come and join me in my condemnation. One writer, he mentioned that some people are very prickly. He also pointed out that if you’re very prickly, none of us can tell you you’re prickly because you’re prickly. But he He noticed that much of the time, prickly people live in condemnation of themselves, and so they just give it to others. In the words of John Newton, he said, A truly saved man will no more despise others than blind Bartimaeus, after he has received his own sight, would take a stick and beat every blind man he met. How ridiculous to go up and see a blind man start hitting him. You need to see. You need to see. Why can’t you see? Who opened his eyes?

Someone beating with a stick? No. The mercy of Jesus. Jesus opened his eyes. And when that has been done to you, you’re not beating people up. You’re saying, Oh, my goodness. You can’t see, but I know somebody who can open your eyes. And he’s wonderful. That’s what grace does. And we see here, Paul uses this phrase in Christ. And a form of this he uses over 170 times in his letters. It’s not a small thing. It’s how he speaks about being a Christian. And so I may say, Well, how do I know I’m in Christ? Well, one of those ways is simply that you care in your heart about your sins. It’s the evidence that God is at work because now I care. I didn’t before, and now I am concerned because the spirit in me is concerned because I’m in him. It’s all the work of free grace. Paul goes on, verse 3, Very compact. For God has done with the law, weakened by the flesh could not do. By sending his own son in a likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, he condensed sin in the flesh. A lot there. That is the flesh.

Paul uses it here to speak of, as the NIV will translate, our sin nature. He’s not talking about body versus spirit, but about that sinful orientation of fallen humanity, our rebellious hearts that are driven to disobedience. Okay, well, why does Paul say that Jesus was in the likeness of sinful flesh? Well, Jesus had a real human nature, but he was without sin. He was truly human, but he was not in Adam. By saying likeness, Paul is keeping this fine distinction, an important distinction. Jesus was fully human like us in every way, but without sin. What does it mean that God can sin in the flesh of Jesus. God condemned our sin nature in Christ human nature in his death. Galatians 3, Christ redeemed us from the curse, the curse of law, by becoming a curse. 2 Corinthians 5, God made him who knew no sin to become a sin offering for us so that in him, we might become the righteousness of God. That’s why Paul is making us at a fine point here. A judicial act occurred when Jesus died in our place. He was our representative. Sin and death came all to us through the fall.

Through Jesus’ death, the penalty to Adam, to his descendants, was removed. The sinless one became a sin offering. That’s what it means when God put to death our sinful flesh in Christ. The death of Jesus fully fulfilled the demands of the law. Paul further states in verse 4, In order that the righteous requirements of law might be fulfilled in us who walk not according to the flesh, but according to the spirit. This is Christ for us, his fulfillment. Now, by the ind dwelling of the Holy spirit, we fulfill the demands of law by being united to Jesus. This is Christ in us, for us and in us. That is good news. Remember when I said that Laura, by marrying me, not only got 30 or 40 books, but two orange vinyl chairs in a 1978 Fort Granados I’m going to… Think about it. Mass market paper book, a set of the Lord of the Rings. Wow. All of that just by marrying me. Marrying Marrying a truly wealthy person and all they have becomes yours without you doing anything. All that they have now becomes yours by being united in marriage. So too, all that Jesus has becomes ours when we are united to him.

This is not only good news for now, this is good news for later, for the future. Because living in a fallen world is We still sin, we still die. People, I thought I was free of these things. Then Jesus comes to set me free from sin and death. Living in a fallen world, it gets to us. Christians die in disasters like everyone else. Churches are destroyed by tornadoes. We aren’t exempt. We live by faith and not by sight. We live by a truth. Now, no condemnation. And that promise carries us forward. One day, we will be changed. There will no longer be this internal struggle with our sin. One day, a day will come when the courage of men prevails, when we hold fast to our friends and strengthen all bonds of fellowship. But it is not this day. Today we die. Today we succumb to sickness and disease. Today we feel the sting of death and the truth of the Lord’s words when he said, In the day that you eat of it, you will surely die. And that truth will come to each one of us if the Lord tarries. But it is not the end of the story.

Romans 6, Paul said, If we have been united with Jesus in a death like his, we shall certainly be united in him in a resurrection like his. We’re looking forward to that renewal. Or Paul in 1 Corinthians 15, it’s not just for funerals. Oh, death, where is your sting? The sting of death is sin. The power of sin the law. But thanks me to God who gives the victory through Jesus Christ, our Lord. It’s not the end of the story. There is a renewal that’s yet to take place, and we, by faith, know it is coming, even while we live in the travails of brokenness, disease, and death, the fallenness of our own sin. It’s not the end of the story. Jesus has conquered. I think one of the hardest parts of condamnation to move beyond really is that psychological emotional part. It’s feeling the weight of our sin. The glorious truth of Christ blows the doors off our prison cell, and yet we can languish there, refusing to believe, refusing to walk out of the doors into freedom. People can say or they can think like, Well, you just I don’t understand. I failed my wife, my children, my friends.

I’ve done or thought terrible things. I feel so desperate. What do I do with this? The problem is you’re not desperate enough. You’re not desperate enough because you’re still trying to atone for your sin by feeling bad enough long enough. Think of how good this news is for someone like Peter after his denial, the one who walked in the inner circle with Jesus for three years, who could not even stand up to a slave girl in the moment when Jesus needed him the most. Or Noah, who after experience salvation in the Ark, comes out, plants a vineyard, and gets drunk. Elijah, after his great victory in Mount Carmel and God doing amazing things, he runs away into the desert in fear. Pouting and thinking he’s all alone. And the list goes on. I knew a young mother years ago, and she had gotten high with her boyfriend and her little toddler, he swallowed something and choked while she was out of it. Because of that, he had severe brain damage, and he was wheelchair bound the rest of his life and cognitive abilities, very, very ruined. I think This is a teenager. I was like, How do you live with that?

How do you not succumb to the crushing weight of condemnation for what you’ve done? She became a Christian. And while she lived with the consequences, and so did her son. She could, with Paul, declare, Wretched man that I am, who would deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ, our Lord. There is now no a condemnation for those in Christ Jesus. How else do you extinguish the fiery arrows of accusation that Satan will continually shoot at you? Look at what you’ve done. I can’t believe it. Look at what you’ve done. And those accusations, those accusations, some of them true, some of them not. How do you stand up to that? And the good news is that you do not have to blindly keep going down that same road. Jesus has a claim on you now if you’re his. God is not going to reject you. And what this means is that you can also release others in the same freedom. You do not have to hold on to the chain of their wrong and keep pulling on it from time to time to remind them of how much they’ve hurt you, of how they have failed you, holding them under because of their pain.

Shakespeare’s Shylock demanding the pound of flesh. That’s why the parable of the Unjust Steward is so important. It’s been paid. Do not dare spurn the Father’s goodness by demanding others pay what you could not. Don’t do the devil’s work for him. Let him go. There’s no life there. Release people to freedom because you have been released to freedom. Now I can boldly try my best to rejoice with my friend, knowing that even in this is going to be a mixed effort when they have been blessed in such abundant ways and I don’t feel like I have been blessed, rejoicing with them because there’s no condamnation against me. I can feel the pain of my own inadequacies, my sin, my failures, and I can stand up to them because the penalty has been removed. The guilty verdict has been vacated. And one day I will fully be free. Isn’t that just Just close your mind to be able to think that one day you will not have a sinful thought in your head because of what Jesus has done and what the spirit is applying to you. And what future grace awaits us. One day we will be entirely free.

And we live in part in that reality now, both in terms of how we see ourselves and how we release other people into that same freedom. There is, therefore, now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. With me. Father, as we come before you, we just say thank you. Thank you, Father, for giving to us what we could not do. And Lord, we ask that you would continue to open up our eyes to see more of the riches of your grace, more of all that you’ve accomplished for us, and the spirit is applying to us. Lord, give us a greater capacity of worship, of understanding, of love, and of mercy, of joy. Father, fill us to where we’re bursting. Lord, this is such good news for us. We bless you for the kindness that you’ve given to us in your son. We thank you for the freedom that we now have. We are no longer condemned. And Lord, teach us to walk in that. Teach us to give that to others. We bless you, Father, Son, and spirit, one God forever. Please stand, rescuer.

Discaimer: This sermon text was generated by an automated transcription service.