“There is therefore now no condemnation
for those who are in Christ Jesus.”
This is one of the most powerful verses in the bible.
My preacher friend, Jay Jenson, hammers this verse home. Why? Because it is so important. I used to listen to him at The Fortress (LifeRight back then) in Willmar, MN as he explained the gospel mainly to men that were in the treatment program. I wasn’t in the program but really enjoyed the salvation message. It spoke to me.
Why was this verse so important that Jay needed to keep going back to it, every time I heard him preach? Because it’s a message that is hard to accept. What do I mean by that? Two things. First, it’s simply hard to accept. Second, it’s hard to retain.
The first section of Romans 8, verses 1-10 deals with the distinction between those who believe and those who don’t; those who are in Christ Jesus and those who aren’t. That’s the primary purpose of 1 John, “I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life.” (v. 5:13) Jesus himself hammers away at this theme as he begins the final judgment of sorting the goats from the sheep right here on earth. I used to hear Episcopal priests poo-poo all this when someone questioned their salvation. You know what they said? They said if you are concerned enough to wonder, then you are saved. They said the same thing for the unforgivable sin. Wow.
You know what Jesus said about all this?
John 3:3-5 Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus said to him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.”
Matthew 7:21-23 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’
This is a big deal and certainly should not be poo-pooed like many do. Bottom line: make sure your salvation is true.
How can one be sure? Well, I am convinced that the bible clearly demonstrates that salvation is a gift and not of our own effort.
Ephesians 2:8-9 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
But how do we know? By testing. That’s what 1 John is full of. Same with Romans 8. Let’s take a look at some of this:
Romans 8:2-8 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 the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
This last line, ‘Those who are in the flesh cannot please God,’ is big. Big! It is the what Jesus is talking about in Matthew 7:23, ‘I never knew you; depart from me.” Lots of souls will lie and make false claims of faith.
Now, one must be careful to not get in a trap thinking that good deeds will tip the scales so as we might please God. Even true believers can get in this thinking. It always ends in frustration. Furthermore, it is not talking about perfection. That’s what Romans 7 covers. No one will be perfect until that day we leave our physical bodies. That’s the time we die and meet Jesus. And, if Jesus comes first, our bodies will be changed. It is our bodies that are decaying and defiled. Once with Jesus, sin will be no more.
Until then, sin remains, but we have certainly changed with regard to our opinion of it. For those who are saved, sin is no longer comfortable. We can try ignoring it but eventually it will crush us. We weren’t like that before. If fact, we aren’t at all like we once were:
2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
So, the implications of being born-again are huge. For today’s purposes, Paul leaves this section with this:
Romans 8:11 If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.
Bottom line, there is no condemnation for those of us in Christ. Not only that, but he will also forever change this sinful body into an immortal, sinless, perfect one – one that will match the new heart we already have. That’s a promise.
2 Corinthians 1:21-2 And it is God who establishes us with you in Christ, and has anointed us, and who has also put his seal on us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.
Father, thank you so much for clearly demonstrating the assurance of our faith. Let me share mine with others today. Amen.
Copyright © 2019 Scott Powers