Articles & Devotionals
Greetings Church Family, I hope this message finds you all doing well and staying healthy. Being confined to home I have found that removing the daily hustle and bustle of getting kids to school and getting out the door for work has opened a time slot for me to dig deeper into the word. A fun way for me to do that is to just simply look at the daily devotional scripture my Bible app posts daily. Todays scripture comes from Romans 8:1 and it reads, “Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus”.
What a glorious sentence that marks the beginning of a beautiful chapter of the Bible! I have read this verse many times and really have just taken it for face value, but today since it was my verse of the day, I decided to dig deeper into it. The first thing I did was read the rest of the verses related to that thought starting with verse 2, “2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. 3 For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin…….. 8 and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.”
Before we dive into the significance of this phrase, let’s rewind to the beginning of the book of Romans. The apostle Paul starts off his letter to the church in Rome and brutally exposes the plight of every human before a righteous God: “there is no one righteous, no, not one… All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:10; 23).” Whether we recognize it or not, we all stand rightfully condemned before a perfect Judge who, unlike an earthly judge, sees our sin perfectly. He doesn’t wonder about our heart motivations or the extent of our depravity, but knows and sees it all plain as day.
Going back to verse 1 we see “There is therefore now, no condemnation”. Paul in the latter half of the prior chapter talked about the struggle we feel within ourselves and the conflict we have between wanting to do good and the mind making him prisoner from sin. This chapter opens with a “Therefore” so we know it’s a continuation of the prior chapter and the discussion on how sin causes Paul to do something totally different then what he desires. That desire is to serve God with all of his heart. As a result, Paul’s sin created condemnation and a separation from the Lord. The Law that came about in the Old Testament and acted more as a Band-Aid on the sin instead of a deep healing. The law gave man something he could not deliver on or live up to and condemnation crept back in.
“Which are in Christ Jesus” is the answer to that condemnation. Those “who live and have their (spiritual) being” in Christ. As I interpret this half of the verse, it ties back to what in my heart the Bible is all about – Relationship. In this verse I see this as a two-way street. Paul is reaching up to Christ to get himself out of the mire of fleshly desire that detracts him from his goal of serving God, and Christ is reaching down to pick him up out of the sinful life clothing him with righteousness, establishing that relationship. Paul knows he is a sinner and as the rest of the first half of the chapter reads, he covers all aspects of that and what that relationship looks like and how we are to set our minds daily as we walk with Him.
Today I pray that we all set our minds on Him and not on our flesh. As Paul aptly states in verse 6 “a mind set on the Spirit is life and peace.” For through that relationship with our Savior Christ Jesus our condemnation is gone forever and peace can thrive. This chapter also reminds me of a song we sing written by Charles Bancroft in the 1860’s titled Before the Throne of God Above. The first stanza reads as follows:
1 Before the throne of God above,
I have a strong and perfect plea,
a great High Priest whose name is Love,
who ever lives and pleads for me.
My name is graven on his hands,
my name is written on his heart.
I know that while in heav'n he stands,
no tongue can bid me thence depart,
no tongue can bid me thence depart.
Rejoice in the fact that there is no condemnation. Not an ounce. Live like one who has been set free.