Condemned By Whom And For What?
Wednesday, July 9th, 2014
There are two facets to the concept of condemnation. First, there is the genuine reality of the fact that unless a person believes in the redemptive work of Christ provided in the Gospel Truth of the water and Spirit, he is condemned to an eternal separation from God. However, once that person has believed in Christ’s baptism and substitutionary death in his place, Jesus Himself promised, “Truly, truly, I say to you, He who hears my word and believes Him Who sent Me, has eternal life and does not come into condemnation but has passed out of death into life. John 5:24
The issue of eternal condemnation is a settled matter in the life of a true believer in Jesus. That’s the very essence of what Jesus was saying. If we have passed from death into life, we can’t go back into death again unless God undid His whole work of justification and there is no chance of that happening.
However, what’s at stake in the misunderstanding of Rom 8:1 is whether, having been delivered from eternal condemnation, a believer can come back under any form of condemnation by God because of his behavior. The answer to that is an absolute NO.
The very reason that verse is located where it is, is meant to establish the finality of the fact that we can never again be condemned by God from the minute we believe in the Gospel of the water and Spirit which constitutes God’s righteousness. In Rom 7, we see the picture of the believer, Paul, going through the most despairing period of the Christian life. It seems to Paul like everything is condemning him – the Law of God, His own conscience and possibly even God Himself. One chapter later in Rom 8, Paul is joyously writing off the fact that if God be for us, ho can be against us. This is no longer a defeated and despairing believer. Now, what do you think it was that brought him out of the despair of Romans 7 and into the victory of Romans 8? One great fact!
He realized there were no more condemnation from the Law, from God and consequently no legitimate condemnation from his own conscience because he was in Christ Jesus. The realization of death set him free to begin to allow the indwelling Holy Spirit to make him holy in his daily living and to actually live in and out through him, the very righteousness of God. Realizing that he didn’t have to live for God in order not to be condemned, he began to relax and trust in the Holy Spirit to live the Christian life through him. That’s what he meant when he said God rejected the method of using laws to try and make people behave the right way because it never worked. Rom 8:3. The same result of righteousness was achieved by walking in dependence upon the indwelling Holy Spirit and letting him produce the righteousness of God in him. Rom 8:4