There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
~ The Apostle Paul’s Letter To The Church In Rome 8.1
There are, of course, many kinds of people.
Two of those kinds are hard hearted people, and soft hearted people.
The Hard Hearts: Those whose hearts are callous and hardened: they don’t feel bad about anything.
The Soft Hearts: Those who feel guilty about everything, despite what the Good News Of Jesus Christ proclaims
The Hard Hearted Ones.
The Stone Cold Heart says to Romans 8:1: “Does Not Compute” because they have manufactured a shiny, predictable, plastic God whom would never disagree with them. When Paul writes, “There is now no condemnation”, they say “Duh, what could God possibly have against me? I’m the best person I know.”
Such hubris is the complete opposite of the contrite beloved bedraggled recipient of God’s grace whom says, “I am the worst person I know.”
The reason Paul must write “There is now no condemnation for those in Christ” is because there is condemnation for those who are not in Christ. R.C. Sproul writes the word “condemnation” could be rendered “damnation”. There is now no damnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
Many will say they don’t care what people do so long as they’re not hurting anybody else. This is one of those good ‘ol boy isms which have an appearance of wisdom but do not stand under scrutiny. If you say such a thing around the proverbial water cooler people will consider you to be down to earth, fair even. Liberalism, Libertarianism, Liberaltariansim. Whatever. Why does God look at people who everybody else says, “eh, they’re alright” and says, “You need a Savior, you need a Redeemer, you need forgiveness.”? Why?
God sees all the pieces on the board, at all times. God sees all the possibilities. God sees all the consequences. God sees how the sins we treasure in private actually are unleashed upon the world like a rabid dog. God sees how our private sins, the sins we say aren’t hurting anybody else, worm their way out of our subconscious into our everyday interactions with people. God sees how all the sin in the world builds and builds until it crescendos into the fallen wreck of a world we’re all living in at this very moment.
It is only when we mold God in our image by desensitizing Him to sin (as we have already done to ourselves) that we can somehow imagine ourselves as good people.
He knows it, and knows it well. He weeps over it all. And He has sent His only begotten Son to save us from ourselves. The stone cold heart thinks they’re okay. They’re not okay. They need to know that condemnation is coming should they pass from this life outside of Christ.
The Soft Hearted Ones
On the other calloused hand, there is the person who has flung themselves upon the mercy offered by our Crucified Carpenter King yet still believe the accusations of the Enemy of our souls, “God could never love you. God could never forgive your sin.”
They are the beloved bedraggled souls who pour themselves out in service to their local Church. They teach Sunday school, they clean the building, they volunteer for everything, and when the Pastor makes an announcement asking for volunteers for this or that they feel the burden to say “yes” yet again. Despite how much they serve they never feel the warmth of peace with God on their hearts.
May the dear soft hearted soul stuck in the endless self recrimination of Romans 7 move to, and dwell in, Romans 8:1 “There is now no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus.”
Why is there now no condemnation? Because you got your stuff together?
Not so much.
There’s now no condemnation because of Jesus, not you. He has paid the price. He hung condemned in our place upon the Cross. This is Christ’s gift to you: Himself condemned in your place so that you can walk away in newness of life.
The sad reality is this: the world is divided into those who consider themselves too good for Christ and those who consider themselves too bad for Christ.
Christ is for you.