There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Romans 8:1
An old German commentator named Spener said that if the Bible was a ring and the Book of Romans its precious stone, chapter 8 would be “the sparkling point of the jewel.” I agree. I have waited for the day I would reach the eighth chapter and to be honest, this chapter is the one God used to show me that I should spend this year in Romans.
It begins with ‘no condemnation’. It continues with many verses that reveal there is ‘no defeat’. And the last verse proclaims the incredible news that there is ‘no separation’.
There are some reality TV programs about prison life. You watch for an hour and get to know what it might feel like to spend a day on death row, in solitary confinement, or as one of the prisoners on a regular cellblock. Terror overtakes most first-time prisoners as they come to grips with the danger of this new world where freedom and fairness, and having rights, are non-existent. Gangs rule and the guards turn their heads.
Have you ever seen footage of a prisoner who was sentenced for life but gets pardoned? The look on his face as he leaves the barbed wire gates and steps into the world outside is something to see. There are shrieks of joy as loved ones run to embrace him. The celebration of his new life continues for the rest of his life.
This is the message of this chapter. Sitting on death row with my crimes ever before me, with no possibility of a pardon, I look up to see a judge and some officials arrive at my cell. They unlock the door and tell me that I’m free to go. Someone has paid my ransom; someone I had cursed and treated like an enemy. This person became my Savior.
One day, I realized that because of what Jesus did, I no longer had to live on death row. If I embraced my Savior and accepted His ransom, I could leave my cell and walk out of my prison. Now, I live in the reality of His sacrifice for me. I’ve come to understand that my worst sins cannot defeat me. His sacrifice continues to impact my life and give me freedom from any kind of bondage. Even though I may offend Him over and over again with my sinful behaviors, I can never be sent back to death row. And, no matter what I do, I can never be separated from His love.
To be condemned by humans is often to be cast out of their presence. Only God gives us a real taste of forgiveness where love can never be threatened. Not by sin, not by fire, not by death. I am always in the embrace of the One who paid with his life for my life sentence.
Help me really understand how hopeless my situation was so that I can understand what Your sacrifice really means. I want to celebrate my freedom and Your love. In Jesus’ name, Amen