There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Romans 8:1
A German theologian 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 ~ because it begins with the news that there is ‘no more condemnation’.
There have been a few reality television series about prison life. As you watch, you get an idea of what it might feel like to spend a day on death row, or in solitary confinement, or as one of the prisoners on a regular cell block. Terror overtakes first-time prisoners as they come to grips with the dangers of this new world where freedom, fairness, and having rights are non-existent. Gangs rule and the guards turn their heads.
I’m sure you’ve seen stories of prisoners who were wrongly convicted, sentenced for life, but better forensics years down the road got them pardoned. The look on their faces as they left the barbed wire gates and stepped into the world outside was something to see. There were shrieks of joy as loved ones ran to embrace them. From what they admitted years later, the celebration of freedom never wore off.
The exhilaration of condemnation being lifted from our own shoulders is the message of this chapter. We were all sitting on death row with our crimes nagging us without mercy. Our conscience had been enlightened by the Holy Spirit and we added self-condemnation to sin’s condemnation. Despair and regret were our cellmates. There was no possibility of a pardon because the evidence had been ironclad.
Ah, but one day we received the news of the Gospel. We blinked in disbelief and began to wonder if such news could be true. We were free to go if we embraced Jesus for life. God’s condemnation of our sin was laid on His Son’s shoulders and He paid for each of our crimes so we wouldn’t have to. The One we had treated like an enemy stepped up to seek us out and then save us.
Like a joy of a freed prisoner, may the exhilaration of this verse take my breath away this morning. My worst sins cannot defeat me. I can never be sent back to death row. I can never be separated from His love. I will forever be embraced by the One who paid with his life for my life sentence.
Let me live today as one You have freed, not condemned. In Jesus’ name, Amen