There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1)
Like an oasis in the desert and like clemency to a prisoner, Romans 8:1 brings a huge sigh of relief and hope for victory. The spiritual conflicts and struggles of Romans chapter 7 are met with this tremendous declaration.
Do not worry, the Lord is saying … I have justified you, and I hold nothing against you. I know your struggles and the battle of flesh vs. spirit that is within you. And I want you to know that I love you, I am for you, and that I have sealed your eternal future.
- Even though the true believer struggles at times, there is no condemnation against him.
- Even though these struggles include moments of failure, there is still no condemnation.
- Even though there can be exasperation and desperation, there is no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus.
The last phrase who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit, is not found in some early Greek manuscripts, which has triggered a lively debate among scholars as to the original writing of this passage. Even with the longer version the meaning is not changed if the last phrase is understood as a descriptive statement, as with this explanatory insertion: There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, [these are the ones] who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. In other words, those who are in Christ Jesus are identified as those who are walking in the Spirit … this is the overall life pattern of the true believer.
The believer can take great comfort in his position in Christ. Being in Christ Jesus without condemnation allows him the freedom to walk in a loving, open relationship with God. When sin occurs, it is confessed and forgiven. When struggles with the flesh are intensified, he can go to the One who has justified him for the help he needs. God is indeed on our side in these matters.
For Further Review
1. What does it mean to be in Christ Jesus? According to Roman 8:1, what is the position of such a person in the sight of God?
2. Re-read Romans 7:14-25. What relationship is there between those verses and Romans 8:1? What is the flow of thought? What does the context of Romans 8:1 teach us?
3. How has the truth of Romans 8:1 been a help and strength in your life?
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