There is no condemnation

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

Romans 8:1

If you commit a crime, you can expect to be punished. You might not be caught initially, but  eventually your illegal activities will catch up with you. You might be spared a custodial sentence the first time, but if you carry on breaking the law, sooner or later you’ll end up in prison. That’s how a legal system works. In a developed, pluralistic society, this is true no matter what your position is; according to the Rule of Law, everyone is equal before the law. There are no special circumstances. You could be a President of Prime Minister, but if rob a bank, you’ll face the same penalty as everyone else.

In God’s eyes, the same is true. Due to the Fall, in which Adam and Eve disobeyed God, all people are sinners. There is no one walking around today who is anything but a sinner. Not a day goes by when we don’t break God’s laws, neglect him, or worse. The Bible is absolutely clear that sin deserves punishment. Paul himself tells us in this same letter that “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). We are all condemned by our sin, and therefore face a very bleak future.

Or we would do, if it were not for Jesus, and his powerful intervention. Jesus, as the Son of God, was entirely free from sin. He did not deserve to die, but did, in a gruesome, horrific way. In doing so, he took the punishment that should belong to you and me. He died, but then, in an amazing show of the power of love over hate, of light over darkness, of life over death, he came back from the dead, conquering death once and for all.

In today’s incredible verse, Paul tells us that those of us who are “in Christ Jesus” are saved from the punishment that we deserve. For those who follow Christ, who accept that he is the Son of God, and who strive to live out his teachings, there is no condemnation. We should be condemned to death, but instead, we have new life through Jesus. We should be condemned to eternal separation from God, from love, from all that is good in creation, but instead we find ourselves promised an eternity of love and goodness in God’s heavenly kingdom. We should be condemned to live in a world in which evil triumphs and all hope of a better future is gone, but instead we live in a world where, even though things may seem bleak, love triumphs over hate, and we can have hope in a better tomorrow.

Rejoice today that through Jesus we have been saved from condemnation. Give thanks that love has triumphed, that evil cannot win, and for the future hope that we can all have that Christ will one day return, and we will be with him for all eternity!

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