What does it mean that there is no condemnation in Christ?
What does condemnation mean? In a courtroom setting to have “NO” condemnation means that you are found innocent of an accusation and there is a not guilty verdict. In a similar fashion those who believe in Jesus Christ will not face the condemnation of God as it says in Romans 8:1 “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.”
The Bible teaches us there is a time for judgment for all people, when we will stand before the throne of God for an ultimate and decisive decision as we read in 2 Corinthians 5:10 “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.” We must realize that it will be Christ Himself who will be on that judgment seat as it says in John 5:27 “and has given Him authority to execute judgment also, because He is the Son of Man.”
Because of the inherent sin nature within us we are all naturally under the condemnation of God and whoever does not believe that Jesus Christ is the Lord and accept His sacrifice on the cross will remain condemned. John 3:18 says “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” whereas those who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, will not be found guilty on the judgment day. Just as though you were in a court for a crime, but then you have been found innocent because Christ paid the ultimate price for your sin and now, you are no longer guilty.
At this point, let us also remember that there is more to it, than just being found “innocent” on judgment day. When we read Romans 8:1 the word “therefore” is used, meaning that it is also pointing us to the previous passage, noticing that it is connected with the closing verses of Romans 7:23-25 “But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? I thank God – through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin.”
Paul is describing his struggle against the sinful nature – a struggle that every single believer experiences. He expresses his hatred for the sinful nature which is continuously warring against his new nature in Christ. Paul hates the sin he is committing but is thankful because he has been set free from slavery to sin. He now has the ability to do what is good because Christ has delivered him. He is also showing here that there is always condemnation under the Law, and there still would be, if it wasn’t for the gospel. The Law cannot deliver anyone from sin, but deliverance is only through Jesus Christ alone.
Notice that when the word “no condemnation” is used, that it does not mean that sin in believers is not to be condemned as much as anywhere, in-fact the opposite is taught in the scriptures, but what it means is that:
- The gospel does not pronounce condemnation like the Law. Its function is to pardon whereas the function of the Law is to condemn. The Law never had enough for deliverance, but always condemns. The gospel on the other hand frees us from condemnation.
- There is no final condemnation in the gospel, for those who are in Christ. The function, design and tendency of the gospel is to free us from the condemning sentence of the Law.
So the question is who are they that are in Christ for whom there is no condemnation? This answer to this can be found in John 15:1-6 “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. 6 If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned.”
Those who are in Christ are compared to that between the vine and its branches and in a similar way believers are in Christ Jesus because we get all our support and nutrition from him and are united in feeling, purpose and destiny. These are the people who do not walk according to the flesh. Who do not live to gratify the corrupt desires and passions of the flesh, as it says in Romans 7:18 “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find.”
On the contrary those that walk after the flesh can be seen in Galatians 5:19-21 “Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.”
A mans whose purpose of life is to always gratify his corrupt desires, cannot be called a Christian. Unless he lives not to gratify his flesh, he can have no evidence of a transformation in Christ.
But a man who walks after the Spirit, as the Holy Spirit leads and prompts can be seen in Galatians 5:22-23 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.”
Christians are free from the “law of sin and death” as it says in Romans 8:2 “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.”Although we will commit sin, the Law no longer has power to condemn us. We are no longer under the Law’s condemnation because Jesus Christ fulfilled the expectations of the Law perfectly and for all those who believe Him and accept His payment on our behalf.
Now that we are in Christ we have the joy of being counted as righteous, because Christ is righteous as said in Philippians 3:9 “..and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith;”
Although as Christians and believers in Christ we may struggle, will not live according to the flesh, meaning that we will not persist in a constant state of sinful living as mentioned in Romans 8:5 “For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.”
So we do no need to fear condemnation any longer, because we can come to God as our loving and forgiving Father as it says in Romans 8:15-16 “For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.” So, be encouraged to forget the past, and the self-condemnation you may have, instead we should be looking forward to what is ahead in Christ as it says in Philippians 3:13 “Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead,”
Let us know and understand that our justification is in Christ alone and what He did on the cross and it is nothing that we can do. Romans 3:28 says “Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law.” We are now adopted into the family of God, having made heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, saying in Romans 8:17 “and if children, then heirs – heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, that we may also be glorified together.”
In conclusion, there is no condemnation for all those who are in Christ and who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. We can therefore be confident in Christ that there is nothing that can separate us from the love of God as it says in Romans 8:39-40 “For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.