Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.
The scene has been repeated in numerous movies and TV shows. The convicted killer on death row; eats his last meal, a minister prays for his soul, and then he’s marched off to the instrument of execution.
Writers depict the scene because it’s dramatic, emotional, and an excellent theme for building a plot or subplot. If the criminal is depicted as guilty, then we feel a sense of relief since justice is served. However, if an innocent man or woman is executed, then we are frustrated by the horrible miscarriage of justice.
People on death row know something you and I don’t. They know the day they will die. That’s what makes their stories so compelling. From the time their sentence is announced, the countdown begins. From that moment on, they do whatever they can to cope with — and prepare for — the ultimate reality.
I wanted to get you thinking about the administration of justice because, in the Roman epistle, Paul lays out the legal case for sinners saved by grace. (Romans 5:15,17) Three times in this letter, He uses the judicial term, “condemnation.” (5:16, 18; 8:1) Condemnation is associated with the guilty verdict and the resulting penalty. Paul makes it clear that for believers, “there is now no condemnation.” We are no longer on death row.
Nothing is seemingly more innocent than a baby. Yet every child is born into sin. Adam’s original sin, and its penalty have been imputed to everyone born into this world. As morbid or indelicate as it may sound, we have all been born to pay the penalty for sin; death and eternal separation from God.
Don’t miss the vital word “now.” Christ’s redemptive sacrifice at Calvary paid our sin debt which is why “there is now no condemnation.” Instead, another legal term, “justification,” is assigned to believers. (Romans 4:25; 5:16,18) Declared NOT GUILTY of all wrong doing; past, present, and future.
The sin that condemned you has been stricken from the record. Instead, Christ’s righteousness has been imputed to your account. Impute is an accounting term that means to assign to someone or something what they did not previously possess.
Satan will try to make you doubt your freedom from condemnation. “Surely you don’t believe God will forgive you for that terrible sin you’ve committed. Why, you can’t even forgive yourself. You’re evil and wicked just like the rest of us.”
Don’t buy the lie. “… there is now no condemnation.” You have been forgiven, and God wants you to get on with your life. You have been set free from the death penalty.
Do you carry guilt for some sin committed in the past? You believe God has forgiven you for your grievous action, but it still weighs heavily upon your conscience. Jesus, the great High Priest, wants you to be free of those troubling feelings of guilt. Just as you approach all matters regarding your life with Christ, a clean and clear conscience is a matter of faith. God has already closed the book on your sin, and you should do the same. Note the following passage from Hebrews:
… let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Hebrews 10:21-23
Keep just enough guilt to remind you never to do it again. But enjoy the freedom you have in Christ. Not only are you free from the law and its penalty, you have also been freed from all guilt. Instead of agonizing over the past, put your positive energy into a faithful and obedient future.
You’re off death row. You are free to go home. “… there is now no condemnation.”
For more on this topic, check out this article: The Extent of the Lord’s Forgiveness
Reprinted from The Forever Notebook, Book 3 (July – September) Get your copy here: Paperback and eBook/Kindle formats.