When I consider how wonderful and good God is, how much He loves me and all He did in order to allow me a relationship with Him, I am overcome with gratitude, love, and joy. But I also must realize that I have sinned and I am undeserving of this peace with God. There are times when this line of thoughts can lead me to ruminate the horrible things I have done, said, and thought. The guilt and regret can cripple me. Does that ever happen to you? Are you ever wracked with guilt over your past and even your present? Does the accuser get inside your head and tell you all the horrible things you have done and the detestable person you are? The accuser of the brethren is out to steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10) and wants you paralyzed by guilt and shame. That is not the same things as conviction or remorse. Conviction and remorse have an active response, confession and repentance. Guilt and shame lead to self-pity, anger, and bitterness.
Believer, if you are stuck in guilt over your past, remember the devil is a LIAR! You are not the person you used to be! You died with Christ, you were raised to new life in Him and you live in Him now! God has declared you are righteous! He lived and died and resurrected for you, that means even though you didn’t deserve it, He thought you were worthy of it.
That is why Romans 8:1 is such a powerful and popular verse. That is why so many people commit it to memory. We have to tell the devil he is a liar and to shut his mouth. The verse reads,
There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
Do you remember what we read yesterday in Romans 7? Believer, you died to the law and therefore to sin. The law has no sway over you, so how can you be condemned by it? The word for condemnation is katakrima and it means just what condemnation in English means, damnation, a punitive sentence, a verdict of guilt. As we have read Romans, we’ve learned we are justified by faith in Jesus. Justified, the Greek word is dikaiósis is the very opposite, it is a declaration of innocence, acquittal, and absolution. There is NO condemnation in Christ! You are dead to that sin, stop bringing it back into your life again! When Jesus was crucified and resurrected, He didn’t conquer all your sins up to your salvation, He forgave all your sin, full stop. He conquered sin and death, period!
You are freed from all those sins; the accuser cannot chain them to you without your permission. You are freed from the power of sin, you have the Spirit in you. God is with you and in Him, you do not have to give in to sin. The power of the law, which as we read yesterday makes us aware of our sin and breeds more sin in us, is broken. The power of the law’s requirements has been fulfilled. You live not by your flesh, the physical desires and needs, and earthly mindset which leads to sin, but by the Spirit, who leads you to be the image of Christ. Verses 1-7 read,
There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. 3 For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, 4 in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. 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 set their minds on the things of the Spirit. 6 For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. 7 For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God's law; indeed, it cannot. 8 Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
Living under condemnation means we are giving the law and the flesh the authority over us. We can follow our flesh, try to be good enough, try to fulfill the law ourselves, and think that we somehow can do it by our own strength and morality. But if we do that, our minds are set on the flesh. Think for a moment about your needs. For instance, what is for supper tonight? Now your mind is on that, you must think about what you will eat, how you will pay for it, if there is enough, how you will cook it, or how you will procure it. Your mind is on supper. If you set your mind on trying to keep the law, then your mind is on sins you cannot commit if you want to be good, the punishment for those sins, and ways you will make for yourself in order not to break the laws. Jesus told us not to put our minds on all that, He said to seek the Kingdom of God and His righteousness first above all else and everything else would fall into place (Matthew 6:33). Paul told us to keep our minds on whatever is true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent, or worthy of praise. He said that if we practice what we’ve learned from the scriptures and our spiritual leaders that the God of peace would be with us (Philippians 4:8-9). The mind of Christ is not focused on sin, but on love, goodness, kindness, and perseverance. The mind of Christ is set on the hope of future glory and our present sanctification. It is the flesh that worries about earthly matters, trying to be good, and looking good take over and bring sin. In verses 9-11 Paul reminds us,
You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. 10 But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11 If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.
We are dead to sin but now truly alive! Remember what I mentioned earlier, the accuser, also called the enemy or the thief came to steal, kill, and destroy. There is more to that verse! Jesus came so we could have life and have it abundantly! (John 10:10). Cherished, don’t you know that the Spirit lives in you, you are the temple of the Living God and God will not let anyone destroy you! 1 Corinthians 3:16-17 says,
Do you not know that you are God's temple and that God's Spirit dwells in you? 17 If anyone destroys God's temple, God will destroy him. For God's temple is holy, and you are that temple.
18 Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you thinks that he is wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise. 19 For the wisdom of this world is folly with God. For it is written, “He catches the wise in their craftiness,” 20 and again, “The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise, that they are futile.” 21 So let no one boast in men. For all things are yours, 22 whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future—all are yours, 23 and you are Christ's, and Christ is God's.
Romans 8:12-17 read,
So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. 13 For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. 14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. 15 For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” 16 The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God,17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.
Are you living the defeated life, of who you once were, condemned to eternal death, guilty of countless sins, concerned with yourself, and eaten up by surviving instead of enjoying life? We don’t have to live trying to meet our physical needs, striving to satisfy our yearnings, or worrying about earthly matters. Pursuing the kingdom of God means we will strive for Godly matters. He loves you; He loves your neighbor. He cares about justice. His Word will accomplish what it set out to accomplish (Isaiah 55:11). Believer, you have the mind of Christ and the Spirit of God in you, delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart (Proverbs 37:4). The Spirit is in us! He is God and He is powerful. Our old selves are dead and we now live in Christ, new and free, and truly alive.
I know life isn’t all roses and sunshine. God never promised that life on this earth would be free of trouble. In fact Jesus said, “In the world you will have tribulation.” He said WILL not if, or might, or could, but will. But He followed that sentence up with this one, “But take heart; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). Yes, we will and do suffer, but remember, Jesus overcame the world. You are not condemned to be the victim of the thief who steals, kills, and destroys, you have life and you have it abundantly! Paul encouraged us by reminding us that our life is eternal and that we will one day be transformed in an instant and perfectly united with Christ forever. Verses 18-25 read,
For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. 19 For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. 20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. 23 And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.
We will be free from all of the minutia, all the sin, corruption, decay, and death. I know that I often refer us to this passage from Revelation, but I think it is important to know what our future glory will be like. Let us know what it is we hope for. Let’s read it again; Revelation 21:1-7 says,
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. 2 And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. 4 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”
5 And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” 6 And he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment. 7 The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son.
As we long for New Jerusalem, we groan in the temporary pain and suffering of this present life, the way a woman in labor groans with the temporary pain of childbirth knowing that when the pain ends, there will be great joy and new life. Sometimes, the pain is great. Sometimes, our flesh rears its head and we want to give in to the despair, guilt, or anguish. But, holding on to the hope of future glory, remembering we are heirs with Christ and not prisoners of the prince of the world allows us to lean on Him, especially when there is nothing in ourselves to lean on. Sometimes, we do not even have the words to put our hopelessness into a prayer. Verses 26-28 give us hope.
Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. 27 And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. 28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
The Spirit, God Almighty indwelling you, He intercedes for us, praying when we can’t! He prays perfectly, because He searches His own mind for His will for us and asks for that. And no matter how difficult the circumstances, how dark the situation, or how deep the hole, God will work all things together, He will weave all the details, conditions, and situations together for our good, our benefit. Do you ask then, why or how bad stuff happens to us? Why do some of us become disabled, lose loved ones, have depilating illness, or terrible struggles? What is the benefit of any of that? Verses 29-30 answer that question this way,
For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.
Okay, what does that mean, you might ask. Glorification is our transformation or change to become like Jesus, to exhibit His image, behave and look like Him wherever we go and whatever we go through. Remember what we read in Chapter 5 of Romans? Romans 5:3-6 says,
Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5 and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. 6 For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.
The thief may try to steal, kill, and destroy, but Jesus came to give you eternal life and nothing and no one can snatch you from His hand (John 10:10, 28-29). You are no longer condemned, you are free, alive, and justified. You have a glory and a hope. God will not stop loving you, nothing you do can cause Him to love you more or love you less. The enemy, death, and sin have no power over you and cannot divorce you from God’s complete love. The accuser will try to harm you and take you away from God, but he can’t. He may use your pride to fill you with shame, guilt, or obstinance. He may sling his arrows at you all day long but none of that can hurt you, at all. Verses 31-39 read,
What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? 33 Who shall bring any charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? 36 As it is written,
“For your sake we are being killed all the day long;
we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”
37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
I think this is important enough to reiterate and underline. Our hearts must understand this. The accuser has nothing to accuse us of! There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. (Romans 8:1). Those verses (31-39) in The Message read this way,
So, what do you think? With God on our side like this, how can we lose? If God didn’t hesitate to put everything on the line for us, embracing our condition and exposing himself to the worst by sending his own Son, is there anything else he wouldn’t gladly and freely do for us? And who would dare tangle with God by messing with one of God’s chosen? Who would dare even to point a finger? The One who died for us—who was raised to life for us!—is in the presence of God at this very moment sticking up for us. Do you think anyone is going to be able to drive a wedge between us and Christ’s love for us? There is no way! Not trouble, not hard times, not hatred, not hunger, not homelessness, not bullying threats, not backstabbing, not even the worst sins listed in Scripture:
They kill us in cold blood because they hate you.
We’re sitting ducks; they pick us off one by one.
None of this fazes us because Jesus loves us. I’m absolutely convinced that nothing—nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable—absolutely nothing can get between us and God’s love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us.
Cherished, Believer, Follow of Christ, you are alive in Christ, so live for Him! Your pains are temporary and bring new life and joy, so rejoice! Nothing, No one, is more powerful than God almighty and so nothing and no one can separate you from His love, snatch you from His hand, or sentence you to death.