By Marni Montanez
Romans 8:1 New King James Version
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.
We, who live in Christ, have been lifted up from the pit of hell and transplanted into the Kingdom of God. Before our entrance into the Kingdom of heaven, we lived under God’s judgment and were bound in the restrictions of darkness. Regardless of how good we were, it never met the requirement of perfection that would allow us into heaven. So God, knowing how fallible we are, allowed His perfect, sinless Son to be the scapegoat for us and He took on our sins. No longer are we subjected to the oppression of the enemy. When we chose to walk through the doorway of His sacrifice we began living under God’s rule of peace and grace.
In this verse God promises that He is not condemning us nor will He ever condemn us. It is His eternal stamp of approval which protects us from any wrath or judgment to come.
God readily forgave all of our offenses and replaced our impending doom with His love and mercy. Accepting Jesus makes us guiltless before God, because when He looks at us He sees the sacrifice Jesus made. Guiltless, though, does not mean we can do what we want to do and get away with it; it means that although, we will suffer the consequences of our own choices, salvation is still ours and when we leave this earth we will go to heaven.
It also means that, as our heavenly Father, God lovingly convicts our hearts and draws us away from sin into His presence. Conviction is very different than condemnation. I found this writing where the author explains the difference between the two:
Condemnation comes from Satan and is meant to tear you down. Condemnation continually points out what a failure you are, and how badly you've messed up. Condemnation is showing you the problem, but avoiding the solution.”
Conviction is known in the Bible as Godly sorrow. God's Word tells us that Godly sorrow is what leads us to repentance (Romans 2:4). Condemnation tells you, "You are such a failure! Look at what you did!" while conviction tells you, "Come to me... and I will forgive you!"
Being in Christ Jesus and filled with the Holy Spirit enables us to live in a way pleasing to the Lord. Our spirit is saved when we give our lives to God, but for our soul, salvation is a process that takes time and produces changes in our mind will and emotions. During this process we will make mistakes or even choose to sin, but we always have the option to turn back to God and repent.
Challenge: When you have been disobedient turn to your heavenly Father and repent. He is ready and faithful to forgive you.
The purpose of this series is to encourage people to live as loving, compassionate, and peacemaking children of God: Jesus tells us to pray, "Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven." (Matthew 6:10) God tells us through Micah (6:8), "He has told you, O man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God." And we know from Revelation 21:4 that there will be no more mourning, or crying, or pain, or death. Thus, Christian living requires us to set the standards of these conditions here on earth for our fellow human beings, and for the other animals, as a witness to the rest of the world. To do otherwise is not Christian.