Romans 8:1 “Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” (NASB)
Referred to as “The greatest verse in the Bible” by some, the truth revealed here is certainly central to the Gospel and essential to the Christian faith. What a verse!
Of course it isn’t fair to just jump right in to Romans 8 without pointing to the “Therefore”. That single word at the beginning of the verse points to all that has gone before. It has been a road pointing to the desperate need for a savior of all men. Not just the gentiles but also the Jews, God’s chosen people. Romans has pointed to man's ability to know God exists through His creation yet points to man’s rejection of the Creator. Romans shows the way of knowing Christ as Savior and the redemption offered through Grace rather than works. Leading up to Romans 8 we are presented with the struggle even Paul faces living out his salvation under Grace but in this sin stained body wrestling daily with the battle of spirit and flesh.
Only then comes the great news and assurance of Romans 8. “Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus”. So the verse is for those of us walking this earth and for those that have passed on “In Christ” only. To be clear this is not a universal get out of jail card for the human race. This assurance is limited.
For those, “In Christ” the assurance is, “Now”. Isn’t it significant to know that the assurance of Romans 8 is not something to wait for or hope for but is, “Now”? I think so. And what is “Now”? “No condemnation” is what is “Now”. So currently, in this present time, as we walk through this life troubled by the battle of spirit and flesh just referenced in Romans 7 we have this assurance of Romans 8. There is no condemnation now. I don’t have to wait for someone to remove my sin at some ceremony later. Because of Christ Jesus my sin results in no condemnation right now. That is a wonderful message to me.
Now there are plenty of warnings in earlier chapters of Romans about intentionally liberating Grace by sinning all to more. Paul tells us this is absolutely wrong and misses the point. The point is we will continue to sin because we are damaged goods. We have a sin nature handed down from our father Adam. Try and we might, we will continue to sin from time to time. When we do, those sins are covered immediately by Grace through the work of Christ Jesus and we find ourselves in this state of “No condemnation”.
Applied to our lives there should be great comfort in knowing we walk in Grace free from the burden of our sins. We do not have to carry the guilt of our sins before the Lord. When the Father looks at us he sees the Son; guiltless. So we don't need to be kicking ourselves, that is what Satan wants. He wins when we do that. Hold your head up high and go do something for Jesus.
In closing, if this isn’t the greatest verse in the Bible, it certainly gives rise to explanation of the greatest gift, Jesus Christ our Lord. AMEN!