Jack Graham - No Condemnation
Take your Bibles and turn with me, please, to the eighth chapter of the book of Romans. This is THE ESSENTIAL (and eternal) GOSPELof the Lord Jesus Christ. And we’re not ashamed of this Gospel! We boldly proclaim and present the claims of Christ upon our lives. I cannot think of a better verse or verses of scriptures than these that begin the eighth chapter of Romans. When you have a relationship with Jesus Christ, I mean a personal relationship with Christ, then you are fully and forever forgiven! And therefore, none of us in Christ live in condemnation or under condemnation. We no longer live in guilt, but now in grace. We are no longer living in sin and shame, but in the salvation that is provided in Christ.
And not only this, but we are indwelt and infused by the Holy Spirit with power to live a transformed life and a triumphant life. Why? Because you are in Christ and Christ is in you. You are in Christ and Christ is in you! And so the scripture says in verse 1 of Romans 8, "There is therefore now no condemnation", say those two words: No condemnation. "No condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death".
And when you read these verses, you can hear the chains breaking, because now and forevermore we live in the freedom, no longer in the past prisons of pain and struggling and suffering and sin and shame, but we live in the freedom of the Lord Jesus Christ who has set us free. And you can be sure of this, certain of this; it is your standing with God; it is your status before a holy God! Because the scripture says, there two words that you ought to circle in that first verse of Romans 8. In fact, I would encourage you as we go that you would begin memorizing verses in Romans chapter 8. In fact, you might want to take on the entire chapter and just memorize all of Romans chapter 8!
D. L. Moody, the great evangelist of yesteryear, once said, "I would rather live in Romans chapter 8 than in the Garden of Eden"! He said, "because man fell in sin in the Garden of Eden. But in Romans chapter 8 it begins with 'no condemnation' and concludes with 'no separation'". We are safe, we are secure eternally in Christ, and so the two words that you should note are these two little simple words: "Now" and "No". No condemnation. There is now no condemnation! You don’t have to wait till you step into eternity to find out or to figure out whether or not you are secure in Christ, whether you are saved. It’s too late if you wait till then!
Now is the time; today is the day! And you don’t have to live with uncertainty about this. Who would want to live with uncertainty regarding your eternal future? And so the fact is that we can know our eternal destiny; that it’s settled; that it is a done deal! Romans chapter 8 is all about life in the Spirit, and how the Holy Spirit insures us of eternal life now and forever! And how to live and walk in the Spirit which is the abundant life. Now the first three chapters of Romans are full of sound and fury; thunder and lightning, fire and brimstone as the judgment of God against a guilty world, a condemned world is proclaimed. That "all have sinned"! "There is none righteous, no not one".
We all stand condemned before a holy God, as does the entire world. That's the first three chapters, as Paul like a prosecuting attorney is making his case for the Gospel of Christ. And then the next chapters, chapters 4 through 6 and 7 describe this justification that we have in faith in Christ. That we are not saved by human righteousness but by the righteousness that we have in the Lord Jesus Christ. It's summarized in Romans 6:23: "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus our Lord". And then Romans 7, beginning this work of, ongoing salvation, what is called sanctification, being made more and more like Christ. when Romans 7 describes the human effort of a man trying to live the Christian life in his own strength and in his own power, saying, "I want to do certain things, I don't do them; and I don't want to do certain things, but I can't stop. I don't do". He said, "Wretched man that I am; who will deliver me from this body of death"?
And if you were with us the last time, you know that Romans chapter 7, verse 24 ends with a triumphant declaration! And we talked about declaring your victory in Christ. "Thanks be to God through our Lord Jesus Christ," that we are saved and, though the struggle is real, we have victory in Jesus who is our Victor! Fact is, we are all flawed, we are all failed, we are all imperfect, and we're all in the fight of our lives! This battle within! And yet, still in declaring our victory, we trust in the Lord our God! We cherish and cling to the cross; we receive His grace, we accept His mercy, we experience His peace, and we believe His promises, and therefore, we declare, "Thanks be to God through our Lord Jesus Christ"!
We are delivered! And right after that great declaration comes these words: "Therefore there is now no condemnation to those who are in Jesus Christ". It's settled; it's secure. No condemnation. There was condemnation. We were, before Christ, as the Scripture declares, children of wrath, facing a future, an eternity without God! We were living in condemnation. We were living under condemnation. A word that's in the text actually means penal servitude. It's in bondage. The servitude of bondage. Why? Because sin is fatal. It is a fatal and inexorable, and incurable disease. We're all infected and there's no human cure. We are dead men walking. Living lives without hope and helpless to change it. We were on our way to hell and eternal punishment, condemnation. But now in Christ no condemnation now! No means no! Not a little bit, not a hint, not a cent, not an ounce, not an inch, not a little, not a lot, no condemnation in Jesus Christ!
Jesus put it this way Himself in John 5:24, a verse you ought to know. "Truly, truly, I say to you; whoever hears My word and believes the One who sent Me has", notice the tense of the verb, "has". Not will have, but has this very moment when you believe, "eternal life", and watch this, "he does not come into judgment", condemnation, "but has passed from death", the sentence of death, "into life". Jesus has rescued us from hell that we all deserved, and given us a salvation that we could have never earned or deserved. Fully and freely forever has forgiven us. We are no longer condemned because Jesus took it all. He took the fall once for all. An old hymn says it this way. I heard it as a child. It's forever stuck in my brain. "Free from the law; oh, happy condition. Jesus has bled and there is remission. Cursed by the law and bruised by the fall, Christ has redeemed us once for all".
When Christ died, He exclaimed "Tetelestai", finished. Which means the debt is paid. Christ paid the debt. And though we have sinned, salvation has provided this wonderful new life. Romans 5:20 says "Where sin abounds, grace much more abounds". God did not pass over our sin; He saved us from our sin. We understand the severity of our sin, don’t we? Do you? Do you understand the severity of your sin before a holy God? But in Christ you can also understand the enormity of God’s grace. Immeasurable. We are now in Christ. And when you become a Christian, God no longer sees you in your sin and condemnation, but He sees you in His Son in salvation. In Christ He sees you not for what you were but for what you now are and will be in Christ.
We're all like that woman who was caught in the act of adultery; and the religious thugs, the Pharisees came along and caught this woman and they dragged her, abused her, dragged her to the feet of Jesus to test Jesus. They didn't care about the woman at all. In their minds she deserved to be executed. That's what their laws said. And so they said, "What do you say, Jesus"? And Jesus looked at this mob, potential murderers and said, "Those among you who have never sinned, throw the first stone". And then the scripture says Jesus got down on His knees on the ground and He began to write in the dirt. We had no idea what He was writing. We can speculate. Was He writing the Ten Commandments? Was He writing the sins, because He knows the heart of all, was He writing the sins of these accusers? Was He writing a prayer, a blessing? We don't know, but He was writing something.
And as Jesus was writing, one by one these guys dropped their rocks, stones and walked away. Some probably in anger, others confused, others not knowing what just happened. But they all walked away knowing that, like the scripture says, "We all have sinned". And there's the woman, full of shame, broken, bruised and abused. Then Jesus said, "Where are your accusers"? And she said, "Lord, there are none". And that's when Jesus said, "Neither do I condemn you. Go and sin no more". We are like that woman caught in the act. Her sin may not be your sin, but we have all broken the commandments of God and are broken upon them. We are all under condemnation and the sin and the shame that is a result of our disobedience to God. And yet Jesus says to those who be forgiven, "I don’t condemn you; go and sin no more". How could He say this? You know how Jesus could say this? Because He was on His way to the cross, and there at the cross Jesus would pour out His blood to cleanse from every sin.
The prophet Isaiah put it this way, Isaiah 1:18: "Come, let us reason together. Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow. Though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool". The blood of Jesus Christ God's Son cleanses us from every sin. I don't know what your story is. Your story may be the story of the scarlet letter, but I know this: He can change your story by changing your life! He begins writing a new story in you as your life is transformed. Why? The cross and the resurrection. So many people live with sin and shame and regrets that they think they can never change, or will never change. So many, unfortunately condemn, there are ways that we condemn ourselves for our past failures and mistakes and sins and then there are people who accuse us.
There are many people who don't know Christ, who are outside of Christ view Christians as harsh and judgmental and unrelenting and unforgiving. And at times we have to plead guilty. We have to ask is there some Pharisee in me? There are always the accusers who will put you down and put you out as compared to what Jesus has done for us in giving us a salvation without restraint. Unlimited forgiveness. We're to love people; we're not to judge people. Doesn’t mean you don’t understand the difference in truth and error, doesn’t mean you don’t have discernment regarding relationships and all the rest, but I learned a long time ago it’s my job to preach the Gospel; it’s the Holy Spirit’s job to convict of sin. I’m not the judge and neither are you. We are witnesses, not judges. Mark Badderson said this: "Love people who, when they least expect it and when they least deserve it". Good, really good! Love people when they least expect it and least deserve it. Because, guess what? That includes you and me.
Jesus says to you what He says to that broken woman. "Go, and sin no more". And then He gives you His Holy Spirit, the Healer, the Comforter, the Helper to enable us to live a brand-new life. You don't have to live in bondage to your past; you don't have to live under the stronghold of the strongman, Satan himself! It is Satan who is also called the accuser of the brothers or the accuser of the brethren. Satan is an accuser, a slanderer, and Satan comes to us and he's a liar and the father of lies and he pronounces all these lies about us. And he reminds you of your past, doesn't he? The next time Satan reminds you of your past, why don't you just remind him of his future! Because when you read about the future of Satan, you know that he's in the pit forever ultimately! Jesus didn't come to earth to condemn us.
Listen to the words following the great John 3:16, verses 17 and 18, John chapter 3: "For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through Him. Whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already". What we just said earlier. We're living in a condemned state. We are, outside of Christ, condemned, but in Christ not condemned, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. That's why the greatest sin is unbelief. The sin that will send a person to hell is the sin of unbelief. But Jesus did not come into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world. Jesus didn’t come to rub it in; He came to rub it out! To delete it all!
And that’s why we can live without condemnation. He paid the debt, He cleansed the dirt, He loved us enough to do something about it. The ultimate thing, the only solution! Yes, we all have regrets. This scripture does not say there is no struggle. You know there’s struggle. He doesn’t say there’s no sin. We know that Christians sin: we sin. He doesn’t say there’s no consequences; But what He does say, dear, dear people, is there’s no condemnation. No condemnations to those who are in Jesus Christ. We’re not ever punished for our sin. Don’t ever say God’s punishing me for my sin. That’s over. And it was over at the cross 2000 years ago. Because the cross means the end of condemnation and the resurrection means the beginning of a brand-new life in Christ! So, yes, regrets, but God can turn every regret, God can redeem every regret. There is no regret that God cannot redeem!
So it's time to stop playing the victim and start living in your victory of no condemnation in Jesus Christ. Repentance and faith in Christ places you in perfect standing with eternal status with God. How? Substitution. Christ took our place on the cross. He took our place so that we could take His place. Romans 5:8 "God demonstrates His love towards us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us in our place". He died for our sin and as our sin. Second Corinthians 5:21, "He who knew no sin became sin for us that we might be made the righteousness of God". God in Christ reconciling the world, you and me to Himself, did what we could never do for ourselves. Not in a billion, trillion years could we have done this for ourselves.
There is no human solution apart of what Christ has done for us. Because we are now baptized, immersed into Christ, we share His death and share His resurrection. This is what baptism illustrates: our death with Christ, our burial and resurrection mystical miraculous uniting of our lives with Christ. In Christ, are you listening? In Christ our sins are nailed to the cross! And therefore, no condemnation! When we go to Israel, we always go to a very special place where 2000 years ago we believe at Mount Calvary, the place of the skull, at a nearby graveyard, garden where Christ died, and three days later rose again. "And therefore, there is no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus".