The article below is an excerpt from The Story of God, a new group study for adults and students from Eric Geiger.” The Story of God explores the overarching redemptive narrative of the Bible, from Genesis to Revelation, helping participants discover the story of Jesus on every page of Scripture and how to live as part of that story. Click here to preview a portion of the study for free.
Many refer to Romans 8 as the greatest chapter in the entire Bible. All Scripture is God breathed, so there is not one verse more holy or authoritative than another, but Romans 8 is filled with great news about what Christ has accomplished on our behalf. As the apostles wrote letters to the churches, they continually reminded the believers what Christ had accomplished in His life, death, and resurrection. Because Christ is the center of the story, the apostles preached Him over and over again.
Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus, because the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. For what the law could not do since it was weakened by the flesh, God did. He condemned sin in the flesh by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh as a sin offering, in order that the law’s requirement would be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. – Romans 8:1-4
No condemnation now exists for those in Christ Jesus! Condemnation is a legal term that speaks to both the declaration of guilt and the punishment associated with that guilt. So, for example, if you are caught speeding, your condemnation includes both being declared guilty of going 68 in a 55-mph zone and receiving the punishment for that offense.
While we deserve condemnation from God because we are sinners, there now exists no condemnation. Condemnation has ceased. All of God’s wrath and condemnation has been replaced with His love and mercy toward you. And it is not as if His wrath is on you when you have a bad day or struggle with sin. His wrath, His condemnation, is no more. It has been replaced with His righteousness.
The opposite legal term of condemnation is justification. A judge either declares a person to be condemned or declares a person to be justified. There is no condemnation for those of us who are in Christ because Christ justified us. So why is there no condemnation?
Jesus Set Us Free From the Law
There is no condemnation for those of us in Christ because the Holy Spirit grabbed our hearts and changed us, setting us free from “the law of sin and death” (v. 2).
The phrase “the law of sin and of death” refers to the general principle that sin has corrupted all of us and that our sin leads to death. We were trapped, imprisoned by sin and death. But the Holy Spirit changed us (the Spirit’s law of life).
The law God gave His people in the Old Testament was not bad, it was just powerless to change anyone. It can’t save us from our sins; it can only point to our need for a Savior. That’s why God sent His own Son in the flesh to be a sin offering. Just as sacrifices in the Old Testament were offered to God so He would be merciful to the people, Christ is our sin offering. Instead of condemning you, God condemned sin in the flesh of Jesus. Your sin was removed from you and placed on Jesus who took your punishment in His flesh. There is no condemnation for you because your sin was condemned in Christ.
Jesus Obeyed the Law In Our Place
And there is more. Because Jesus perfectly obeyed the law, His obedience is given to you in place of your sin. You have fulfilled the law’s requirements because Christ’s obedience is now yours.
How do we know if we are His? As verse 4 says, those who are His are those who walk with Him, who become more like Him, who walk with the Spirit and don’t spend their lives living in the flesh for the things of this world.
For people like that, there is absolutely no condemnation!