Romans 8: 1
The eighth chapter of Romans has stamped its mark on the church down through the ages.
It follows the Christian from the moment the burden rolls off at the cross
until the moment he is called to go through the gates of heaven where he will see Jesus face to face.
" Therefore, there is now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus. "
The first sentence in this chapter is so forceful that it does not even allow for a verb in the Greek.
The word, is, appears in the English versions only for the sake of literary smoothness.
The power of this sentence may be better conveyed by a suitable paraphrase:
" So then, in full view of God's grace, there is now no adverse sentence for those
who are by faith in Christ Jesus."
" Therefore" - sums up the whole trend of the arguments that preceded this by signifying:
" The conclusion to the matter is this. "
"Condemnation" - The word itself occurs only twice in the New Testament.
Apart from this verse, each occurrence is found in Romans ( 5: 16, 18 ).
The cognate verb is found frequently.
It means " to pass sentence of death."
This is the sense in which the noun is used in the contrast between condemnation and justification.
" Condemnation" - as a result of man's fall!
" Justification" - as a result of another man's righteousness!
This clears the way for the mighty declaration: " There is therefore now no condemnation
to them which are in Christ Jesus. "
The word, no, is as great as it is brief.
It declares that God has placed those who are in union with Christ on ground where they will
never be condemned - now or never.
Although sin demands condemnation, we who are in Christ have been placed beyond its reach.
" They shall not come into condemnation, but (have) passed from death into life." ( John 5: 24 )
Why Is There No More Condemnation?
There is a reason for that and the reason is that a law called " the law of the Spirit of life " ( verse 2 )
has proven stronger than another law which is called the law of sin and death.
A "law" is something which happens over and over again without exception.
We have statutory laws in our nation.
These laws deal with crime, driving violations, and other such laws.
Then, there are the natural laws of God.
One such law is that of gravity.
If I drop my handkerchief here in this church or in China or Italy the handkerchief will fall to the floor.
No matter where I let it go, the law of gravity operates.
It always produces the same results.
Like the law of gravity the law of sin and death is always constant.
Sin always works the same way and so does death.
Both are at work in me.
The law of gravity is always present, and my handkerchief will always fall when I drop it
-- without any help from me.
And the law, Paul tells us in Romans 7: 23, is just like that: " But I see another law in
my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the
law of sin which is in my members. "
It is a law of sin and death as opposed to that which is good.
It cripples our will to do good.
I need deliverance from sin.
Even more, I need deliverance from death.
How can I be delivered from the constant repetition of weakness and failure?
Let's look at this in regard to the natural law of gravity.
How can we annul the law of gravity in regard to my handkerchief?
The law of gravity is at work pulling it down.
But all I have to do is place my hand under the handkerchief and it does not drop.
The law is still there!
Why doesn't my handkerchief fall to the floor?
The reason: there is a power keeping it from doing so.
That is also true with the law of sin and death.
The law is there.
Another law, which is superior to it, is the law of of life.
Gravity can do its utmost, but the handkerchief will not drop, because another law is working
against gravity to keep it there.
In just such a manner, God delivers us from one law by introducing another law.
It is His life - the resurrection life that is in Him - which has met death in all its power
and was triumphant over it.
" And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to usward who believe,
according to the working of His mighty power, which He wrought in Christ, when He raised
Him from the dead, and set Him at His own right hand in the heavenly places."
(Ephesians 1: 19-20)
The Lord Jesus dwells in our hearts in the person of the Holy Spirit, and if we commit
ourselves to Him, we will find His new law of life superseding that old law.
We will learn what it is to be kept, not by our own insufficient strength, but " by the power of God."
( 1Peter 1: 5)
A minister was expanding on the seventh and eighth chapters of Romans to a group of older women.
He expected that they were not very familiar with these two chapters.
After he had been talking quite eloquently for a little while, one of the ladies interrupted him:
" Why, honey, it seems like you don't understand them chapters!'
"Why?" He asked. "What's the matter with my explanation?"
"Well, honey," she answered.
" You talk as if you were to live in that seventh chapter and only pay little visits
to the blessed eighth."
He answered, "That is just what I think. Don't you?"
With a look of intense pity for his lack of understanding, she exclaimed: "Why, honey, I live in the eighth!"
That is where we need to live every day!
"There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus." Romans 8: 1
Sermon by Dr. Harold L. White
You can email Dr. White at firstname.lastname@example.org