Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
For anyone not intimately familiar with Romans 8 and maybe struggling with trying to understand the miracle of Christ, I can not recommend enough taking just 5 minutes out of your day and read the entire chapter right now!
Rarely will I take a single verse and reflect upon it alone for risk of missing the actual meaning.God’s word is like a full course meal, each nugget and morsel of wisdom, encouragement, admonition and promise compliments each other making the whole message so much more complete and powerful and meaningful and enriching.
As a recovering abuse victim and addict however, this morning I felt a healing blow straight to the core of past shames by one single word in Romans 8:1…
I checked over a dozen translations, and every single one of them uses the word NOW. The sentence could have easily said “for those in Christ there is no condemnation”.
I do not believe there is a single word out of place in the bible, each having its own personal meaning and enhanced by the words around it (ok, that statement doesn’t sound as profound as it felt when I typed it ha ha).
My point is, how we interact with the bible can make a huge impact on what we get out of it.
For me this morning, the word NOW indicates that in my old life I was surely under the weight of condemnation and without Christ we are truly all destined to a day of judgment that will affect eternity in a profoundly negative way.
But that is not true for the Christian who is IN Christ Jesus, indwelled by the Holy Spirit, set free by the blood of Christ.
We have the assurance of salvation (provided we endure to the end). I should have been destroyed, and I surely would have been destroyed, but by the miraculous, grace-filled compassion of Christ, NOW we who are in Christ are no longer under the weight of condemnation.
That is GOOD NEWS people!
I called myself a Christian my whole life, but since crossing over the line into what I can only call a “relationship” with Christ and having a tangible awareness of the Holy Spirit, I can most assuredly say I never “knew” Him, and I have little doubt that I would have been met with the words “I never knew you”.
In my personal experience, shame, guilt, and even self-loathing can plague an adult survivor of child abuse. You would think the promises of God, that in Him we are new creations, can never be separated from His love, we are not forsaken, am set free by the blood (and infinitely more promises) would instantly wipe away the lies buried in the broken heart of a child.
But I personally have such a hard time letting God’s love wash over me, the voice of the accuser loves to remind me who I was, find reason to claim I haven’t changed, keep my joy repressed by pointing out the harm I have done to my family in the past in my ignorance, selfishness and blindness.
But God rebukes that; today, right now, right here, we the chosen who have been called by God to recognize what He has done for all mankind, we who stand in awe of His divine purpose and plan for His creation and are learning to trust, follow and worship His Holy Righteousness, we who find ourselves divinely inspired to share the Good News of Christ’s healing and hope for all, and reach across the isles to those who don’t know Jesus yet and proclaim His love for all, we find ourselves declared righteous by His works, not ours.
12 So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. 13 For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. 14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. 15 For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” 16 The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God
Father God, Your message of unmerited favor, of a plan of redemption for all who simply cry out to You is beyond human understanding. A compassion, grace, mercy, love that is not based upon us, the unworthy recipient, but instead on You, the most worthy Giver. Your plan of salvation, that we are set free by You, for You, because of You and that that freedom is available to everyone is beyond imagination. I’m sorry Lord that it took my whole life to recognize just how real and personal and relevant you are in every aspect of life, but I thank You for the suffering that now places me in the path of maybe being able to help others who find themselves stuck or lost trying to find their way into Your arms of mercy. As you lift my heart from the past of despair Lord, continue to empower and embolden me to share Your Good News, as more of my chains are being removed, by Your will alone give me the heart to help those within my reach. Help me to surrender more of my life each day Father, that I may hunger to live a life poured out in Your name and care less about the things in this world that are beyond my control. Help me let You be Lord and if it is Your will continue to humble me so I may be Your servant. Thank you Jesus for Calvary that promises there is no longer nor will there ever be condemnation for anyone who is in You and You in them. Raise Your adopted children this day Father to live as you lived, lead as You lead, love as You love. In Jesus’ precious name I pray…