Just how does Jesus rid us of condemnation? By forgiveness, thus lifting the condemnation? If that were all, His cure would be a dealing with symptoms, not with the disease. Quacks treat symptoms; doctors treat diseases. Condemnation is a symptom; sin is the disease. So to rid us of the symptom—condemnation—He must rid us of the disease—sin. How?
The next verse tells: “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set me free from the law of sin and death” (Rom. 8:1–2). Note the “for”—the condemnation is banished, for the power of sin is broken in the life. When the sin goes, the condemnation goes. Can the sin really go?
Some commentators balk or hesitate to say so. In the early days of the British occupation of India, it was proposed to send Bibles to India. A member of the House of Lords objected, “It is dangerous to send the Bible to India with its ideas of freedom and democracy, without the safeguard of a commentary.”
Commentaries made the Bible safe! A commentary on this passage says:
“If Paul means here ‘has already entirely freed me’ he is speaking in the eschatological terms . . . and really means ‘has already as good as freed me’—i.e., the thing is so certain and so imminent that it is fair to think of it as having already happened. More probably . . . he means to say that the possession by the Spirit has broken the power of sin and death, so that the man in Christ finds himself actually enjoying a partial victory and freedom.”
Toned down, eschatologically, it reads “as good as freed me”—future; “a partial victory and freedom”—present.
Pray this today: O Jesus, my Lord, I can’t live on “as good as freed me,” or on a “partial victory and freedom”—I want full victory and full freedom now. Thou art not “as good as” a Savior, or a partial Savior—Thou art Savior—Savior from the law of sin and death. Amen.
Affirm this today: In Jesus, sin and death have met their match. I’m in Him, so they have met their match in me.
In a highly anticipated reprint of In Christ: Devotions for Every Day of the Year, E. Stanley Jones does a thorough study of the 172 times the phrase, “In Christ” or its equivalent is found in the New Testament. Centering on the theme of being in Christ and what that means for daily living, its meditations ring as true in our modern day as they did when it was originally written more than 50 years ago. Get it from our store here.
Are you interested in learning more about the sanctifying power of the Holy Spirit and the promise of God to transform lives in the gospel? [WATCH] Moving Beyond Spiritual Defeat and into God’s Gift of Holiness by John Oswalt; [READ] Holiness, Entire Sanctification, and the Redirected Heart by Timothy Tennent; [READ] An Invitation to the Christian Life by David Hull.