Condemnation

Romans 8:1-11(ESV)
1There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 2For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.  3For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, 4in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.  5For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit.  6To set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.  7For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot.  8Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. 9You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.  10But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness.  11If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.

‘Condemnation’ is a word of tremendous import; and it is well fairly to look at its meaning, that we may the better understand the wondrous grace that has delivered us from its power.  Echoing through the gloomy halls of a human court, it falls with a fearful knell upon the ear of the criminal, and thrills with sympathy and horror the bosom of each spectator of the scene.  But in the court of Divine Justice it is uttered with a meaning and solemnity infinitely significant and impressive.  To that court every individual is cited.  Before that bar each one must be arraigned.  “Conceived in sin, and shaped in iniquity,” man enters the world under arrest – an indicted criminal, a rebel manacled, and doomed to die…He lies down and he rises up – he repairs to the mart of business, and to the haunt of pleasure, a guilty, sentenced and condemned man.  And should the summons to eternity arrest him amid his dreams, his speculations, and his revels, the adversary would deliver him to the judge, the judge to the officer, and the officer would consign him over to all the pangs and horrors of the “second” and “eternal death.”  “He that believes not, is condemned already.”  My dear reader, without real conversion this is your present state, and must be your future doom.

But from this woe all believers in Christ are delivered.  The sentence of death under which, in common with others, they lay, is absolved; the curse is removed; the indictment is quashed; and “there is, therefore, now no condemnation.” – from No Condemnation in Christ Jesus by Octavius Winslow

I read this that I have quoted above yesterday and my heart was just filled with thanksgiving to my God who has saved me by His awesome power.  And what a wonderful time of the year to be thankful.  Also, since reading this, two hymns of the church have flooded my soul ever since.  “Amazing Grace” is one that just about everyone knows.  I am so thankful for His Amazing Grace.  Those of us who have called on Him and have been delivered from the condemnation we used to live under have so many reasons to thank the One who brought us new life; a life without condemnation.

The other hymn that came to me has the following lyrics:

  1. When I survey the wondrous cross
    On which the Prince of glory died,
    My richest gain I count but loss,
    And pour contempt on all my pride.
  2. Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast,
    Save in the death of Christ my God!
    All the vain things that charm me most,
    I sacrifice them to His blood.
  3. See from His head, His hands, His feet,
    Sorrow and love flow mingled down!
    Did e’er such love and sorrow meet,
    Or thorns compose so rich a crown?
  4. Were the whole realm of nature mine,
    That were a present far too small;
    Love so amazing, so divine,
    Demands my soul, my life, my all.

-Isaac Watts – When I Survey the Wonderful Cross

This song was written 303 years ago and it still holds true today.  It is packed full of so much truth and I just stand in awe that the God of all creation loved me enough to reach down into my life and love me.

Has he touched your life?  Even if you don’t acknowledge Him, he has.  Every day that you live is a gift of His graciousness.  We so often think that to acknowledge God requires us to give up so much, and it does!  But what we gain is far greater.  Eternity is a long time and spending it in the presence of God is a much better reward than what we have to give up in these few short years of life here in this world.

Won’t you call on him?  Won’t you reach out and survey the wondrous cross?  I realize that it is foolishness.  It makes no sense.  Somehow we think that we just need one more thing in our lives to make it to heaven.  We are good people.  All we need to do is a little more and we will make it to heaven.  But that just isn’t the case.  What is that ‘one more thing,’ that little bit more?  No matter how much we ‘do,’ it will never measure up to perfection which is what God is.  That is why He came into this world and died upon the cross.  He became the sacrifice to bring us back to Him.

I’ll admit that for me the hardest part of coming to Christ was admitting that there was nothing I could do to reach God.  That is what makes Christianity so different from all the other religions of the world.  All the other religions make heaven, enlightenment, nirvana, etc, something that man can obtain by doing something.  Mankind will never reach that perfect state by anything he does and if we will take a deep look inside, the condemnation we feel when trying to do that thing makes it abundantly clear that that is the truth.  Elvina Hall wrote a hymn in the mid 1800’s that sums it up:

Jesus paid it all

All to Him I owe.

Sin had left a crimson stain

He washed it white as snow.

When you survey the wondrous cross, you will begin to see that the sacrifice that God made that day thousands of years ago, paid our debt.  He is the one that came to us and made a way for us to come back to him.  He took all the guilt and shame and condemnation upon Himself to allow us to live free.  If you already have this freedom, thank Him for it!  If not, all you have to do is ask Him for it.  It is a free gift.

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