There Is No Condemnation in Christ Jesus - Romans 8:1-2

Focus On Grace

I’ve been working through thoughts and frustrations that are along the lines of, “Why can’t I just do what I know I’m supposed to?” (like exercising, not being generous enough or compassionate enough, among other things) and “Why do I do what I’m not supposed to?” (like eating badly, not watching what I say, working in my own strength instead of God’s… the list goes on and on). These are perennial things I do that I feel like I should have conquered by now. My struggle reminded me of Romans 7 where Apostle Paul talks about the battle between flesh and spirit.

For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. – Romans 7:18 ESV

After Paul talks about the struggle, he goes on to talk about grace and the freedom we can live in because of Jesus.

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. … – Romans 8:1-3a ESV

God has given me the grace to step out of the battle and trust in the work of Jesus. Not that I give in to the pull of the flesh (that would be serving the flesh and we’ve died to that, see Romans 6:1-3), but that I can believe in the mercy of His love. He’s poured out over me the grace I need to set aside the battle and step into His love.

For 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. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. – Romans 8:5-6 ESV

Today, as I started going around and around about what I hadn’t done or what felt impossible to do, I remembered this and took a deep breath, and focused instead on His grace.

“Thank you, God, for showing Yourself to me and teaching me about who You are. Because of my relationship with you through Jesus, I can believe in You and trust in You. I know You’re working out all this in me to Your glory and I don’t have to beat myself up over it. You are good, and You are strong, and You are in me. I trust in Your work and I choose to forget about what I can/should/haven’t done. Instead, I will live in each moment and trust your guidance and mercy as you show yourself more and more to me.”


New Creation In Christ - 2 Corinthians 5:17

Saved by God’s Reconciliation

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. – 2 Corinthians 5:17-19 ESV

2 Corinthians offers us a wonderful hope for the future. Not only our future, but the future of the whole world. This passage steps us through the hope of the resurrection of Christ and the responsibility that we have once we’ve accepted Christ’s message.

In Christ

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.”

If we claim to be a Christian, we are claiming to have an understanding of what His death and resurrection mean. We are saying that we know Jesus Christ, fully God and fully man, came to this earth, lived a sin-free life, died on the cross and was raised from the dead, then He ascended off this earth to return to the Father where He waits to return to the earth again and judge us all. We are saying that we understand that we are sin filled creatures that are separated from Christ and this work He did on the cross is our only hope of coming home again. We are saying that we not only believe His words and believe in the knowledge of Him, but we also are saying that we are changed because of Him.

Old to New

“The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”

Once we have become a part of Christ, we have the hope of being new. 2 Corinthians says that the old has passed away and the new has come. They aren’t living simultaneously and we have to pick and choose between the pieces. The old is gone, completely and for good. The new is here and it is transforming us into the image of Christ (2 Corinthians 3:18). It is easy to forget this one and start to live in habits and echoes of the dead version of us. However, we aren’t bound to that life any more (Romans 6:6). We can walk away from those choice and those circumstances. We are free in Christ to live in the law of liberty (James 1:25).

God is the Author

“All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation;”

We are so used to taking credit for any good thing that we do, that it’s a good reminder here that God is the one who is planning all this and doing all this. We aren’t saving ourselves and nothing of what we do (our works) can save us. Only the power and grace of God. He’s done this because of who He is and how much He loves us (John 3:16). Pride and arrogance try to step in and say that it’s something we’ve done, but it never is. God, through Christ, is the author and finisher of our faith (Hebrews 12:2).

Open for All

“In Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them,”

Salvation is not an elite thing. There isn’t something that has to be done to earn it and there aren’t specially appointed people who will get it. God is offering this to all people the world over. He wants to be able to offer mercy to all His children that they can return home to Him. If any person, no matter their background or their past choices, learns to accept Christ and what He did on the cross, he is welcomed home by a loving and forgiving Father.

The Knowledge We Have

“Entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.”

The Spirit of God has revealed the truth of Christ to us and that knowledge leaves us with a certain responsibility. This message of reconciliation between a loving Father and His lost children is needing to go out to the whole world. Later in this passage, Apostle Paul says that he and his fellow ministers are “ambassadors for Christ, God making His appeal through us.” We are the mouth piece of God’s goodness. God wants us to show His strength through our weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9) and His uniting love through our relationship with Him (John 17:23).

The Joy of Repentance

The Root of Repentance

What is repentance? Remorse: Feeling any kind of sorrow because of consequences of your actions. Repentance: changing your mindset (and therefore actions) because of an awareness of one’s separation from God.

We can be turning many different directions in response to sorrow of our current condition. Sorrow and remorse alone are not the signs of repentance; they are the red flags that we are in need of it. We can be sorrowing for the wrong reasons.

For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation and brings no regret, but worldly grief produces death. – 2 Corinthians 7:10 (NRSV)

When we sorrow for our behavior, the question to clarify our hearts is: What are we feeling bad for losing? Sorrow for bad behavior ranges from wounded pride to pouting. Non-believers can feel sorrow for bad behavior. Regret and feeling bad about something is not the same as repentance.

True repentant sorrow allows us to see the darkness of sin that harms our relationship with God and brings us the knowledge of His kindness and goodness. Like Mormon said, “my heart did begin to rejoice within me, knowing the mercies and the long suffering of the Lord.” Our heart rejoices in the Lord because of who He is.

The Privilege of Being Able to Repent

Repentance is a Gift

We are called into repentance by God’s kindness (Romans 2:4). We have been given a true gift to be able to approach the throne of mercy through the blood of Jesus Christ. Hebrews says that we can be confident in approaching the throne because we know that we have a High Priest who understands us. Approaching the throne of grace when you know there will be no condemnation, only understanding, makes that approach a much sweeter path.

Do works worthy of repentance (Matthew 3:8, Acts 26:20)

Therefore bear fruit in keeping with repentance – Matthew 3:8 (NASB95)

This is not a statement intending us to do more sin so that we can repent more. It is a statement that truly understands the roots of repentance and the importance of Godly sorrow. It hinges on understanding the relationship aspect of God’s desire for us. When we know the restoration power of repentance and we know the real sorrow that it takes to repent, we understand the connection with God and the desire to be with Him will always bear good fruit.

The Response of Repentance

Regret-Free Joy

A godly response to the sorrow of sin produces a lasting change in us.

For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation and brings no regret, but worldly grief produces death. – 2 Corinthians 7:10 (NRSV)

We can be regret free, not because we pretend like it didn’t happen, but because we understand what true repentance is. We know that we were called closer to God and that we have chosen to move into a closer relationship with him.

Shame of our past can sometimes indicate the wrong kind of sorrow. It says that we haven’t turned over our sin to the Lord to let Him redeem. He didn’t just shove it in the back closet. He washed us and made us white as snow and threw the sin into the deepest part of the ocean. We are not to celebrate sin, but we are to celebrate the life we have in Christ knowing that sin no longer has the power of death over us.

Heaven’s celebration

God doesn’t intend to spend the rest of eternity reminding us of how bad we are. When He says He doesn’t remember it any more, He means it. He wants to celebrate the return of His precious children.

I tell you that in the same way, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance. – Luke 15:7 (NASB95)

In the parable of the prodigal son, the father runs to meet the son. He doesn’t stand back and wait for Him to get near enough to yell at. The father didn’t even expect the son to run to him. When the father saw the repentant son, he threw aside His dignity and went out to meet him. This parable is the example we have of how God will run to us, not worrying about what others think, but wholeheartedly running toward the child He loves.