In his epistle to the church at Rome, Paul wrote, “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit” (Rom. 8:1). We wish to break this verse down and look at a number of components found in it.
First, let us take a look at the two words “no condemnation”. This is the “what” of this verse. Condemnation is the state of having been found guilty and judged worthy of punishment. Thus to be in a state of “no condemnation” is to be found in a state of innocence, not found guilty and not worthy of punishment. Certainly this would be desired by all clear thinking people. No one, even those who know they are guilty, desire to be condemned to be punished. After betraying the Son of God, the Bible says that Judas, “saw that he was condemned, repented himself, and brought again the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priest and elders” (Matt. 27:3). Afterwards, he went out and hanged himself (Matt. 27:5). However, no matter how we desire to be of the non-condemned, we all have been in the position of being the condemned, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23). To receive the results of condemnation is not an enviable position in which to be. Those who face the judgment in such a state will hear, “Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels” (Matt. 25:41). Thus, we certainly should desire to find this place of “no condemnation”.
Our text tells us where we can find that state. It tells us that there is no condemnation for those who are “in Christ Jesus”. The place is “in” Christ! One might remember that Jesus said, “For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved”, and “And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil” (John 3:17, 19). Paul tells us that, in him “we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace” (Eph. 1:7). The penalty for sin has been paid for all those who are in Christ. Peter said that one is redeemed “with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot” (I Pet. 1:19). In Christ is where salvation is found (II Tim. 2:10). But how does one get “into” Christ? Before Paul wrote of the non-condemnation state being found “in” Christ, he wrote of how one gets “into” Christ. He said, “Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?” (Rom. 6:3). He likewise told the Galatians, “For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ” (Gal. 3:26-27).
Now we know that the place of “no condemnation” is in Christ. We know also that the way to get “into” Christ is to be baptized into Christ. But, this does not end the information provided in this verse. The verse also tells us that those who are in “no condemnation” are those who are in Christ and “who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit”. Many would like to leave this portion of the verse out. It sounds great to be able to come into a state of non-condemnation and then walk just any way you like, do what feels good to you, go the way you want to go and do what you want to do, but such is not the case. In order to be in a state of “no condemnation” one must continue to walk according to the Spirit rather than the likes and dislikes of man. Basically, to walk by the Spirit is to walk in accordance to the Spirit given word of God. Paul said that the things of God, even the very words they spoke were given to the apostles by the Spirit of God (I Cor. 2:10-13). He told Timothy that the scriptures came by “inspiration of God” (II Tim. 3:16).
There is yet another point from this verse that we wish to consider. Consider the “when” of this verse. Paul said, “There is therefore now no condemnation”. The time is “now”. Now is the time in which we have the opportunity to move from the condemned state to the non-condemned state if we need to. Once we die, our destiny is certain. If we die in the condemned state, we have nothing to look forward to but “a fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries” (Heb. 10:27). If we die in the non-condemned state, we shall be as Lazarus, “in Abraham’s bosom” (Luke 16:22) and have eternal life in heaven as our eternal destiny. We shall hear the Lord say, “Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world” (Matt. 25:34).
We conclude with one more word to consider, “who”. Who is it that is in no condemnation? The word used to answer this is the word “them”; “to them which are in Christ Jesus”. In other words, the opportunity to get into Christ and walk after the Spirit is available to all, but only “them” that do so will be in no condemnation. It’s up to you to be one of them.
(Editor’s note: Send any questions or comments to email@example.com)