No Condemnation

by Jerry Senn

“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” 
—Romans 8:1

This familiar verse is one of the best-loved and most often quoted from Paul’s great letter to the Romans. There is a reason this is true. It’s because freedom from condemnation means freedom from guilt and the fear of judgment—a breath of fresh air in this polluted world.

The eighth chapter of Romans is a summation of the entire letter. Paul begins with “no condemnation” and ends with “no separation” (v 39). In between those verses is a series of arguments, beautifully arranged, to support this one powerful truth: real security is found only “in Christ.”

From birth we began life needing security, vulnerable—feeling unsafe. And as adults we continue to desire to know all is well with our lives and that our future is predictable.

“No condemnation” is the negative side of another interesting word, “justification.” In Romans 5:1, Paul wrote, “Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

This is the same thought as having “no condemnation.” Peace with God is the way to personal freedom from fear of a just God.

Paul is pointing out that God does not condemn his redeemed children to a life of dejection, despair, or uncertainty. As FF Bruce stated, “condemnation” is the context (of Romans) may mean “penal servitude” or the “punishment following sentence.” 

Too many believers find themselves feeling as if they are still under condemnation of sins past, while striving in their own strength to find “justification.” But, our justification is a gift to be received, not a goal to be achieved. This promise is received only “in Christ.”

“Jesus paid it all, all to Him I owe,
Sin had left a crimson stain,
He washed it white as snow.”