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No Condemnation

July 9, 2020

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

The lectionary has been walking us through Paul’s Epistle to the Romans. This Sunday, we hit the halfway mark of the letter, which brings a conclusion to the two great arguments that Paul has unfolded over the course of these eight chapters. The first is that all humanity is condemned under the law. The second is that God has dealt with this condemnation, fully and finally, through Christ Jesus. By his death and resurrection, Jesus has gifted us with new life. Sin has been dealt with. Death has no power. There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

This is the source of the blessed assurance of which we sing, the bedrock upon which Christians stake their eternal hopes. You are free. Really.

The force of the gospel deals with the sin it confronts, including our false sense of self-assurance and our need to condemn others. Since the beginning of time, humans have sought to secure their own futures, usually at the expense of others. We are particularly adept at this in our country, where we worship the myth of individual achievement while behind the veil others are denied the same opportunities due to race, gender, orientation, or any number of other factors. Our sinful world spins by creating opportunity for some while claiming that other lives don’t matter.

Paul’s first argument condemns this as sin.

In Christ, however, we are set free insofar as we are in Christ Jesus. Our assurance cannot be in ourselves. Jesus didn’t suffer on the cross so that we could slap a thin veneer of religion on the old machinations of death. He died so that we would live. Eternal life, yes. And abundant life, too. Life that trusts God’s abundance is enough for everyone.

There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Period. You have been forgiven. You are alive. Sin has no power over you. Don’t go living your life in thrall to sin. You are in Christ, and it is in Christ – not in ourselves – that we will begin to live the life God has always intended.

Be well, friends. You are loved.

God of grace, thank you for your abundant love and grace. I am trapped in sin. I need to be freed every morning. Teach me to trust in you. Lead me to live for others. Give me a spirit of boldness and a voice to seek and speak freedom for all. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Image: Me and T twinning in our Polish soccer jerseys, for which we cannot be condemned.

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