March 11, 2011

No Condemnation

Romans 8:1-4

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


When Jesus died on the cross, he took on himself all of our sins against God and against people. He was punished by the religious establishment, the state, and God, so “there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”

That’s why we can change. Jesus’ condemnation frees us to become like him. A person living on death row cannot live like a free person. He may become a better person in some ways, but as long as he lives behind bars awaiting death, he cannot live free. He cannot come and go as he pleases, doing the things people can do in free society. Condemnation robs him of freedom.

Many people live as condemned prisoners, even though they aren’t behind bars. They cannot change because of the prison of their past. They cannot move ahead with their lives because of the chains of guilt and shame that hold them. As Dostoyevsky showed in his novel Crime and Punishment, they are paralyzed by the fear of being discovered and punished for their crimes.

As long as you live in the prison of guilt and fear, you will not be able to change your life and become like Jesus. That’s exactly why Jesus died. He would not save himself from condemnation because he wanted to save us from it and set us free to live a new life.

Are you living that life of freedom in Christ Jesus?

Holy Spirit, move in my heart so that I can trust Jesus and receive pardon and begin to change into his likeness. Amen.

About the author — Stanley Mast

Beginning in 1971, Rev. Stanley Mast has served churches in Missouri, Colorado, and Michigan. After teaching at Calvin Theological Seminary for a few years, he was the minister of preaching at LaGrave Avenue Christian Reformed Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan, until his retirement in 2012. Stan and his wife, Sharon, enjoy time with their two sons and five grandchildren.

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