I love the absolute TRUTH of this passage! Seriously! It excites me that there is now NO condemnation of my sin … because I am In Christ Jesus … and the law of the Life-giving Spirit has set me FREE from the law of sin and death. Yet, sin will always be a real and present struggle for the believer. This struggle can and should raise conviction from the Holy Spirit to turn away from that sin – but it can also raise ’emotions’ or internal charges of guilt and condemnation. This is where grace comes in – for we no longer live under the requirements of the law. Instead, we live under the freedom of God’s grace – not just that we have been saved by grace but that God accepted Christ’s blood as payment for our sin, and we are no longer charged with the debt!
I had been a Christian for 21 years before I knew or fully understood this life-changing truth. I still remember the relief the day a pastor friend of mine helped me understand that I don’t have to, nor can I, repay God for my sins. It’s important to know that I firmly believed I was saved by grace through faith in Christ, that it was not by works that I had done, but rather a gift from God. However, while I knew I couldn’t lose my salvation even if I sinned, somewhere along the way, I had begun to live as though I needed to repay God whenever I did sin. I lived a life of trying to be better, trying to live up to His standards, knowing that I hadn’t, and looking for more “good things” to do to garner His pleasure and maintain His love. As you can imagine, and perhaps have experienced, that lifestyle gets exhausting and does not accomplish its purpose. What I mean is this, if He loved me enough to send His son to die for me, even when I was His enemy, why would I think there was anything I could do to cause Him to love me more than that? His only ‘begotten’ Son gave His life for my sins. Did I seriously think there was anything I could give that would amount to more than that? The answer to both of these questions is no. What I had to learn, was just as my sin would never cost me my salvation, it would also never change His love for me.
Now some may think that this means we can go on sinning. Paul addressed this question at least two different times – and both were a resounding no! He said, “Of course not,” (Romans 6:1-2) and “By no means!” (Romans 6:14-15) explaining to them, as my friend explained to me, that they were no longer living under the law of sin and death. They had been set free, as he said in Romans 8:1-2, by “the law of the life-giving Spirit,” a reiteration of his teaching from chapter 6 that believers live under the “freedom of God’s grace.” However, living under the freedom of God’s grace doesn’t mean we won’t be tempted with sin. Paul spoke of this struggle with sin in chapters 6 and 7, but here in Roman’s 8:1-2, he takes it a step further by proclaiming the wonderful TRUTH that those who are in Christ Jesus are no longer subject to the condemnation that comes from the law of sin and death.
To be clear, I know that growing in wisdom and knowledge of the Lord is a worthy goal. I know that working on living the Holy life He has called me to, loving God and others better, and keeping in step with the Spirit more today than I did yesterday are all worthy goals. The difference now is – I don’t do it to maintain His Love but rather because I want to honor Him for His love – a love that says – “There is therefore now no condemnation”.