“Therefore” and “Now”
Romans 8:1 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,
“Therefore” is the hinge-word connecting the door that Paul is about to open. Like all hinges, it must also be attached to a pre-existing, secure and reinforced structure like a door jam. So what pre-existing, secure reinforced spiritual truth is Paul hinging “now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” onto? The context of the Book of Romans suggests that Paul’s door jam is:
Truth that believers are justified - Chapters 3, 4, 5
Justification is the sole act of God whereby He declares an ungodly person to be perfect while he/she is still ungodly. This is the basis of all of our growth in the knowledge of God. It’s the foundation of true holiness. Now don’t confuse sanctification with justification; sanctification has no part whatsoever in justification (we will cover that in subsequent lessons). Don’t fall in the common error of religious minded people who confuse these two. For how can there be condemnation for those who have been justified?
Truth about a believer’s union with Christ – Chapters 6
There is also no condemnation for us because of the way God has counted all of those whom He justified as being joined to the risen Lord Jesus Christ forever in the totality of His being. It would be as impossible for God to strike Christ as it would be for Him to strike us who are in Christ.
Truth of a believer’s complete identification with Christ – Chapter 7
There is no condemnation for us because we share Christ’s victory. We are dead to the law (which highlights our sin) and married to Christ (who forgives our sin). This victory was won for us by Christ on the cross. Though our old nature continues to discharge thoughts and desires of evil, Christ compartmentalizes that sin, cancels it and has left those charges against us nailed to the cross. Absolute triumph has been prepared for us.
Let us consider the time-word “now.” What are the implications that there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus? We all can agree that there will be no condemnation for us in the future when we will be with Jesus. Our problem is, because we know our self, often it is difficult to wrap our heads around the truth that right now there is no condemnation. Particularly, when just earlier I just ________ (fill in the blank)!
Only by faith can we must take hold of the great truth that, at this very moment, God has no judgment against us whatsoever – Romans 5:9-11. It is impossible for God to find a flaw in the righteous position of any believer, right this minute. If a crack-head staggered into a church 15 minutes ago and was made alive in Christ, then as of this moment there is no condemnation for him, even though he’s yet to awake from a slumped over stupor! The jailer in Philippi in Act 16:27, the instant he believed, there was no condemnation even though just moments before he was about to commit suicide. The moment we believe in the finished work of Jesus Christ upon the cross, there is no condemnation for us.
Our Salvation is what Paul hinges “therefore” upon. No condemnation existing for those who are in Christ Jesus is to be our normal everyday perception of self and the way we reconcile life experiences. It’s not just for religious occasions or while around religious people. It also has absolutely nothing to do with how we act or what we do (good or bad). This is a point in our spiritual growth worthy of profound joy and celebration. But it is not a finish line, rather it is the necessary beginning for subsequent spiritual cleansing.