Have you ever had one of those days when you burnt the toast
at breakfast time, the car wouldn’t start, you slipped and broke your arm at the bus-stop, and the ambulance had a flat tyre while taking you to the hospital, and its not even nine o’clock in the morning yet? One of those days when it seems that “all Hell had broken loose” and that nothing whatever was going right?
We have all had those kinds of days, and they are not uncommon, even for the most “saintly” of Gods Children.
The Apostle Paul says something similar to this, in his letter to the Romans in Chapter 7 at verse 18. He says …
“For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would, I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.”
Here Paul is pointing out that things are not going as he expects they should. The good that he is anxious to do, he is neglecting, and the Evil, that he is anxious to avoid, he is falling into it? He was having “one of those days”!
I have discovered that “those days” usually fall into a pattern
in my life, or to put it another way, they are the “fruit” of a “root”. By the law of nature, there can be no fruit without a root. Every tree that carries a fruit, will obviously be a tree with a root. Jesus taught us that the fruit evident in our lives usually stems from a root. Matthew 7:18 The fruit is merely or clearly the evidence of the root.
Divorce is the fruit, and it must have a root. Cancer is the fruit, and it must have a root. Arthritis is the fruit, it must have a root. Bankruptcy is the fruit, and it has a root. Death is the fruit, and the Bible says that its root is Sin. (disobedience to Gods word) Genesis 3: verse 6 shows us that had Eve never taken off that Forbidden Fruit, and given to her Husband, which both of them ate, then both Adam and Eve would not have died, they would never have been separated from God. Before Adam and Eve sinned, there was no stress, no anxiety, no worries, but along came Satan, the accuser – and with him came fear and condemnation and their whole world and whole future immediately became “messed up” … “one of those days” only for them, it became “one of those lives” – for they were to live their whole life thereafter with tears and trouble – disconnected from God!
So the point I am making is that if you are having one of those days, when everything that could go wrong, goes wrong, then in my experience – as I see it in Gods word, there is a root to that fruit. My Sermon today entitled “No Condemnation” is about that regular root cause of trouble and tears in the life of the believer, and how we can avoid such disastrous days.
For much of my early days in ministry, and particularly in my counselling ministry, I studied at great length the concepts behind what the medical profession call “psycho-somatic” illness. This is when the condition of the mind, (the psyche) adversely effects the condition of the body. (the soma) Nowadays, these conditions have become more synonymous with “stress-management” as most in the medical field consider the stresses and strains of everyday life to be at the root causes of about 70% of our physical illnesses – according to a recent report from the (world renown) Mayo Clinic, in Rochester, Minnesota. In other words, it is generally accepted by the medical profession that Stress is the primary root cause of most
physical and psychological ailments presenting in today’s Emergency Rooms and Doctors Surgeries.
There are some, albeit a minority, that will go a little farther and advise us that Fear is a deeper root than stress, and that stress in itself is only the fruit of the root of fear? To me this makes more sense, and does seem to line up with what Gods word has got to say about fear. There is something of a “vicious circle” evident in the interaction between stress and fear, in that one
feeds on the other and vice versa. The more stressed you are, the more fearful you become, and the more fear you give in to, the more stressed you become. These then are what are widely acknowledged as the root causes of many of our troubles.
But as I see it, there is an even deeper root, and an even greater problem, fighting especially with the Christian, the Child of God. I have discovered that when I experience one of those days when it seems that all Hell breaks loose, it invariably follows a time of “condemnation” when I allow myself to be condemned by my own weaknesses or failings. When “the good that I would, I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.” And the Devil comes along-side me to accuse and condemn me as a hypocrite or even worse? It is when I feel condemned and vulnerable that I experience those tears and troubles – and in my insecurities, Satan starts to bite at me!
Yet, God has called us to REST, not to turmoil, to JOY and not to Sadness, but the Devil somehow or other seems to be able
to convince us that we are still “that old man” with that “old corrupt nature” and only fooling ourselves that we have been changed. Even if we know that the demons of hell have left our lives, it seems that the symptoms may still exist and persist … but we are in a Battle, and don’t forget it!
As I have said in these broadcasts regularly, the devil gives
none of us up, without a fight!
But if you remove that root, you can have none of that fruit.
So then what is the secret. What is the key, the answer,
the way out? The Apostle Paul
gives us the answer in the next Chapter, chapter 8, at verse 1, where he says “There is now therefore no condemnation, to them that are in Christ Jesus.”
“Condemnation.” Our attention is directed to a court-room setting. The judge has heard the case. Now he renders the guilty verdict and pronounces the sentence.
As Paul makes clear in the first seven chapters of Romans, the Divine Judge has every right to render a guilty verdict against us, against each one of us – and to pronounce upon us the sentence of eternal death. He can do this for we are all under guilt and remain under the power and influence of sin.
In the first thee chapters of his letter to Rome, Paul makes the charge that Jew and Gentile alike are all under sin. Quoting Old Testament Scripture he writes in Romans 3, 10-18 that
“There is no one righteous, not even one; …There is no fear of God before their eyes.”
These words are not applicable just to the most evil on this earth. This describes the natural but sinful state of all men.
In common with all other humans, we too are conceived and
born in sin. We too are wicked and perverse, so corrupt that we are totally unable to do any good and inclined toward all evil – unless we, in Christ, have been born again?
And, those of us who are born again, will nevertheless find ourselves still under the continuing influences of sin. We can say with a frustrated Paul in Romans 7: 15-24 “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do, – I do not do,
but what I hate, I do …”
(and so on)
Yes, the Divine Judge has every right to render a guilty verdict against each and every one of us and to pronounce upon us the sentence of eternal death. He can do this for, as I’ve said – we are all under the guilt and remain under the influences of sin.
Yet, in our text Romans 8:1 the Apostle can say, “there is now … no condemnation.” So some are not exposed to condemnation. They are placed beyond the reach of condemnation. They shall never and can never be condemned?
Two things happen to these most blessed of all people. First, they are pardoned for their sin and guilt; and Second, they are liberated (set free) from their prison-house of sin.
First, I don’t know if we fully realize how wonderful a pardon is? Imagine a convicted murderer on death-row an hour or so before he is to be hanged or electrocuted or fatally injected for his crime. Suddenly his cell door swings open and his lawyer announces – he has been pardoned. Yes, he remains guilty of the crimes for which he has been convicted. Yes, he continues to deserve punishment. But his slate is wiped clean. In the eyes of the law, anyway, it is as if he had never committed the murder.
Some sinners (like that) receive a pardon from God. Yes, they remain guilty of the sins they have committed. Yes, they continue to deserve punishment. But, their slate is wiped clean. In the eyes of God, anyway, it is as if they have never sinned or been a sinner, as if they have fully met “the righteous requirements of the law” (v 4). Secondly, these same sinners are also liberated from the prison-house of sin. They have been enslaved to the power of sin. Against their will they do the evil they do not want to do. Suddenly they are set free. They are given the power (the nature) to do the good they could not do. They begin to love as they ought. They actually begin to fulfil the righteous requirements of the law. Yes, they continue to fall
but there is now a new focus, a new motivation and
a new direction, to their life!
But Paul makes it clear that this liberation is only
For Those in Christ
How is this possible? How is it possible that some sinners are pardoned and liberated? “In Christ,” says Paul. “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Some sinners are pardoned and liberated “in Christ.”
So what does it mean to be in Christ? Simply to be bound up, so connected, to be united with Him in His death and resurrection, so that with Him we died and with Him we arose.
To be “in Christ” means we are united with Christ in His death. It means our old selves are crucified, put to death, and buried with Him, so that the evil desires of the flesh may no longer rule us. To be “in Christ” means that like Noah and his family, who found shelter and safety in the Ark, in the time of the Flood, we too have taken our shelter and safety in Jesus. He is our escape from judgement, – if we get into him?
Then, to be “in Christ” also means that we are united with Christ in His resurrection. To be “in Christ” means that by His power we are already now raised to a new life. To be “in Christ” means our desire and our delight is to do every kind of good thing that God want us to do. To be “in Christ” means that we have died to the old ways and be born into new ways. Again, like Noah who came forth out of the Ark after the flood, he came out to a completely different landscape. Christians live differently, they have been raised to a new kind of life “in Jesus Christ.”
It is by His Spirit, the Holy Spirit, that we now live a different kind of life than those who live according to the flesh.
The central message of the Gospel, as Paul puts it in Romans 4:25, is that Jesus “was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.” However, the benefits of Christ’s death and resurrection become ours only in union,
in connection with Him. “There is now therefore no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”
The question can and should be asked: when is it that we join or are united with Christ, when is it that we become one with Him in His death and resurrection?
The Bible tells us that we died and rose with Christ on Golgotha (Col 2:20; Col 3:3; & Rom 6:8). His death and resurrection are
guaranteed as ours when we are baptized (Rom 6:3; & Col 2:12). And we personally taste His death and resurrection only when we are converted – in other words, when we come to repentance and faith (Col 3:1-2; & Rom 6:11).
“There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” There is no condemnation because they are in Christ Jesus. They are pardoned and liberated because of their relationship and their connection with Jesus Christ.
That is the only way anyone can ever escape condemnation – because of Christ. There is no other way. There is no work we can do that can save us. There is nothing we can give or pay that will save us. There is no other person that can save us. Jesus, and Jesus alone, is the way. And, those who look for any other way – instead of escaping condemnation will be facing condemnation. Apart from Jesus there is no escape.
When God saw the sinful nature that disobedience had created, it was this “old” nature that He hated most. God was not so much displeased with this wrong or that wrong, as he was with the fact that we had naturally developed a bent for wrong-doing.
So He sent Jesus to pardon our wrong, remove us from the wrong, and make us right, and in him we could receive a right “new” nature, to lead us into the right and away from the wrong. Only those IN Christ have been given this “new nature”…. and are no longer living in condemnation, never!
Our Connection to Jesus, restoring the connection with God means that the Devil cannot condemn us, (in Christ) otherwise he would be condemning God.
Now as soon as we can get our heads around this wonderful truth, as soon as we can begin appropriating this revelation, we can be freed from those Satanic attacks which can cripple us
and leave us feeling less than Christian, less that Complete.
Dr Martyn Lloyd Jones in his commentary on this verse in Romans 8:1, says that “there can be no condemnation for the Christian, not now and not ever” So we should stop allowing the Devil to condemn us and remember always that God has pardoned and liberated us, both for all of time and for all of eternity!
NOW THIS FINAL WORD
The Hymn Writer penned the words, “Resting in my Saviour as my all in all, I’m Standing on the Promises of God.”
Yet many of us are slipping and sliding on the promises, unsure of our footing and uncertain of our stance?
In this mode we are easy prey to the Devil and to his undermining Condemnation.
To have the kind of revelation that we have received today, that “there is now therefore NO condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus” and to take comfort from that revelation, does not necessarily mean that we are immediately freed from the feelings or experiences of being condemned. While Gods Word gives us the TRUTH, – that truth must first of all be verified and ratified in our lives before we can enjoy it. This is the part that Faith plays in our lives. We must declare ourselves pardoned, freed, and released before we can actually experience its reality.
By this verbal verification we ratify the covenant that God has made with us, and we bring it into effectiveness in our lives.
We prove to God, (and to the devil) that we believe it and are standing on it by faith. Get into the habit of declaring Gods word both to yourself and to those around you. Refuse to be condemned, refuse to be belittled, refuse to be called a sinner, refuse to be sick, refuse to be broke, refuse to be bound, and claim what is rightfully yours. Focus on “who you are” not on “who you were” and focus on Gods pardon. Stop slipping and sliding on the promises of God, and begin to stand by faith on the truth that you have received. “Resist the Devil and he will flee from you“. (James 4:7) That’s what Jesus did, and that’s what we
God Bless you.