So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.
Romans 8:1 is one of the most important verses in all of Scripture, from both a theological and a psychological point of view. Theologically, this verse makes crystal clear the fact of our forgiveness in Christ. God has done through Christ that which we could never do, setting us free from the power of sin and death. Thus if we “belong to Christ Jesus,” the Greek reads literally, “if we are in Christ Jesus,” then we know that God does not condemn us. By his grace in Christ, we are forgiven, justified, and welcomed into relationship with him.
Romans 8:1 proclaims truth that touches our souls, or in New Testament Greek, our psyches. Thus it has powerful psychological implications. Many people struggle with a deep sense of their own inadequacy. We feel ashamed because of what we have done and even because of who we are. No matter what we might say about God’s love, in the depth of our hearts, we feel as if God stands against us in angry judgment. Though we are right to see and hate our sin, we are wrong in our estimation of God’s stance. If we belong to Christ by putting our faith in him, then there is no condemnation for us. Thus we can be free to approach God, knowing that he loves and forgives us. Though we rightly confess our sins to him, we see ourselves, not as dirty sinners but as forgiven sinners beloved by God, being renewed through his Spirit.
QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION: Do you ever struggle with the thought that God stands in judgment against you? Do you question God’s grace in your life? How might the truth of Romans 8:1 permeate your soul?
PRAYER: Gracious God, in some ways, this verse is so familiar to me. I’ve read it a hundred times. I’ve taught it, preached it, and written on it. It’s old news to me.
And yet it’s news that is ever new. I continue to be amazed by the fact that you do not condemn me. Because of your mercy poured out upon me in Christ, I am forgiven. I belong to you forever. I can approach you with freedom, yes, even with boldness. And when I sin, as I continue to do, I can come to you again and again in confession, knowing that I am accepted by you. What a wonder! What a joy!
Lord, the more I reflect upon your amazing grace, the more I want to live my life not taking that grace for granted, but living graciously with myself and others. I seek to honor you with my life, to glorify you in every facet of my being. May this be so, dear Lord! In the name of Jesus my Savior, Amen.