There is No Condemnation – Romans 8:1-17

Those who are in Christ have been set free from the Law of sin and Death (8:1-4). Condemnation refers to a “the punishment following sentence” (BDAG). This is a rare word, only used in the New Testament here and Romans 5:16 and 5:18. In Romans 5, condemnation was the result of the first Adam’s rebellion against God. In that case, God acts as judge, finds Adam guilty and gives him the appropriate punishment for his rebellion, death.

In Wisdom literature, this word can have the sense of people getting what they deserve. For example, in Wisdom 4:16, “The righteous who have died will condemn (κατακρίνω) the ungodly who are living, and youth that is quickly perfected will condemn (κατακρίνω) the prolonged old age of the unrighteous” (NRSV). Someone who persecutes the righteous will “get their comeuppance” and be persecuted themselves in the final judgment.

But Paul’s use here does not have the idea of recompense “but rather the principle of correspondence of deed and condition” (EDNT 2:260). The result of Adam’s sin was death because that was the natural result of his rebellion. In fact, God promised Adam that he would die if he ate from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.

Those who were under the law were also under the condemnation of the Law. The point of Romans 7 is all those under the law fell short of the righteous requirements of the law and were therefore condemned by it.

God accomplished what the law could not by sending his son. Law may refer to the Mosaic Law, keeping to the context of Romans 7:1-12 or as a “principle” as in 7:21 (the “sin principle”). James Dunn and N. T. Wright argue Paul is consistently contrasting the Mosaic Law (or at least the boundary markers of the Law) in Romans 7 and it makes sense he should continue to contrast the written code (7:6) and the law of the Spirit. Although the Law promised life to those who kept it perfectly, it was powerless to deal with the real problem facing humanity, the problem of sin.

Colin Kruse argues the second view is preferable since it makes Romans 8:1 a continuation of 7:21-25. There is a principle at work in the people who desire to do what is good, but find themselves doing what they know to be wrong. The person who is in Christ is freed from the sin principle (7:25) and is not able to be punished for that sin principle because it has been fulfilled by Christ.

God dealt with the problem of sin by sending his Son. That God could send his son Jesus into the world implies the pre-existence of Jesus. There are other texts in the Pauline literature which describe Jesus as sent by God (Phil 2:5-11, Gal 4:4). Although this is not yet the detailed Christology in John, there is evidence that Paul considered Jesus to have existed before his incarnation.

The son was sent into the world in the “likeness of sinful flesh.” This very careful statement, since Paul does not say Jesus came in the same sort of flesh human have, since that flesh is corrupted by sin. Jesus was real human, but not a fallen human.

This incarnation was necessary in order to fulfill the righteous requirement (δικαίωμα) of the law. If the law is the Mosaic Law, the Jesus kept the Law perfectly. This does not mean Jesus did ever break the cleanliness laws, but that when he naturally encountered uncleanliness he would have followed the Law’s directions for treating that breach. There is a difference between choosing to break the Sabbath and inadvertently coming into contact with a person who was unclean.

If the law is the ‘sin principle,” then Jesus was able to live a human life without succumbing to temptation. As the second Adam, Jesus was tempted and did not rebel against God. These are not mutually exclusive, since breaking the Law means succumbing to the sin principle (as Adam did).

If we who are in Christ are no longer under the condemnation of the Law, what are the ramifications for our relationship with God? How do we live not that we are no longer under the threat of the “wrath of God” (Romans 1:18)?

7 thoughts on “There is No Condemnation – Romans 8:1-17

  1. We may no longer be under the ramifications of the law in the current covenant but that does not mean that we won’t have to answer for things that we have done in the end times. There are going to be ramifications for following Christ and sometimes we have to sacrifice things for our faith and we know that we will be persecuted for faith. Not necessarily in America or in the Western world but there are Christians who follow Christ all over the world who are facing persecution daily. 2 Timothy 3:12 says, “In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” We are going to have ramifications in the sense that there will be persecution but also that we will have to answer to God and have to answer for being disobedient. We are fortunate that we have grace but we also have to be conscious and aware of the fact that we are setting ourselves automatically to a higher standard by following God. Though we are not condemned by the law under this grace; we are still expected to follow Christ and there will be ramifications for our faith purely because of the world we live in.

  2. I love how the scriptural statement about the result of “eternal security” is that it is a great encouragement to holiness, rather than the way that those who oppose it, who say that it is a license to sin.
    I am under no condemnation, being that I am in Christ Jesus, so therefore, because of the mercy of God I will present my body to Him as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable…

  3. Even though we are no longer under the law, we still will have face God one day. I think there is something that is in us that should want to not do evil if we are trying to please God. Revelations 3:16 talks about those who are lukewarm in their faith. I think this is something to look at when understanding the ramifications we still have. We should still be following God the best we can, and we should be trying to live our lives out for Him. We need to still try to run from sin even though we are under grace and not Law. God does not want us to be lukewarm in our faith and in our lives; He wants us to live our lives out fully for Him.

  4. This is a scary thought for those friends of mine who do not have Christ in their lives because when the time comes they will be judged at the end of the day and I can only pray God is going to be merciful. It does make some sense to me that those who do wrong to others should pay for their wrong doings and be judged but I feel like it could be a fine line of what actually is a persons definition of wrong doings. We need to understand how grateful we should be that the Lord sent His son to pay for our sins because no matter how hard we try there will always be sin in the world, so basically God ensured us that as long as we have Christ in our lives and accept him to be our savior then we can not not be punished for the sin. I am curious to know if Jesus could sin. Since he is all powerful, all knowing, etc, how can he possess the urge of sin but at the same time he is the creator who can do what he pleases to do.

  5. “How do we live not that we are no longer under the threat of the “wrath of God” (Romans 1:18)?” (P. Long, Blog). There are so many ways that this question could go based on ones thinking and their theology. Personally, no matter if we have the Grace of God or not, which we do, we should always live a life to glorify God. We need to be able to let go of the wrong doing we commit and know that God has forgiven us due to the sacrifice of His son Jesus. Jesus granted us the freedom from all of the sins we have committed and from all of the sins we are going to commit in the future. People often make the argument that Jesus did not come down as fully human, but had He not then there would have been no point to Him coming to save us from our sins. He needed to be fully human to make the sacrifice for us. He came down so we could then be free also from the laws of the Old Testament. We still to live in a way that pleases Him. Not just living life knowing that no matter what we do we will have His mercy. Always doing what is right according to Him and always trying to do and act how we were meant to before the fall.

  6. Its very funny to me when people say that the Old testament was not important or as important as the New testament because they are totally wrong. Understanding the law, sacrifices, and the origins of sin that are talked about in the OT are crucial for theology. It is always so interesting to me how the drama of scripture flows together so well and that so many areas of the OT are fulfilled in the NT such as prophecies and Jesus fulfilling the law. The Bible flows together so well and intricately which makes it never boring but always interesting to read and learn more about. Regarding your question at the end, Romans 3:10 puts it very clearly that “no one is righteous, not even one.” The law does not make a person righteous, it is only by the grace of God we are saved. This was true in the OT and now, when the law was in effect and now. In the dispensation of law, people were only saved by the grace of God. People responded in the natural outpouring of their faith by obeying the law in which God had given, but that didn’t save them. Grace then, grace now. Today, Christ has fulfilled the law, one sacrifice for all, meaning we do not practice the same things the Jews did in the Bible. However, we are still to live out our freedom in Christ by surrendering ourselves to God, and having complete dependence on Him. This is demonstrated in Romans 12, that we are to transform our earthly perspective into an eternal perspective, living to glorify Him and not worry about the temporal things of this world.

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