There is No Condemnation – Romans 8:1

Having described the wretched condition of people who know what the law demands but cannot keep it (7:21-24), Paul now declares that those who are in Christ have been set free from the Law of sin and Death (8:1-4)

broken-chainsCondemnation 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 (and promised) punishment for his rebellion, death. Those who were under the law were also under the condemnation of the Law.

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.

The point of Romans 7 is all those under the law fell short of the righteous requirement of the law. Since this is the case, all humans stand condemned by the law and receive the wages of that all of the “in Adam” people receive, death.

But for those who are “in Christ” do not stand condemned since they are no longer “in Adam.” The natural condemnation of the law of sin and death no longer applies to them since they have been raised to new life with Jesus (Romans 6:11). It is important to see here that Paul is saying the “in Christ” person no longer is under the natural condemnation for falling short of the glory of God. They are no longer “walking by flesh” but rather “walking by the Spirit.”

The rest of Romans 8 is going to unpack what this means, but for now I want to focus on the contrast between the “wretched man” who stands condemned (7:24) and the “in Christ” person who is not under condemnation in the least. There is something liberating about this new state in which the Christian exists.

But if we have already been set free from the law of sin and death with oppressed us prior to Christ, why do we so quickly return to that old life which stands condemned?

12 thoughts on “There is No Condemnation – Romans 8:1

  1. Throughout reading this blog post, a recent story I heard about through the media comes to mind. The country artist Kane Brown recently lost his drummer in a automobile accident. I saw a video on the sadness that Kane is feeling, and I can only imagine what others might be going through also as they process this death. This makes me reflect on how Romans 8:1 says that there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. In this fatal accident, I am not sure the details of how the drummer passed, besides the news saying he drove right into a tree. During a vulnerable time as this, others may feel criticized or blamed for the accident. Somehow blaming themselves makes them feel less sad by the loss.
    As Christians, amid loss and sadness, we can come around those that are hurting most and remind them that there is no condemnation. We can be renewed from our old selves and that are mindsets can be changed from it is all my fault to finding the positive side. As a follower of Christ, we are not to blame, for we are made of flesh and Spirit. Mankind is not perfect; we are far from it. Incidents and accidents take place, but if it was God’s will, we can not fix it or argue with it. 1 Timothy 2:3-4 says, “This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth”. I pray that Kane’s drummer had a relationship with the Lord. We never know when our last day will be and I also pray that we do not hold ourselves to the mindset that we are condemned. Scripture says there is no condemnation.

  2. I would say that the answer is simply our sinful nature. As christian we know right from wrong, we know what the bible says and what God wants from us, and even though we know all this we still fail again and again. We slip back into our sinful ways, we make excuses for why what we are doing is acceptable, even though deep down we know the truth. We aren’t perfect, we can try our hardest, and no matter what, we are still going to fail. But its not the failure God is focused on, it your pursuit to correct those failures in his name, that he is concerned with. We have been set free from sin and shame yet we still let that sin and shame consume us, the difference is we know that it doesn’t have to. Before Christ sin and shame consumed us without a chance of hope, Christ gave us a hope and a freedom. Our sin still drags us down and pulls us under, time and time again, but we have Christ there pulling us out because we are no longer shackled to our sin, we are free.

  3. Although we no longer stand in under the condemnation of God as a result of the inauguration of a new life in Christ does not mean we don’t tend to go back to the old life. The spiritual aspect is securely safe once we are in Christ, but the physical aspect is still under the reign of sin, and it still has a major influence on us, because sin is our instinct nature which will only be fully justified once we have physically died. That’s why Apostle Paul reminds us not to indulges and gratify ourselves with the desire of the flesh but the spirit so that we can bear the fruit of the spirit in our life, which will also strengthen our spiritual life and character. Moreover, as a Christian, I constantly experience a war between the flesh and the spirit, and unless I live up myself for Christ and set Christ as my Lord in our heart winning the battle is difficult, and it also becomes a great stumbles block in my spiritual journey. Secondly, it crucial to note that being a Christian does not require a person to do certain deeds or work, but by simply sharing in what Christ has done for us, that’s the whole point of Paul in Roman 6. It’s all about dying to sin (the singular form of sin) that was brought by Adam, which put a person slaves to sin, bondage to eternal death, and reign by the flesh. According to Moo, “death to sin” refers to, “release from the dominance of the power of sin (Moo,95). Fortunately, because of the new life that is inaugurated by Christ, a person can have hope and confidence in the final judgment, if we only died, buried, and resurrected with Christ.

  4. I am very thankful that I am no longer under the law of sin and death, and that I am no longer condemned before God. Paul makes it clear that the only way for us to escape this just condemnation from God, is to become in Christ Jesus. The only way for us to become in Jesus, is for us to place our faith in Jesus’ life, death, burial, and resurrection. To acknowledge Jesus Christ as our Lord and savior, and this will transform us into ‘in Christ’ people. Paul makes it clear that we are either “walking according to the flesh, or walking according to the Spirit,” (Long, 88). We cannot be both, nor can we be neither. While Christians can surely sin even though we are ‘in-Christ’, we are no longer under the power of sin. Therefore, instead of walking in our sinful desires, we can walk by the Spirit by producing the fruit of the Spirit in our lives.

  5. Paul is telling the people of the Roman church and now us that we need to make a choice. If we truly accept Christ in our lives and have faith in his death, burial and resurrection then we should be willing and able to stay away from being a slave to the law and sin. However, even if we are dead to sin after accepting Christ as our savior we are still tempted on a daily basis. What Paul is really getting at is that we should be disciplined enough in our faith that we should not easily to give in to our temptations.

  6. I think this topic is very simple, if we walk in the old ways of Adam and in sin, we are in death. but if we change our lie and walk in Christ we are a new creation and walking in his fullness. alive through Christ. if we walk according to the flesh we will do things of the flesh but if we starve the flesh and walk according to the spirit we will build up are spiritual man and be closer to Christ. we cant ever get to the same level as Christ but we can strive to be like him and serve him with our life. that is what we are called to as true Christians.

  7. I believe that the reason we all fall back into sin is very complicated. The first reason is that we al want to have fun and do the things that we see everyone else in the world doing. And even though we know better and can recognize these actions as sins our relationship with God is not as strong as it needs to be. The biggest reason I believe we all fall back into sin so much is the fact that we know that God shows mercy on us all and forgives our sin. So in knowing this we don’t really grasp the true magnitude of us continuing to fall back into sin.

  8. Romans 8:1-4 clearly delineates the wretched people who cannot keep the law and those in Christ, who are set free by Jesus’s sacrifice. Although rarely found in the New Testament, Romans 5:16 and 5:18 clue the careful reader into the imputation of sin, participatory from humans and Adam. Thus, those under the law are subject to condemnation and the eventual death that follows from the original Adamic sin. While most would infer recompense from Paul’s usage of condemnation, Dr. Long (2019) suggests a “correspondence between deeds and condition,” no matter the positive or negative action. Longenecker & Still regard the absolute state of everyone who links salvific hope inexorably to the law, “What emerges from Romans 7, then, is a portrait of the desperate circumstance of those outside of Christ, including even the people of Israel” (p. 185). Resounding throughout Romans is the common application of slavery to sin versus slavery to righteousness, deriving from the Greek (Long, 2023, p. 115). This proposition of redemption, along with what it means to be a slave, colors Paul’s implication that he “wholly belongs to Christ Jesus and owes him absolute allegiance” (p. 116). It is through Jesus that the domination of sin’s power is shattered alongside human propensity toward sinfulness; “As powerful as they are, even the powers of Sin and Death cannot undo the salvific effect of bringing God’s love to a creation in bondage, through Jesus’s death and resurrection” (Longenecker & Still, 2014, p. 185).

    However, if humanity is supposedly free from the bindings of sin and, as Longenecker writes, has its propensity toward sin shattered, why do they yet feel so inclined toward sinful action? If one is truly “walking by the Spirit” as it were, how does this ingrained sin still find its malicious foothold in their life? Romans 7 and 8 display that the contrast between the “wretched man” who is condemned and the liberated person “in Christ” highlights the conundrum (Long, 2019). Longenecker & Still (2014) may provide a veritable answer, “Outside of redemption, Paul depicts a tragic situation in which even God-given instruments of goodness and holiness and righteousness can be conscripted by the power of Sin to perpetuate its tragic purposes” (p. 184). I believe that the climax of Romans 8 is where the meat of the argument is found; namely, that nothing will separate believers from the love of God in Jesus Christ (Longenecker & Still, 2014, p. 185). While sin’s program seeks to undermine itself and others, those “outside of Christ” can yet apply righteousness and holiness for malevolent purposes, desiring self-benefaction. The letter shares great parallels with 2 Corinthians 5 (ESV), reading, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come” (v. 17). Readers are encouraged to ponder and reflect upon the significance of the theological message, presenting the expedient human tendency of reverting to tired, horrendous habits despite being set free.

  9. This blog post brings to light the internal struggle we all face as Christians. Our sinful nature is embedded in us, our hearts naturally turn to evil due to our sinful nature. When we are set free in Christ and longer condemned, we do not automatically become perfect and understanding. We are set free but still living in a sinful world. This freedom is the start of our sanctification as followers of Christ. We read in Romans chapter eight that we are adopted into the family of God. “For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!’” (Romans 8:15 ESV). We are now adopted into the family of God and no longer in slavery. This does not rid us of the result of sin in our lives, it frees us from slavery to sin. Our need for a savior makes us realize how sinful we are. Our humanity itself is an example of our need for a savior. The freedom of Christ is not a onetime thing. It is a continual reality that we get to live in today regardless of our sin. Our sin nature is still present, but our condemnation is not. Our reliance as human’s changes from one’s own work to the work of Christ when adopted into the family of God. Gods plan for our lives to be united with Him is the freedom that is given to us. Through the cross we are reunited with the Father throughout mediator Jesus. This is true freedom in a world condemned by sin.

  10. As Christians, we believe in the transformative power of Christ’s sacrifice, which indeed sets us free from the law of sin and death. The apostle Paul, who often grappled with these ideas, wrote in Romans 8:1-2: “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.” This is a profound truth, signifying that our salvation and freedom from the eternal consequences of sin are secure in Christ. The tension arises from the fact that our sanctification, our process of becoming more Christ-like, is an ongoing journey. While our eternal destiny is secure, our earthly lives are still subject to the struggles and temptations of the world. We live in a fallen world where sin and worldly influences are all around us, and our human nature is still inclined toward sin. We are still human, and as such, we remain susceptible to the allure of sin. Our old habits and desires can resurface, especially when we let our guard down or become complacent in our faith. Christians are encouraged to continually seek spiritual growth, stay grounded in God’s Word, and surround themselves with a supportive Christian community. We are also reminded that God’s grace is sufficient, and when we stumble, we can turn to Him for forgiveness and strength.

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