“There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the Law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: That the righteousness of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit”(Rom. 8:1-4).
Please notice the emphasis I have placed on the pronouncement “no condemnation.” That is good news for believing sinners – not for all sinners but for those who are “in” Christ Jesus.
KATAKRIMA is NOT a pleasant WORD
“Condemnation” is a dreadful word coming from the Greek word “Katakrima.” It is one of five different Greek words translated “condemnation.” This specific word “Katakrima” means to “pronounce a sentence against, the judicial act of declaring one guilty, and dooming him to punishment.” In our text (Rom.7 and 8) every member of the human race is born under this condemnatory sentence of death. There are no exceptions regardless of who you are, where you come from, what your name is, what your background may be, and how religious you are is of no consequence. There is no such a thing as a person who is born into this world that is not born under this condemnatory sentence of death.
Romans 5:18 is another place where this word “condemnation / katakrima” is used; thus, we are made to understand that a judgment of death came to the human race through one man, Adam. Therefore, as a result of the offence or the sin of Adam, judgment came upon all – meaning a total, inclusive condemnation of Adam’s race. On the other hand, by the righteous act of One – that is Jesus Christ, “the free gift came upon all men unto the justification of life.” Although this passage of Scripture needs a lot more explanation or exegesis than what I am going to give it in this article, one thing is clear … All men are born under the condemnatory sentence of death. I don’t know if that distresses you or how it affects you. I can only tell you how that moves me; that tears me up! That hurts because I realize we are talking about eternal issues. We are talking about something that not only touches somebody in time but also in eternity. There is something in my nature that does not like to see or hear of anything or someone condemned or destroyed or corrupted.
Yesterday, while driving down the street, I noticed several houses had a sign in the windows which read, “Condemned, Condemned, Condemned” – a silent spiritual reminder of the result of sin. Sin brings corruption, decay, and eventually condemnation. I couldn’t help but wonder, as I rode by, if those houses were people, what kind of memories and experiences are locked within the four walls. I wonder perhaps if there were some happy memories, some pleasant conversations between husband and wife, mother and daughter, father and son. But, then someone decided to condemn those houses – a condemnatory sentence of destruction had been made. Even though it is just a house with wood, nails, stone and cement, I still don’t like to see something condemned. I don’t like to see happy memories expunged. I don’t like to see the past erased. Likewise, by spiritual application, man was born to die. He is born under sin. He is born with the judgment of condemnation against him. He is born under the condemnatory sentence of death.
This whole sad condition is illustrated in Romans 7:24. Here, Paul the Apostle shouted, “Oh wretched man that I am.” This is how the Apostle Paul felt before he was saved. Here in Chapter 7, though he was saved but he had not yet discovered the delivering power of the Holy Spirit to deliver from the bondage of the condemning Law. Thus, he is a representative of all humanity and creation which “groaneth and travaileth in pain” (Rom. 8:22).
He call himself “wretched.” This is the condition and cry of an exhausted individual (emotionally and physically) after a battle. I wish I could articulate these feelings; the anguish that belongs to this word “wretched”- feelings and pain that must be both felt and spoken, but words spoken with great distress. Yea, even with weeping and the rending of the human heart and soul; the kind that goes down deep into a person’s being when he cries out, “Oh wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from this body of death.” This body of death is what is called the “old sinful nature;” the nature that the human race inherited from Adam – the Adamic Nature. We are born with it. It is a death-dealing problem. It is an internal problem!
An INTERNAL Problem
In Romans 7, Paul speaks of his problem being internal not external. Oh, I wish I could communicate this principle to all – men, women, boys, girls, politicians, educators, teachers, welfare and social workers – to all those who have authority and positions of leadership. Oh, I wish I could shout it from the housetops that man’s problems are NOT external – they are internal! If we would learn this, then we would quit treating the symptoms and consequences of sin and would start treating the cause and the source of all misery, anguish, torment, and pain which is on the inside of man. Yet, we continue day after day, in society and in our personal lives, to treat the symptoms and never get to the source of our problems. Sinful man needs to realize that whatever personal problems we may have, we are not a victim of circumstances – not at all, but, rather, man’s circumstances reveal his character: who he really is. This reveals that the real problem is on the inside. Yes, we have problems and they hurt and ache and need to be treated; but we will never find any lasting relief until we realize that our problems are on the inside. Please notice:
- Romans 7:5: Paul our Apostle says, “…the motions of sins, which were by the Law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death.” It was the passions of sin that motivated – worked in our lives. You see, we can no longer point the finger and say, “The Devil made me do it.” We can’t blame it on our in-laws, our outlaws, our mother-in-laws, our uncles and aunts, our brother and sisters, our teachers, the government, or the policemen. Our problems are on the inside! It is sin working in us – in our members. Please notice:
- Romans 7:8: “But sin, taking occasion by the commandment wrought in me…” – inside me! There is the source of our problem.
- Romans 7:13: “…But sin, that it might appear sin, working death in me….”
- Romans7:17: “Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.
- Romans 7:18: “For I know that in me (that is in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing….”
- Romans 7:23: “But I see another law in my members warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.”
Now, the Apostle Paul has discovered the source of our national and international problems, but he has also discovered the source of intimate, personal problems. It is sin in Paul! Sin in us! And Sin in all members of the human race! Now we can understand and appreciate what David said: “…in sin did my mother conceive me.” I can now understand and appreciate what Paul confessed in Romans 7:14: “…I am carnal, sold under sin!” There is nothing good in him – or in any of us! There is nothing that can give us a good recommendation to God! Now, once he has come to the realization that his real problem was on the inside and not on the outside, the Apostle Paul realizes that this means automatically the sentence of death. He, like the rest of humanity, was born under the condemnation which is going to be the ruination of him unless there is a remedy. And, so in verse 24 the Apostle Paul cries out saying, “O wretched man that I am Who, (Who, Who) shall deliver me?”
Deliverance is not a matter of a “what” or “thing” needed to bring deliverance. Neither is the condemnation removed because of church membership, good works, the Golden Rule, or the Ten Commandments; rather, he now realizes there is no help apart from a Person. Someone has to deliver him from this “body of death,” and that person is none other than the Lord Jesus Christ! His response to the grace of God is, “I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Rom. 7:25)!
The BODY OF DEATH
But before we speak of the deliverance/salvation that is in the Lord Jesus Christ, let us talk, for a moment, about this “body of death”; then we will see the extent of the corruption, depravity and condemnation that is found in this “body of death.” We will then understand the greatness of God’s grace and salvation from condemnation.
During my studies of Romans 7, I found two historic references describing how the judgment of the guilty and condemned murderer was executed. It is perhaps to this ancient system of execution that the Apostle is alluding to when he cries for deliverance from the “body of death.” Here is what they did:
They brought the accused before a judge and he pronounced a sentence of death for the perpetrator’s wickedness. And then, this guilty, condemned man would have the decaying, stinking body of the murder victim laid on the prisoner – back to back, head to head, neck to neck, shoulder to shoulder, leg to leg, foot to foot – and secured to the criminal with iron bars or straps and turned loose to die a terrible, long, excruciating death. This is the way the Apostle Paul now sees himself, and the whole human race – condemned – sin and sin’s penalty inseparably linked with fallen Adam … “In Adam, all die” (1 Cor. 15:22). Secured to this body of sin the dying sinner cries out, “Oh, wretched man that I am, who can deliver me from this body of death?” Eventually, the man would die because of the dead body. My friend, that is exactly the way sin works in your life and my life; we are born with this dead body of Adam’s sin. Sin has been inseparably and hopelessly joined to us as it is working its corrupting and decaying work in our life, and unless somebody mercifully delivers us from this body of death, there is NO HOPE!
But NO condemnation is GOOD news
Now, I am happy to say, “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus.” Oh, dear friend, be sure you’re in Christ! You see, Jesus Christ is the “Who” of salvation from sin’s bandage! Jesus is the one Who can deliver us not only from the body of sin but from the condemnatory sentence of death. Faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ on the Cross means “No condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus!” NO condemnation is GOOD news. Give Him praise and glory!
Jesus became sin for us! Watch the Lord Jesus Christ shift that dead “body of sin,” that corruptible thing that made us wretched before our own eyes, before the eyes of our neighbors, before the eyes of the world, and before the eyes of God. Jesus is “made sin” for us. He is made a “curse.” He is “forsaken.” He is judged and condemned for sinners.
Do you see Him?
Do you see and believe Jesus Christ is the obedient Savior come to do the Father’s will?
Do you see and believe that the Lord Jesus, the King of Glory, was willing to love us so much to be obedient, even unto the death of the Cross?
Do you see and believe the Lord Jesus Christ, in Gethsemane’s Garden, begin to drink that bitter cup – a cup filled with your sin and my sin?
Do you see and believe Jesus prayed, “Nevertheless not My will but Thine be done?”
Do you see and believe that Jesus Christ drank that bitter cup of sin to the very last bitter drop?
Do you see and believe Jesus identified Himself with us and paid for sin and suffered our sin penalty?
Do you see and believe Jesus in Pilate’s torture chamber and eventually making His way to the brow of a hill called Golgotha and there He was nailed to a rugged Roman cross?
Do you see and believe that Jesus was made a curse – “he was made sin” because our “body of sin” – that corrupt stinking, rotten, dirty defiled body of sin was laid on Him – because of our guilt and penalty?
Do you see and believe what is happening?
Do you see and believe in the love of God?
Do you see and believe the lovely Son of God was identifying Himself with man’s “body of sin” and the condemnatory sentence of death?
Do you see and believe Jesus died our death and suffered our Hell?
Do you see and believe Christ released us from the condemnatory sentence of death?
Do you see and believe that’s just before Jesus gave up His Spirit, He said “It is finished” – sin’s penalty is?
Do you see and believe that there is “no condemnation to them which are in Christ”?
Do you see and believe the joy, the sigh of relief, and the excitement of an individual such as the Apostle Paul who sees himself delivered from the vile “body of sin”?
Do you see and believe in the thrill and excitement that would sweep through every fiber and member of his being as someone were to step forward and say “no condemnation”?
Do you see and believe the ecstasy, though knowing that you were guilty, but you get off scot free?
Now, you can appreciate Romans 8:1: “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus.” “Therefore,” points back to the substitutionary Cross work of Christ and we don’t have to wait for eternity to pass the point of no condemnation. Dear Saved Friend, join me in giving Him praise and glory!
Dear unsaved friend, why will you insist on dying in your sin when salvation is just a prayer away? If you will put your trust in the person of Christ totally and completely, right now; you will be saved!