Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life has set me free from the law of sin and death. (verses 1-2)
Condemnation is such a weighty, oppressive, smothering word. It sends its tendrils into heart and mind, sapping joy, piercing peace and draining away life itself. It builds walls of hiddenness, pulls down the shades blocking out the light of the glory of the Gospel. It breeds isolation.
What joy to have this soul-choking word prefaced by the phrase “there is now no”! The oppressive presence is vaporized, like some foul fiend in a sci-fi flick. The shades are rolled up with a snap; indeed the sunroof is pealed back, releasing a blaze of life-refreshing radiance.
Yes! All of this is true for those who are “in Christ Jesus.” This is one of those places where a little word can be action-packed and vibrant, pregnant with significance. “In” speaks of life-giving connection, like branch in vine, a new reality in which life is transformed because the very atmosphere has changed. To be “in” Christ is to have been crucified and buried with him to all that is old, and to have been raised into vibrant new existence, the very life of Jesus’ Spirit coursing through our veins.
Again, in the second verse, though the NIV translates it as “through,” the little Greek word “in” is used again. Indeed, the whole phrase is an exact repeat of verse 1 – “in Christ Jesus.” Yes! Paul doesn’t want us to miss it. To be “in” him is the place of vitality and freedom and release. Not only is there “no condemnation,” but I have been extracted from “the law of sin and death.” Yes! Instead, I am brought under the glorious, life-giving rule of “the law of the Spirit of life”!
No wonder condemnation has vanished away. Life has dawned. Like some powerful electromagnet, we are irresistibly drawn back, riveted, to the phrase in Romans 5 – “we have peace with God” (5:1). Condemnation is wiped off the books. The shadow is removed. So our relationship with the Lord is completely unencumbered. We are “at ease” in the throne-room of heaven, without any sense of awkwardness or barrier.
Praise God for “no condemnation”!
Thank you, Lord, for the release of freedom I have now received in Christ. The shadow is gone. Clear skies are here. I am embraced by the law of the Spirit of life. Praise your name.
Reflect: Remember this phrase all day: “there is now no condemnation.” Call it to mind. Lean into it. Give thanks for it. Consciously take each step embracing this life-giving reality.