From Gloom and Doom to Relief and Joy

This is a part of a series of devotionals from Romans 8

Romans 8:1–2

1 Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.

The courtroom sits silently. The witnesses have testified. The prosecution has made its case. The accusations have been heard. The evidence has been weighed. Clearly there is a conviction. Every indicator signals, “guilty.” The criminal is condemned for sure. But the judge raises his voice and renders a shocking verdict, “No condemnation”.

If this scene were played out in a local courtroom, we would all cry- “It can’t be! There has been a miscarriage of justice!” But for those who have entrusted themselves to Christ, this is their scenario in the divine courtroom. We, the accused, breathe a sigh of disbelief, “Can it be? There has been an act of mercy!”

The good news of Paul’s words in Romans 8:1 are some of the most encouraging words in all the Scriptures, “there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”

But how can this be? The natural man is a lawbreaker, guilty of sinning against the law Maker. He sits under “the frown of God’s holiness” and must bear the punishment of his iniquity. The just demands of God require condemnation for the guilty. He is doomed.

The Apostle felt this gloom and doom in 7:24 when he cries, “Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death?” Yet, freedom from doom is exactly what Paul is confident about in Romans 8:1 when he declares that there is “now no condemnation.” How can he say that? Is this just a fantasy?

Fantasy is made reality because of the freedom described in Romans 8:2, “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.” Apart from Christ, the natural man is in bondage to the law or “principle” of sin and its companion, death. But through Christ, the law or “principle” of the Spirit of God, who comes to us by Jesus’ death and resurrection, has set us free and brought life.

The reality for those who have taken refuge in Christ is that although the law has brought it’s conviction, and there is clearly guilt, the Spirit of God has brought freedom where there was bondage, life where there was death, and no condemnation where there was only doom.

In the divine courtroom, a prisoner of sin goes free by the Spirit who applies the work of Christ to us. That means that no charges are left, no guilt remains, no accusation can stick, and therefore no condemnation can hold!

We can say with Paul, “Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (Romans 7:25). Thus, a sigh of relief becomes a song of joy enabling us to sing Charles Wesley’s poetic melody of Romans 8:1, “No condemnation now I dread, Jesus and all in Him is mine.”

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