There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus,
who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit
(Romans 8:1, NKJV).
One of the very first Bible verses I learned as a new believer (decades ago!) was Romans 8:1. I read and heard many others, of course, but that one truly jumped out at me, I suppose because as a brand new born-again Christian, I was so freshly aware of all that God had done for me. That He had not only forgiven me but personally paid an unimaginable price to do so still left me in awe—which, of course, is a good thing. We should never cease to be amazed that God willingly gave everything for those of us who deserved nothing.
And yet, to keep that in perspective, I still have to remind myself that His forgiveness is so much greater than any of my sins, failures, or poor choices that required that forgiveness. Somehow I have little problem resolving the fact that His once-for-all sacrifice covers my “B.C.” (before Christ) sins, but I struggle more with my “after Christ” failures. I’m a believer now; I have the Spirit of God living inside me, and I should know better…right?
Right. Yes, I should. And deep down, I do. Still, I must remind myself daily that I am one of God’s “WIPs,”—a Work in Progress—and He’s far from through with me. (Are you as glad about that as I am???) Though I love the familiar (and true) statement that God loves me just the way I am, I also know He loves me too much to leave me that way.
Though I cling to the truth of Romans 8:1, meaning there is NOW no condemnation toward me regardless of my sins and failures, I also need to beware of using that promise as an excuse to stop growing in Christ. Our goal and purpose as believers is to continually draw closer to the Father and become more like Jesus, and we do that through an ongoing yielding of our will to the nudging of the Holy Spirit within us—“not walk[ing] according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.” When we do that, the Spirit of God bears witness with our spirit that we are indeed His children and are no longer under condemnation.
If you’re struggling with that today—and we all do at times—ask God’s Spirit to search your heart and show you anything that needs to be confessed or relinquished to God—and then do it. The result will be a heart that KNOWS it is free of condemnation. And, beloved, what could be better than that?