“There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus.” This is the great promise that Paul penned upon the inspiration of God found in the letter to the Romans, chapter 8, verse 1 (NKJV).
This passage has been quoted and sung and preached a thousand times. Maybe more. It is one of those verses that teach us that God is not trying to squash us and judge us into hell. We live without the condemnation of sin and the errors of the world. We live under grace.
Condemnation means to “damn a person for an action.” Paul is telling us that, under God’s grace, we are now no longer going to be condemned for our actions. Isn’t that wonderful? Think about that. We are born into sin. We grow up in sin. We are cursed by sin. But God has brought us all a beautiful thing called grace that allows us to walk away from that curse. To leave the guilt and shame of sin behind us and go forward in Him.
You might say it this way: “So now, because we know Jesus, we no longer will be condemned for our sinful ways.” A truly amazing feeling that is!
Are We Truly Free?
Well, maybe. You see, there is a problem with this Scripture. If you had taken the time to look this up, you would have discovered there is something wrong here. Most of my life, I have experienced a problem that many Christians (and most certainly the world) have when it comes to “feel-good” passages in the Bible. It’s what I call Dangerous Portions.
You see, Paul did indeed teach here that we do not have to live under the weight of sin. We are free. But, as it happens all too often, we take the part of the Scripture that sounds good and leave the rest. Here’s an example:
“Resist the devil and he will flee from you!” James 4:7 (NKJV)
How many of us have quoted that? Especially when we counsel someone who is being attacked. “Just resist the devil! The Bible says he must flee from you!”
The difficulty that these two Scriptures have in common? They are being “partially” quoted. Just the easy parts. The funny thing is, these (along with many others) have a similar missing part. Here they are in their entirety:
Romans 8:1 (NKJV)
“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.”
James 4:7 (NKJV)
“Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.”
Do you see that part? No condemnation comes to those who turn away from the desires and trappings of the flesh and live their life as the Holy Spirit guides them. As God directs them.
The fleeing of the devil happens as a person becomes submitted to God. Essentially, as He is given permission to guide us and to have control in our lives.
NOTE: We cannot defeat condemnation or the enemy on our own. Period!
Though these are good messages in themselves, they were not my point.
When you only follow a part of Scripture, you will suffer the consequences. You just will.
I love sushi. I have for many years. But there are some simple things to bear in mind. If you walk into a restaurant that serves up raw fish, look for this:
- If the fish looks even remotely old (dry or darkened parts) DO NOT EAT IT! A very simple rule of thumb.
- And remember to let the pros do their job. Don’t make sushi from something you caught yourself.
Okay, simple instructions. If you don’t follow them, you might end up sick. Very sick!
Paul, with all the anointing he had on his life, complemented few individuals. However, one group he called “more noble.” Because they received the Word of God but then searched the Scriptures daily to confirm what was taught. (Acts 17:11)
If you are experiencing condemnation in your life, maybe your walk under the guidance of God’s presence is lacking. Perhaps the devil seems to be getting victory over you? Maybe you need to stop and find out what it means to be submitted unto God.
The Bible is a whole package. God never intended for us to accept portions. Yes, many passages will have a great deal of meaning and purpose alone. But some parts were never meant to be quoted or sought after alone.
Read the Word of God as a whole. Walk in the Spirit; submit to God. Let Him open it up for you! Measure the dust on your Bible and keep it from building up!
Featured Image by Sarah Kilian