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Sermon #78 — Romans Series

 

      Title:                                 “No Condemnation!”

 

      Text:                                  Romans 8:1

      Reading: Psalm 51:1-19

      Subject:               No Condemnation in Christ

      Date:                                Sunday Morning —February 7, 2016

      Introduction:

 

A Guilty Conscience

 

There is nothing in all the world more tormenting than a guilty conscience. I do not doubt that the very fires of hell that cannot be quenched are relentlessly fueled by an indescribable sense of guilt tormenting the soul. The worm that never dies in the pit of the damned, that undying worm that forever gnaws upon the fully awakened consciences of the damned is guilt.

 

But even in this world, there is nothing more tormenting to a man than a sense of guilt. I am not talking about mere sense of guilt with regard to men, but a consciousness of guilt before the infinite, holy, eternal God! Some of you are struggling with such guilt. Your screaming conscience torments you day and night. You have tried to silence it with prayers, Bible reading, moral reformation, and religious duty. But when you toss upon your bed in the lonely watches of the night, alone before God, you find that your bed is too short and your covering too narrow, and you cannot rest. Your refuge of lies is swept away in a moment before the bar of God’s holiness, justice and truth. In your very soul, you cry and weep, tremble and quake, with an overwhelming sense of guilt and the fear of eternal damnation. You cannot rest. You have found, and find day after day, that there is “no rest for the wicked.”

 

Some of you who are my brothers and sisters in Christ, true believers, some of you who are born of God, yet struggle with a horrible sense of guilt. You know that Christ paid your sin debt; but you still carry the weight of guilt. Oh, what an unbearable weight it is! You know that that the Lord Jesus has redeemed you from the curse of the law; but you still carry the weight of the condemned in your soul. You know that Christ is the Lord your Righteousness, that you are made the righteousness of God in him; but your soul is still filled with guilt. Why? Because you are keenly aware of your own, inward lusts and sin. You still bear your own iniquities in your soul.

 

There is nothing that makes the life of a poor, tender soul so painfully bitter as this oppressive, unbearable load of sin and guilt. Satan knows that there is no yoke so oppressive, no bondage so cruel to your soul as this. Therefore, he constantly accuses you, and your flesh says, “Amen,” to his accusations.

 

A Message from God

 

I have a message from God for you. It is specifically to you who carry the weight of sin and guilt in your souls that I speak. If God the Holy Ghost will give you ears to hear, eyes to see, and a heart to believe what he declares to us in our text, you will find the message of this text worth more than a mountain of gold to your soul. I call your attention to one sentence, a sentence from the pen of God himself to sinners like you and me. I repeat, if God the Holy Ghost will give you ears to hear, eyes to see, and a heart to believe what he declares in this one sentence, it will be worth more than a mountain of gold to your soul. Open your Bibles to the 8th chapter of the Book of Romans — Romans 8.

 

Someone said “In the entire Bible the brightest and most lustrous and flashing collection of stones is the Epistle to the Romans, and of these the eighth chapter is the brightest gem in the cluster.” I don’t think I would disagree. Truly, Romans 8 is one of the great chapters in the Bible. And in this great, great chapter, nothing is sweeter, nothing is more glorious, nothing is more cheerful to my soul than the declaration of its opening sentence. That is my text — Romans 8:1.

 

(Romans 8:1) “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”

 

No Condemnation

 

The title of my message is No Condemnation! And that is my first point. — “No Condemnation!

 

What?No condemnation!What a happy privilege! What a blessed hope! All the black dread past blotted out! Blessed are they of whom the Spirit of God declares, “There is therefore now no condemnation!

 

Remember the context in which this statement is found. Paul has just been talking about the horrible struggle God’s people have with sin. He here declares to sinners like you and me, men and women so vexed and grieved with our sins that we “groan within ourselves” crying, “O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?

 

Here is cause for unspeakable joy and peace that passes understanding. — “There is therefore now no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus!We have a solid ground and foundation for this blessed peace and joy

Š      Our Justification and Adoption!

Š      The Purposes and Decrees of Our God!

Š      And the Everlasting and Unchangeable Love of God in Christ, the Source, Spring, and Security, of All the Blessings of Grace!

 

Paul does not say there is nothing condemnable in us. We know better! There is much sin in us; and the sin in us is both condemnable and condemned by us. It is painful and vexing. We despise it and war against it. But all the sin that is in us cannot condemn us, because we are in Christ Jesus, one with him who was once condemned for our sin when he was made sin for us.

 

Therefore, the apostle declares, with emphatic force, “There is therefore now no condemnation” (not one condemnation, or one sentence of condemnation) “to them which are in Christ Jesus!

 

Paul is here declaring that there is no legal, no justifiable, no legitimate, no rightful condemnation to God’s people. No condemnation can be rightfully imposed upon those for whom Christ died! We are condemned on every side and condemned by many; but not can condemn those sinners God has justified, no matter how they try (Romans 8:33-39).

 

“Who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth. 34 Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. 37 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. 38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, 39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:33-39)

 

Š      If our hearts condemn us, God is greater than our hearts!

Š      Though Satan constantly tries to raise Moses up against us, Christ stands by to plead our cause (Zechariah 3:1-5).

 

“And he shewed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right hand to resist him. 2 And the LORD said unto Satan, The LORD rebuke thee, O Satan; even the LORD that hath chosen Jerusalem rebuke thee: is not this a brand plucked out of the fire? 3 Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments, and stood before the angel. 4 And he answered and spake unto those that stood before him, saying, Take away the filthy garments from him. And unto him he said, Behold, I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee, and I will clothe thee with change of raiment. 5 And I said, Let them set a fair mitre upon his head. So they set a fair mitre upon his head, and clothed him with garments. And the angel of the LORD stood by.” (Zechariah 3:1-5)

 

The world (secular and religious) condemns, persecutes, imprisons, and slaughters God’s saints; but none can bring saved sinners into condemnation!

Š      God the Father justifies us.

Š      God the Son died for us, redeemed us, put away our sin, and made us the very righteousness of God by his obedience unto death as our Substitute.

Š      And God Holy Spirit bears witness with our spirits we are justified, that there is not one condemnation against us!

 

Yes, I repeat, our sins, our many, countless sins, original and actual, all our sins in thought, in word, and in deed deserve condemnation. But not one, not all, shall ever bring us into condemnation! There is not so much as one word, or even a whisper of a hint of condemnation from God’s holy law! There is not one law written in the Book of God that condemns us. — Imagine that! — “No condemnation!

 

Why?

 

The Spirit of God tells us that there is “no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus.” That is wonderful to read and wonderful to hear. But how can that be? How can sinners so thoroughly and completely guilty of sin as we are not be condemned? I know that this is precisely the point that causes many so much trouble, the very point Satan throws in your face. — “You know you can never be saved,” the fiend of hell says. “You’re too sinful, too guilty, too vile to hope for God to save you. Your own conscience tells you that,” he whispers in your ear, as he roars with laughter against your soul. And everything in you agrees with the Prince of Darkness. So how is it possible for sinners like you and me to not be condemned? — That is my second point. — Why is there “no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus”? Take special notice of that word “therefore” in our text. That word “therefore” tells us why there is “no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus.” Look back at what Paul has told us. — Here are four reasons we cannot be condemned.

 

  1. The Lord Jesus Christ is our effectual, sin-atoning, justice satisfying propitiatory sacrifice for sin (Romans 3:19-26).

 

“Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. 20 Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin. 21 But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; 22 Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: 23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; 24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: 25 Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; 26 To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.” (Romans 3:19-26)

 

  1. We are dead to sin and freed from sin because Christ has put away our sins, abolished our sins, annihilated our sins by the sacrifice of himself (Romans 6:1-11).

 

“What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? 2 God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? 3 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? {were: or, are } 4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: 6 Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. 7 For he that is dead is freed from sin. {freed: Gr. justified } 8 Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him: 9 Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him. 10 For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God. 11 Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 6:1-11)

 

  1. We are dead to the law (Romans 7:4).

 

“Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God.” (Romans 7:4)

 

  1. And there is no possibility of condemnation to the heaven-born soul because we live in Christ.

 

The whole of Romans 7 is a declaration of life in Christ. Paul asserted in chapter 6 that all who died with Christ live with Christ. And in our baptism we have confessed that we now, by the grace of God live unto God in Christ. In chapter 7 Paul describes the struggle, the pain, the conflict of life that every heaven-born soul endures — Sin!

 

It is true, everyone has an inner conflict, struggling with good and evil. But only the heaven-born soul loves and delights in the law of God after the inward man, takes sides with God against himself, and longs to live without sin, freed at last from “the body of this death.”

 

Because we live in Christ, because we are born of God, because we have been raised from death to life by the grace of God, we can never be condemned (Revelation 20:6; 2 Corinthians 5:17-21).

 

(Revelation 20:6) “Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.” (Revelation 20:6)

 

(2 Corinthians 5:17-21) “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. 18 And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. 20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God. 21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” (2 Corinthians 5:17-21)

 

Now

 

Let me ring this silver bell again. — “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus.” — When is there no condemnation? — “Now!” — “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus.” — That’s the third thing I want you to see. This state and condition of non-condemnation is a present, perpetual blessing of justice and grace. — “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus.

 

The fact that Paul says there is now no condemnation does not imply that God’s elect were once condemned. That, of course, is not the doctrine of Holy Scripture.

  • We were under the sentence of condemnation in Adam.
  • We were under a sense of condemnation when convicted of sin, because of our unbelief.
  • And our consciences, our screaming, tormenting, guilty consciences held the sentence of condemnation over us.

 

But there never was a time when God’s elect were condemned by God! The Book of God plainly states otherwise (Romans 8:28-31; Ephesians 1:3-6; 2 Timothy 1:9-11).

  • We were in Christ our Surety from eternity, loved with an everlasting love, justified, sanctified, and accepted in the Beloved.
  • In him we were from everlasting blessed with all spiritual blessings, saved with an eternal salvation, and possessors of eternal life in union with him who is Life!

 

(Romans 8:28-31) “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. 29 ¶ For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. 30 Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified. 31 ¶ What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:28-31)

 

(Ephesians 1:3-6) “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: 4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: 5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, 6 To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.” (Ephesians 1:3-6)

 

(2 Timothy 1:9-11) God “hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began, 10 But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel: 11 Whereunto I am appointed a preacher, and an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles.” (2 Timothy 1:9-11)

 

And when the Holy Ghost tells us here that “there is now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus” he certainly is not suggesting that though there is now no condemnation there may be condemnation to endure hereafter!

  • Sin, the cause of condemnation has been removed by our Savior (2 Corinthians 5:21).
  • The condemnation we deserved our Savior endured (Galatians 3:13).
  • Our union with Christ is indissoluble. Until he can be condemned we cannot be condemned!
  • Justice satisfied will not permit it!
  • The love of God will not allow it!
  • The grace of God will not endure it!

 

There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus. — This great boon of grace is a blessing enjoyed in this present life, a blessing to be enjoyed with the “full assurance of faith.” Believing on the Lord Jesus Christ, we have every reason to walk through this world of sin and sadness with the assurance in our hearts that…

Š      We arc forgiven of all sin.

Š      We have already been judged for our sins.

Š      The night of guilt is passed.

Š      Judgment is over!

Š      We have been made the righteousness of God in Christ.

Š      The day of peace has dawned in the soul.

 

In Christ

 

Let me show you one more thing in Romans 8:1, and I will be done. — There is no possibility of condemnation to us because we are “in Christ Jesus. — “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus!

 

Where is there no condemnation? — “In Christ!” — “In Christ Jesus!” — Oh, what a blessed place! He is the Refuge of our souls. God is our refuge and strength. In Christ we are like Noah in the ark, perfectly safe and secure, brought in by God and shut in by God. To be in Christ is to be cleansed from all sin, and wrapped up in the center of God’s eternal purposes. To be in him is to be a branch in the True Vine. In Christ, we are complete, for he is made of God unto us, Wisdom, Righteousness, Sanctification, and Redemption (1 Corinthians 1:30). In him, we are not found with our own righteousness, but clothed upon with the beauty of the Lord. If any man be in Christ he is a new creature. — There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus!

 

Who are those who are in Christ? Those “who walk not after the flesh. — Obviously, Paul is not saying “If you live by the lusts of the flesh you are not in Christ, or if you live by the lusts of the flesh you are not in Christ. Every devil in hell knows that! To walk after the flesh is to seek salvation by the works of the flesh.

  • Legal Obedience
  • Religious Works
  • Baptism
  • Church Membership
  • The Lord’s Supper
  • Moral Righteousness

 

Read the text with me again. — “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” — Those who are in Christ are those who walk “after the Spirit.

Š      God the Holy Spirit gives us life.

Š      God the Holy Spirit brings sinners to Christ.

Š      God the Holy Spirit reveals Christ in us.

Š      God the Holy Spirit gives us faith in Christ.

Š      To walk in the Spirit is to live by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” —

Š      No Condemnation by the Law.Ye are dead! — The law is done with a dead man. — “Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone that believeth” (Romans10:4).

Š      No Condemnation by God. — He who justifies will not condemn. “It is God who justifieth (Romans 8:33).

Š      No Condemnation from Conscience. — The conscience being purged from sin is void of offence. The conscience sprinkled with blood is a clean, clear, good conscience before God. — “The worshippers once purged have no more conscience of sin” (Hebrews 10:2).

 

Sam Houston led the battle that brought defeat to Santa Anna and his Mexican army at the battle of San Jacinto. After Texas became a Republic with Sam Houston as its president, the law provided free land to any soldier who had fought alongside of Sam Houston at San Jacinto.

 

The story is told that on one occasion a man by the name of Knobby Horsham was accused of defrauding another farmer of some land.

 

When the farmer who had accused Knobby of fraud appeared in court, he was surprised to find none other than President Sam Houston himself there to defend the accused. Knobby was considered a man of ill repute. Nine of the jurors seated were farmers who all had been defrauded by rascals like Knobby.

 

Nevertheless, when the trial began, Judge Leander Phinizy, asked Sam Houston if he had any witnesses. “Only one, your Honor,” Houston replied.

 

Limping to the witness box, his right leg dragging from a serious wound sustained in the battle, Houston walked over to the defendant, and looked down on him as a loving father might look on a wayward son, despite the fact that Knobby Horsham was a known rogue who had wasted his life.

 

As the courtroom sat in silent expectation, President Houston uttered only two sentences. “Knobby, you’ve heard the serious charges made against you. Where were you on the afternoon of April 21, 1836?”

 

Knobby Horsham looked up like a little child and whispered, “With you in the front-line at San Jacinto.” “The defense rests,” Houston said, taking his seat. “Case dismissed,” Judge Phinizy cried.

 

My brother, my sister, O believing sinners, we were there at Calvary with Christ when the horrible wrath of God fell on him. “There is therefore now, no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus!” — Case dismissed!

 

Free from the law, Oh happy condition,

Jesus hath bled and there is remission;

Cursed by the law and bruised by the fall,

Grace hath redeemed us once for all.

 

Now we are free – there’s no condemnation,

Jesus provides a perfect salvation;

“Come unto Me,” Oh hear his sweet call,

Come and he saves us once for all.

 

Children of God, Oh glorious calling,

Surely his grace will keep us from falling;

Passing from death to life at his call,

Blessed salvation, once for all!

 

Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

Don Fortner

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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