Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. – Rom. 8:1-2 NIV
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There is hardly any other book in the scripture written by the Apostle Paul that reveals his legalistic part more than his letter to the Romans. The letter puts up a strong argument for the sufficiency of Jesus Christ and supremacy of his sacrifice on the cross over every other personality or form of sacrifice. The Apostle Paul opens up his argument by reminding all of the judgement of God on humanity for acts of unrighteousness and transgressions against his laws – Rom. 1:18-31. He reminded the roman Jews, to whom the letter was directed at initially that this act of unrighteousness and transgressions did not exempt anyone, as all have sinned and are no longer manifesting the full glory of the Lord as expected. Circumcised or not, they will not be exonerated from the consequences of sin which for him is, diminishing manifestation of the glory of God (vs. 23) and death which is spiritual and physical, just as claim to perfect observance of the laws will be insincere. He argues further that as far as a law is broken, the consequences are same, as no law is bigger than the other – Rom. 2:1 – 3:31.
In the light of the above knowledge, it becomes clear that no one can justify a claim for righteousness by claiming to be perfect in observing the law but righteousness can be achieved through faith, going by the precedence that the Almighty God set in the case of Abram, where the scripture states that he was deemed righteous due to his faith – Gen. 15:6; Rom. 4:1-25. In Paul’s view, this conferred righteousness which resulted from Abraham’s faith in the Word of God brought him peace, joy and complete relief from every potential stress source. It is therefore Paul’s submission that, if Abram can receive righteousness from believing the Word of God, then man can receive righteousness too by believing God’s statement concerning the coming, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. As far as he was concerned, if the pronouncements of God on the activity of Adam was what brought death into the world, then belief in the pronouncements of the Almighty God on the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ should also bring life due to conferred righteousness – Rom. 5:1-20.
However, he was by no means advocating the deliberate continuation of committing sin with the argument that it emphasises the significance of Grace. If anything he states emphatically that not being under the law or enjoying the dispensation of Grace, cannot replace individual efforts at living a holy life devoid of sin. The Christian is expected to be dead to sin, he argues, as the wages of sin will remain death, whether under law or under grace – Rom. 6:1-23.
Despite all these obvious facts however, the Apostle Paul, in his further arguments, states that genuinely accepting Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, released the Christian from spiritual death that comes from the violation of the law. Using marriage as a case study, he argues that, whatever law bound the woman to a marriage was broken as soon as death takes the husband away. Likewise, whoever genuinely accepts Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, also experienced his death and resurrection. That process, he argues freed the person, not from observance of the law, but from the consequence of transgressing it. He does not rule out the possibility of the Christian still transgressing the law but states clearly that at that point, it is no longer the soul that is willing but the body that is desiring, in which case, his body may be punished for the transgressions of the law but his soul will be saved from the condemnation that should accompany such transgressions – Rom. 7:1-25.
He therefore, rests his case with the scripture for today’s devotion, which concludes that, there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. What a great escape, but definitely not for all. It is only for those who are in Christ Jesus.
To be in Christ Jesus is to remain in his words and instructions. It will literally mean to accept him as Lord and Savior. The “Lord” part of this acceptance move is most apt on this occasion because the “Saviour” part will be mostly a consequence of the “Lord” part. To accept Jesus Christ as Lord is to see him as your Master, which means you are to serve him according to his wishes and desires. A Master gives instructions and not opinion or suggestion, that may be open for discussion and possible reviews, so there is no room for analysing the rightness or otherwise of his instructions as it must be carried out to the letter unless he alters it. A Master expects total obedience to all his instructions and the claim to his being seen by anyone as a Master will be faulted, once any part of his instructions, no matter how small, is questioned or not implemented.
You may be happy to hear about the immense Grace available to you but are you entitled to it? It is no doubt the truth, but can you boldly say that all you are doing is what he told you to do? It is not about the expectation of men but about operating according to the instructions of the Master. Instructions may vary from individual to individual, and from one situation to the other, and without having the ability to communicate with him, can you really confirm to yourself that you are doing his Will? No one else knows those instructions you got from him so it will be impossible for anyone to judge your actions, but you can, with honesty, assess yourself whether your actions were done according to his instructions or not. Do not rely on what he told other people in their situation, but his instructions in your own situation.
This is a very important assessment, you need to do as your honesty will determine whether your soul will be condemned or not. The “Not Guilty” verdict by the trial judge, who is the Almighty God (Gen. 18:25), on that day will be based on that your honest assessment of yourself having him as your Master. Accept Him as Lord today as tomorrow may be too late. May God help you to take the right decision that will save your soul from condemnation in Jesus name. Amen.