There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1, ESV).
I believe the word “condemnation” in Romans 8:1 should be translated as “final judgment.”
When reading this verse, most consider that it means God has forgiven us of our sins – and He has! But the verse has other implications. It means to stop having “finalized judgment” of self and others.
Finalized judgment is an opinion already rooted. You have made up your mind and accept no other options. If I say “The Ohio State Buckeyes” – Michigan fans already have a finalized judgment! If I shout, “Go Blue!” – Ohio State fans might throw stones.
Examples of finalized judgment of self:
- I will never change
- I can’t do this
- I’m worthless
Finalized judgments of others:
- They always act that way
- How can someone who follows Trump be a Christian? Or, how can someone who voted for Biden claim to follow Jesus?
- That person will never accomplish anything
How many of us have been damaged emotionally by the finalized judgments of others? From being bullied to spousal abuse to demeaning parents. And how many dwell in finalized judgment of self from low self-esteem to lacking confidence to allowing fear to dictate our decisions?
Let’s re-read Romans 8:1:
There is now no finalized judgment for those who are in Christ Jesus (OGV [Old Guy Version]).
God doesn’t respond to us with finalized judgment. He sent Jesus to give us grace (what we don’t deserve) and mercy (holding back what we do deserve). For those who have accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior, there is no judgment.
Instead of having the opinion that we are worthless, can never change, and will not be able to accomplish our desires, God says:
If you set your mind on following my Spirit, you will find life and peace (v. 6, OGV).
Don’t worry about your weaknesses, I have given you my Spirit to pray for you with a Spirit language too deep for mere words (v. 26).
If I am for you no one who stands against you will win! (v. 31, OGV)
In all things that I ask you to do, you will be victorious! (v. 37, OGV)
Again, there is no finalized judgment for those following Jesus. We should not demean ourselves or judge others – as all of us are being changed into the image of God. Yes, there is a judge and it is God alone.
Who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is the one who died – more than that, who was raised – who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us (v. 34).
If Jesus, who has the right to have finalized judgment against us, chose by His death and resurrection to love us, save us, and intercede for us, we should do the same for ourselves and others!
I can’t believe I just wrote that.
I will never say “Go Blue” again in my life, but in the context of this Interruption, felt it necessary to demonstrate that with God all things are possible.