“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of Life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.” – Romans 8:1, 2
How could a “rag-tag” bunch of disciples turn the “world upside down” (Acts 17:6)? What happened? They were just imperfect to be sure. Yet, the life and the witness of these earlier believers was a shining testimony that could not be ignored. They were alive and free! The Book of Romans brings a clearer understanding of the events that we read about in the earlier Book of Acts. It reveals the truths that empowered these early believers. The Apostle Paul brings it all together in this letter to the believers in Rome. It is filled with truths and revelations about our God that can set us free and motivate us to live full throttle for the Lord!
Probably the most important of these truths is that God does not come to us to condemn us! I have often been asked, “If God is a God of love, how can He send people to hell?” It is a common question that the Scripture addresses in a wonderfully clear way. It tells us that, without exception, we are all sinners (Romans 3:23) and fall short of the glory of God. Because of our rebellious sinful nature we stand condemned already. Romans reveals to us that our God is a Savior not an executioner! Jesus explained it to Nicodemus when He said,
“For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through Him. Whoever believes in Him is NOT condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.” – John 3:17, 18
One of the reasons that we have such a hard time believing this is our misinformed belief that we are all basically “good”. We are not. The Bible says that we are all sinners and that we are “unrighteous” to the core.
“The LORD looks down from heaven on the children of man, to see if there are any that understand, who seek after God. They have all turned aside…there is none who does good, not even one.” – Psalm 14:2, 3
One of the biggest barriers to faith in God is this sense of self sufficiency. Our personal sense of pride that convinces us that we do not need saving and we do not need anyone else. We can figure this out on our own and find our way with or without God. Unfortunately this is not true. We stand condemned already. We do not have a chance! Paul described this condition as being “dead” in our sins (Ephesians 2:1). We are no more capable of saving ourselves than a dead person is at reviving themselves. “It ain’t gonna happen.” Enter the ever loving life giving God! His specialty is taking that which is dead and bringing it to life! He has come to the rescue to save those who are already condemned. How can this be?
“All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned – every one – to his own way; and the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.” – Isaiah 53:6
It is through Jesus! He took our sentence of condemnation upon Himself and died in our place that we might live. Does that make us perfect? No. It pardons us and therefore, our sins are no longer counted against us and there is “now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus”. So, the bad news is that we are all sinners and condemned to die, but the good news is God is a Rescuer not a executioner! He has made a way for us so that all we need to do is admit that we are lost without Him and cannot save ourselves and accept the free gift of eternal life through the work of Jesus Christ our Lord. The message of Romans is that God has clearly revealed Himself to us and has provided the way for us too be reconciled to Him through Jesus! This is the God who saves! This is Good News! This is the Gospel.