In the context of COVID-19 it is important for those who believe in Jesus Christ to remember what Paul states with great confidence:

‘Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus’ (Romans 8:1).

The ‘therefore’ tells us that we have to recall what Paul has been talking about prior to this statement, because this statement is based on what he has already said.

He has proved that no one - neither Jew nor Gentile - can be justified (declared to be right with God) on the basis of 'works' or 'law' (Romans 3:19,20).

He has proved that all are equally sinners, and there is no difference between Jew and Gentile (Romans 3:23).

He has shown that the problem is not in the Law but in us, because of our identification 'in Adam' (Romans 5:12 – 21)

He has shown that through the substitutionary death of Jesus Christ for sin all who have faith in him are identified with him in his death and hence removed from and released from the sin/law/death tyranny which held us in condemnation and spiritual death (Romans 6:1 – 7:6).

He has shown also that the Law was never meant to be the means of either our justification or sanctification or on-going relationship with God (Romans 3:19, 20; 7:7-12).

He has confessed that all of us even with our good intentions, are, in ourselves, incapable of deliverance from death, and find this deliverance only in Jesus Christ our Lord (Romans 7:13 – 25).

Because only the death of Jesus can bring us into a right relationship with God, and because this relationship with God has nothing to do with our personal ability to keep God’s law, Paul now says ‘Therefore ...’

'... there is now' ... today, now, as I live, at this present moment and every moment, irrespective of the ongoing, inescapable tension of 7:13-25 ...

'no condemnation' ... This is an absolute statement, not a 'maybe', not 'a little bit of condemnation left', not 'the possibility of some condemnation in some circumstances' ... but a straight, unequivocal 'NO' condemnation. Remember what it was that put us under condemnation? ... Adam's sin (5:16,18). What makes us aware of that sin and condemnation? ... the law (3:20, 5:20, 7:7-12). What releases us from sin/law/death condemnation? ... the death of Jesus Christ as our substitute, which is considered our death (6:1-11, 7:1-6).

Here we are challenged to face a few important questions:

Am I still living with condemnation, believing that God still condemns me?

Am I condemning myself?

Am I allowing myself to be condemned by others?

Am I allowing myself to be condemned by my (church or other) group?

Remember what Paul has said in Romans 5:1 '... therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God ...' present tense! The ‘peace with God’ is present tense. The ‘no condemnation’ is present tense.

And there is a second level to this personal challenge:

Am I heaping condemnation on others by my attitudes, words and actions in such a way as to make them live with condemnation?

This truth that ‘there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus’ applies to all who believe in him. It is not reserved for a supposed 'spiritual elite', irrespective of what they might think sets them apart. The 'no condemnation' is true of every Christian; because it is based not on ourselves but on Jesus Christ, to whom every believer is united by the life-giving, regenerating work of the Spirit.

© Rosemary Bardsley 2020