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That You May Know About
Neither Do I Condemn
The Bible tells us that we are all sinners and do not reach to God’s standard of living. “…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3: 23 NKJV). We are also told that unrighteousness and ungodliness result in the wrath of God. “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness” (Romans 1: 18 NKJV). The wrath of God involves a sentence of eternal death for having sinned. “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6: 23 NKJV).
One day, each of us will give an account of how we have lived. We will stand before the judgment seat and have to face the truth about our life. Our eternal destiny will be rendered to us according to our deeds (Romans 2: 5 – 10). We will either be invited to enter into the bliss and happiness of heaven or sent away to an eternity of anguish and pain. Knowing the truth about the judgment that is to come, it is important for each of us to be prepared to give this account of how we have lived. Let’s take a look at some of the truths presented in the Bible which help us understand how to prepare.
Imagine for a moment that you are standing before a judge and that you have been charged with treason. You are convicted of the crime of treason! What would you expect to hear the judge say your sentence would be? You would probably expect to be sentenced to death by whatever means was determined to be appropriate. Treason is considered to be one of the worst crimes a person can commit against their country. How would you feel if you heard the words, “I do not condemn you. Go your way and live a good life?” Would you be perplexed? Amazed? Confused? Happy? Grateful?
As human beings, all of the evidence points to our being guilty of rebellion against God. God’s word teaches us to obey Him. When we do keep His commandments, we demonstrate that we know Him and love Him (1 John 2: 3; 5: 3). When we choose to sin by disobeying a command God has given, we are actually rebelling against God and His authority. We are guilty of treason against God. Yet, it is possible for us to be saved from having to suffer the penalty of eternal death. How?
“There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit” (Romans 8: 1 NKJV). What a wonderful thought! All who are in Christ, can escape from being condemned to the death which lasts forever. Not only do we have this escape for the judgment to come, but we also have this escape for guilt provided to us right now. Paul says there is NOW no condemnation. We do not have to drag around the guilt and shame of past sinfulness any longer. Jesus says to those who are in Him, “I do not condemn you.” But, for a person to be able to escape condemnation, they must be in Christ.
Now that we know about the need to be in Christ to escape condemnation, how do we get into Christ? “For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ” (Galatians 3: 26 - 27 NKJV). In order to be a son of God, we must have faith in Christ Jesus. But, for us to put on Christ, we must be baptized INTO HIM. Paul also reveals that the way to know who has put on Christ is to look at how many have been baptized into Christ.
He also makes a similar assertion in Romans. “Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death” (Romans 6: 3 NKJV)? Once again, he points to being baptized as the means by which we get into Christ. At the same time, we are also baptized into His death.
In both passages, baptism is the central characteristic which indicates a person is in Christ. Those who are baptized are in Christ. Those who are not baptized are not in Christ. The way to crucify our old self, bury that old self and then clothe ourselves with Christ, is to be baptized into Him. Therefore, those who desire to escape from the condemnation which results from the wrath of God must be baptized into Christ.
In John Chapter 8 starting at verse 3, we read of a woman being brought to Jesus who had been caught in the act of adultery. The Jewish leaders had captured her as a way to test Jesus. They asked Jesus what they should do with her. According to the God’s law which was given through Moses, the man and woman caught committing adultery were to be put to death (Exodus 20: 10). Jesus ignores the Jewish leaders for awhile, then finally responds by saying, “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first" (John 8: 7 NKJV). This eventually caused all of her accusers to leave because not one of them was without sin.
After a short time, “When Jesus had raised Himself up and saw no one but the woman, He said to her, ‘Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?’ She said, ‘No one, Lord.’ And Jesus said to her, ‘Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more’" (John 8:10-11 NKJV). This woman had been caught in a sin which carried with it the penalty of death, but Jesus spared her life. Even greater, He does not place a burden of guilt upon her shoulders. She knew she had sinned, yet Jesus did not condemn her to death, even though He could have. He gave her freedom from condemnation.
With this freedom came responsibility, though. He commanded her to stop her sinful conduct. She was to go her way and SIN NO MORE. This is the second part of the requirements for escaping condemnation. Once again, look at Romans 8: 1. “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit” In order to escape condemnation, not only must one be in Christ, but we must also “walk…according to the Spirit.”
Those who walk according to the Spirit have their minds set on the things of the Spirit (Romans 8: 5). Being spiritually minded also brings us life and peace (Romans 8: 6). Since those who are carnally minded are not subject to the law of God (Romans 8: 7) and cannot please God (Romans 8: 8), we who are in Christ subject ourselves to the law of God and do seek to please Him. Furthermore, we are led by the Spirit of God (Romans 8: 14).
When the day of judgment comes and all of the nations are standing before Jesus (Matthew 25: 32), what will you hear? Will you be condemned to an eternity of anguish and pain in hell, or will you be rewarded with an eternity of joy and happiness in heaven? How can you know which you will receive? “For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thessalonians 5: 9 NKJV). You can obtain salvation from condemnation by being baptized into Christ and by living the rest of your life according to the Spirit.