Condemnation Written in Stone (& Wiped Away Forever)
Condemnation and judgement. It may be the greatest spiritual disease experienced by Christian believers today, and sadly, it’s a virus that spreads needlessly because Jesus has provided the world with the antidote. Oh sure, you’ll hear various Bible verses getting tossed around in church circles, such as this one:
“Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1 NASB).
While many church attendees may have been told there is no condemnation in Christ from this reference, it is likely that within the same breath they are taught to try to live by the very same ministry that brings condemnation, with little or no concept of what was fully accomplished at the cross. What is it that previously delivered people into condemnation? Don’t miss this: The roots of condemnation come from the law and commandments that came through Moses, which were part of the Old Covenant given to Israel. You may not have heard this from the pulpit before, but it is a vital truth we need to begin to understand. Those commandments and the condemnation that comes with them go together like peas and carrots. If you try to live by that law of sin and death, condemnation will be sure to follow you around every corner like a hungry dog, until you put your foot down and chase it away.
To gain some Biblical context, check-out what Paul said for the previous seven chapters in Romans, or at the very least, carefully read chapter seven and see what prompted him to reach a conclusion in the 8th chapter of Romans, when he starts out with the word “therefore” from the above verse. The word therefore signals he is concluding thoughts previously stated. Before Romans 8, Paul had already revealed to his readers that the old law did not reduce sin, but increased it! Paul’s personal testimony to the church was that the command not to covet actually resulted in coveting of every kind (that’ll go over big with the legalistic pastor). He explained how attempting to abide by those commands bore fruit for death, not fruit for God. Believers in Christ should have no relationship whatsoever to that old law because it could not bring life or righteousness. God had ended the marriage relationship between the people and Professor Law, and they became free to marry someone else—Jesus Christ. Paul continues to explain why there is no longer condemnation for us who are in Christ:
“For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit” (Romans 8:2-4).
Many believe it is sin that causes condemnation. But it is the law that was given to reveal sin, and through the law comes the knowledge of sin (see Romans 3:20 and Galatians 3:19). The tree of the knowledge of good and evil that Adam ate from represented the law, as man wrongly attempted to establish himself through his own actions in order to become righteous and more like God. It resulted in the same thing as those trying to live by the written code found in the law of commandments—bearing fruit for death, instead of fruit for God (see Romans 7:4-6). In Christ, all have been freed from the law, and sin has been taken away … sin is not a good thing, but it is not the source of condemnation.
In the third chapter of 2 Corinthians, Paul specifically referred to the entire law, including the (10) commandments written on stone, as the ministry of death and condemnation. Wow. When was the last time you heard that in church?
I can hear the legalistic covenant clashers arguing that “no condemnation” has a condition attached: not walking after the flesh. They assume the flesh is always referring to sinful actions or evil deeds, but this is not always the case, and it’s not how “flesh” is defined in the Greek. Paul told the Galatians they were foolish for falling prey to religious vultures who bewitched them into going back to certain aspects of the old law and commandments. Don’t miss this:
“This is the only thing I want to find out from you: did you receive the Spirit by the works of [the Law, or by hearing with faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?” (Romans 3:2-3).
Paul would go on to explain how the law brought a curse, and those stone commandments gave birth to bondage. Do you see the connection between trying to abide in a relationship with the law and commandments from the previous covenant, and how it results in condemnation? Trying to abide in the law of works and other religious rules in order to become clean, justified, or sanctified is called walking after the flesh, which profits nothing. “And those who are in the flesh cannot please God. However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you” (Romans 8:9).
The good news for us in Christ is that the law and all of the commandments were put aside and came to an end. Those Jews who were under that law, were fully redeemed from its curse that had required nothing less than perfection! Woo hoo! New Covenant writings from the apostles are filled with these truths. Question: Why in the world would we believers want to place ourselves back under a ministry that was proven to be weak and useless, and has been nullified and canceled? (see Hebrews 7:18-19).
“And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross” (Colossians 2:13-14 NKJV).
We are under a new law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus. The old ministry of death and condemnation no longer has glory at all, because of the surpassing glory of the ministry of the Spirit found in a new and better covenant (see 2 Corinthians 3:7-11). Although God never condemns you, your attempts to establish righteousness and sanctification through works, commands, or religious rules will result in you bringing condemnation upon yourself, thereby allowing the enemy to confuse and convince you it is from God. Chasing after commandments from an obsolete covenant will keep you in a prison that Jesus already freed you from. Get out of there! The door of escape has been permanently opened by Jesus Christ, and you are free indeed. Now walk accordingly.
For more on the teachings of Jesus from a New Covenant perspective, and avoiding the trap of religious bondage, get the book: Clash of the Covenants: Escaping Religious Bondage Through The Grace Guarantee Find It Here On Amazon