Summary: Print this for a seeker
1 “THERE IS THEREFORE NOW NO CONDEMNATION FOR THOSE WHO ARE IN CHRIST JESUS. 2 FOR THE LAW OF THE SPIRIT OF LIFE IN CHRIST JESUS HAS SET YOU FREE FROM THE LAW OF SIN AND OF DEATH. 3 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, 4 IN ORDER THAT THE REQUIREMENT OF THE LAW MIGHT BE FULFILLED IN US, WHO DO NOT WALK ACCORDING TO THE FLESH, BUT ACCORDING TO THE SPIRIT.”
See the word “condemnation” in verse 1? It means “Penalty”. In other words, we’re being told that for anyone who has trusted in Christ to save them, their sins have already been paid for (we’ll see why and how in verse 3) and when they stand before God it will be as a son who has come home to claim his reward, not as a guilty person waiting to be judged.
Try to imagine that. Think about your life; think about how you act during your worst moods, your failures (we all have them, right?), and just try to imagine standing before a holy God, and Him saying, “I find no fault in you, because My Son paid your debt and you placed your trust in Him. He is trustworthy, He bled and died for you. Therefore, I do not judge you."
Next, in verse 2, we’re told that the Holy Spirit has set us free. This is what it means. Let’s say you’re in jail, and the Governor of the state decides you should be free. He sends a letter to the Sheriff and tells him to let you go. The Sheriff tells his Deputy to go to the Jailer and order him to free you. The Jailer comes with a key, opens the door, and says, “you’re free, go home”. Now in verse 2, the Holy Spirit is not like the Governor...He is not like the Sheriff...He is not like the Deputy. He is the Jailer who turned the key and opened the door. That is the very specific idea being expressed in verse 2. The verse is saying that He has actually committed the act of freeing you from sin and its guilt and its penalty. How did He do it? That’s in verse 3.
Verse 3 says that although the law is perfect and holy and good, it was weak because it depended on the flesh to carry it out. Here’s a true story. Once I was breaking up a concrete slab with a sledge hammer. After working for a few days, I swung the hammer and the handle broke just beneath the mallet itself. I looked down and there was the head of the sledge, laying on the ground. It was fine. No cracks or chips...a solid piece of steel. But it was no good. It needed a handle in it to make it useful to me. But the handle was broken. Well, the flesh is like the handle. It’s weak and breakable. The Law (eg, Ten Commandments)is perfect, but it is no good unless the flesh agrees with it and carries it out.
So what did God do about this problem? He sent His own Son, allowed men to nail His Son to a cross, and reckoned His Son for that one brief moment in time to be the actual, physical, embodiment of all sin for all time...and while sin itself was nailed down and couldn’t get away, He judged it once and for all. Although the english word "condemned" is used again in verse 3, it is actually a different Greek word than is used in verse 1. In verse 3 the word that has been translated ’condemned’ means ’judged.