Summary: We live in perpetual fear of condemnation. what is the cure?
Rescue from Condemnation: An Exposition of Romans 8:1-11
Everyone fears condemnation, and the world is filled with both condemners and the condemned. The word itself is a combination of “con” which means “with” and “damnation” which is such an ugly word that it is condemned in polite speech. Why is there so much condemning going on, when all it does is make everyone angry and miserable? More importantly, how do we get rid of it from ruling our lives? What does the Bible say? Paul gives us a masterful answer to this problem in Romans 8:1-11, if we will but listen.
Whether the world acknowledges this or not, the bible tells us that condemnation entered into the world in the Book of Genesis when Adam and Eve disobeyed God. They were told that they would certainly die if they ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. When they listened to Satan rather than God, the condemning curse entered into the world. Death came into the world as well as the fear of death. This condemning dread has passed from generation to generation to this day. We also see in the fall, the human tendency to blame one’s problems on someone else. Adam blamed Eve, and Eve the serpent. This is an attempt to avoid condemnation by condemning someone else. The idea is to have someone else die for one’s own sin. So this is why we have a world filled with condemners and the condemned.
The Holy Spirit inspired Paul to write the masterful Epistle to the Romans to address this problem. We mentioned earlier that the way that men deal with condemnation is to condemn someone else in their place. We see this clearly demonstrated in the great racial divide we have in America. We have rich, mostly white and liberal people who try to deal with the problems of personal guilt and inequity in their dealings with other people, such as African Americans, but not limited to them. They try to place the condemnation of racism on middle-class and poor white people. As long as they do this, they feel that they will escape condemnation. I am not saying by this that there isn’t the taint of racism in the white middle-class or poor whites. One thing is abundantly clear. Every single person is a sinner. No one is exempt from it. The mostly middle-class Americans condemn the poor on welfare and having to pay high taxes to support them. Workers, Black, White, Hispanic, Asian, etc., condemn illegal immigrants for undercutting their jobs and keeping wages low. They also condemn the rich for creating the conditions for their failure. I do not say that there isn’t some justification for these attitudes as it is quite true that not only are we all sinners, we are also sinned against.
In God’s masterful plan, He took this universal curse of condemning and being condemned by sending His Son Jesus Christ who tasted the pain of condemnation for all people. Paul tells us that we are too weak to overcome sin, which is at the root of condemnation. Sin puts us at enmity against God. But in what is Paul’s equivalent of John 3:16, he tells us: “While we were yet sinners, Christ dies for us.” We then remember that even with the curse in Genesis is the promise of restoration in Genesis 3:15. A male descendant of Eve would have His heel bruised by Satan. But this one would deal Satan a death wound to the head. In His death, Jesus condemned condemnation. This is at root of our recovery if we will but believe and receive Jesus as Lord and Savior.
Paul goes on in Romans 5 to compare the condemning curse of sin in Adam with the superabundant grace of God in Jesus Christ which restores and frees us. Not only this, our final state will even be greater than what Adam and Eve had. Adam and Eve were naked, in a garden and talked with God in the cool of the day. they knew day and night. But there is no night in the Kingdom. It was said that the sun never set on the British Empire. One might question the truth of that statement today. But the eternal Kingdom is previewed that the Gospel has spread around the globe to all people groups in the world. The sun might set on part of this Kingdom, but it is rising elsewhere. We also have the presence of the Holy Spirit in the church and in our own lives. We are not limited to talking with God to evening or at a particular time of day. We will not be in a garden, but a great city, whose builder and maker is God. We are clothed in splendorific garments as the Bride of Christ. Where sin abounded, grace has superabounded.