No Condemnation?

John 3:18 (ESV)
"Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God."

Romans 8:1 (ESV)
“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”

For a Christian, there are very few other verses of Scripture that bring as much comfort as these. Believers see these verses as their ticket to an everlasting paradise, based upon their belief in Christ. But is it that simple?

If you read a little further in Romans 8, you see that in verse 4, Paul writes that the righteous standard of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit (Romans 8:4).

Just like here in these verses, there are many instances of “If-Then” type of statements when it comes to God’s blessings for our lives. Here we have one that reads, “if you walk in the Spirit, and not according to the flesh, then there will be no condemnation.” In our study verse, we can see, “If you are in Christ Jesus, then there is no condemnation.”

So, it’s clear that for there to be no condemnation, there must be more than simple belief. We must be in Christ Jesus. But what does that mean?

Throughout Paul’s letters, this saying occurs well over 150 times. To be in Christ Jesus refers to unity: a unity with Him that allows a heart to be truly transformed. The will of God permeates your existence in such a manner that you look upon sin the same way that God sees it: as pure evil. To be in Christ Jesus represents a radical transformation (2 Corinthians 5:17) that delivers unto us a new belief system, a new moral code, and a new lifestyle.

Therefore, we must reconcile what Paul writes to the Corinthian church where he lists many behaviors that, if continued, will not allow an individual to inherit the kingdom of God. Paul writes, “Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Corinthians 6:9-10).

To continue a lifestyle that represents a lifestyle depicted in the verses above, requires one to truly examine themselves as to if they really are in Christ Jesus. Has there really been death to the old self? When Jesus was talking about the Pharisees in His time, He quoted Isaiah 29:13, which reads, “These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me”.

It is hard to reconcile no condemnation with those who call themselves believers but still live a life in such open rebellion. This is nothing more than the same lip service given back then.

As you study Scripture, note the “If-Then” instances throughout God’s Word, some of my favorites being Genesis 4:7; 2 Chronicles 7:14; Matthew 6:14-15; John 3:16; 15:5-7; 1 John 1:6; 1 John 1:8-10. When you recognize these, you will then come to understand it is not just a matter of acknowledging Jesus as the Christ. You must also work out your own salvation (Philippians 2:12) by truly turning away from a lifestyle that dishonors the Holy Spirit that indwells within you.

Only then we can be assured we are in Christ Jesus.