There Is Therefore Now No Condemnation
Having described the weakness of our condition in and of ourselves, and the endless contradictions we observe in our own behavior which frustrate and humiliate us, Paul now pronounces that word which we need to hear in the midst of our helplessness: “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” What a word! What a blessing! It is precisely what we need to hear. For when we take stock of our lives, we can only see sin and death; but when we look to Christ Jesus, we see forgiveness and life. Sin brings condemnation which leads to death—eternal death; Christ brings life—eternal life.
In verse two, Paul returns to the work of the Holy Spirit which he spoke of in 7:6: “For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.” And how did God do this? “By sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us.” We could not fulfill the righteous requirement of the law, and so God sent His Son in our stead to do so. The “flesh” in which sin was condemned was his flesh, that is, Christ’s, by taking our sins upon himself. Our sin was condemned in the flesh of Christ as he, a sinless man, took our sin and died as a result of doing so. We are thus set free from our sin by faith as the Spirit of life had done the prior work of convincing us of our need for Christ’s righteousness, then filled us upon our regeneration, and now abides within us as we walk with him.
I stopped in the middle of verse four: “… in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit” (emphasis added). Paul is not here telling us how Christians should walk but how they do walk. Those who have been born again of the Spirit walk according to the Spirit. “But what about chapter seven and our inward contradictions due to indwelling sin?” Oh, believe me, I know. But although chapter seven is part of our lives as Christians, it should certainly not be all of our lives as Christians. The Holy Spirit has set us free; sin shall not have dominion over us (6:14). The Christian will see old sinful habits fall away and new virtuous habits become, well, habitual. This is what we should see as we examine ourselves. It can be a painful process, but remember—“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” You are under grace not law, and the Spirit of life not death. So walk according to the Spirit.