Read the Bible in 2023 ◊ Week 4: Sunday
Several years ago when I was teaching a women’s Sunday School class, we came to Romans 8:1. One of the women who was a Christian surprised me by asking, “What does it mean that there’s no condemnation?” I knew she understood the Gospel and she would know her sins were forgiven, but I realized something else was going through her mind, and she deeply needed personal assurance.
I spoke directly to her, “It means whatever you did this morning that you should not have done, there is no condemnation. It means whatever you left undone yesterday that you should have done, there is no condemnation.” Tears came to her eyes as she listened, and I saw the weight of the burden of being unable to perfectly keep God’s Law lifted from her. That was God’s work and God’s truth that He used to help His child understand His grace.
Why is it so hard to ‘get’ grace? We substitute the feeling of condemnation for the reality of no condemnation. All bear true moral guilt and without Christ all are justly condemned by God, but for those who are in Christ Jesus there is no condemnation, for He was the offering for our sin and He was condemned by God.
There are numerous reasons we substitute feeling for reality—our default setting is works and pride, and for some that easily translates into thinking they’re capable of handling life on their own, while for others, who perhaps have lived with condemnation by others for a long time, their inward thinking now reverberates with expecting punishment because they’re not perfect.
We need to understand the grace of God—all that He has provided for us in Christ. How do we ‘get’ grace? Through having our mind renewed by the Word of God: the Bible. Find the time this week and go back and read through Romans 1–8. Romans is so important in giving us an understanding of our salvation. What do you learn about your sin? God’s Law? Jesus? Underline the name of Jesus Christ. Notice whenever you see: in Christ, of Christ, with Christ, through Christ. What do you learn about the Lord Jesus Christ: who He is, and all He has done for you?
We also need to speak God’s Word to each other. We need Christians, as the woman that Sunday morning did, to tell us once more all we have and all we are in Jesus Christ. Too often the church speaks the words of the world to each other, even cloaking them in a façade of spirituality, and that is deadly. We hear enough of the cacophony of the world from the world—let us as Christians speak God’s truth to each other.
We also need to live God’s Word with each other and demonstrate God’s truth to help undo the harm of past relationships in which we were condemned. There may also be those in our present circumstances who speak and treat us with condemnation: a supervisor or co-worker, relatives or neighbors. Christians should provide both antidote and prevention of the effect of these lies, not only with each other, but also with those who are not believers.
Reread those first four verses of Romans 8. For those who are in Christ Jesus, the requirement of the Law has been fulfilled by Christ Jesus for you. The condemnation you deserved has already been borne by Christ Jesus. Whatever the world or your feelings may tell you, this is the reality:
There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
I’m using Michael Coley’s Bible reading plan (one page PDF to print) to read through the Bible in 2023. Each day my posts are on different books because he divides Bible readings into seven categories, one for each day of the week: Epistles, The Law, History, Psalms, Poetry, Prophecy and Gospels. There’s more information on his plan and other ones at Read the Bible in 2023.
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