Christians celebrate Christmas to commemorate the birth of our Lord Jesus, knowing that He came to give us eternal life. But how many realize that Jesus also came to give us the gift of no condemnation? Once we receive this gift and see that God no longer condemns us, then we can truly have peace with Him while still on earth!
John 3:16—“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”—is probably the most well-known verse in the Bible. If there is a memory verse competition in the church, and someone stands up and quotes John 3:16, I think half the congregation will say, “There goes my memory verse!”
The Reason For Christmas
However, not many people know the verse that comes after that. And it is this verse that gives us the reason for Christmas:
For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.
Unfortunately, Christianity has been misrepresented and used in many circles—be it by Hollywood or in churches—to condemn people. Yet, the truth is that God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save it.
That is why the angel Gabriel said to Mary, “…you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus.” (Luke 1:31) Do you know that His name means “Savior” in Hebrew? His name could have been “Judge” or “Lawgiver”. But of all the names He could have used, He chose the name “Savior” because the purpose for His coming was to save us and not to condemn us.
The Gift Of No Condemnation
There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.
Today, God wants you to receive the gift of no condemnation. This gift will cause you to walk tall and be a true success. This gift will also save you from a life of stress, fear, restlessness, and even sickness and disease. That is because everything that happens in your soul—the emotional and mental realms—will affect your physical body if it is not properly dealt with.
Doctors are beginning to realize that more people are suffering from psychosomatic illnesses nowadays. They are realizing that the majority of patients would not be suffering from their physical conditions if they had known how to handle their emotional afflictions such as fear, stress and worry.
It is interesting to know that the word “condemnation” in the original Greek means “condemning sentence”. Stress is a condemning sentence. Sickness and disease is a condemning sentence. But there is therefore now no condemning sentence for those who are in Christ Jesus!
What It Means To Be In Christ Jesus
Now, according to Romans 8:1, who are those who qualify for this gift of no condemnation? They are the ones who are in Christ Jesus. And today, you are in Christ Jesus, not Jesus Christ.
You might ask, “Pastor Prince, is there a difference between being in Christ Jesus and being in Jesus Christ?”
Yes, there is! “Jesus” is His human name, but “Christ” is His official title. Before He died and rose again, He was Jesus Christ. But after His resurrection, He became Christ Jesus. “Christ” is now placed in front of “Jesus” because it reflects His resurrected nature. And God wants us to know that we are now alive in the risen Christ, the all-glorified One who said, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth,” (Matthew 28:18) after He rose from the dead!
When you believe in Christ and put your faith in Him, God the Father sees you in Christ Jesus. He sees you in the risen Christ who is seated at His right hand. All that Jesus is, you are. And all that He has, you have. The Bible tells us that “as He is, so are we in this world”. (1 John 4:17) Can Christ who is seated at the Father’s right hand ever be condemned? No. Well, neither can you, because you are in Him.
Not Right Doing But Right Being
However, Romans 8:1 has been so misunderstood by many Christians. There are believers who think that there is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ…as long as they do what is right.
Now, I am for what is right. I am not for what is wrong. But that is not the criterion by which we are justified. We are justified by the obedience of Christ.
I know that some people will say, “But Pastor Prince, the rest of Romans 8:1 goes on to say that the gift of no condemnation is only for those who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. That is the criterion to qualify for the gift of no condemnation!”
“…who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit” is not there in the original manuscript. It was added by Bible interpreters. And you can verify this truth in any good Bible commentary. In fact, the New American Standard Bible is one version of the Bible that leaves this verse in its original form.
Therefore, the only reason that you are not condemned is that you are in Christ Jesus. That is the only requirement.
So what does it mean: “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus”? The answer is found in the word “therefore”. Wherever you find the word “therefore”, find out what it is there for.
It is there because of what the apostle Paul wrote in the previous chapter. In Romans 7, Paul wrote about his own struggles and how he was condemned by the law that he knew so well as a Pharisee. He said, “For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice.” (Romans 7:19)
So Romans 8:1 only means something when you have done wrong, because that is when the gift of no condemnation matters to you. All of us qualify for this gift because we have failed to keep all the Ten Commandments perfectly. And God says, “In Christ, I don’t condemn you. Now, don’t condemn yourself. Go and sin no more.” God is for you not living a lifestyle of sin. But the power to do this comes when you receive the gift of no condemnation.
Some people may say, “Pastor Prince, some people might take this gift and start using it to live a licentious lifestyle!”
My friend, people who live a licentious lifestyle do not believe this truth. They have not truly received this gift. Many of them are already self-condemned and are doomed to repeat their sin.
Do you know that God does not say that there is no condemnation based on His whim and fancy? He does not say, “Never mind, boys will be boys,” and then sweeps everything under the carpet. If He did that, He would be unrighteous. No, He has to condemn our sins. That is why He sent Jesus to suffer the condemnation for us.
Today, you are not condemned because all the sins of your entire life have already been condemned in the body of another at the cross on Calvary. Jesus bore it all! And all lawyers know the law of double jeopardy: The same crime cannot be punished twice. Your sins cannot be condemned in the body of your substitute, and then in your own life!
He Has Released You From The Law Of Sin And Death
For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.
Everything and everyone on earth is subject to the law of gravity. However, this law is broken every day at airports all over the world because there is a law that is higher than the law of gravity. Whenever an aeroplane takes off, the law of thrust and lift overcomes the law of gravity.
Likewise, there is only one law that is higher than the law of sin and death. There is only one law that overcomes the law of sin and death that brings sickness and disease into your life. The only way to be set free from the law of sin and death is when the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus is released into your life.
So how is this law released? Notice that Romans 8:2 starts with the word "for”. This means that it is connected with the previous verse, Romans 8:1. So the law of the Spirit of life is released when you receive the gift of no condemnation into your life!
Beloved, there is a freedom that comes when you know that you are not condemned because you are in Christ. And when you receive the gift of no condemnation, you release the power to overcome the law of sin and death in your life!
The Power To Go And Sin No More
In John 8:1–6, Jesus was at the temple when the scribes and Pharisees brought to Him a woman who had been caught in the very act of adultery. They tried to test Jesus by asking Him whether she should be stoned according to the law of Moses.
Now, they were trying to trap Jesus because if Jesus said, “Stone her,” they would say to the people, “So much for His teachings about God’s love and being sent to the world not to condemn, but to save.” But if He said, “Don’t stone her,” then they would accuse Him of breaking the law.
So what did Jesus do? He wrote on the ground with His finger. He did so not because He could not answer. He did this to demonstrate that He was the one who wrote the Ten Commandments on two tablets of stone with His finger during Moses’ time. (Exodus 31:18)
Then, Jesus said, “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.” (John 8:7) And one by one, those who heard this walked away, being convicted by their conscience. Now, let’s look at what Jesus did next:
When Jesus had raised Himself up and saw no one but the woman, He said to her, “Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.”
Many people like to quote the last phrase, “go and sin no more.” But it does not release the power to go and sin no more. That is because the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus is only released to set you free from the law of sin and death when you first receive the gift of no condemnation. That is why Jesus gave the woman the gift of no condemnation before He told her to “go and sin no more”!
I love to say it like this: The Pharisees would condemn her, but they could not. Jesus could condemn her, but He would not. Hallelujah!
So those people who think that the preaching of no condemnation will cause people to sin more don’t fully understand what Jesus said in John 8:11. The only way for people to go and sin no more—the only way for people to be empowered in their life, to walk in peace, joy and faith, and to live the abundant life that Jesus came to give us—is to understand that there is now no condemnation in Christ.
Two Things Will Happen To You
When you realize and understand that there is therefore now no condemnation in Christ, two things will happen to you.
The first thing that will happen when you understand that God does not condemn you in Christ is that you will stop condemning yourself. Do you know that many people who are always angry are like that because of guilt? For example, when a man feels guilty for not being able to provide for his family, he gets angry and takes it out on his wife.
It is like having a small pebble in your shoe. You cannot walk properly because it is bothering you. So it is with guilt. And you must resolve it by going to God and thanking Him that there is therefore now no condemnation because your sins have already been punished in the body of His Son.
As long as you think that God condemns you, you will condemn yourself. And your body and mind are so intelligent that, unconsciously, they believe that you want to punish yourself. So they will say, “Okay, it’s time to pass a condemning sentence on this body!” And sickness is produced. Disease is produced. But long before symptoms manifest in your body, you were already a walking civil war.
The second thing that will happen when you understand that God does not condemn you in Christ is that you will stop condemning others. You will not condemn those who are also in Christ for their failures. You will even look at the world with eyes of no condemnation because you will see them the way Jesus sees them—as lost sheep who are without a shepherd. And He said, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep.” (John 10:11) Praise the Lord!
Walk In Peace And Be Healthy
Today, the only place that is totally safe and secure is in Christ. Once you receive the gift of no condemnation into your heart, meditate on it and have a no-condemnation mentality. And you will begin to walk in peace—the same peace that Jesus always walked in.
Jesus was always cool. He was never in a hurry. He could even sleep in a boat that was in the midst of a storm. In the incident in Mark 4:35–39, it was not the storm that woke Him up, but the cry of His disciples. And when He awoke, He said to the wind and sea, “Peace, be still!” It takes someone who is inwardly at peace to change a hostile environment into a peaceful one. He also calmed the storm in the hearts of His disciples, which is where it all began. You can have that same peace because you are in Christ!
As you walk in that peace, you will soon discover that you are getting healthier, and that some of the chronic problems you used to experience in your body are gone. You will wake up one day and realize that the pain is gone. Why? Because when you are at peace with God and with yourself, your body will be at peace with you!
© Copyright Joseph Prince, 2005. All rights reserved.
Looking for more grace-inspired articles? Check out the rest of them.