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No Condemnation in Christ!
Romans 8:1-4 (Pastor Heo)
1 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, 2 because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. 3 For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in the flesh, 4 in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.
Romans 8 is one of the greatest chapters in the Bible. This gives the definition of Christian freedom. We have 4 spiritual freedoms we can enjoy because of our union with Christ through the ministry of the Holy Spirit. It emphasizes “in Christ”.
- Christ (x15)
- Holy Spirit (x19)
v. 1 “No condemnation in Christ…”
This is the FIRST freedom in Christ. Freedom from judgment (no condemnation).
Gal 5:1 “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. So do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.”
2 Cor 3:17 “Where the HS is, there is freedom.”
John 3 “The wind blows wherever it pleases. We hear its sound, but do not know where it comes from nor where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”
The HS is a spirit of light and liberty.
No condemnation (in Christ).
- But there IS condemnation outside Christ.
- It also does not say, “no trials, temptations, discipline, problems, sufferings, etc.”
What son is not disciplined by his father?
Even Christians make mistakes and sin.
- Abraham lied about his wife.
- David committed adultery and murder.
- Peter was an attempted murderer.
So, they suffered consequences for their sins. But they did not suffer CONDEMNATION.
What is this meaning? “No condemnation.”
- This means freedom from judgment.
- Practically: Assurance of Salvation
This is essential for the victorious Christian life. So, today, I want to share this essential, basic, fundamental topic:
Assurance of Salvation.
This means freedom from judgment.
As a Christian, we must be very clear in this area.
Are you sure you are saved?
Even today, to our sadness, many Christians do not know they are saved. They are bent over by the world, rather than being a “shouting” Christian, they are “doubting.”
I hope you can make it clear to this answer. What is your answer to this basic question? “Are you saved?” What is your answer? No? Maybe? I hope so. Let me see. I’ll try. Maybe later. Or, “YES!”
To this basic question, we must be able to say immediately and whole-heartedly “YES!” Can you?
There are many different doctrines between the Roman Catholic church and the Protestant church (ours). Honestly speaking, I don’t want to criticize others, but I want to say FACTS so that we are not confused.
RC: “We don’t really know if we’re saved or not.” Yes, salvation belongs to God alone – our salvation is at the mercy of God – so only God knows if I’m saved or not. So how can a man, even me, say “I’m saved.” So, my whole mission in life is to do my best and wait and see – if I’m saved or not – when I DIE.
This seems outwardly very humble. That the Assurance of Salvation is prideful. BUT, the truth is the opposite. Their position is a big misunderstanding of the Bible’s teaching and God’s heart.
In a father-son relationship (father-child).
Imagine, there is a human, blood father, blood son. The son says, “I hope I’m your son, but I’m not sure. Only you know. I didn’t see you when I was born. Only you know. I’m not sure. But I guess so. I think so.”
At this attitude, what does the father say? “Oh! You are so humble!” No! The father will be so sad, disappointed, angry with this attitude.
God is our loving, gracious, merciful father, so he wants/desires us (who believe in Christ) to KNOW that we are saved and his loving children.
1 John 5:13 “I write these things to you who believe in the name of Jesus Christ – so that you may KNOW that you are children of God.”
Also, at the same time, it is possible to be saved and DOUBT it. Is this good or bad? Doubt is a spiritual sickness (disease).
Doubt is a spiritual sickness. So doubt is to our spirit what pain is to our bodies. This is a warning / signal that something is wrong.
- Pain means: something is wrong with your body.
- Doubt means: something is wrong with your spirit.
We may doubt from time to time, but it is a problem we must overcome and solve.
So, HOW can we have Assurance of Salvation? What is the basis / ground on which we can enjoy this Assurance of Salvation?
Assurance of Salvation
Let me say three things on basic grounds that we can have this Assurance.
#1: Based on the WORK of Jesus Christ
(not my work/merit/performance/sacrifice/ministry)
v. 1 “1 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,”
Yes, sometimes, we FEEL condemned because Satan tells us or our own conscience reminds us as well – or our non-Christian friends remind us of our past, inconsistencies, personal dysfunctions, etc. Sometimes, the perfection of the Law show us how imperfect we are. Also, sometimes, our comparison with others makes us feel inadequate.
“IN Christ” = we are a member of Christ and his body of believers.
“I tell you the truth, whoever hears my voice and believes in me is saved… there is no condemnation…” (Jesus)
Acts 4:12 “There is no other name under heaven by which we must be saved.”
John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, so that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” 3:17 “God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him.”
In the matter of salvation, we must look to Jesus Christ – and what he has done for us. We must focus on only Jesus, not our own selves/ministries/etc.
If we have Assurance of Salvation because of our OWN efforts, it is a double fault.
“Fix your eyes on Jesus Christ, who is the author and perfector of our faith.” (Hebrews?)
I’m a full-time minister – but the truth – as long as I look at my OWN works for God, I can never have Assurance of Salvation.
So, if you are asked “Do you have Assurance of Salvation?”, you must immediately look to… Jesus Christ.
AoS (Assurance of Salvation) based on the WORK of Jesus Christ.
#2: Based on the WITNESS of the Holy Spirit
v. 2 “2 because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.”
Do you receive the witness of man? Man is not perfect, right? We receive the witness of man. If we receive this, why don’t we receive (accept) the witness of the HS – who is righteous and holy all the time.
Do you know how often we receive and accept the witness of man?
- At the restaurant, we don’t check if the food is cooked well and not poisoned. We put our faith in the man who cooks it. This is receiving the witness of man.
- At the hospital, we see a doctor who we don’t personally know, and he gives us a prescription we cannot read, pronounce, understand. We give it to the pharmacist whom we do not know personally and receive medicine – but don’t check that it’s correct – and take the medicine. Why? We receive this witness of man without doubt.
You know, man is not perfect, sometimes, there is a mistake or falsehood in the witness of man. Yet, we still receive this witness of man in our daily lives. But then, WHY we do not receive the witness of the HS – who is fully God and perfect all the time?
The witness of the HS: “Jesus died for you. If you believe, you are saved, a child of God.”
Romans 8:16 “The HS himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God.”
“When the Counselor (HS) comes who I will send to you from the Father, he will testify about me (Jesus Christ).”
Romans 8:26 “Even the HS intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.” This is so we may have Assurance of Salvation.
That’s why DENIAL of the witness of the HS is the unforgivable sin.
Imagine, even though we receive the witness of man – imperfect – why do we not receive the witness of the HS – perfect? This is the unforgivable sin.
The HS first witnesses TO us, then witnesses IN us. Do you have this witness in yourself that you are a child of God.
- Based on the WORK of Christ
- Based on the WITNESS of the HS
- Based on the WORD of God
#3: Based on the Word of God
v. 3 “3 For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so [God] condemned sin in [sinful man],”
Yes, God did ALL things necessary for our salvation. Jesus did not come as an angel, nor as a sinful man – like you and me. But rather, he came in the LIKENESS of man – so that he bore our sins in his body on the tree.
God is just/righteous. Because of this, sin must be punished. Debt must be paid because God is righteous. And “the wages of sin is death.”
- Yes, the sin/debt must be paid.
- Another principle = the prohibition against “double jeopardy” – can’t be tried twice for the same crime. Once paid, always paid. (cannot be punished twice for the same crime)
- One crime, one punishment.
- Two crimes, two punishments.
- But, you cannot pay the price once and be forced to pay it again.
If I break the window – and it is $1 trillion – I cannot pay this price. Suppose somebody (rich) pays this price for me. Actually, I did not pay, but the result is the same as if I paid – so I don’t need to pay the price again.
Like this, my sin was punished IN Christ – paid completely, perfectly, once for all.
2 Cor 5:21 “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us…”
1 Peter 2 “Jesus bore our sins in his body on the tree… by his wounds we have been healed.”
3. Based on the WORD of God
John 1:12 “To those who received him, believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.”
Romans 9 “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”
The Bible (Word of God) is the official, objective document authorized, notarized, signed, sealed, delivered by God as our spiritual birth certificate.
Remember: if you need to prove your birth, go to the government office, and get the notarized document. Like this, the Word of God is our spiritual birth certificate (notarized).
- To doubt the Word of God = to make God a liar.
- To doubt the Word of God = not to trust God.
- To doubt the Word of God = not to believe in God / Jesus.
We can have AoS based on:
- Work of Christ
- Witness of the Spirit
- Word of God
This is the fruit / evidence of those who have AoS.
v. 4 “4 in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.”
The changed and changing life is natural and essential, not FOR salvation, but AFTER salvation. Like this, growth is essential not FOR physical birth, but AFTER birth.
AoS is a gift of God.
2 Cor 5 “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new Creation, the old has gone, the new has come.”
I do not know who has AoS among us, who doubts, but this is my challenge as a conclusion.
If you are struggling with these questions of doubt (unsure about your salvation) – please pray similarly:
“Father God, I’m not sure if I’m your child. But I believe Jesus died on the cross for my sin, rose from the dead, offering eternal life. I accept Christ as my personal Savior and Lord. Thank you for accepting me and giving me eternal life. Please, by the power of the HS, enable me to have AoS.”
Because AoS is essential for victorious life in this world, God wants us to have AoS.
If you HAVE AoS, God is calling you to help others have this same kind of AoS. This is the mission God is calling you to in this world. This is a double-blessing. (Blessing from God, so you may be a blessing to others.)
Lastly: Remember, the Word of God is the official, objective, document, signed, sealed, delivered by God as our spiritual birth certificate. Do you have this?